GarageBand versus Audacity

GarageBand is Apple’s multitrack recording app that has revolutionized the audio game with its creation, editing and processing features that operate free of cost for macOS and iOS devices. Audacity is an open-source audio editing application that works on macOS, Windows as well as Linux systems and is free for all these platforms.


While GarageBand is the go-to for most audio enthusiasts and music lovers due to its easy to use interface, range of features and publishing options along with having the Apple ‘tag of quality’, Audacity, developed by the Audacity Team including Dominic Mazzoni and Roger Dannenberg, with its latest version 2.3.3 in 2019 has entered the digital game again with great editing features and a wide variety of sound manipulation options. Both Softwares are competing in the audio market, with GarageBand being the top runner with its resemblance to Logic Pro X whereas Audacity being an open-source program allows more accessibility than GarageBand.


Since Audacity was also developed before Apple’s digital audio workstation, its interface was more bulky and confusing for the first time user and too narrow for professionals despite being free of cost.

GarageBand boasts of a user-friendly interface where composing, editing and mixing buttons are presented in the work screen in a manner that new users can access these options without being intimidated and can concentrate on making tracks. The app has presets and templates for almost every type of music or audio you’d want to create. It helps provide artists with-

  • A range of Loops that can be added to your track present in the Sound Library
  • A wide choice of instruments to be inculcated while making rhythms (native instruments, range of drum kits, guitar and Synth variations, etc.)
  • Options to compress, distort, echo, add reverb, normalize, etc. with ease
  • Readily available buttons for checking Key Signature and time limits, Sampling, PlugIns, etc.

HOW TO USE: 

  1. Go to the App Store on your macOS or iOS device.
  2. Search for GarageBand and open the icon from the results.
  3. If your device is compatible with the latest version of GarageBand, then the app will be available to you in the search results.
  4. Press ‘Get’ option to install the app on your device.
  5. Once installed, open the app on your device and select whether you want to make a recording under a set template or a completely new audio file. If you wish to do so, click the ‘Empty Project’ and get started.
  6. You can select the Key, Tempo, Volume, and the Software Instruments you want to work with and drag the desired Loops from the Loop library on the left portion of your screen.
  7. Make sure your Sound Library is updated by choosing ‘Download All Available Sounds’ in the Preferences menu.

Audacity is mostly accessed by users for mixing and editing recordings including voiceover, podcasts as well as music files. Since the software has multiple effects for noise reduction, controlling pitch settings, normalising audio, adjusting EQ settings, fade in and out effect etc. and works amazingly for those who work with these effects in sound production. This software is more suitable for those users who use it for sound editing and mixing purposes more than creation and customization. 

HOW TO USE: 

  1. Search for Audacity in your browser. 
  2. Open the website audacityteam.org that will appear as the first search result.
  3. Click on the Download Audacity option on the home page of this site. 
  4. According to whatever device you’re using (Windows, Mac, Linux based device), select the link to download the software to your system.
  5. Once the link has installed, run the program and allow necessary access to the Setup Wizard of the software.
  6. Once completely loaded, open Audacity on your desktop.
  7. The app contains a top menu and various custom toolbars for editing options like start, play, fast forward, and back forward, PlugIns.
  8. Each individual track in the work screen can be individually tailored. You can use various tools like Zoom Tool, Multi-Tool, etc. to edit your audio and export the final track as WAVE, MP3, and OGG file types. 

The whole GarageBand versus Audacity debate can continue for long as both applications have their loyal users but there are a few major points of distinction that each contains to elevate or downgrade the other in comparison.

GarageBand’s greatest strength is that it supports MIDI recordings whereas Audacity can only import, edit or export such audios. Similarly, Audacity also lacks Loops which helps compose a music track as the software is made to engineer and edit audio rather than helping create a completely original track.

This is also the reason why Audacity’s interface is also similar to GarageBand only in its multi-track recording ability. Unlike GarageBand however, it completely alters the given audio you’re working on as most changes can only be seen after saving the altered file.

One major difference is also the third party Plug-In support of GarageBand vs Audacity which works skillfully in the Apple software but has many crashing issues in Audacity. On the other hand, GarageBand is great when recording or working with music production but not on the same level on editing other files such as podcasts which are best edited and explored in Audacity.

This shows how both the applications are similar but have completely different uses. GarageBand offers a wide range for sound production and mixing as well as editing but Audacity offers a wide range of editing and mixing options for already produced or recorded audios.

Both software has a multi-track workspace but the features of each are used for varied purposes. If you’re not an Apple user, however, you can try Audacity to record and experience whether it suits your needs. However, if you are an Apple user and you wish to produce and edit music, GarageBand is the go-to choice.