Envision a trip to your dream gala where people joyously celebrate their best moments, mesmerized by the music you have composed. In the search for the perfect music-making companion, GarageBand has long been a virtuoso’s aide. Unfortunately, its exclusivity to Apple devices leaves Windows users craving for a musical workstation as capable as the former. Worry not! In this article, we will look at alternative apps like GarageBand for Windows. Let’s turn the dream into reality.
Apps like GarageBand for Windows
In 2004, Apple released GarageBand Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) exclusively for macOS. Used and admired by many renowned musicians and global artists, it has maintained its legacy over the years. Nevertheless, over time, many apps have been developed for Windows that offer a palette of rich features to help users compose, arrange, and orchestrate with finesse. We will look at some of them.
Used by music producers and audio engineers who want to record, edit, mix, master, and produce music, Avid Pro Tools has been a popular choice for over three decades. Its toolset and plugins have the Grammy bagged, reflecting its ability to deliver exceptional results. Some of its unparalleled features include:
- High-quality 32-bit floating 192 kHz audio resolution.
- Multitrack recording and auto-cancel to disable record-enabled tracks.
- Pencil to draw audio waveforms and manually modify MIDI notes
- Real-time use of Melodyne with ARA 2 integration to tweak the pitch.
- Over 120 plugins for the premium versions
- Avid Cloud Collaboration to save projects in the cloud
- Massive collection of loops, plugins, samples, etc.
- Price: Pro Tools Intro (30-day free trial); Pro Tools Artist (US $9.99/month); Pro Tools Studio (US $29.99/month); Pro Tools Ultimate (US $99/month)
Acquired by BandLab, Cakewalk is one of the top apps like GarageBand available on Windows that do not disappoint. It is based on SONAR technology and features unlimited customization options such as layouts, color themes, etc. for multiple levels of projects.
- Free and feature-rich, what else attracts first?
- Industry-best audio engine, VST3 compatibility
- 64-bit mix engine, ProChannel, and mixing console interface to deliver an unmatched experience
- Unlimited audio tracks, instruments, loops, and auxiliary tracks
- Studio-quality effects like phaser, chorus, reverb, flanger, delay, distortion, and compression.
- Melodyne engine add-on to analyze and convert audio into MIDI
3. FL Studio
Create Your Best Music! That’s what they say. With nearly 25 years of leading this industry from the front, FL Studio is one of the most anticipated, renowned, and finest GarageBand alternatives for Windows. It is said to be used by Martin Garrix, Avicii, Alan Walker, Deadmau5, and many more beasts in the field of music.
- Intrusive interface, good-looking audio signal previews
- Third-party Virtual Studio Technology standard – VST1, VST2, VST3 plugins, DirectX, ReWire, and other wide range of plugins.
- Tank of sample sounds, instruments, effects, custom-made presets, and loops
- Real-time music production that even works offline.
- MIDI controllers such as FaderPort8, Launchkey Mini, AKAI controllers, and more
- Price: FL Studio Fruity Edition (US $99); FL Studio Producer Edition (US $199); FL Studio Signature Bundle (US $299); FL Studio All Plugins Edition (US $499)
LMMS is regarded as a subtle and clear competitor to FL Studio. The free, open-source, community-driven digital audio workstation is a powerhouse cross-platform music production program. With a huge gallery of features and tools, LMMS assists in sequencing, composing, mixing, and automating songs.
- Gallery of more than 100 effects, unlimited tracks, instruments, samples, and presets
- Plugins like Linux Audio Developer’s Simple Plugin API, multi-voice additive, pad synthesis polyphonic plugins
- Graphic and Parametric Equalizers
- Supports both MIDI Keyboard and Typing Keyboard.
- VST Plugins, SoundFont 2, GUS patches
- Beat and bassline editor, automation for sound-generating elements, piano roll
- 16 built-in synthesizers
- Audio import in MIDI and Hydrogen files format
- Audio export in FLAC, MP3, WAV, etc. file formats
In terms of music production, Ableton Live 11 is a powerhouse that offers incredible flexibility. Designed for live performances, composing, recording, arranging, mixing, and mastering audio output, it surpasses the competition to be on the list of the best GarageBand alternatives.
- Instant live mapping with keyboards and controller
- Combine multiple vocal takes, MIDI performances, and random samples from a user’s library
- MIDI Polyphonic Expression to control multiple parameters in a single note
- Supports Wavetable, Sampler, and Arpeggiator
- MPE presets, multiple instruments like String Quartet, upright Piano, Wavetable
- MPE-capable controller with Note expression view to bend, slide, & pressure each note
- 74 effects including Hybrid Reverb, Spectral Resonator, PitchLoop89
- Price: Live 11 Intro (US $99); Live 11 Standard (US $449); Live 11 Suite (US $749)
Also Read: How to Get YouTube Music Premium for Free
In scenarios where you want to opt for a feather-light version of the powerful music production software that does not compromise on quality, Ableton Live 11 Lite is worth considering. With a significantly reduced file size, this software is ideally suited to those who want to create music on the go or have limited storage space on their devices.
- Multitrack recording 32-bit 192 kHz
- Unique session view for quick composition, unlimited undo for flexibility
- MIDI Polyphonic Expression and sequencing of software and hardware
- Supports VST2, VST3, and Audio Unit V2, AU V3
- Features like Tempo following, automatic plug-in delay compensation
- Audio effects like delay, compressor, erosion, limiter, redux, phaser-flanger, reverb
- MIDI effects like MIDI monitor, pitch, scale, velocity, arpeggiator, etc.
- Supports files in multiple formats such as WAV, AIFF, MP3, FLAC, etc.
Whether you’re a professional musician, podcaster, or sound engineer, or are just tapping your toes into this art form, REAPER is for you. As a true Garageband like app for Windows, you can expect high-quality audio content from it. Moreover, despite being feature-rich, it is highly affordable if you do not want to financially invest a lot.
- 64-bit audio processing, sample-accurate MIDI processing, automation, modulation, grouping, etc.
- Multitrack recording with multiple takes or layers
- Overdub audio to stereo, surround, or multichannel audio files.
- VST, VST3, VSTi, LV2, LV2i, DX/DXi support
- Drag & drop facilitate import, arrange, and export.
- Single tool to move, split, glue, resize, loop, pitch, fade, and crossfade
- Tab-shift to work on multiple projects simultaneously
- Rea-plugins like RealEQ, ReaComp, ReaTune, ReaVoice, ReaVerb, ReaSurround
- Price: Individual License (US $60); Commercial License (US $225)
Waveform, earlier known as Tracktion is a pleasurable addition to our list of best GarageBand alternatives for Windows. The most creative, inspirational, and affordable digital audio workstation ever created, the company claims. However, it would not be wrong to say that Waveform Pro is a rich and beautifully crafted music production software.
- Custom layouts to individually dock panels and MIDI editors in the Edit window
- Waveform’s Audio Chord Track for arranging chords
- Quick action bar to assign shortcuts and create multiple workflow templates
- Audible Trimming, Snapping, Tempo Changer, Audio Presets, and many more.
- Import and Export files in WAV, AIFF, OGG, FLAC, and MP3 formats
- Arranger Track to create an Arrange Clip that can control the arrangement region
- 15 refreshed audio FX, 6 utility tools, a collective sampler, and a synthesizer
- Redeemable add-ons in the form of expansion packs, sound packs, etc.
- Price: Waveform Free (90-day trial); Waveform OEM (US $0 – redeemable code); Waveform Pro (US $99)
Also Read: How to Run iOS Apps On Windows 10 PC
Soundtrap is an exceptional and immensely powerful audio workstation that has been acquired by Spotify, one of the world’s leading audio streaming applications. Soundtrap by Spotify allows a user to create, edit, and collaborate on music and podcasts.
- Extensive library of over 870 instruments, 150k sound effects, and 19000 beats.
- Presets like synths, chords, drum beats, melodies
- Antares Auto-Tune to pitch and modify recordings
- Soundtrap Capture App to record and develop music even on mobile phones
- Auto-save tools
- 30-day free trial
- Price: Music Makers Premium (US $95.88/year); Music Makers Supreme (US $143.88/year); Soundtrap for Storytellers (US $143.88/year); Soundtrap Complete (US $167.88/year)
Magix Music Maker is a top-notch, free GarageBand alternative app, that offers a perfect blend of user-friendliness and innovation. It is so beginner friendly that even amateurs can easily get started with the help of in-app tutorials.
- Versatile stack of instruments like Guitar, Strings, Drums, Synths, and SpacePad.
- Drag and drop facility for sounds, loops, and effects helps in mixing and arranging sound clips.
- Songmaker AI to research ideas for custom beats
- Auto-master to help the user to adjust multiple elements.
- Multicore audio engine, VTS2, and VTS3 support
- Stereo-imaging plugins, limiters, compressors, equalizers, etc.
- Price: Music Maker 2023 (Free), Music Maker 2023 Plus (US $59.99), Music Maker 2023 Premium (US $129), Music Maker 2023 Beatbox (US $199)
Although the free version is enough for anyone who wants to learn music production and beat making, you can also opt for its affordable premium tier to add more capabilities to its program.
Do you know that before Yamaha entered the motor vehicle market, it had been a leading and admired Musical Instruments and Audio equipment manufacturing company? Acquired and developed under Yamaha, Cubase is one of those professional apps like GarageBand that has a huge list of global artists as its users.
- 64-bit floating-point resolution, 192 kHz sample rate
- MIDI integration establishes control for MIDI controllers.
- 23 audio VST effects, over 5 GB of sounds & loops, virtual instruments, amplifiers.
- In-built Chord Pads and Track, Chord Assistant to guide through toughness.
- Multidimensional equipment to record, edit, and mix audio samples
- AudioWarp to edit files directly in the project window, Raiser processing tool to manage loudness, FX modulator to create effects, VariAudio scale assistant
- Audio export, FX, instruments, video tracks, etc. as archives
- Price: Cubase LE (Free), Cubase Elements 12 (US $99.99/Rs.5268.29), Cubase Artist 12 (US $239.99/Rs.17,335.55), Cubase Pro 12 (US $579.99/Rs.30,508.46)
12. Adobe Audition
Adobe’s software programs are the in-hand go-to programs for any artist around the globe. Adobe Audition is a cross-platform digital audio recorder, mixer, and editor program under Adobe Creative Cloud. Even though it is very budget-friendly and offers specialized tools for audio restoration, sound removal, noise reduction, and many more such tasks.
- Tonal chords and tools to deliver a professional level of audio
- Multi-track Non-destructive editing
- AI-generated sound dynamics & contrasts like timbre, treble, bass, and punch.
- Podcast tutorial to teach about recording, mixing, and exporting audio content.
- Fade, crop, and remix songs, and integrate them into other Adobe tools.
- Sound filters, audio compression, clipping tools, etc.
- Price: Rs. 1675.60/month or US $20.99/month; Rs.19,158.48/year
Ardour is a decently functional open-source workstation for audio recording, composing, editing, mixing, and mastering for musicians, audio engineers, soundtrack editors, composers, and podcast producers.
- Flexible recording with tape-style transport
- Punch-in and Punch-out points
- Unlimited tracks in mono, stereo, or multichannel forms, buses, plugins, and inserts.
- Non-destructive, non-linear editing, unlimited undo and redo
- Supports multiple audio interfaces like PCI, USB, Firewire, etc.
- Strip silence, push-pull trimming, overlapping, opaque, and transparent regions
- Vertical stacking mode displays overlapping regions.
- Supports Audio Units, VST, and LV2 plugins.
- Files can be exported in WAV, FLAC, MP3, CAF, and many more formats.
14. MPC Beats
As a free alternative app to Garageband, AKAI’s MPC Beats competes at the neck with it on Windows. Suggestive of its name, this complete feature-rich DAW offers a simplistic UI for beat-making.
- Compatible with AKAI Pro hardware, MIDI controllers, and USB controllers like Alesis V-Mini.
- Set of 16 drum pads and a 2 GB library for samples, instruments, and loops.
- Multi-track recording, Sample editor, sound browser
- More than 80 FX plugins, 3 plug-in instruments including Bassline, Tubesynth, VST/AU compatible.
- Effects such as compression, echo, reverb, etc.
- Software synthesizers, Equalizers
Also Read: 22 Best Free Podcast Recording Software
It’s understandable if you may not want to invest in software that comes with a hefty price tag. Although pricier programs might arguably offer more advanced features, they can also be complex and difficult to navigate. On the other hand, Audacity has maintained its legacy among beginners for years, most importantly for two things – first, it’s a free alternative to GarageBand and secondly, it is very user-friendly.
- Multi-track editing and live recording through a microphone or mixer
- Supports 16-bit, 24-bit, and 32-bit sound.
- High-quality resampling and reduced distortion
- Supports plugins like LADSPA, LV2, Nyquist, VST plugins, and Audio Unit effect.
- Spectrogram view mode to view and select frequencies, Waveform view, Multi-view
- Effects like delay, fade in, fade out, echo, reverb
- Generators, Analyzers, and Tools to change pitch, speed, tempo, and many more.
16. Studio One
Studio One from PreSonus is a highly sought-after software. Admired for its simple yet aesthetically pleasing experience, it is a GarageBand like app for those seeking a comprehensive audio production solution on Windows.
- 64-bit floating-point 786 kHz WAV recording
- Smart Template to guide step-by-step and Pattern editing to ease the process of editing
- Drag and drop plugins, audio files, and more from its content library
- Clip Gain Envelopes to polish creations and also remove any form of glitches
- Video editing essentials include unlimited video clips.
- Beat-making tools with integrated pattern editing and live looping
- Scratch Pads, Melodyne Integration, Harmonic editing for audio and MIDI
- Plugins for effects such as Ampire, Engine FX, ProEQ3, Vocoder, and many more.
- Price: Studio One Artist (US $99.95); Studio One Professional (US $399.95); PreSonus Sphere (US $164.95/year or $14.95/month)
17. Ohm Studio
The first real-time, pro-grade collaborative DAW, is how Steam describes Ohm Studio music production software. An unpopular suite that promotes collaborative functions for multiple people to connect with each other and work together in real-time, this is an amazing choice for all multi-artist projects.
- Connect to other users who have the skill you require aced and work together with them.
- Drag and drop audio clips from saved ones and MIDI files
- Leave-behind note for team members to follow
- Private recording facility to reduce cluttering of recorded tracks and final drafts
- Record, create, and edit
- Huge sound library with soundtracks, INSTRUMENTS, clips, and presets
- Cloud Membership for saving files in the cloud.
- Low latency audio, up to 24 bits at 96kHz
- Plugins like Voxengo, Poulyn
Also Read: 15 Best DAW for Beginners
We designed SoundBridge with one thing in mind – simplicity, did you read that line? Now when the company already claims that, we confirm that yes, it is designed for simplicity of use. One of the easiest Digital Audio Workstation apps like GarageBand for Windows, and again the fact that it is free does not make SoundBridge any less in terms of capability.
- Sequencer, audio editor, automation and MIDI editor, and advanced mixer
- Customizable skins
- MIDI mapping, transport bar
- RitMix Drum machine that combines an MPC Pad section and a 16-step sequence.
- Punch in and Punch out recording, automation curves, presets, and plug-ins
- GUI scaling and effects such as noise game, limiter, reverb, delay, phaser, resonance, compressor, and expander.
WavePad is another one among audio editing apps like GarageBand for Windows that provides all the basic and absolutely needed functions of software for music composing, recording, and editing.
- Cut, copy, paste, delete, insert, trim, compression, pitch-shift, noise reduction, audio restoration, and more
- DirectX and VST plugins.
- Supports file formats such as MP3, WAV, WMA, AU, FLAC, OGG, M4A, MID, and many more on their list.
- Effect collection includes equalizer, reverb, echo, reverse, envelope, and so on.
- Sample rates from 6 to 192kHz
- Stereo or Mono audio at 8/16/24/32 bits
- Scrub, search, easy-to-find bookmarks, recall, and assemble segments
- Spectral analysis (FTT), text-to-speech synthesis, and voice modulator
- Integrated MixPad Multi-Track Audio Mixer
20. Music Maker JAM
If fun and learn; play and create; easy; subtle, and creative audio workstation is your search, take a look at Music Maker JAM. You can create, record, and mix music with over 400 free professional sounds and loops to create up to 8 free tracks, 3 free instruments, and much more.
- Change tempo, adjust the pitch, and add free real-time effects
- Four music genres, one of which is Dubstep, and the rest can be changed every month.
- New loops monthly and additional can be bought through in-app purchases.
Recommended: 13 Best GarageBand Alternative for Android
Finally, we reach the last one on our list of apps like GarageBand for Windows. We hope you liked our picks. If you have any more suggestions, then feel free to drop them in the comments section below. Until then unleash your music creation potential, we are here to cheer and admire you.