Switching your OS is an exciting adventure similar to moving into a new home. When moving from one space to another there is always going to be some give and take but what happens when your new home is missing space for your GargeBand? No worries. Here are some Windows DAW alternatives for any level of GargeBand user.
Audacity – Free
If you find yourself using GarageBand primarily for editing quick clips and recording simple voice over work then Audacity is the DAW for you. Audacity is one of the oldest free DAW’s out there and is still relevant due to the fact that it is completely barebones and straightforward. Since Audacity is free it is lacking more advanced features and is not the best for loop based production. However, if you just need record and quickly edit audio for podcasts then this is the best free solution.
FL Studio – $99-$299
With great features such as midi input, quick automation and a great visual style FL Studio is the perfect DAW for the advanced GarageBand user. FL Studio is often seen as “every producer’s first DAW” since it has a very “street fighter/arcade” accessibility to its nature meaning anyone can grasp the core mechanics quickly but it is also deep enough to require hundreds of hours to fully master. The piano roll and step sequencer features built into FL Studio transforms the traditional recording process of instrumentation into a visual experience. This is great for people who do not know how to read music or play instruments but want to be able to produce based on visual cues.
Note that the basic package priced at 99 dollars does not include an audio recording feature. However the more expensive packages include audio recording and a huge number of extra plugins. One last benefit of FL Studio is that the purchase price includes free upgrades forever!
Maschine – $599
The last option here is for the GarageBand user who prefers live recording and midi input while being able to use the same system to perform. The Machine by Native Instruments was a game changer when it originally came out because it perfectly blended hardware and software to create a new way to make music. Although this is the most expensive option, the included sounds and loops are worth the price alone. Also since this is a Native Instruments product it works with all of their other legendary hardware and software products.
Note that this is a groove based production system so it is definately recommended that the user is comfortable playing keyboard or drum pad. The real magic of the Maschine is the ability to produce and perform without having to look at your PC screen at all. With the steepest price/learning curve of all mentioned DAW’s Maschine is definitely not for everyone but you will know if it’s for you the first time you use one.
These options might also fit your needs:
So that’s the list. Three GarageBand alternatives for three different GarageBand users and a few honorable mentions. Although there are many options that fall between these three choices these are the clear beginner, intermediate, and advanced options when you are looking to switch to Windows but love to make audio.
So you have any applications you prefer? Share them in the comments section.
Note: Author has no financial gain from recommending any of these software packages.