GarageBand Vs Audacity – Free Music Production Software Comparison

In the world of music, having access to some of the best digital audio workstations is very crucial. Two such amazing digital studios are Audacity and GarageBand. However, it is always challenging to pick which one is better. Hence, in this article, we will be discussing the two DAWs and their various advantages and disadvantages.

Here’s a detailed comparison table highlighting the key differences between GarageBand and Audacity.





Exclusive for iOS devices only

Available for Windows, macOS, Linux, and Unix-like operating system


Free with macOS

Free and open source


Comes pre-installed on Apple devices

Needs to be downloaded and installed separately

MIDI Support

Supports MIDI files and tracks, allowing for easy import of jingles or musical cues.

MIDI files in Audacity must be converted to MP3 or WAV before importing.

Importing Audio

Simply drag and drop your file, and it will be placed on a new track automatically.

Similar drag-and-drop functionality

Import/Export Formats

Supports various audio formats for import/export like MP3, AAC, and others

Imports and export formats like MP3, AIFF, WAV, and Ogg Vorbis, among others

Background Noise Reduction

Built-in Noise Gate feature for background noise reduction

Noise reduction features are available, but not as intuitive


Metronome enabled by default needs to be manually disabled

No default metronome, can be added if needed


Designed with musicians in mind and familiar UI for Apple users. May have features irrelevant for podcasters

Interface may seem retro, which could take newcomers some time to adjust to

Recording and Playback

Records and playback multiple tracks of audio.

Records live audio through a microphone

Sound Libraries

Extensive built-in library of virtual instruments, loops, and sounds

Limited built-in sound libraries, mostly user-generated 

Advanced Editing Features

Offers advanced editing features like compression, background noise reduction, etc.

Similar advanced editing features are available but may require third-party plugins

MIDI Guitar Support

Supports MIDI guitar input for recording and editing

Does not support MIDI guitar 

Guitar Lessons

Offers built-in guitar lessons and tutorials for beginners

Lacks built-in guitar lesson features

Let us start in alphabetical order.


This free-of-cost software, with an audio editor that lets you edit multiple tracks together, is regarded as very easy-to-use. Audacity works as a recorder for various operating systems including Windows, Mac OS X, etc. Other than these, below is a list of important features:

  • Live audio recording
  • Recording computer playbacks on any operating system like Windows Vista, or any further upgrades.
  • Converting records and tapes in virtual recordings.
  • Editing sound files like WAV, FLAC, MP2, MP3, AIFF, etc.
  • Supporting formats like M4A/M4R (AAC), AC3, WMA and other formats with the help of optional libraries.
  • Mixing sounds or cut-copy-splice different audio files.
  • Creating new plug-in effects using Nyquist.

Audacity is open-source software and can be accessed by anyone at any time. Now let us discuss the advantages and disadvantages of using this software.


  • Unlike GarageBand, Audacity is a digital audio editor and not an actual digital audio workstation.
  • Audacity is specifically designed to manipulate audio data files, which is a reasonable option as it is immensely helpful in editing a podcast.
  • With a huge variety of audio tools like multi-track recordings, level meters, sample rates up to 384KHz and 32-bit depth range, etc., Audacity is an extensive software.
  • It also allows exporting files into lossless formats like AIFF, has unlimited undo options. Moreover, it allows changing pitch and tempo, removes noise, and has more of similar in-built effects.
  • Audacity allows a lot of flexibility and fine-tuning audio files, unlike GarageBand.


  • Audacity may not have the best intuitive or user-friendly interface. 
  • Given that Audacity has a large number of effects and settings, it may take a while before you can fully utilize these. Especially if you do not have any experience in the field of audio engineering, it can be complicated. Hence, it’ll be several days before you can use the software with ease. 
  • Also, Audacity does not support MIDI recordings or have any pre-installed recording material, like GarageBand loops, to help new music producers get started. This is a real hindrance if you plan on recording background music or a jingle for your podcast.


A multi-functional digital audio workstation, GarageBand, is an amazing piece of software that acts as a virtual music studio. And all of this right inside your MacBook. With access to an enormous sound library and a mixture of virtual instruments, guitar presets, and more. Also, GarageBand has an incredible assortment of session drummers and percussionists.


  • Mainly, GarageBand helps in arranging and combining all of your audio sources into a single audio file. Hence, this app is considered very useful when working with more than two tracks, in a remote interview or working on various segments, in a single episode. You can also export GarageBand music to mp3.
  • GarageBand is a reliable DAW as it has stable processing and hence, never crashes. You can go on working on editing a 120-minute long file for the entire day.
  • GarageBand is an easy-to-use app, with a simple interface, and hence comparatively, smaller learning curve than Audacity. In a couple of hours, you are good to go.
  • One of its amazing features includes supporting MIDI recordings. Also, the software comes with a variety of pre-installed Apple loops and synths that you can use to make jingles and background music, even without any instruments.


  • Although GarageBand is free-of-cost, its only most significant drawback is that it does not support any other operating systems except macOS. So, if you want to use GarageBand, you may have to buy a MacBook, which is an unreasonable deal.
  • Since GarageBand is not open-source software, Apple gets to be in complete control of the development work, and hence there may be a need to wait for newer updates.
  • The software has less flexibility with audio manipulation. Hence, you cannot add effects on sections of a track, and only to the entire tracks. 


It is not a very tough decision. If you own a MacBook or an iPad, the answer is easy. GarageBand is your go-to digital studio. It has all the features you’ll need to get started with your musical career. With uncomplicated functions and pick-up-and-play features, GarageBand is an amazing choice.

However, if you don’t have one, Audacity is the only option out of the two. Also, it is extremely well-equipped and adaptable. You can also look at the alternatives of garageband. With some persistence, Audacity is very easy to learn and you can also produce professional episodes, within no time. Also, with its versatility and fine-tuning tools, Audacity wins the show.


  1. Between Garageband and Audacity, which is easier for beginners? 

Garageband is generally considered more user-friendly due to its intuitive interface and extensive library of loops and instruments. Audacity, while powerful, has a steeper learning curve.

     2. Can I use Garageband on Windows?

Unfortunately, Garageband is only available for macOS and iOS devices. Windows users can’t access it without using workarounds or alternative software.

     3. Is Audacity free to use?

Yes, Audacity is open-source software. It’s free to download and use.

     4. Does Garageband support MIDI devices?

Yes, it supports MIDI devices, allowing users to connect MIDI keyboards and controllers to create music.

     5. Can I edit audio files in Garageband?

Yes, it offers basic audio editing capabilities such as trimming, splitting, and adjusting volume levels. 

    6. Do any professionals use GarageBand?

Yes, professionals use music composing app, especially in music production, podcasting, and sound design. The song “Love in This Club” by Usher has been said to have originated in GarageBand.

    7. Does Audacity have built-in virtual instruments?

No, Audacity doesn’t have built-in virtual instruments like Garageband. It’s primarily audio recording and editing software.

    8. Is there a mobile version of Audacity?

No, Audacity doesn’t have an official mobile version. However, some third-party apps offer similar functionality on mobile devices.

    9. What are the cons of GarageBand?

Despite its popularity and user-friendly interface, it is exclusively available on macOS and iOS platforms. It does not support users on Windows or other operating systems.

    10. Does Audacity support real-time effects?

Audacity does support real-time effects processing, allowing you to apply effects to audio as you record or listen.

    11. Which software is better for podcast editing?

Both Garageband and Audacity are popular choices for podcast editing.

    12. Can I use Garageband for live performances?

While Garageband is primarily designed for studio recording and production, some musicians use it for live performances with the help of MIDI controllers and interfaces.

Leave a Comment