With the popularity of many Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), many users have been thrown into confusion when making choices over garageband vs pro tools. Both recording tools are big players in the music software business. Both have strengths and weaknesses. Depending on your set up you will find that one of these DAWs will most likely suite your workflow best.
Apple products have been revolutionizing digital technology by creating sleek, exciting and excellent user applications that create a distinctive experience. Two of the most popular and innovative Mac DAWs are the Garage band and the Pro Tools DAW. As an Apple user, I have been caught in the decision of using one of these two workstations myself. Below is a basic comparison of both of them.
GARAGEBAND VS PRO TOOLS
First, Garage band is free. It comes free with every Mac computer that is released and has a simple, clean interface. The latest versions have improved Garage band’s basic interface to look like Apple’s flagship DAW (the Logic Pro). Due to its simplicity, and being a default DAW for Mac systems, Garage band is one of the most popular DAW out there. The caveat though, is that with simplicity, comes a reduction in advanced functions leading to limitations for experts or advanced users.
Pro tools is seen by many as the industry standard when it comes to a complete DAW. The industry standard Digital Audio Workstation has continued to evolve, creating newer and more improved versions every new upgrade. The latest version is unique because it is primarily developed for professional audio Engineers, Mixers, and mastering engineers. The full Pro Tools HD system is a complete set of hardware and software created for premium professional sessions and ultimate reliability. With continuous revisions and innovations, their audio tools have been built for a prime workflow in a studio setting.
As a high pro system, their studio products are the best of their products which make them a mainstay in top studios. The main problems with the Pro Tools is the licensing and commercial properties of its parent company (Avid) and complexity of the workflow. And, of coarse lets not forget the cost.
Putting Garageband vs Pro Tools in the ring, lets check out some of the highlights!
- Due to its basic interface, the garage band makes music production seamless.
- Has enough beats, drum samplers, software instruments, and effects to play with.
- Garage band offers a vast amount of synths and VIs concerning instrument type.
- It also allows users to supplement Garage band’s current collection with third-party instruments. This means that you can record, using the microphone on your computer to capture audio recordings like voice, guitar, bass, etc.
- Simple and clear workspace implies that work happens a lot faster.
- Has multitrack on various instruments and genres of music.
- Easy to save and transfer music files using USB.
- Many audio adjustment functionalities.
- Very reliable, which makes it the critical choice for high-profile production sessions.
- Fantastic recording and audio editing tools; from timeline editing to effective multi-track recording to flexible routing, pro tools makes your audio excellent.
- With the new version comes a unique tool that allows you to work with production engineers from other parts of the world remotely.
- Built to work with rack-mounted studio gear, large mix consoles, and complex patch routings.
- A plethora of hardware functionality from consumer-grade interfaces to the highest pro-quality desks which are designed to work specifically with Pro Tools.
- Not web-based, so you need a device that already as it.
- You can’t separate an automatic punch in and punch out section to fix a mistake. This means that you have to record the correction on another track then paste it.
- Has limited virtual instruments. The synths only have a small subset of editable parameters available, much fewer than most professional synth plugin.
- Cannot programme sounds from scratch.
- Lacks a dedicated mixing-console screen which makes it lose a lot of functionality.
- Cannot add aux effects or create sub-groups.
- Doesn’t support songs with multiple tie signatures.
- You have to plug a dongle into your USB slot to make Pro Tools work.
- Restrictive control placed by parent company Avid.
- Has a frustrating MIDI interface for those working with VSTI’s.
- Difficult to install
- The tool can be clunky with the power and control needed for a pro session sometimes unnecessary and confusing.
- As an audio-focused DAW, it falls short regarding some other functionality like flexible routing, and automation.
- Its popularity makes it hard to create uniqueness above other users.
FINAL THOUGHTS on Garageband vs Pro Tools.
For beginners just getting into recording, Garage Band is a great tool especially as it comes inbuilt with your computer. It can get you your solution with ease and pace. In addition, the price can’t really be beaten. But then, with Garage band, you get what you pay for. It doesn’t give you the control over the recording and production process that other more advanced professional DAW can provide. With advancement in use and ability, you might outgrow GarageBand and need other more professional software. Top Artists like Rihanna have used it on hit tracks like ‘Umbrella.’ As far as mobility goes, GarageBand is the way to go. If you travel like I do, you will find the need for a tool that helps get your ideas down and fast.
The developers had this in mind when the made the software. And lets not forget; even though GarageBand does not have all of the available virtual instruments found in some of the bigger digital audio workstations, the stock sounds are pretty darn good! It’s very user friendly and is a pretty organized piece of software.
The advanced functionality and popularity of Pro Tools among top recorders mean that if you are comfortable using Pro Tools, then you can use almost any other professional music facility that you come across. Most experts are familiar with this DAW as it has enough features for top class producing. I’ve used Pro Tools in basically all of my professional sessions. Additionally, the stock eqs and reverbs sound pretty darn good. I’m also a big fan of how the software uses aux buses. They pop up right next to the track if you need. I always been a fan of this. Let’s also not forget that Avid has been putting out pretty solid products over the past five years.
This proves the power and functionality of this digital audio workstation. If you’ve made any hits on the billboard, than you’ve probably come in contact with Pro Tools at some time.
Hopefully I’ve cleared your thinking on Garageband vs Pro Tools!
Users of Garageband will eventually need to move on to pro tools if they plan on doing more serious studio work. All though Garageband does have everything you need to produce music, it’s main uses are for mobile considerations. As a result, considering a more professional digital audio workstation may be your best bet. On the other hand Pro Tools is industry standard and has the professional producer in mind. With the availablity of powerful virtual instruments in it’s stock, I really feel that Pro Tools will take your music to great heights than that of GarageBand.
A a few reasons to move on to Protools from Garageband:
- Limitations. Midi in particular can become very limited the more you add tracks. As far as editing midi in Garageband, you will find that it doesn’t have nearly the capabilities of pro tools.
- Virutual Instruments and VSTI. Although it has many stock instruments to choose from, it seems like many of the very popular vsti’s are not available in garageband. Therefore, this can be a big issue as your imagination and ears naturally begin looking for something more. Something fresh the stock instruments could prove lacking.
- Control. Although Garageband is cheaper, it doesn’t have the professional control to do real serious work in my opinion. It will likely be something that you grow out of naturally.
- Exchanging files: If you want to use project files in other DAWs like reason, sonar, Logic, or Pro Tools, good luck! This isn’t a native thing in Garageband. When you start doing real work and working with other studios, exchanging project files are pretty important. Trust me!
Next Article: The Best DAW For Hip Hop next!
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