GarageBand for Windows

If you have used GarageBand before then you know that it is a simple and intuitive tool. One of the many reasons that home recording has taken a generation to catch on, was that the available software was incredibly complex, expensive and often unreliable. GarageBand changed that, the trouble is Macs are expensive and become outdated by design frequently so what do you do when you need GarageBand but neither have the bank roll or desire to buy another Mac? Well luckily for all of us there are a few solutions out there which totally work on windows, some even better than GarageBand itself. In our tests, we came upon one standout solution that surpasses GarageBand and doesn't break the bank either. Acoustica Mixcraft was designed from the ground up to be intuitively easy to use. And borrows many of the UI features that make GarageBand so popular. Where GarageBand's functionality narrows to encourage sales of Logic Pro is where Mixcraft really shines. Not only does it function as a musical notepad, as your abilities and requirements grow it already has pro tools to help you produce professional results.

GarageBand for PC

Whether you have used GarageBand or not, it’s doubtless that you’ve heard of it, which is why you are here! Many famous musicians use it at their musical notepad because of its simplicity and quick results. So what can you do if you only have a PC?

Well there are ways to get GarageBand installed on a PC, but they involve degrees from MIT to get it up and running, which pretty much negates the simple to use/does what it says on the box vibe. Luckily for you some pretty smart software engineers have recognized the appeal of GarageBand and have implemented its goodness into software for the PC.

There are a few, but by far the closest implementation is Mixcraft from Acoustica, so much so that it has already earned the nickname GarageBand for Windows in DAW circles. Of course it can’t be 100% identical for copyright reasons, but with just a few function name changes and a slightly different design it is as close as you can get without ending up in patent court!

But here’s a little secret, there are many things that Mixcraft can do that GarageBand can’t. Over the last few years Acoustica have worked tirelessly to incorporate many of the functions that you’d expect to find in high end DAW software like Logic or Protools at a fraction of the cost. In the last version (7), for example, they have fully implemented Midi so you can use Mixcraft with a huge array of controllers.

So, while it is easy to use Mixcraft as a musical notepad, when you need a little bit more meat with your potatoes then you aren’t stuck with buying more software to handle it. With GarageBand you need to buy Logic Pro to complete the full DAW experience. Mixcraft also works with all the VST plugins that the elder statesmen of DAWs run. If you think you might need more in the beginning, it’s probably a better idea to by Mixcraft Pro as it comes with many extra plugins including mastering plugins (Ozone from isotope and industry standard) and some really cool virtual instruments like Acoustica’s own Pianissimo (a really cool grand piano) or their implementation of the Moog.

GarageBand for PC alternatives

So you have heard people gushing about GarageBand or you have used it yourself and love it… But what if you have a Windows PC?

GarageBand does not work on PC’s period (and that is the final answer). There are articles and videos all over the net telling you that you can (believe me I tried), these are simply not true, mostly hoaxes and in the worst cases trying to get you to damage your computer. So beware, you have been told! do not waste any more time on it. GarageBand is a MAC only deal and will always be.

But all is not lost, there are alternatives to GarageBand for Windows and some are REALLY close in design and function (so close I wonder why they haven’t been sucked into patent disputes!) and I am going to walk you through them.

Over the next few weeks I am going to talk about Mixcraft, Cubase Studio, Cakewalk SONAR and Acid Pro, so check back for detailed reviews of how they compare to GarageBand. First up here's an idea of how they each look in comparison to Garageband.

User Interface

Clearly, Mixcraft is the stand out closest to GarageBand in this department, but looks are not the only thing we will be taking into consideration. Stick around for the detailed reviews and final assessment.

Why GarageBand?

So what’s all the hype about? In case you haven’t heard, GarageBand is the ubiquitous musical notepad for musicians worldwide. The reason is simple, like most thing’s Apple, it’s just very very (did I say VERY?) easy to use.

During the creative process the last thing you want is your recording software getting in the way of your creativity, which is why GarageBand was designed from the ground up to be intuitive.

Lets face it, most of us just want to get our ideas down without requiring an MIT degree to get the job done.

So what if you don't have a Mac? Or you want to use your work laptop? Or you Mac died (mine did) and a Windows PC is way more affordable?