When the first iMac was built, Garageband was introduced as part of the free software that comes pre-installed. By positioning itself as part of fellow iLife apps like now-defunct – iPhoto and iMovie, Apple intended to have music making into something that is both easy and accessible to everyone just like taking pictures or videos.
There is an enormous shift in the way music is currently produced. What used to take oodles of instruments and gears, has now reduced to a single piece of software installed in a laptop. Garageband is a free music production software that lets you do just that, regardless of your expertise in music.
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What is Garageband?
Garageband crams in a complete music production studio inside your computer/Laptop. You can create your music like songs, ringtones and other projects with Garageband and share it with the world. Steve Jobs created the concept intending to democratize the best free music production software and accessible by all.
Garageband is a second to none when it comes to beginner friendly and free music production software. Aspiring artists tend to take advantage of free products. It offers a plethora of powerful tools that are only available on paid digital audio workstation (DAW) software. A beautiful and intuitive user interface makes it easy to learn, play, record and create great music with just a few clicks.
You may be an expert, or may not even own an instrument, Garageband will come to good use. The recording and editing software offers one of the most well rounded DAWs that is up for grabs free of cost. The name of the app was derived from the countless celebrity musicians who started off making music from their own garages.
If you are interested in testing your feet in music production either as a hobby or professionally, Garageband is definitely a great place to start with. The software won’t burn a hole in your pocket.
Prior to the installation guide and discussing a few Garageband’s fascinating features, let me put forth a few requirements.
What Are The Requirements To Run A Virtual Machine On Windows
Before downloading a virtual machine, you need to check if your computer meets the minimum specification requirements. The first thing you need to check is your processor.
Intel Processors – Your Intel processor can be checked to see if it supports virtualization by using the Intel Virtualization Technology utility tool. It is recommended to run on an Intel-based processor as virtual machines are supported on most Intel chipsets by default.
AMD Processors – Some AMD processors do not support virtualization. So, if you are running on an AMD processor, you will need to check if your AMD processor supports AMD – V or not. If it does not support AMD – V, then there is not much that can be done other than to try and get another device which supports the use of a virtual machine.
Guide To Check If Your AMD Processor Supports AMD- V
- Navigate to the official AMD website through your browser. Download the Hyper V Compatibility Utility Tool which is the compatibility checker for the AMD – V.
- The download will take a few minutes, and you will get a compressed file in your download location. You will need WinRar on your computer to extract this file as it is a RAR file.
- Right click on the compressed file and tap on ‘extract’ after confirming the target address location where the file is to be extracted.
- Head to the location where the file has been extracted. You will see a file named “AMD Hyper V”. Right click on this file and select ‘Run as Admin’.
Following these four easy steps will show you if your AMD computer supports virtual machine.
The next step is installing a Mac desktop virtualization tool on your PC/laptop. It is recommended to use Mac Sierra OS for best results.
How To Get Garageband For Windows PC?
Garageband comes preinstalled on all Mac OS and iOS devices. But if you are using a windows laptop or PC, sadly Garageband Windows is not natively available. There are a lot of websites that claim to offer a windows version of the program. To the best of my knowledge, all these are fake.
The reason being, Garageband was never made to be supported on any other OS platform other than Mac OS and iOS as its owned by Apple. In all probability, these downloads are full of malware, adware and bogus content.
The only legitimate way that I found while running Garageband for Windows PC or laptop is by setting up a Mac virtual machine and executing Garageband within it. However, your computer needs to have sufficient resources for running a virtual machine. On my laptop, I run the MacOS Sierra inside a desktop virtualization tool accurately.
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Installing Mac Sierra OS
Installing and running a Mac desktop virtualization on your Windows PC is a complicated process. Luckily for you, I have made this guide, and all you have to do is follow these ten simple steps and your virtual machine will be good to go.
- Download and install a desktop virtualization tool on your computer like VirtualBox or VMware. Check and confirm that the drive you wish to install has a sufficient amount of disk space.
2. Download the latest version of Mac Sierra OS and extract its contents.
3. Right click on the Mac Sierra OS installation file and select ’Run as Administrator’ to install the virtual machine.
4. Open your desktop virtualization tool and create a new virtual machine.
5. Configure the Guest OS as Apple Mac OS X and the version as Mac OS X 10.11 or 10.12.
6. Open the virtual machine and select your number of processor cores. After that, allocate as much memory as you can to the virtual machine and create a virtual disk.
7. After creating a virtual disk, run or play virtual machine. A window with the Apple logo will pop up with a loading bar. Be patient as loading will take about 10 – 15 minutes.
8. Input your country, language and your timezone in the Mac virtual machine.
9. Login with a new or existing Apple ID and agree to the terms and conditions.
10. That’s it! Your Mac virtual machine should be running now on your Windows computer.
Installing Garageband for Windows
There is just a couple of things you still have to do before you start using Garageband on your Windows PC.
- Head onto Apple Virtual machine and open Terminal.
- Type in ‘./vmware-resolutionSet 1920 1080’ and set a suitable screen resolution with respect to your monitor resolution.
- Open the Mac Sierra OS and click on the Apple logo on the top left of the screen.
- Enter the app store and update the system if prompted.
- Download and install Garageband from the app store.
Now, you are ready to start using Garageband for Windows PC/laptop and start producing music for free.
How To Use Garageband on Mac And Windows
When you open Garageband, you will first need to create a new project. We will be selecting ‘Empty Project’ for this guide. But make sure to explore the other options as it is a great way to find your way around the app. Once you click on ‘Choose’, you will be asked to add a track. Select any one and click on ‘Create’.
Once you are through with this, you will be taken to the main Garageband window. On the left of the screen is the Library which lets you choose different instruments. The top-right panel is the workspace, where you can access notes you have recorded and the various instrument tracks in your project. The bottom-right panel is the editor, where you can make tweaks to your tracks.
Using Apple’s considerable library of loops is a great way to get the hand of GarageBand. Loops are short stretches of music that you can use as a base for your own composition. Once you’ve opened up your new project, press the O key, or go to ‘View’ and then head to Show Apple Loops’.
You can also tweak the Tempo of tracks by navigating to the ‘Beats and Project’ window on the top of the screen. The default tempo is set at 120 beats per minute, but you are free to increase or decrease the tempo for your track.
You will now be able to access loads of options for loops. Just click on any loop that you want to use and drag it into the workspace. You can try experimenting with different loops or repeat the same loop. This way you can integrate the sounds of different instruments and arrange them into your new track. Garageband also allows a lot of tweaking with loops, so keep experimenting and playing with your music.
Unique Features Of Garageband
Recording and Music Fixing
With Garageband, recording is as simple as clicking on tracks you want just by pressing the Record icon. You can conveniently record and mix up to 255 tracks at the same time, and this number is extendable depending upon your audio interface. Equipped with a USB powered mic, you can record at 24 bits, or you can use an audio interface with a mic into which you can plug a microphone.
In Garageband, the primary editing feature is simple. But if you want to take full advantage of the best free music production software, then you might want to explore the advanced features which are also available. Flex time and Groove matching are features inside Garageband that is used for mixing and editing the tempo of your tracks.
There is no proper mixing board in Garageband as it is still free of cost platform. So, you will need to use a paid DAW if advanced features like mixing board are what you need. Since a mixing board is not provided, you can use the left side of the arrangement window as a mixer with horizontal sliders for each track.
Sharing And Backing Up Music With Just One Click
Sharing music across your devices and also with the rest of the world is easier than ever before with Garageband. There are a lot of online sharing tools for sharing your music on social media channels. Moreover, you can also export to MP3, SoundCloud, iTunes, or a custom ringtone file for your device.
Projects can be saved directly on iCloud. So, if you start a project now on the Garageband app on your iPad or iPhone, it can be opened in your computer after it is saved. Projects can be imported from the iOS music menus app as well.
Creating Music With Or Without Instruments
Garageband comes preloaded with a sound library which has sounds from a bunch of acoustic and electronic drums, electric or acoustic basses, and a collection of synth pads, leads and basses. In addition to the usual strings, brass, the woodwinds, and percussion, the orchestral instruments contain several choir samples, a harp, and a pipe organ.
There is also an acoustic piano, electric piano, clarinet and tonewheel organ, and acoustic and great electric guitars.
You will need to download most of the extra sounds independently by entering Garageband, heading into ‘Sound Library’ and clicking on ‘Download all sounds’ as they are not included in the app by default. So what are you waiting for? Start making music in a host of genres by using more than 2000 Apple loops, and you get it all for free.
Alternatives To Garageband On Windows
Garageband is an incredibly powerful DAW for music production. There are plenty of other DAWs that offer even more features and tools for PC. However, none of them provide this much power and an array of sounds for free. Still, let’s go through the top alternatives for Garageband on PC, in case you feel like experimenting.
FL Studio 12
FL Studio is another excellent digital audio workstation (DAW) designed by Image-Line. It is compatible with Android, iOS, macOS, Windows. It also supports cross-platform sharing. FL Studio features a long list of plugins that make it very flexible. With every update, they also include many new features. Above all, it is also a free DAW software like Garageband.
LMMS is an open source, cross-platform free music production software project devised by a volunteer development team. It features an impressive range of instruments, and all samples and instruments are preloaded. LMMS supports external samples as well.
Drum sequencing is made genuinely simple with a visual mapping tool. Synthesisers are played by mapping the keyboard of the computer with the notes of the instrument. Overall, it is a flexible and powerful tool that comes at a bargain price of free.
Mixcraft offers its users one of Garageband’s most popular features, a large and varied collection of loops delivered in an intuitive environment. More than that, live recording can be done using Mixcraft which makes it a direct competitor to Garageband. Mixcraft is available in three different versions.
- Mixcraft Home Studio – This is a basic version intended for newcomers, and it has access to a limited set of features.
- Mixcraft Recording Studio – This is a slightly higher version of Mixcraft which is suitable for those who need more features than the basic version.
- Mixcraft Professional Studio – This version features all of the features and tools available in Mixcraft. It is intended for use by professional music producers.
Reaper Audio is a useful multi-track recording digital audio workstation which runs on Windows, Linux and Mac OS. It provides a bunch of effects and customization preferences. It also has inbuilt support for BCF2000, TranzPort, AlphaTrack, FaderPort, Baby HUI, and MCU.
Music Maker Jam
Unlike the other DAW software in this list, Music maker jam can be downloaded from the Windows app store. Further, it is also available for iOS and Android. Music Maker Jam is not a full-fledged DAW, and hence it has limited functionality. To counteract, this app has included some unique features intended for casual musicians.
Emerging MCs and singers can use this app for recording vocal tracks over loops which can be built from scratch quickly. Creating tracks is as simple as selecting loops by genre and arranging them. BPM, volume levels and FX can be customized and adjusted as per your assessment.
Garageband has helped usher in the free music production software scene both radical expansion and compression to the idea of what is possible. Garageband and it’s handful of peers dominate the modern music production landscape, emanating a distinct sound and rhythm that is totally different from the music of decades past. Apple has consistently updated the Garageband app for the last 15 years and future iterations of the app can make it even easier and quicker to compose music.
Garageband is ultimately a light, fast and versatile DAW that is more focused on composing and recording. Keeping with the view of Steve Jobs, it provides free access to aspiring musicians to try their hands in making music. Although there are countless DAW platforms, both free and paid, on both iOS and Windows platforms, there is none which provides the tools and features that Garageband presents for free.
- Can I play software instruments using my computer keyboard?
Musical Typing through a keyboard is possible and it can be accessed from the Windows menu. However, if you want to avoid the high amounts of latency, a drawback of musical typing, you might want to use a MIDI keyboard instead.
- How can I create my own loops in Garageband?
GarageBand version 2.2 and later versions let you create loops. However, if you want more control over their creation or would want to use an earlier version of Garageband, then you may download and use Apple’s SoundTrack Loop Utility which is a free application. Besides, the looping ability in Garageband seems to be constrained in either the length of the track or the number of bars it can handle.
- Why does the file I import plays too fast (or too slow) in GarageBand?
GarageBand plays at a sample rate of 44.1k. If you have imported something recorded at a sample rate of 48k, it will play slower and at a lower pitch. If you have imported something sampled at a rate of 22k, it will play faster at a higher pitch in GarageBand.
- Can I buy GarageBand as a standalone?
GarageBand is part and package of the iLife suite of software; there is no way at the present to buy it separately. It is likely to be priced much higher for the number of features on offer if it ever makes it as a standalone product.
- Can I release my GarageBand songs commercially?
You can do anything you want with anything you create in Garageband, even sell your tracks, other than redistribute the loops themselves.
The GarageBand software license agreement says:
“You may use the Apple and third party audio loop content (Audio Content), contained in or otherwise included with the Apple Software, on a royalty-free basis, to create your own original music compositions or audio projects. You may broadcast and/or distribute your own music compositions or audio projects that were created using the Audio Content, however, individual audio loops may not be commercially or otherwise distributed on a standalone basis, nor may they be repackaged in whole or in part as audio samples, sound effects or music beds.”