You want to download Garageband for Windows? Don´t get confused by online rip-offs as there is no Windows version! Luckily you can run the original Mac version also on Windows and there are pretty good Garageband alternatives for PC as well.
These days I stumbled over a nasty fake page that promises to offer a download for Garageband for Windows as a ported version. The professional design of this website really struck me and I am sure quite some people stepped into that trap already. When you want to download Garageband for PC there you will get nothing but instead create ad-income for the website owner who forces you to do online surveys.
Digging a bit deeper I found that this was not the only case of fraud, there are plenty of other misleading pages like this one. When searching Garageband for Windows on Google a desperate user might really start to believe there was indeed an existing port of Garage band for Windows.
Some also want to make you believe that you can run the mobile version of Garageband with BlueStacks which is not true either as BlueStacks is an Android emulator and there is also no Android version for Garageband. You might however want to run a Garageband clone for Android using that technique which I explain here in detail.
Let´s clarify this, there is no native or ported Garageband for Windows! Instead you can run the original version for Mac OS X also with Windows using a virtual machine. This is not difficult to achieve, but as a real enthusiast you definitely should check out the native Windows Garageband alternatives which are also used by professional musicians. Here I show you all options.
Running Garageband for Mac OS X on Windows
The only way to use Garageband on your PC is to virtualize a complete Max OS X environment which then allows you to run Garageband like any other Mac OS X App.
While you can find working VMware images with MAC OS X quite easily, we advise you not to use them. Instead we recommend you to create your own virtual machine which is not too difficult. Here is a good guide which runs you through the process and provides a download which enables VMware to run MAC OS X.
This is what you need for a smooth experience
- System that supports Intel VT-x or AMD-V
- Intel i5 CPU or higher
- 8GB RAM or higher
- SSD Hard Disk or RAMDRIVE (otherwise it will be sluggish) with at least 45 GB space
- A retail copy of Mac OS X Mountain Lion operating system on DVD or in ISO format
- VMware Workstation Free Trial (for setup)
- Free VMware Workstation Player (running the machine)
- VMware Mac OS X Unlocker
Garageband for Windows alternatives
While Garageband is a great and intuitive Software to get started it is not the best music creation tool out there. There are plenty of other programs used by professional musicians which offer a Windows version. We have picked the six most recommended packages to make music.
1. LMMS (Freeware)
LMMS (download) stands for Linux MultiMedia Studio, although it has a working Windows version since quite a while. LMMS is a free open source sound generator, synthesizer, beat/baseline editor and MIDI control system. When you first install it you might be disappointed from its visual appearance which is quite the opposite of stylish Garageband.
But make no doubt, LMMS is like the Gimp (free Photoshop clone) of musicmaking and it does a great job. LMMS comes with a good variety of pre-loaded software instruments, samples and effects to get you started. It supports the VST and VSTi plugin standard for 3rd party audio synthesizer and effects.
Here is a list of tracks that have been made with LMMS featuring different instruments and styles.
The LMMS homepage provides a good list of free and commercial VST´s that have been found to work with LMMS for instruments like Guitar, Harmonica, Keyboard/Piano and many Synthesizers.
2. FL STUDIO
FL Studio (download trial) is like the big commercial brother of LMMS. It seems that developers of LMMS took their main inspiration from FL Studio, even the interface looks quite similar.
As an out of the box solution FL Studio will offer you everything you need to get started. While free software like LMMS lacks documentation, comes with bugs and problems and has no customer support. Apart from that FL Studio offers a much better support for VST plugins which can make a key difference for a particular project.
However this comes at a cost of at least € 89 for the very limited fruity edition which does not support audio recording, so be careful with that. Here you have a detailed feature overview of all four available FL Studio editions.
With just $60 Reaper (download free trial) comes at a much cheaper price than FL Studio and has a simplified and highly customizable user-interface. It requires less system resources and comes with many great features and a good recording functionality.
When you like to chop sounds and throwing them around on different tracks, Reaper makes the job much easier than FL Studio. Out of the box you also get 300 free plugins which gives you enough material to produce decent pieces of good music. It might be more compley to use than if you´d have Garageband for Windows, but among the professional tools Reaper might be one of the more intuitive ones.
Check out their video section which gives you a quite good idea about how Reaper works.
4. ABLETON LIVE
Ableton Live (download free trial) is one of the big competitors of FL Studio and online there is a wild debate which is the better product. Judging by popularity, FL Studio has the lead. Ableton Live is being called more adequate for professionals.
Although FL Studio has also capabilities to use it for live-mixing, Ableton Live seems to do a better job in live settings. Looking at it from a Garageband perspective, this is definitely a product at the other end of the spectrum. If you look for specific features, here is the detailed comparison chart for the Intor, Standard and Suite versions of Ableton Live. Looking at just the cheapest offering, Ableton Live seems to be the better deal as the Intro edition comes with multitrack recording, something the FL Studio Fruity Edition does not offer.
Reason (download) is another powerful professional music software that puts its focus on an intuitive workflow and great sounding default instruments. While setting up and tuning instruments on other tools might require quite some effort, Reason makes it quite easy to use them right out of the box.
Reason in general puts a stronger focus on traditional instruments where other programs have better synthesizing features. If you are a instrument based musician, Reason might be the right tool to produce great songs adding virtual instruments to your own stuff.
6. BITWIG STUDIO
Bitwig Studio (download) is a quite new new suite for music production, the first version came out in 2012. Developers have taken a deep look at the existing programs and came up with some unique features you will not find elsewhere.
One of the most highlighted features of Bitwig Studio is its so called Clip Launcher which can show Session view mode together with Arrange and Mix view. Ableton, which also has great live session features requires you use two separate windows for each view mode which can get annoying when on the go.
Another unique feature worth mentioning is their VST Plugin & Crash Protection using sandboxing. This means if a plugin crashes, it will not crash the whole application. You still can save your project and don´t lose hours of work.
You can check out their article of Top 10 Reasons To Switch From Your Current DAW To Bitwig Studio to get a better idea about the differences of Bitwig Studio. Here a detailed video review from an independent source.
Running a Garageband for Android clone on Windows
The good thing about Windows is that using virtualization, you can run apps every from other platform. This also includes Android of course. Check out our guide with the 3 best methods to run Android apps with Windows 10 and you can also play with music apps from that platform.
While you might not find something of the same quality than Garage Band on Android, there are still some Apps worth checking out. To have a look, you can just use BlueStacks which is a no-brainer and then get started. Here the most popular Garageband alternatives for Android with their official app description.
1. Walk Band
Developer description: Walk Band (download) is a music studio (a toolkit of virtual musical instruments) customized for Android. It contains tons of features including Piano, Guitar, Drum Kit,Drum Machine, Bass, Multi-tracks synthesizer etc. All instruments use the realistic instrument sounds. You can add the drum beats and guitar chords to your piano melody. Play your favorite music everywhere with your phone. Another fantastic feature, External MIDI Keyboard over USB is also supported. You can connect your YAMAHA, Roland midi keyboard/controller with Walk Band.
- 88 keys piano keyboard
- 3 Guitar Type Sound: Nylon Guitar, Steel String Guitar, Clean Electric Guitar with Midi and Audio Recording, Playback and Sharing
- Drum Kit with Play Along Feature; Five Drum Kit Program: Jazz, Rock, HipHop, Percussion, Dance
- 3 Bass Type Sound: Acoustic Bass, Picked Bass, Slap Bass
- Multitrack synthesizer for different instruments
- Support for External MIDI Keyboard over USB MIDI. You can play Perfect Piano via the external midi keyboard (such as YAMAHA P105, Roland F-120, Xkey, etc) over USB
2. FL Studio Mobile
Developer description (download here): FL Studio Mobile (download) allows you to create and save complete multi-track music projects on your Android phone or tablet device. You can even load the FL Studio Mobile projects into the ‘FL Studio Desktop PC' version* and take them to the next level.If it's a beat on the step sequencer, a melody on the piano roll or a full song on the playlist, FL Studio Mobile has you covered. Never lose that idea again. Get it down and happening wherever you are.
- 133 high quality instruments, drum kits & sliced-loop beats
- All instruments have FL Studio desktop equivalents for FL Studio desktop import and extension
- Step sequencer for fast percussion programming and sliced-loop reworking
- Configurable virtual piano-keyboard
- Drum pads: Configurable number of pads
- Audio tracks: audio recording (with monitoring), wav/m4a import
- Wave editor: cut, trim, normalize, reverse, insert silence, fade in/out (3 curves)
- Browser with preview button and logical sorting into Instruments, Synths, Drum kits & Loops
- Pan, volume, release and attack time configurable per instrument
- Pitch bend via accelerometer
- High quality, battery-friendly audio engine (latency depends on the device)
3. Audio Evolution
Developer description (download here): The most powerful multi track audio and MIDI recording studio on Android with support for over 250 USB audio and MIDI interfaces, virtual instruments, editing with unlimited undo/redo, mixing, real-time effects, automation and much more! Record your voice, guitar, piano or any other audio source or create beats and synth tracks using a piano roll or external MIDI keyboard.
- Multitrack audio recording / playback
- MIDI sequencing (in-app purchase required)
- Drum pattern editor
- Non-linear non-destructive editing with move, trim, split, cut/copy/paste, remove, cross-fade and range editing
- Virtual instruments based on SoundFonts (in-app purchase required)
- Loop playback
- Automation of all mixer and effect parameters
- Latency correction
- Import of WAV, MP3, AIFF, FLAC, Ogg/Vorbis audio files (m4a and others when running Android 4.1 or higher)
4. MPC Music Studio
Developer description (download here): The Ultimate Beatmaker Tool to create music with your device!! The definitive music sequencer with a lot of electronic sounds selected only for you to create amazing beats only with your fingers. With this free version you can make music easily and FREE, with a few ads.
If you are a dj, music producer, music lover, you need this app to make music of any style: Hip-Hop, Dubstep, Electronic Music, load your favorite samples and create loops wherever you are with Music Studio.
- 60 Samples to Create Loop Sequences
- Social Features to Share your Beats
- High Audio Quality
- Amazing real-time edition
- Sound Effects
- Make any style thanks to Tempo Control
5. Cross DJ Pro
Developer description (download here): The best pro DJ app for Android. Mix tracks in perfect sync on a powerful audio engine. Engineered by Mixvibes, digital DJing pioneer for 15 years.
- Accurate BPM detection of your music, down to the last decimal
- Stable sync: one-press, and the 2 tracks never go out of phase
- Progressive, manual pitch bend
- Customizable, manual pitch range (4, 8, 16, 32, 100%)
- Beatmatcher: parallel waveforms to visually check if your tracks are synced
- Accurate beat-grid editing: make any track sync properly
- Quantize: hot cues and loops are automatically set on the beat
- Smart-seek: tap on the waveform to fast-forward & get a seamless jump
- Split Mono: pre-listen your music tracks before mixing them
- Automix: let Cross DJ mix your tracks and play music automatically, from any sources (playlist, album, etc.)
- External mixer: control EQs and crossfader with hardware mixers