GarageBand is one of the best music production apps for musicians and podcast makers, but since it’s an Apple exclusive, there will be no GarageBand for Windows. However, there are still excellent music software out there for Windows, some of which are very close to the concept of GarageBand.
Best for customization: Reaper
Reaper is a complex but comprehensive digital audio production software. Designed for music and capable of handling live streaming and other forms of recording, it’s not the easiest program to pick up, but it’s well worth the time.
Reaper loads quickly and offers 64-bit internal audio processing, as well as powerful audio and MIDI routing, with multi-channel support. In addition, it supports thousands of external effects plug-ins and virtual instruments, so you can easily customize Reaper according to your needs. It also features hundreds of studio effects for audio and MIDI processing, giving you great flexibility.
The interface takes a bit of getting used to, but it’s also customizable, with user-generated themes that can make Reaper easier to understand at first.
Best Online Music Production Tool: Audiotool
Prefer to use online tools instead of installing apps on your Windows 10 PC? It is impressive that Audiotool is a music production studio that works entirely through your web browser. There is no shortage of options here either. Completely free and reasonably intuitive, Audiotool focuses on producing music rather than tuning podcasts. Instruments include a milling machine, a modular polyphonic compound, a drum machine function, and a drum sampler.
Audiotool also offers over 50,000 device presets, as well as over 250,000 samples through its community-supported online library. Blending is easy to do with plenty of effects to add thanks to the extensive library.
Best Professional Music Software: Cubase
If you need a professional music production tool for Windows 10, there is Cubase. It has been used extensively by music professionals over the years, with the application boasting decades of experience.
Thanks to him, you can record, produce and mix sounds for distribution. It is a digital audio editor and music organizer. Learn it and you can use it to produce studio quality audio with its wide options.
Cubase offers a large number of built-in tools, so you can easily add samples if needed, produce beats, or choose to record everything yourself. Compositing is also supported, as is adjusting what you’re recording for perfect timing and pitch.
disadvantage? Well, Cubase is not the easiest tool to learn. Thanks to its well-established name, there are a lot of tutorials and you will need them.
Best for Live Music: Ableton Live
Aimed at those looking for real-time editing tools, Ableton Live focuses on every stage of music creation, from writing and composing to remixing and recording. This is a program that has been around in one form or another for 20 years now, and its quality is showing.
Besides advanced editing tools that let you crop samples when needed, it includes live effects such as grain delay, pulse repetition, saturation, erosion, chorus, vinyl distortion, and many more.
You also have plenty of visual feedback to see what’s going on at a glance, as well as an intuitive layout that makes it easy to align your shots.
A free 30-day trial of Ableton Live is available, while the Intro, Standard, and Suite packages can set you back several hundred dollars. The basic package is the same, but the more you pay, the more useful additional features you unlock.
Best for mixing: Mixcraft
If GarageBand appeals to you because you want to mix music with lots of different samples and loops, Mixcraft is the app for you. Just like GarageBand, you can simply drag and drop loops and merge them together to create the effect you want. The app is very easy to use, which makes it ideal for beginners.
Available in several different packages, the Home edition is very basic, but ideal for beginners; Its Recording Studio package provides instrument audio control, live performance panel recording, import functions, MIDI notation and editing. do you want more? The Pro version also offers video editing, but it is paid, just like the Home version and the Recording Studio package.
However, a 14-day trial is available for Mixcraft so you can see if it’s right for you.
Easiest to use: Music Maker Jam
Music Maker Jam is unparalleled because it is all about simplicity and fun. Free, it allows you to create and record music, as well as mix it to your liking. The app offers 425 free sounds and loops, 3 free instruments, 8 free effects, and different audio synthesizers that break down the expected music genre.
As the name suggests, Music Maker Jam is very simple. It’s the kind of app that you can use with your kids and get quick results, but not necessarily the professional results you’d expect from a “real” music production tool. However, it’s a good introduction to the genre, and you can still play instruments thanks to the default instrument engine.
Best Open Source Choice: LMMS
A free and open source app, LMMS is the closest thing to GarageBand for Windows 10. Thanks to its simple interface, you can easily compose, mix and play songs automatically, while adjusting chords, melodies or patterns via its editor. There is access to several musical instruments, and you can mix samples if needed.
It also includes 16 built-in synthesizers, including Commodore 64, NES, and Game Boy emulators, which is great if you want to do something a little different.
Thanks to the open source nature of LMMS, there are also plugins that you can always install to extend its functionality.
Best for creating your own tracks: FL Studio 12
If you want the perfect professional setup for creating your own tracks from scratch, FL Studio 12 is the perfect software. Its interface is full of options, but it’s not hard to master. You can perform many different activities, from composing music to re-arranging, editing or mixing. It’s a great tool to start from scratch and have something that looks great.
Besides, it offers plenty of plug-ins, free samples, MIDI output, keyboard controller, real-time stretching, and a full-featured mixer and sequencer. Its potential should expand with your plans though.
The downside is that FL Studio 12 is very expensive. There is a free but limited trial to get you started. Otherwise, you have to shell out $99 for the basic Fruity version, which does not include audio recording; $199 for the product version, which allows recordings; $299 for a signature package that offers plugins, or $899 for the full package and all available plugins.