AmpliTube vs GarageBand

AmpliTube is a virtual guitar amp modeling app that allows you to plug in a guitar and create various tones and effects. GarageBand is an entry-level audio production app that is intended for beginners and is very easy to use. 

AmpliTube and GarageBand are different because AmpliTube is solely focused on guitars and is used in conjunction with recording apps or software. GarageBand has a few virtual guitar amps but has more expansive recording functions overall. 

I’m Donovan, a lifelong musician and avid home recording studio enthusiast. I write, record, and produce as often as possible and have years of experience in the music industry. I also have first-hand knowledge of AmpliTube and GarageBand. 

This post will compare AmpliTube versus GarageBand to give you a side-by-side comparison of these two apps. I’ll tell you what each option is intended for and highlight a few other critical considerations to keep in mind. 

Let’s jump in. 

Quick Comparison

Intended PurposeVirtual guitar amp designer intended to be used with other recording apps. Not a stand-alone DAW. Entry-level audio production app. Has basic features for recording and editing. 
Ease of UseVery easy to use with a simple design and interface. But need to know how to use a DAW to record with it. Very easy to use with one of the most user-friendly interfaces around. Intuitive even for beginners. 
Features/FunctionsFree version includes 42 pedals, amps, and speakers. Can use as a plugin or stand-alone app. Basic recording and editing functions. Comes with several software instruments and effects. 
Amp Tone Quality Pretty solid amp replication and a wide variety of options. Not as authentic as the real thing, but a decent digital substitute. A few amps in GarageBand are pretty authentic sounding. Not as many options as Amplitude. 
Limitations Free version gives you 42 amps, effects, and other tools. Need to pay for more. Also need to pair with a DAW for recording purposes. Only available on Apple devices. Limited in scope for professional projects. 
PriceBasic version is free. In-app purchases for more effects and options. Free

Detailed Comparison

Here is a detailed comparison of AmpliTube versus GarageBand to help you understand how the two apps differ and why you might want to use them. 

1. Intended Purpose

At first glance, AmpliTube and GarageBand might seem like somewhat similar apps. But they are designed for different purposes, and you need to understand this before you dive into using either. 

AmpliTube is a virtual amp designer, and it’s not an audio production app or DAW. You can plug in a guitar to it and use the virtual instruments built-in to make your guitar sound sweet, but you can’t record your guitar or make full songs within it. 

And even though you can’t record right in AmpliTube, you can easily connect the amp to other DAWs to use the virtual amps within them. This is probably the ideal intended use for it, and you can expand what’s possible with your recordings through it. 

If you are a guitar player, the ability to use virtual amps to create new tones and effects is awesome. It can open up your creative juices and encourage you to explore new ideas. This is where AmpliTube shines. 

GarageBand is an entry-level digital audio production app that can be used to record and write music. It also comes with software instruments and amps somewhat similar to AmpliTube, but it has more expansive features overall. 

GarageBand allows you to record, edit, add effects, and do a lot of other things to recorded audio or MIDI tracks that you make. This is more than what Amplitude allows you to do. But you can use AmpliTube with GarageBand. 

Winner: Tie

2. Ease of Use

AmpliTube and GarageBand are both pretty easy to use, and beginners will have no issues picking up the basic functions of either app. They are designed to be very user-friendly and have intuitive interfaces that just make sense. 

Like many modern music production apps, these cater to beginners and offer tools and functions that people with more experience can take advantage of. You don’t need high-end skills to work with either. 

AmpliTube is pretty straightforward because it’s designed with more of a singular purpose in mind. If you are a guitar player, the app will make a ton of sense because it’s similar to shopping for your favorite guitar gear and effects. 

Things within AmpliTube can get a little more complex when you want to connect it to another DAW, but it’s still not that difficult to use. You just need to understand how to insert a third-party plugin into whatever DAW you are using. 

GarageBand is one of the most straightforward DAWs around, which is why it’s so popular and widely known. It’s entirely designed with beginners in mind, and the intuitive interface is extremely easy to get the hang of. 

GarageBand makes audio recording very approachable, and this ease of use is awesome if you don’t really know what you are doing. There are also features within the app that makes it even easier to start writing and recording music. 

Winner: Tie

3. Features/Functions

Since AmpliTube and GarageBand have different purposes as apps, they also have different functions and features. You should know about these to understand what each can offer if you choose to use them in your home studio. 

AmpliTube is a guitar player’s app at heart. It’s designed to provide you with many virtual guitar amps, pedals, and effects you can use to expand the tones and sounds of your guitar. This is much cheaper than buying everything in real life. 

The free version of AmpliTube will hook you up with 42 different amps and effects that you can mix and match until you find the tone you want. And you can purchase even more options if you want to expand your horizons further. 

GarageBand doesn’t have as many features that are explicitly geared toward guitars, although it provides you with several virtual guitar amps. But there are many other features that it has that AmpliTube does not.

GarageBand allows you to record music, including guitars or whatever other instruments you want to use. AmpliTube doesn’t allow for that. So GarageBand has all the features you’d expect, like a recording and mixing window and the ability to edit. 

You can pair AmpliTube with most DAWs, including GarageBand. You just need to install the app onto your device and then choose it as a plugin option within whatever digital audio production tool you use. 

Winner: GarageBand 

4. Amp Tone Quality 

As I mentioned above, AmpliTube and GarageBand both have virtual guitar amps. These can be used by guitar players and people who have never played a note in their lives. And you can get incredible tones out of each of them. 

AmpliTube has many more options when it comes to overall tone possibilities. With over 40 free amps and effects plus the ability to purchase many more, you get a world of possibilities at your fingertips. This allows you to dial in many different tones. 

The quality of the amp tones in AmpliTube is pretty impressive. Guitar purists will always say that it doesn’t match the real thing, but as technology continues to progress, it’s pretty amazing what you get out of a virtual amp. 

If you played a recorded AmpliTube guitar amp and the real version for someone who doesn’t know their differences, they would probably say they sound exactly the same. Digital is never analog, but the tones on AmpliTube are pretty sweet. 

GarageBand also delivers pretty excellent amp tone quality. It just doesn’t give you as many options with combinations and amp choices. But Apple is well known for creating high-quality virtual instruments, and this app is no different. 

Again, the amps in GarageBand don’t sound quite as good as the real thing, especially to a trained ear. But the app’s choices rival AmpliTube’s sounds relating to authenticity. Both make for reliable tools to expand your horizons. 

Winner: AmpliTube

Screenshot taken in GarageBand on my Mac

5. Limitations

You never want the technologies you use for creative purposes to hold you back, so it’s a good idea to stay aware of any possible limitations a DAW has. And AmpliTube and GarageBand both have a few worth mentioning. 

The big limitation with AmpliTube is that you can’t record or edit right within the amp. Some people get confused in thinking this is a DAW when it’s not. You can play your guitar in it, but you can’t track out full songs. 

Another limitation to remember with AmpliTube is that even though you get a high number of amps and effects with the free version, you’ll need to pay more to unlock everything it offers. If you want the ultimate tone experience, you need to pay extra. 

GarageBand is only available on Apple devices, so you’ll need to have a Mac, iPhone, or iPad to use it. This isn’t a big deal if you already have these devices, but if you want to use GarageBand on Windows, you are out of luck. 

GarageBand also has a lot of limitations when it comes to professional-level recording. It’s simply not designed to be a pro DAW, so you shouldn’t expect pro results from it. This can be frustrating if you are trying to record an entire album with it. 

This mainly appears during mixing and mastering, and GarageBand doesn’t have as expansive of capabilities as other higher-end DAWs in this regard. You can make basic recordings but can’t really make complete ones. 

Winner: Tie 

6. Price

Cost is another significant factor to keep in mind when creating a home studio. If you are on a budget or want to spend more on guitars or other equipment, you don’t want to blow it all on software or apps. 

There’s good news here because both GarageBand and AmpliTube are free. The free version of AmpliTube gives you a good number of amps, effects, and even microphones to shape your tone. 

But if you want to get more tones, you’ll need to make in-app purchases for this. There is no longer a full version of AmpliTube. 

Winner: GarageBand 

Final Verdict

AmpliTube is an excellent virtual amp designer that you can use as a stand-alone app or with another DAW to create awesome tones to use for practice or in recordings. It’s a free app but also has in-app purchases. 

GarageBand is one of the most accessible audio production tools, providing you with everything you need to make basic recordings and edit them. It’s also free on Apple devices. 

Have you used AmpliTube with GarageBand? Was it easy to set up and put into use in your audio projects? Let me know in the comments below. 

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  • Charley

    Amplitude can for sure record. It has a recorder and also offers track? It is by the way the best thing for people that simply want to practice electronically. A simple virtually amp with effects and basic looping or recording.

    • Donovan

      Hi Charley,

      Are you using the free version or paid version of AmpliTube here? I haven’t seen a record feature in the free version, but I haven’t explored all of the features of the paid option yet. But if it does indeed record, that’s great to know. And I’m happy to hear it’s been a solid way for electronic music practice. Really, the best DAW or recording app is whatever option works the best and meets all your needs. So cheers to that, and I’ll explore some more features soon.