It’s never been easier to start with home recording, and FL Studio and GarageBand are two audio production apps that help you with this. They are both pretty capable apps with all the basic tools and functions you need to record.
FL Studio is better for writing and producing electronic music, and people who like that genre of music like using the app. GarageBand is a beginner DAW that is free and available on Apple devices.
My name is Donovan, and I’ve been making music for nearly my entire life. I love to write, record, and produce as often as possible, and I have experience working with both FL Studio and GarageBand.
This post will spotlight FL Studio vs GarageBand to provide you with a good understanding of how the two audio production apps stack up against one another. My goal is to help you figure out which best suits your needs in the studio.
Let’s dive in.
|Ease of Use||Pretty easy to use with a user-friendly interface||Very easy to use and designed for complete beginners to understand|
|Features/Functions||Software instruments and effects ideal for electronic music||Basic features and functions but not much beyond that|
|Professional Capabilities||Somewhat specific to electronic music genres and not as professional as higher-end DAWs||A beginner music production app that isn’t really meant for professional use|
|Workflow||Good workflow potential with quick commands, different windows and views||Limited workflow because it’s a basic app but still proficient and effective|
|Limitations||Works with various platforms but somewhat limited in scope and features||Only available on Apple devices|
|Pricing||$99/$199/$299/$399 – different versions available||Free|
Here is a more detailed look at how FL Studio and GarageBand hold up when compared side-by-side.
1. Ease of Use
One of the main benefits of both FL Studio and GarageBand is that they are easy to use. Even if you don’t have much experience with other DAWs, you can still get the hang of both apps quickly and start recording projects immediately.
FL Studio has a simple user interface that is focused on electronic music production. That means you don’t need to set up a lot of external music equipment to get started with recording, which simplifies things quite a bit.
When you open up FL Studio, you’ll be directed toward the main project elements that will allow you to start making music right away. You don’t need many skills or experience to get rolling, which is an obvious benefit here.
GarageBand is also very easy to use and probably the most simple and straightforward audio production app out there. This is especially true if you are familiar with using Apple products or apps and recognize similarities immediately.
GarageBand gives you a very intuitive user interface, and its simplicity helps prevent the beginner from getting overwhelmed. There is also a great Quick Help feature that lets you scroll over various tools and functions to gain insight into what each does within the app.
From a complete beginner’s perspective, GarageBand is the best option for ease of use. But FL studio is still very beginner-friendly. It just has more complex possibilities to explore if you go deeper into the app.
Neither of these apps is the most extensive DAW you’ll find, and both have limited features and functions compared to higher-end options. But you still get enough with each to handle basic recording projects.
If you are trying to make electronic music, then FL Studio will have more features and functions for you to take advantage of. This is the heart of what the app is made for and why it’s a favorite for people who create that kind of music.
FL Studio has some plugins and software instruments you can use to build your track from the ground up without recording any live instruments. These are easy to add onto your tracks and adjust as you work through each element of the project.
GarageBand has fewer features and functions than FL studio, so it is somewhat limited in what you can do. This is especially true if you are hoping to create a lot of music inside the box, meaning without any external instruments.
GarageBand does have a few plugins and settings that you can take advantage of, but only the basics. If you are an experienced musician or producer, you will definitely want more from a DAW pretty soon and notice this lack of features.
If you buy the full version of FL Studio, you will get many more features and functions than GarageBand. This will obviously cost you more money, but the expanded possibilities can be well worth it.
Winner: FL Studio
3. Professional Capabilities
From a professional perspective, neither FL Studio or GarageBand is an industry-standard audio production app. But if you make electronic music, FL Studio is one of the preferred options for a DAW within that genre.
There are many professional electronic musicians and electronic producers that use FL Studio to great effect. There are plenty of plugins and software instruments within the app to make this happen, especially if you work with the full version.
But FL Studio isn’t that great of an option when you want to record live instruments or vocals, which many musicians and producers need to do. This limits the professional capabilities of the app quite a bit.
GarageBand simply isn’t a professional audio production app. It’s designed for beginners and not professionals, so it isn’t difficult to see the limitations to its capabilities that come along with this. You can record some music with GarageBand, but you can’t really mix or master it.
But GarageBand doesn’t attempt to advertise itself as a professional production app. It’s built for beginners and is a free app when you get a Mac or iPhone. It’s designed to be simple, and this obviously comes with several downsides looking at it professionally.
Can you potentially make professional-sounding music with FL Studio or GarageBand? Sure. But there are much better options out there if that is your goal, and you should explore those if you take yourself seriously as a producer or musician.
Winner: FL Studio
Another aspect of professionalism within a good DAW is workflow. This is a big concern if you are trying to run a recording studio or work as efficiently as possible whenever you are recording.
FL Studio has more workflow possibilities in place simply because it is a more expansive app. If you are an electronic music producer looking to dial in your workflow with the app, you’ll want to ensure you have access to the full version.
This will give you more views and windows to work with, alongside many other features that can benefit workflow. If you go with the cheaper version of the app, you won’t have access to the same workflow considerations.
GarageBand doesn’t really have many workflow considerations to speak of, mainly because it isn’t designed to have them in the first place. Being a beginner’s audio production app, workflow isn’t a huge priority.
You can still dial in limited workflow within GarageBand, and learning how to do this can pay off when you move on to a more in-depth DAW like Logic Pro X. But skilled producers or engineers shouldn’t even bother with GarageBand with workflow in mind.
If you are concerned with workflow, the reality is you will probably want to use a different app than either of these. FL Studio has better workflow potential than GarageBand, but it still doesn’t hold up to the top names.
Winner: FL Studio
You can only work towards completing your audio production projects if you aren’t held back, so it’s essential to know any possible limitations to the DAWs you are considering using.
FL Studio is available on Mac and Windows systems, so you get widespread compatibility there. You can run this app regardless of what type of computer you like to use in your studio.
But there are limitations with tools and features if you don’t purchase the full version of FL Studio. The cheaper versions have an appealing price point, but you won’t be able to use the full range of tools that make that app appealing for electronic music creation in the first place.
GarageBand also has a few glaring limitations, the first being that the app is only available on Apple devices. There is a mobile version of the app, so you can use it on both iPhones and your Mac.
But the simplistic nature of GarageBand can also hold you back if you are looking for an in-depth recording and production tool. It’s for beginners, which will hold more experienced producers and musicians back.
You never want the apps or software you use to hold you back in terms of creativity. So I think the limitations that both FL Studio and GarageBand have are potentially detrimental for the more advanced producer.
Winner: FL Studio
Price is another crucial concern when choosing an audio production app. Let’s face it, most musicians and producers don’t always have a ton of money, so knowing where to spend your money is important.
GarageBand has one major advantage here because it won’t cost you a penny. The free app is preinstalled when you purchase a new Mac computer or iPhone. You don’t even need to download it.
But the downside to that is you get what you get with GarageBand. There are no options to upgrade or expand it, and the limitations with that are obvious.
FL Studio comes in at a few different price points, depending on which version of the app you want to use. The basic version is only $99, which is much more than free but still pretty affordable compared to other DAWs.
There are other options at $199, $299, and $399, with each offering more tools and features as the price increases. If you want the most capabilities, you’ll want to choose the full version for $399.
FL Studio and GarageBand are not my picks for the best audio production apps currently available. That doesn’t mean they are bad, they just don’t have as many features and tools as more professional-level options.
FL Studio is a good option for people who want to make electronic music, and it has more possibilities than GarageBand. It also costs more. GarageBand is free but is really only for beginners.
Have you used both FL Studio and GarageBand? Which did you like better and why? Let me know in the comments below.