Mixcraft and GarageBand are two pretty sweet audio production tools for beginners. These aren’t full-scale, professional-level DAWs, but they both offer the basic tools and functions you need to start recording and learn essential editing tasks.
The main difference between the two is that Mixcraft is for Windows and GarageBand is Apple-based. Mixcraft also allows for some video editing, whereas GarageBand does not. Both apps are solid and easy to use.
I’m Donovan, a lifelong musician passionate about home studio recording. I love to write, record, and produce as often as possible, and I have experience working with GarageBand and Mixcraft.
This post will compare and contrast Mixcraft versus GarageBand to give you an idea of how the two stand up next to one another. I’ll highlight some of the main features and functions of each and provide you with some other key details.
Let’s dive in.
|Ease of Use
|Very easy to use with an intuitive layout and interface. Designed as a PC competitor to GarageBand’s simplicity.
|Very easy to use with one of the most intuitive user interfaces of any DAW. Don’t need much experience to use it.
|Allows for some professional-level recording and editing tasks but not quite up to the same level as industry standard options. The video functions are nice.
|Not a professional-level audio production app, so it comes with some obvious limitations. Mixing and mastering capabilities are few.
|Basic audio recording functions, guitar amp simulator, video editing, loops, virtual instruments.
|Basic editing functions and nice templates. Quick help feature is good for beginners. Basic MIDI and audio editing.
|Expandible for use with interfaces and other equipment in a Windows-based studio system.
|Expandible with other interfaces and equipment for more in-depth recording projects. Number of tracks is limited.
|Only available on Windows. Some limitations to professional recording capabilities.
|Only available on Apple devices. Limitations with high-level editing and mixing.
|$199 full version. $99 basic version.
Here is a more detailed look at Mixcraft and GarageBand to give you the inside scoop on which of these audio production tools might be best for your needs.
Ease of Use
Mixcraft and GarageBand are both built with beginners in mind, making them two of the easiest-to-use DAWs you can find. This is great news if you have no experience or are just looking for an option to simplify the home studio experience.
Mixcraft is consistently compared to GarageBand for its intuitive interface and easy-to-figure-out controls. It’s simple and straightforward by design and was built to rival GarageBand in this sense, but for Windows-based systems.
When you open Mixcraft, you can start setting up a recording session quickly. You don’t need much experience to get to work, which is an obvious benefit for Windows users who want to dive in and get rolling.
GarageBand is widely regarded as the most user-friendly audio production app out there. It has a highly intuitive interface that makes recording music super simple. It also allows you to create music with little background or experience.
I typically direct people to GarageBand if they are Apple users and want to get started with audio production. The app is a great way to learn the basic skills needed to make more complex recordings down the road.
I think GarageBand is slightly easier to use overall, but that’s because I have more experience using Apple devices and apps. Mixcraft is the easiest Windows-based DAW out there and also makes a solid option.
The downside of being an entry-level audio production tool is that some sacrifices are made with professional capabilities. Neither Mixcraft nor GarageBand are the options to choose if you want to run a professional studio.
That doesn’t mean these aren’t functional tools you can use to your advantage in a home studio setting. You just won’t be able to record or produce highly professional or commercially viable music with them.
That said, Mixcraft offers more tools and features from a professional standpoint. It’s a somewhat more expansive DAW, so you can use that to your benefit when recording. It gives you an unlimited number of tracks to help you handle larger projects.
Mixcraft also comes with many other tools that can help support more professional projects. I’ll expand on these more in the section below, but know Mixcraft gives you more options than GarageBand.
GarageBand allows for basic recording and editing, but you will start to notice limits when it comes to mixing and mastering. You’ll be left wanting more if you are looking for a DAW that will provide you with the full scope of production capabilities.
But even though GarageBand isn’t an excellent option for professionals, it can be a reliable tool for beginners who want to work towards becoming pros. The entry-level nature can hold experienced producers back, but it can help beginners improve quickly.
The functions and features of a DAW define it, and you should always know what any option comes equipped with before you buy it and put it into use. Each DAW has a slightly different amount of these to take advantage of.
Mixcraft has many features you can start working with right when you open the app. It’s a complete recording studio, even though it’s geared toward beginners. You can record, edit, mix and even work on video editing.
One cool feature of Mixcraft is its Loop Library. You get access to over 7,500 loops and sound effects, which you can use to help create and shape your projects. The editing features in Mixcraft are also pretty sweet and include a MIDI piano roll editor window.
Mixcraft also provides several features that can help improve your workflow. These include more advanced routing and control features like track grouping, sidechaining, and submixes, which can boost your productivity in the studio.
GarageBand also has several features and functions, just not as many as Mixcraft. The project templates within the app are a great tool for beginners to use to set things up. And the Quick Help feature helps along these lines as well.
GarageBand has software instruments you can use to make recordings if you don’t know how to play real instruments or have the equipment to record them. This allows you to dive right in and get to work.
If you want to record a lot of different music using various instruments or equipment, you need a DAW that is expandable to allow for this. You don’t want to be held back because your audio production app cannot do what you need it to do.
Both Mixcraft and GarageBand feature decent expandability. You can connect various interfaces or instruments to the apps, so long as you have the proper gear to make it happen. This helps you push the apps to the limit of their capabilities.
Mixcraft allows for more tracks overall than GarageBand, which technically makes it more expandable. You can connect an interface with many inputs and connect a lot of microphones or instruments to your Mixcraft project.
Whether you want to use an external mixer or simply plug in a single guitar, you’ll be able to do this in Mixcraft easily. It’s also easy to set up and connect whatever external gear you want to use to expand your home studio using this DAW.
GarageBand is also expandible, and you can connect an interface or other instruments. If you connect a guitar, you’ll be able to use some of the built-in amps to help dial in your tone without needing microphones to record a real amp.
GarageBand has a track limit of 256. This is lower than Mixcraft’s unlimited number of tracks, but it’s still a lot. A beginner is unlikely to ever approach 256 tracks in a project, but that limitation still somewhat lowers expandability.
You never want to feel limited by what you can do in a DAW when you are deep in the creative process. This can stop a project in its tracks and be very frustrating. So it’s a good idea to know and understand the limitations of any app you choose to use.
Mixcraft is only available on Windows, so you won’t be able to run it with any other system. It doesn’t have broad compatibility, which can be a limitation if you want to run it with a Mac or Linux operating system.
You also don’t get extremely high-quality mixing and mastering tools within the app. As I said before, it’s not a professional-level app, so inherent limitations might hold you back if you are expecting the best.
GarageBand is only available on Apple devices. You can use the app on a Mac, iPhone, or iPad, but it’s not compatible with Windows or any other operating system. That’s a significant limitation if you don’t like using Apple products.
And GarageBand also has limitations with its professional capabilities. It’s simply not designed to function at a pro level, so you’ll be frustrated if that’s your goal with using it. This is especially true with the mixing and editing capabilities of the app.
Now, let’s talk about price. Setting up a home recording studio can get expensive in a hurry, and most musicians and producers are on a budget and need to keep that in mind when looking for the best option.
GarageBand takes the lead here because it is free. You don’t need to pay a cent for it, and it will be preinstalled on any Apple device you purchase. Free is an ideal price for many beginner producers and musicians.
Mixcraft has a two-week free trial if you want to try out the app, which is also nice. But the full version will cost you $199, and you can get a more basic version of the app for $99.
GarageBand has the advantage here if you are on a very strict budget or simply don’t want to spend any money on a DAW. But if you are running a Windows-based studio, you’ll need to go with Mixcraft.
Mixcraft and GarageBand are two of the most simple DAWs, making them a preferred option for musicians and producers who are just starting with home studio recording. They both give you the basic tools you need to get rolling quickly.
Mixcraft is only available for Windows, and it also isn’t free. GarageBand is only available on Apple devices, and it is free. If you want to explore either of these apps, the type of computer you have will most likely influence your choice.
Have you use Mixcraft and GarageBand? Which did you like better and why? Let me know in the comments below.