Soundtrap is a music creation platform and audio production app created by Spotify that is relatively new to the music industry. It has many tools and features that musicians and producers can use to construct inspiring creations.
GarageBand is a well-established free audio production app from Apple, and it’s one of the most accessible options around. GarageBand is free, and although there is a free version of Soundtrap, there are also paid versions.
I’m Donovan, a lifelong musician who loves everything about the creative process. I like to write, record, and produce as often as possible and have first-hand experience working with GarageBand and Soundtrap.
This post will explore Soundtrap and GarageBand by comparing the two across several critical factors. I’ll provide you with all the information you need to know to decide which of these best suits your needs in the studio.
Let’s dive in.
|Ease of Use||Pretty easy to use but has a definite learning curve to unlock all of its features. Not the simplest app but not the most complex.||Very easy to use with a highly user-friendly interface. Great option for beginners or people with little to no experience|
|Professional Capabilities||Not a commonly used app in a professional capacity. But still new and growing in popularity. Has some higher-end features that cater to pro studios.||Not too many professional capabilities. Can record and edit on a basic level but not intended for pro-level purposes.|
|Features/Functions||Features depend on which version is used. Lots of loops and software instruments. New sounds updated often.||Basic recording and editing functions. Also includes software instruments and a few plugins.|
|Expandability||Can work with interfaces and other instruments, but because it’s new, there are some issues.||Somewhat expandable with the ability to connect to interfaces and instruments.|
|Limitations||Not widely used, so limited experience with issues and support. Not an industry-standard option. Only available on web browser or mobile app.||Only available on Apple devices. Only compatible with AU plugins.|
|Pricing||Monthly subscription of $7.99/$11.99/$13.99 per month||Free|
Here is a more detailed look at how Sountrap and GarageBand compare to one another to give you the inside scoop on how they each perform.
1. Ease of Use
No matter if you are a seasoned producer with years of experience or someone just getting started on their musical journey, ease of use is an important factor when choosing a DAW. It can affect your experience in a lot of ways.
Soundtrap is pretty straightforward to use, and if you already use Spotify, you’ll find the appearance and layout somewhat similar. The app has more complex features than GarageBand, but it’s still relatively intuitive.
Laying out a new project in Soundtrap is simple, and you can get rolling in a matter of minutes once you have the basics down. The app is easier to use than the browser version, but both make it easy to record, construct and edit.
GarageBand is probably the simplest DAW around, and it’s an ideal option for beginners or people with little to no experience recording or producing. It’s very easy to figure out how to use the app, and the Quick Help feature supports this.
I also like that GarageBand comes with several project templates and other features you can use to your advantage. This reduces the time it takes to set up a basic project even more, breaking down the barrier to entry.
If you are looking for a DAW base on ease of use alone, the easy answer is GarageBand. Soundtrap is still pretty simple to figure out, but you’ll spend more time with it at first than you will with GarageBand.
2. Professional Capabilities
If you are looking for high-level professional capabilities out of a DAW, neither Soundtrap nor GarageBand will provide you with precisely what you are looking for. These aren’t the industry-standard apps that working producers and musicians use.
But you can still make pretty good music with them, and Soundtrap has more features and tools that cater to professional music-making in the long run. It just hasn’t been around long enough to make a strong assessment of how it works professionally.
Soundtrap provides you with several tools you can use to your advantage when trying to make pro-level recordings. This is especially true if you make electronic music, as there are a ton of loops that come with the app.
The editing features in Soundtrap are also very efficient and effective, making them nearly professional. I still like the approach of more commonly used options like Logic Pro X and Pro Tools, but Soundtrap is at least on the right track.
GarageBand is not intended to be a pro-level tool, so you shouldn’t expect that from the app in the first place. You can make basic recordings with it, but you won’t get too far beyond that, especially with mixing and mastering.
I think both these DAWs make for better learning tools that you can use as a stepping stone toward more pro-level options. They aren’t what you want to use for commercially viable recordings, but they can help you learn new skills.
The features and functions of any DAW are the nuts and bolts that make it work. And if you have more experience with audio production, you will surely have certain features that you want to help assist your creative process.
Soundtrap has many more features and functions overall than GarageBand, depending on which version of it you get. If you choose to go with Soundtrap Complete, you’ll get access to the most possible options. This is the most expensive option but it can be worth it.
Soundtrap Complete allows you to make unlimited projects that are automatically stored in the cloud. That’s a nice feature because you won’t need to worry about losing progress when you’re deep into a project.
You also get over 22,000 loops that you can use to make all sorts of music. And you get over 900 software instruments and sounds and Antares Auto-Tune. This is quite a lot to work with and gives you plenty of potential.
GarageBand doesn’t have nearly as many instruments or effects. You get a handful of software instruments and plugins, but they are not expansive. Don’t expect thousands of these, and it’s more like a dozen.
GarageBand still has all the tools you need to make basic recordings and edit them slightly. If you don’t need a lot of features, this simplicity is nice. But if you want many features, Soundtrap is the way to go.
If you want the ability to record more than a single instrument or vocal, you need to start thinking about the expandability of the DAW you choose. You don’t want to be held back because you are using something that won’t meet your needs.
Soundtrap has pretty decent expandability, and you can use a number of interfaces and instruments with it. Soundtrap can pair with Windows interfaces that support ASIO or WASAPI and MacOS Core Audio options.
This gives you plenty to work with in terms of getting multiple channels and instruments rolling on your projects. It’s also easy to set up your sessions when you have these interfaces plugged into Soundtrap without too many complications.
If you are using the mobile version of Soundtrap, it’s not as easy to expand things. You can find interfaces that pair with your phone or tablet, but not as many exist as those that work with a computer.
GarageBand is also expandible and pretty easy to use in conjunction with external devices and interfaces. You need to ensure the interface you choose works with Apple devices, but there are plenty of those to explore.
For GarageBand mobile, a microphone or guitar interface that plugins directly into your iPhone or iPad are nice. This can help you take advantage of using GarageBand on the go and you can record just about anywhere.
Another important consideration to keep in mind when choosing a DAW is the potential limitations it might have. You never want to hit a roadblock when you are in the creative flow, so knowing limitations ahead of time is key.
Soundtrap has some limitations if you are a professional producer or musician looking for a DAW capable of running an entire recording studio. The app isn’t entirely on the same level as other industry-standard options.
There also isn’t a stand-alone version of Soundtrap, which can be a pain when you are trying to record or create without internet service. This is a weird design feature from Spotify, and I don’t quite understand it, but that’s how it is currently.
I wouldn’t use Soundtrap as my studio DAW for that reason. Sometimes I like to unplug from the internet to stay focused; too many distractions can appear if you’re always dialed in.
GarageBand is pretty limited in scope regarding what it is capable of at the professional level. But that’s by design, and you should understand that glaring limitation before using it. It’s a basic recording app and not a professional one.
GarageBand is also only available on Apple devices, so you’ll need a Mac, iPhone, or iPad to use it. It’s also only compatible with AU plugins, which limits your options for third-party plugins.
Last but not least in this comparison is price. Most musicians and producers are on a budget, but almost all of us need a good DAW, so knowing what things cost is super important.
GarageBand has a pretty clear advantage here because it’s free. That’s right, this app won’t cost you a thing – so long as you have an Apple device to use it on. And you don’t even need to download it because it comes preinstalled.
Soundtrap has several different versions, all at a different price. There is a free version that is pretty limited and all of the others are available for a monthly subscription.
These versions are either $7.99, $11.99, or $13.99 per month, depending on which you choose.
Both Soundtrap and GarageBand are good tools to help you record and edit music. GarageBand is the more well-known, but it’s also limited in what professional features it offers.
Soundtrap is a newer DAW and isn’t that widely used yet, but it’s still worth exploring if you want to try something new that is unique and capable. The full version has many tools you can use to your advantage when recording or producing audio.
Have you used Soundtrap and GarageBand? Which do you like better and why? Let me know in the comments below.