Stagelight and GarageBand are both good DAWs for the average musician and producer who is getting started with recording and editing music. These aren’t highly professional options, but they can get you pointed in the right direction.
Stagelight is unique because it’s designed as a touch-focused DAW capable of working well with touchscreen devices like tablets or phones. GarageBand is an entry-level option that is good for beginners who want to learn how to record.
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 first-hand experience using GarageBand in my home studio. I’ve also researched Stagelight to understand how it works.
This post will examine Stagelight versus GarageBand to provide you with some essential information on each DAW. I’ll highlight a few key factors to give you a good understanding of which option might best meet your needs and preferences in the studio.
Let’s dig in.
|Ease of Use
|Fairly easy to use with simple layout and design. Touchscreen compatibility helps increase this.
|Very user-friendly with a highly intuitive interface. Apple users will find it exceptionally easy.
|Definite professional capabilities and near-complete DAW and production possible. Not quite as capable as other top DAWs.
|Pretty limited professional capabilities. Not a truly professional recording or production app.
|Biggest feature is touchscreen integration. Many other features that help you create good music and other audio projects.
|Basic recording and editing features that enable you to create music. Lacks high-end features for fully produced tracks.
|Some good workflow considerations in place. Unique design leads to custom workflow potential.
|Not many workflow considerations in place. Basic app that isn’t designed with high-level workflow in mind.
|Better suited to touchscreen-compatible devices, so not the best option if you are using a standard laptop or computer.
|Only available on Apple devices. Other limitations involved with professional capabilities.
|$49.99 on Mac or Windows. $14.99 for Android or iOS
Here is a more detailed look at Stagelight versus GarageBand to give you a good idea of how the two DAWs compare and contrast with one another.
1. Ease of Use
No matter how much experience or the skills you already have, ease of use is an important factor to consider when choosing a DAW. You want to ensure you can navigate things easily without being completely overwhelmed.
Stagelight is pretty easy to use and designed to have a user-friendly experience that doesn’t require much skill to operate. This is good news for beginners looking for a DAW to help them create without too much effort or expertise.
The touchscreen nature of Stagelight is a sweet feature with ease of use in mind. This makes recording and producing music really easy because you don’t necessarily need external equipment to get rolling.
Stagelight also has project windows that are easy to access and navigate, allowing you to explore everything the app offers without feeling lost. This is great to take advantage of as you learn how to use the app.
GarageBand is also very easy to use, and it features one of the most intuitive user interfaces you are likely to encounter in a DAW. This app was designed with the beginner in mind, and that is on full display as soon as you launch things.
The project windows are easy to navigate within GarageBand as well, and there are plenty of other helpful features that can give you an assist or some advice when you need it. These are simple to use, even if you have no idea what you are doing.
2. Professional Capabilities
If you want to run a professional recording studio, even from home, you probably don’t want to use either of these DAWs. You can still make decent recordings with them, but they aren’t known as pro-level options.
Stagelight is probably more capable from a technical perspective, so this is the DAW to use instead of GarageBand if you want expanded capabilities. But you’re still not going to get extremely complex or professional functionality.
Stagelight does offer a great way to make beats, so if that is the type of producer or musician you are, then it can be a solid option. This is another benefit of the touchscreen-style layout the app is designed for.
Other professional capabilities of Stagelight include audio and MIDI editing functions that are easy to figure out. You can easily tweak your tracks to get them dialed in however you want.
GarageBand is simply not a professional-level DAW, so you don’t get all that many professional capabilities with using it. You can make basic recordings easily, and there isn’t much of a learning curve, but you wouldn’t want to make a full record in GarageBand.
You can use GarageBand’s virtual drummer or software instruments to help you make songs easier. This can help you sound more professional than your current skills might allow. But it’s not really a professional capability, just a way to help out.
Every DAW has different features and functions to take advantage of. And knowing what they each offer ahead of time can help you decide which option best suits your needs in the studio.
Stagelight is a more complex DAW, which means it has more features and functions overall. If you want more than the basic functions GarageBand allows, then you’ll want to choose this for your home studio.
The LoopBuilder is one feature of Stagelight that is pretty sweet. This is somewhat similar to Ableton but a little more user-friendly. You can tap out beats like you are using a drum machine and get a rhythm hashed out quickly.
Stagelight also has several different keyboards you can use to create music. These range from standard synthesizers to vintage organs, and there is a lot to play with to add depth and texture to a track.
GarageBand has all of the basic features and functions you need to start recording music. There are also a few project templates you can use to get you pointed in the right direction and build off from there.
Most of GarageBand’s features are geared toward recording, and you might run into issues or setbacks when you want to edit or mix. But that’s part of the downside of using a limited DAW built for beginners.
Workflow considerations are paramount if you want to streamline your recording and producing process for maximum efficiency. Everyone has unique workflow needs, but knowing the possibilities with a DAW is a good first step.
Neither Stagelight nor GarageBand is designed to give you ultimate workflow considerations. If this is a huge concern, I recommend choosing a more professional-level DAW that will provide you with nearly endless possibilities with that in mind.
That said, Stagelight has more features and design characteristics that cater to pro workflow than GarageBand. And this is because there are simply more functions within the app that you can use to improve and refine your workflow.
If you like using a touchscreen, then Stagelight is an awesome way to help support that type of workflow. The app is unique in this way and gives you a ton of freedom to explore and create using a touchscreen device as your main controller.
GarageBand doesn’t have that many workflow considerations in place other than being a simple app to use. This does help with workflow because you can dive into the recording process without having many skills.
Really, if you are at the point in your production career where you are making decisions based on your workflow, you are more than likely ready to graduate to a better DAW than GarageBand or Stagelight.
During the creative process, you always want the equipment and technology you use to support you rather than hold you back. But every app and DAW has inherent limitations, and it’s good to know about these before you start using them.
Stagelight has good compatibility, and you can use it on most systems or devices, so that’s not a huge limitation. But if you don’t have a touchscreen device, or don’t like using one, then Stagelight is not a good option.
It’s entirely designed to be used with touchscreen devices, and you will lose some of the app’s magic if this isn’t your preference. While there are advantages to using touchscreens, that goes out the window if you don’t have one.
GarageBand has some limitations when it comes to compatibility and overall functionality. The app is only available on Apple devices, so you’ll need either a Mac, iPhone, or iPad to use it. If you don’t like Apple products, you won’t like GarageBand.
And GarageBand also limits the extent to which you can produce a track. Since it’s not a full DAW, it won’t give you all the tools and features you need to make an entire album. You can still record music with it, just don’t expect it to be entirely complete.
GarageBand probably has more limitations in the big picture than Stagelight. Still, each of these has potential roadblocks you should know and understand before you start using them as the brains of any studio.
Most musicians and producers learning how to use a DAW aren’t making much money from these pursuits. That’s why it’s a good idea to make a budget and find an option that fits within it.
Stagelight has a few different versions available, each at a different price. The full version is $49.99 and that gives you access to everything on a computer. There is also a mobile version that costs $14.99.
GarageBand is free. And you don’t even need to download it if you have an Apple device, as it comes preinstalled. That’s the best price you can find for a DAW and one of the main reasons it’s worth considering.
Both of these DAWs are very affordable compared to other pro-level options that cost hundreds of dollars. But these affordable prices also reflect the more beginner-level features and functions that they provide.
Stagelight is an affordable DAW with a lot of touchscreen compatibility that makes for a unique user experience that can simply help the music creation and production process.
GarageBand is free and a good option for beginners who want to learn the basics of audio recording and music production. Either app can work well, it just depends on your needs and preferences.
Have you used Stagelight and GarageBand? Which do you prefer and why? Let me know in the comments below.