About two months ago, talking about my "playing" with music again, I wrote an article on Hydrogen, a drum machine that I wasn't lying about when I said that I found it interesting. Nor was he lying when he said that «Apple is above the rest when it comes to creating, editing or mixing music«, And in the case of Linux the difference is even greater. I know that I can get criticism from the most fanatical when writing this article, but, sadly, Linux users have nothing comparable to GarageBand.
This post is not about talking well about Apple, although I will also do it, but for all those Linux colleagues, even blogs, who say that Audacity or Ardor are comparable to that GarageBand that I have used for more than 10 years. Well, simply, it's going to be no. Next I am going to mention the software that they most compare with the Apple DAW, to say why they are not the same and to try to settle once and for all this that, as an amateur musician, I have never understood.
Table of Contents
We can do it all without leaving GarageBand. With the 'alternatives', no
Let's start by talking about Audacity. It's free, has many effects, and you can even edit MIDI, but what about your loops? What about your guitar effects? Are we going to compare the MIDI editor with Apple's? I don't know whether to laugh or cry, partly because of how one sounds and how the other sounds and partly because of how simple it is in one and how complicated is the other. No, Audacity is not GarageBand.
We continue with software like Ardor and Reaper. In theory, neither of them is free, although in Linux I have not encountered any limitations. GarageBand has been free for 7-8 years when you buy a Mac / iPhone / iPad. Both allow us to record and edit and they look better than Audacity, but the same shortcomings. They can be used for simple projects, but not if we need to add and edit MIDI tracks with the best sounds.
Some of you may be thinking «LMMS. That yes, no? ». Either. LMMS is a good choice for the one who wants to mix, but to begin with, you have to look for your life to find the samples, loops and so on. On the other hand, have you found the button to record? Neither do I. So, although it has a very good design, if it does not serve to record and edit waves, which although the latter can do it, it is not at all precise, it is not comparable with GarageBand.
Of course, the software that focuses on MIDI is also not comparable to GarageBand, and here we can mention Rosegarden. Apple software is so much more.
The question: free, intuitive and all in one
No one feels it more than me. My iMac is from 2009 and I don't know if I'll ever have another one just thinking about music. I mostly use Linux now, and can't even come close to what GarageBand does. In fact, the iPad / iPhone version already has something important that the Linux software does not have: the sound library and a very easy-to-use MIDI editor with which we can edit guitars, basses, keyboards, pianos, wind sounds, strings, etc, and the sound is brutal. Special mention for the drums, that I have a very good drum machine and I don't need it because it is easier for me to use the iPad editor.
Continuing with the drums, there are the «Drummers», which are drums that will play as we indicate, all improvising. What Linux software does drummers have? And it is that with a single GarageBand we have (or to get to what it offers us, we need):
- Ardor or Reaper. With these sequencers it can be "easy" to raise and lower the volume with a line, and tell them where to play (although I'm not sure about the latter).
- Rosegarden or LMMS. With these programs we would edit the MIDI, but the sound has nothing to do with what Apple offers, which seems real.
- Audacity. If we want to mix and make the recorded and MIDI sound good, maybe we need Audacity to mix everything, or export the MIDI to WAV and put it in Ardor / Reaper. Yes we may need it to add some effects to the waves.
- Hydrogen. I like this drum machine, but the sound also leaves a lot to be desired. The good thing is that you can find kits… if you look for them.
"Change my mind"
But hey, I'm not a totalitarian guy who thinks he knows everything about everything, far from it. I can be wrong, and maybe you know a software for Linux that does come close or even beats GarageBand. So I end this article hoping that you will tell me that I am not right and why. And if I'm lucky, tell me a good alternative, which, sincerely, I would appreciate it.
How it has to be? Well, as I have explained:
- Sequencer that allows me to record, raise and lower the volume, move the side on which it will sound, edit the waves and add effects to them.
- Full of effects for the audio, if it can be with guitar effects (although it is true that I do not need it, but it can come in handy to correct a badly chosen sound).
- Good MIDI editor that doesn't waste my time, so easy to edit like Hydrogen with drums, but also for other instruments. And with good sound.
- Loops and effects to make songs in a while and that YouTube does not ask me for copyrights, or simply to have fun.
- Make it intuitive, I repeat that I do not like wasting time.
With the above I think I would settle. Without forgetting that the learning curve is not great, Do you know something like that?