Going to the dark side: Mac GarageBand or Logic?

Often, all I want to do is record external audio, and do simple arrangements. I love GarageBand on iOS, but it frustrates me more and more. It stops seeing USB inputs, and it stops playback seemingly at random. In addition, the limit on recording its output, and on copying audio tracks to use elsewhere is driving me nuts.

My solution is to use my old 2010 iMac, which has a brand new SSD and is still going strong. For recording and arranging it will work fine. I will also keep using all my amazing iOS music apps. My process tends to be creating parts of songs in a mix of different apps and hardware, recording the results, arranging, and perhaps re-recording some parts direct into iOS GB. My main gripe is the flaky connectivity between iOS music apps.

I've tried Auria and Cubasis, and find them just as frustrating.

Which brings me to my questions:

For those of you who have moved from (Mac) GB to Logic, what was the essential feature(s) that made you upgrade? For those who use GB on the Mac and are happy with it, why didn't you upgrade? Also, how does Logic Pro X run on old Macs?

Comments

  • edited July 6

    They are basically the same thing with more features on Logic Pro X and yes it runs well on old macs. I haven't used either for a long time but Logic has aux/sends and a bunch of other handy things. It's kind of like Live lite vs standard.

    These days I'd be happy using Garageband. If you find it too limited then upgrade, but you might not need to. I'd give Live a try too. :)

  • Logic has tempo and time signature freedom which GB does not have.

  • edited July 6

    The aux sends sounds very useful.

    I should say I already have GarageBand on my Mac, so I'm happy to use that for the present. I'm in no rush.

  • I actually find logic Mac easier to navigate than GarageBand Mac

  • edited July 6

    I couldn’t even find the damn pencil tool in Mac GarageBand. Logic is GarageBand only all the advanced settings (customisable layouts etc.) are made available. If you get Logic, you won’t need GarageBand and can delete it. You’ll get the GarageBand library included in Logic.

    I can write the music I want purely on IOS but I found I could do more in less time on a computer DAW. Cubasis is still great and I intend to have a lot of fun still on all my IOS apps but when the time comes to write a serious composition or arrangement I will do most of it in Logic from now on.

  • edited July 6

    @LucidMusicInc said:
    I couldn’t even find the damn pencil tool in Mac GarageBand. Logic is GarageBand only all the advanced settings (customisable layouts etc.) are made available. If you get Logic, you won’t need GarageBand and can delete it. You’ll get the GarageBand library included in Logic.

    I can write the music I want purely on IOS but I found I could do more in less time on a computer DAW. Cubasis is still great and I intend to have a lot of fun still on all my IOS apps but when the time comes to write a serious composition or arrangement I will do most of it in Logic from now on.

    Exactly my experience.
    Plus you get more factory samples and instruments, an exciting collection of virtual instruments and synths and lots of high-quality effect plugins -
    actually more bang for the buck than purchasing a similar collection on an iPad!!

    I won't give up the fun in composing with Gadget and Xequence though ;)

  • @mistercharlie said:
    Often, all I want to do is record external audio, and do simple arrangements. I love GarageBand on iOS, but it frustrates me more and more. It stops seeing USB inputs, and it stops playback seemingly at random.

    What audio interface and how's it connected?

  • @mistercharlie said:
    K-mix, into USB-C hub, into iPad. The problem isn’t the interface. It’s GB.

    https://forum.audiob.us/discussion/32014/garageband-can-t-receive-usb-audio-input-after-connecting-to-audiobus

    Yeah that is a huge PITA. One of the many things that made me say fuck it, ipad is awesome as instrument not as a recording device. :lol:

  • edited July 6

    Logic is an order of magnitude more powerful than GarageBand.

    For a start it is more object orientated than GarageBand.

    In Logic, every region or even note has its own parameters which are non destructive. You can mute, quantise, transpose, delay, all sort of stuff each midi region independently. You can even mute individual midi notes

    For audio you have similar non destructive parameter per region and can stretxh, warp, tune etc the audio. You can also take drum loop, say, and with one command turn it into a sampler track with one hit per key via the transient markers and logic automatically generates the midi file to play it back seamlessly. You can then do things like make a groove template based on this region and quantise other midi parts with the same timing. So you can steal the feel of a loop.

    For midi you get a step editor, event list, score and transform as well as the piano roll. There are lots of features for mucking with midi, converting and mangling all sorts of stuff

    There is much more content. You get lots of plug ins, synths and a sampler. The synths are pretty nice. Some are very old, not that that matters, but the Ui on a lot of them is archaic. Apple have been updating many but some, like the Exs24 sampler still look very 1999. Alchemy is fantastic and cost pretty much the same as the whole of Logic before Apple bought camel audio. Add in CamelPhat and camelspaxe, two of my favourite plug ins, and the camel stuff did cost more than Logic. And they’re all included.

    If you are creating, logic gives you much much more. If you are just mixing audio tracks then GarageBand is probably enough unless you want to be able to stretch, tune and warp the audio.

    For the price of a decent limiter, Logic also adds a lot of tools for mixing and mastering. It also has lots of mixing features such as busses, aux tracks, track grouping, etc.

    Logic is far more pro than GB but this brings with it lots of baggage too. Logic can be quite hard to get your head around sometimes and in places it’s age is showing. It can feel sometimes like some of the features are inelegantly bolted on.

    But there’s an easy answer. GarageBand is free and it’s projects can be opened in Logic. Start with GB and if you find it’s limiting you too much then there’s an easy upgrade path. And it’s a pretty huge upgrade.

  • Well, I've just spent the last hour or so recording guitar into GarageBand on my Mac, and it's already a much nicer experience.

    Being able to loop sections is great, for instance. And so is combining the iPad and the K-Mix into an aggregate device so I can record Egoist. No MIDI sync between iPad and Mac, which is a shame, so that's probably one reason to get Logic.

    So, a good decision so far. I will keep digging around, and see if there's anything else I'm lacking. One big one is still not being able to copy/export a region of audio.

    @klownshed Thanks for the detailed rundown. It seems like GB is enough for now.

  • Does Garageband have a mixer yet? Or do you still set levels from the sequencer view?
    I think you can use Logic Remote iOS app to link up as well to mix levels - and other things as well...

    Like @klownshed said, Alchemy and the two plugs are worth the price of admission.

    If you are interested in buying Logic down the road, consider buying iTunes giftcards at a discount. On occasion, you can buy a $100 card for 80 at Costco and other retailers, so you can buy Logic for 160 dollars.

  • @zah said:
    Does Garageband have a mixer yet?

    Nope.

    I think you can use Logic Remote iOS app to link up as well to mix levels - and other things as well...

    >
    Nice idea!

    Like @klownshed said, Alchemy and the two plugs are worth the price of admission.

    If you are interested in buying Logic down the road, consider buying iTunes giftcards at a discount. On occasion, you can buy a $100 card for 80 at Costco and other retailers, so you can buy Logic for 160 dollars.

    I'm getting more and more interested. If iDAM could send audio from the Mac to the iPad, the setup would be perfect.

  • I found garageband on mac frustrating, preferred the ios version, but for doing basic recording and stuff it's a pretty cool app, logic is like getting a bigger bike without stabilizers, great for composing. Another option if you just want things like alchemy and sculpture, worth considering is mainstage, doesn't have the range of fx that logic does and is geared more towards live performance, but you could pipe it into garageband and it only costs $29.

  • @mister_rz said:
    Another option if you just want things like alchemy and sculpture, worth considering is mainstage, doesn't have the range of fx that logic does and is geared more towards live performance, but you could pipe it into garageband and it only costs $29.

    That's a very interesting option. Although piping apps into each other is kind of why I'm moving to the Mac for recording.

  • @mistercharlie said:

    @mister_rz said:
    Another option if you just want things like alchemy and sculpture, worth considering is mainstage, doesn't have the range of fx that logic does and is geared more towards live performance, but you could pipe it into garageband and it only costs $29.

    That's a very interesting option. Although piping apps into each other is kind of why I'm moving to the Mac for recording.

    Fair enough, is nice having a streamlined worked flow, I'd echo what zah said about the gift cards, if you decide to upgrade, I got a fair chunk out of the logic price myself. Another option with gift cards is to keep a look out for shop giftcards that sell iTunes cards, as it can be a mare waiting for an iTunes sale. I'm in the uk so I always keep an eye on supermarket giftcard sales.

  • My first experience with Mac was GarageBand.... dabbled with ableton, which I didn’t get?!?!
    Migrated to Logic, never looked back...
    :)

  • Hands down the biggest decider for me is the lack of MIDI out in garageband

  • Before you decide, I went from GarageBand/other linear DAWS, to Ableton. I like it a lot.

  • What you actually get in Logic ProX is staggering: I've been using Logic since the Emagic days and in its latest incarnation I continue to discover new worlds-within-worlds constantly.

  • @johnfromberkeley said:
    Before you decide, I went from GarageBand/other linear DAWS, to Ableton. I like it a lot.

    It's a pretty big difference in price though. Not everybody needs what live offers if for example they aren't going to take advantage of it's strengths for live performance.

  • For 200 usd Logic Pro x is totally worth the funds...
    Its my main daw of choice every single time, and I have many

  • Definitely an order of magnitude more powerful than garageband. Advanced options are hidden by default (in prefs) pretty powerful daw for the price which is a joke.

  • Been using logic since version 5 on the PC, and the big selling point was Logic has the best stock plugins of the DAW’s. The compressor, convolution reverb, EQ, amp modeler, and pedalboard especially leave nothing to be desired. The soft instruments library and the tight integration with the EXS24 sampler for making new instruments is great.

    I was starting to learn Ableton, but there were so many roadblocks for doing things that are easy with logic. I decided I just needed to learn logic’s arrangement tools better, for being fluid trying different arrangements. And once you get your key commands down, you can fly with the editing.

    Lately I’ve been using Shuffle mode for piecing a podcast together, very handy and quick. Tons of great, time saving editing tools hiding in there. Done some sound for video with it as well, and was impressed how painless it was to sync things with the video and replace the audio with your mix. Dabbled in some surround sound as well, again, things work the way you think they would work.

    There are many choices for DAW’s and honestly they are all pretty good at this point. I stuck with Logic for the quality of the stock effects, and because whatever my problem was, there’d always been a way to move forward.

  • Great advice, everyone! What about running it on older Macs? I have a 2010 Core i3 iMac. It's still more than usable, and meets the minimum specs.

  • I cant help but to see garageband as this childrens playground to learn basics of making music on. Logic is a real daw

  • edited July 8

    @mistercharlie said:
    Great advice, everyone! What about running it on older Macs? I have a 2010 Core i3 iMac. It's still more than usable, and meets the minimum specs.

    I tried it on a 2011 Macbook Pro with i5 & 4gb ram to see. It's pretty sluggish but is usable.

  • @BroCoast said:

    @mistercharlie said:
    Great advice, everyone! What about running it on older Macs? I have a 2010 Core i3 iMac. It's still more than usable, and meets the minimum specs.

    I tried it on a 2011 Macbook Pro with i5 & 4gb ram to see. It's pretty sluggish but is usable.

    Hmm. Does that have a hard drive or SSD? I put an SSD in mine, so it’s pretty snappy.

  • @mistercharlie said:

    @BroCoast said:

    @mistercharlie said:
    Great advice, everyone! What about running it on older Macs? I have a 2010 Core i3 iMac. It's still more than usable, and meets the minimum specs.

    I tried it on a 2011 Macbook Pro with i5 & 4gb ram to see. It's pretty sluggish but is usable.

    Hmm. Does that have a hard drive or SSD? I put an SSD in mine, so it’s pretty snappy.

    Regular old spinner. Yeah a SSD would make a big difference.

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