Ableton Live vs. GarageBand

Overview
ProductRatingMost Used ByProduct SummaryStarting Price
Ableton Live
Score 10.0 out of 10
N/A
Ableton headquartered in Berlin offers Ableton Live, the company's flagship digital audio workstation and audio editing suite.
$79
GarageBand
Score 9.1 out of 10
N/A
Apple offers GarageBand, a digital audio workstation packaged with its operating system.
$199.99
Pricing
Ableton LiveGarageBand
Editions & Modules
Live 10 Intro
$79
Max for Live - Crossgrade
$79
Live 11 Intro
$99
Max for Live
$159
Live 10 Standard - Students & Teachers
$269
Live 10 Standard
$359
Live 11 Standard
$449
Live 10 Suite - Students & Teachers
$449
Live 10 Suite
$599
Live 11 Suite
$749
Live 10 Intro - Push
$799
Push + Live 10 Standard - Students & Teachers
1,068
Live 10 Standard - Push
1,078
Push + Live 10 Suite - Students & Teachers
1,248
Live 10 Suite - Push
1,278
Logic Pro (GarageBand Premium)
$199.99
Garageband for Mac
Free
Offerings
Pricing Offerings
Ableton LiveGarageBand
Free Trial
NoNo
Free/Freemium Version
NoYes
Premium Consulting/Integration Services
NoNo
Entry-level Setup FeeNo setup feeNo setup fee
Additional Details
More Pricing Information
Community Pulse
Ableton LiveGarageBand
Considered Both Products
Ableton Live
Chose Ableton Live
Ableton Live has just the right feature set for electronic music production. It offers more professional features than GarageBand, while not featuring the level of hardware integration or other high end features that you find in Avid Pro Tools. However, I prefer Ableton Live …
Chose Ableton Live
Ableton smokes the competition any day. I believe it is a way better program all around than the rest of the industry leaders. I have used FL Studio as well as GarageBand, and I can safely say that there is no other program that I would rather use for my production needs.
GarageBand

No answer on this topic

Top Pros
Top Cons
Best Alternatives
Ableton LiveGarageBand
Small Businesses
Descript
Descript
Score 8.8 out of 10
Descript
Descript
Score 8.8 out of 10
Medium-sized Companies
Audition
Audition
Score 8.9 out of 10
Audition
Audition
Score 8.9 out of 10
Enterprises
Audition
Audition
Score 8.9 out of 10
Audition
Audition
Score 8.9 out of 10
All AlternativesView all alternativesView all alternatives
User Ratings
Ableton LiveGarageBand
Likelihood to Recommend
10.0
(7 ratings)
10.0
(8 ratings)
Support Rating
9.6
(3 ratings)
9.4
(3 ratings)
User Testimonials
Ableton LiveGarageBand
Likelihood to Recommend
Ableton
Ableton Live is a perfect fit for loop-based music like electronic music of all varieties. It is especially suited to minimal techno and IDM, but is really suitable for any style of music that relies extensively on loops and samples. Ableton Live is also well-suited for sequencing out loop-based music through its Live view, while the Composer view allows for enough arranging features that you can take a song from concept to completion fairly easily. Ableton Live is less well-suited for fully recorded music that has no sample-based or looping components. It is less well-suited for non-electronic genres, although it is perfectly fine, but many of the features would not be useful or necessary in these cases.
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Apple
Honestly, switching to Garage Band from Audacity for my podcast was a game-changer in the editing. I can do it so much faster with the tools that are available in editing--especially when you are dealing with more than one track to edit. I also think Garage Band could be fantastic for recording a whole album initially before sending it to be mastered elsewhere. And I think Garage Band could be perfect for sync music licensing because it's still relatively easy to use!
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Pros
Ableton
  • Session View: This is the biggest advantage of Ableton. It provides you this view in which you can create different tracks for the same part of the song. For example:- If you are making the chorus of the song, you can save one thread. Now if you want to try and listen to a different drum set in a new thread, you can simply do that and listen to the new track while preserving the older one. Once you are satisfied with what you're listening, simple record the same in arrangement view and you are done. You can switch to the arrangement view and listen to the final song.
  • Pre-installed instruments and loops:- Ableton's library which is included with the software itself while you purchase it is amazing. I bet you will ever need third-party plugins for it. It comes loaded with hundreds of loops and number of instruments which are completely professional and free to use.
  • Amazing Graphical User Interface:- Even if you're a beginner in this field, Ableton can be learned within a few hours. The basic functionality of this software is very easy to understand and use. Of course, advanced stuff comes with practice but the basic functioning can be learned and within a few hours you are producing your own music.
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Apple
  • Easy and simple interface that can be used by anyone.
  • The visual audio levels are great and help to clean out all the impurities in an audio.
  • Comes freely built in with all Mac computers, which are widely used.
  • Very user-friendly and intuitive at the same time.
  • GarageBand can be self-taught with no experience.
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Cons
Ableton
  • Version 10 chews up all my CPU but prior versions didn't
  • Midi channel automation isn't intuitive, have to make an instrument group
  • New version install should overwrite older versions
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Apple
  • Can't save the preferences for the tracks such as turning off reverb etc.
  • Project files are large, a 30-minute podcast episode with only 4 tracks is typically around 1 GB
  • Auto feature to silence guest not talking
  • Optimize for podcasters (I use the old version 6 as new versions hasn't had podcast options)
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Support Rating
Ableton
I haven't had to reach out to support yet, but they're great at keeping me abreast with updates, compatibility issues, new features, and tons of videos on how to use the software. I feel like they're helping me success by giving me tools I can use in my daily work.
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Apple
I have never tried it. It's just simple, and you should be able to navigate most of it via self-exploration and Apple Help.
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Alternatives Considered
Ableton
I cannot say that the other programs listed aren't capable. They surely are. But for what I do and my workflow environment, Ableton suits my needs better. I know a lot of people that use Pro Tools and Logic Pro. They are both very powerful programs. I have knowledge of how to use them all. Going into different studios and collaborating with people, you need to know at least the basics of them all. But for me and my studio, we will continue to primarily use Ableton for the foreseeable future.
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Apple
I have used Adobe Audition before but found it to be hard to learn. Some of the features were very nice but too much for what I needed to justify the price. GarageBand is perfect for my needs and it came free with my Mac laptop. That is the best deal in town!
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Return on Investment
Ableton
  • Ableton Live allows me to rapidly sequence multitrack music as needed, without getting stuck at any step of the process.
  • Ableton Live also allows me to quickly export or upload to SoundCloud for easy sharing. This is a big time-saver.
  • The only negative ROI I can think of is the cost. There are competitors like Reaper that are much more affordable and have many of the same features.
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Apple
  • Amazing value
  • Very easy to get started
  • For novices and professionals alike
  • Loops library is simply awesome
  • Export capabilities very effective to share tracks
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