GarageBand Alternatives for the Chromebook
Chromebook may not be the first device you think of when considering making music but it is possible with the right application. While most music producers user Mac and some use PC, you can put a tune together using other devices too. While the hardware may not be able to cope with creating music to a professional level, can the software? Is there a GarageBand equivalent for Chromebook? Is it capable of creating good quality music?
While nobody is going to pretend a Chromebook is going to be able to take on the complexities of audio editing like a Mac does, it can create music. With schools across the world choosing the simplicity and cost-effectiveness of Chromebooks over iPads, software makers have followed suit. There are now a few credible GarageBand equivalents for Chromebook.
Making music on the Chromebook
Most music programs will be cloud based. The website and the server powering it will do all the work while saving your creation online. The advantage here is that you can then access your music from anywhere, at any time.
All of these music websites have samples of music created on them. I listened to a few from each and the quality is superb. The mix of music and flavors is wide but the standard is excellent. If you find yourself stuck between them, listen to a few of the tracks created on each. That could help you make your decision.
Soundtrap comes in a couple of flavors, standard Soundtrap and Soundtrap for Education. The program is cloud based and provides the ability to make music, create beats, loops, synthesize instruments and connect your own real instruments. You can also collaborate with others and utilize social tools. The app also works across devices, so if you mix and match your Chromebooks with your PCs, Soundtrap will work on all of them.
The interface is relatively simple and provides a good grounding for music production. The main view is a multitrack view with menus to cover every eventuality. You can use hundreds of predefined loops or record your own with your voice or instruments. If your singing is anything like mine, the neat autotune feature is a sure-fire winner!
Audiotool is another GarageBand equivalent for Chromebook worth checking out. Like Soundtrap, it’s cloud based and works entirely online. Audiotool is a modular platform, meaning you can bolt on new features as you need them or as they are released. The core product is very capable and allows you to create music using synthesized instruments or by connecting your own.
The UI is slightly more complicated than Soundtrap but is clear and easy to get to grips with. It allows you to view multi track recordings, create loops, sample and more. There are over 250,000 samples built in while there are thousands of instrument presets to experiment with. All your creations will be stored online but you can download or publish them as you need.
Soundation is another program that has a standard version and an educational one. It is a very accomplished music creation tool with a ton of features. This app has a range of levels, the free version offers over 700 loops and lots of virtual instruments while premium subscriptions enable more features such as live audio recording, online storage, more loops, effects, and soundsets.
The interface is similar to Soundtrap and Audiotool with either an instrument view or multi-channel mixing view. Menus are straightforward and logical and everything is where you expect it to be. Creating music is relatively simple once you figure out where everything is and nothing gets in the way of the creation process. Whether you’re looking for home use or school, Soundation is a credible option.
Looplabs is our final GarageBand equivalent for Chromebook. It is mainly a beat maker but with a heavy social aspect to it. It is as much about sharing your creation as the creation process itself. Some will get on well with that while some may find it a distraction. Either way, creating music is simple. It isn’t as fully featured as the others in this list but for getting to grips with putting music together, it’s more than capable.
The UI is straightforward and slightly less busy than others can be. The mix view allows you to create your loops or use the ones provided. You can add effects, instruments, beats and all sorts while changing tempo, chopping and all the tools you might need. It is not up to the complexity of GarageBand, but for beginners it is more than capable.
Those are what I consider four credible GarageBand equivalents for Chromebook. Have you used them? Have any other suggestions for music apps? Tell us about them below if you do!