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10 Reasons To Upgrade From GarageBand To Logic Pro X
Jay Asher on Tue, November 21st 3 comments
GarageBand shares a lot of its DNA with Logic, but the bigger app has a ton of features that GarageBand lacks. Here are 10 reasons to make the leap.

Once upon a time there was a German company called Emagic that created a program called Logic, later to become Logic Audio, still later to become Logic Pro. It worked on both Macs and PCs. It had the reputation of being amazing but with a steep learning curve.

In 2002, Apple bought it and Steve Jobs tasked Dr. Gerhard Lengeling and his Logic development from Emagic with making it more user friendly and also with creating an entry level version, with the result being GarageBand, announced in in 2004. (PC development was unsurprisingly discontinued.) In those days, the two programs did not look much alike or necessarily behave all that similarly, but over time they have become far more obviously related.

Here is a new GarageBand project with one software instrument.

Here is a new Logic Pro X project with one software instrument when the Advanced Tools are unchecked.

A picture speaks a thousand words, no? With the Advanced Tools turned off, Logic essentially is GarageBand. So if you are a GarageBand user (and most new Logic Pro X users do begin with GarageBand) why bother transitioning to Logic Pro X? There are a lot of reasons. Here are ten of the most compelling.

The Mixer

In a GarageBand project like this I see volume sliders on each track and pan knobs but if you want a full fledged mixer, sorry, you do not have one.

In Logic Pro X you do, available as part of the Main Window, toggled on/off with the key command X, or as a standalone window.

Which means when you are mixing on the fly and making adjustments in real time, it is far easier. It is also enables you to add the same plug-in to multiple channel strips and easily copy plug-ins from one channel strip to another. While GarageBand users obviously manage to mix music without a full featured mixer window, I can’t imagine mixing a project without one. 

The Inspector

Logic Pro has an Inspector that you can easily toggle on/off with the key command I, for each track which allows you to control things that affect regions, channel strips, plug-ins, and what comes next in the signal flow (in this picture the stereo output) or sends if they are instantiated as well as add, remove and alter plug-ins far more easily than GarageBand.


Auxes and Sends For FX Like Reverb

These simply do not exist in GarageBand as they do in Logic Pro X, so if you want to e.g. send a bunch of tracks to the same reverb, it is not doable in a console workflow emulation.  

Event List For MIDI Editing 

Whether alone or in tandem with the Piano Roll or Score Editor, the Event List shows you details down to the tick level, which is invaluable. It is personally my most relied-on MIDI editor.

Customizable Key Command Shortcuts

The key to efficient workflow in either GarageBand or Logic Pro is using key commands for shortcuts. In Logic Pro, almost everything can be done with a key command and with the exception of a few that are “hard wired”, you can create your own. GarageBand also has a great number of them but you are stuck with the ones they give you. 

Track Stacks

Logic gives you two kinds of Track Stacks: Summing Stacks for creating layered and split patches that you can save in the Library and Folder Stacks for simple track organization. Both incredibly useful, both do not exist in GarageBand.

Take Folders With Swipe Comping For Audio

Go into cycle mode and keep singing or playing your part and you can see all your passes in a Take Folder. You can then simply drag over the sections of each take you like for a comp that you can leave as is, flatten, which lays out the regions for editing, adding further fades, or flatten and merge to create a new audio file. A great way to record audio that again, simply is not available in GarageBand.

The Arpeggiator MIDI Plug-in

You can easily open fantastic arpeggiated parts ranging form the most simple or complex or create your own with all kinds of sounds. Great, great tool, only in Logic Pro.

Drum Kit Designer

While both Logic Pro and GarageBand have the Drummer instrument to help you create great drum parts quickly without requiring much knowledge about what the real guys play, Drum Kit Designer allows you choose between a ton of individual kit pieces to create your own drum kits.


Quite simply this is the best way to navigate through a project. While both Logic Pro and GarageBand have Arrangement Markers for use with Drummer, only Logic has Markers for navigation that you can name, color, and use key commands to go from one to another or to a specific marker.

These are only ten examples and there are many, many more. That said, please do not think that I am dumping on GarageBand. It is a remarkable program and I have heard terrific music created with it, and it is free. And given the similarities, It is not a coincidence that most new Logic Pro X users come from GarageBand.  But it is the difference between a basic tool that is suitable for hobbyists who do not have deadlines to meet, and a full featured program that busy professionals with deadlines and hobbyists who want to up their game can enjoy creating music with. The learning curve from GarageBand is no longer nearly as steep and at $199, Logic Pro X is an incredible bargain. And you can start projects in GarageBand on the Mac or IOS devices and then work on them in Logic Pro X.

If you are a GarageBand user who is serious about creating music, this is a transition worth making.

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Comments (3)

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  • sonnie
    Hi, don't know if your aware now but Garage bands most recent update has almost all of the features you claim are missing. There is a fully automated mix where you can edit in real time the levelling of every input/effect/track throughout the track. Multiple take shelves also exist now when you are recording on loop it will save all of what you record as multiple takes. The arpeggiator also exists in garage band for all MIDI inputs pretty much, its a small icon showing a pyramid type shape in the top left of the tab that opens when you double click on an individual track recording. The other options missing (customisable short cuts, event lists, the inspector) are all useful tools missing from garage band but by no means necessary and largely only make producing more convenient and faster than specifically enhancing the software any more, - that being said the drum kit designer is a sick addition in logic, there are ways to play around with the drummer tool that give you great patterns (e.g using acoustic drummers beats with an electronic drum machine for different sounds etc) That being said, Logic is likely a superior software and the main difference I would say is still the extent to which one can mix fully and reduced condensing of tracks when they are exported (or bounced as it is said in logic) - I often find with garage band tracks that unless my mix is near perfect the export of a track will quiten the song and in order to get it louder i have to sacrifice audio quality - garage band is still great tho
    • 1 year ago
    • By: sonnie
  • sonnie
    Also, $199 is by no means a bargain, its a huge investment into music for a lot of people, relative to the cost of interfaces/ monitors/keyboards/mics - basically any hardware Apple should focus on improving logic with extra plugins etc that cost a few dollars so rather than having to break the bank or logic they're able to buy the bits of software that they think are worthwhile and access them in garage band as a basic free software
    • 1 year ago
    • By: sonnie
  • Jay Asher
    This is an older article. Yes, GarageBand has added some features that lowered the gap, but Logic has added some that raised it again, like Smart Tempo. While It doesn't mean only Pros can use it, of course, but Logic Pro X IS a PRO level app. They don;'t call it Logic Hobbyist.That is indeed what GarageBand is for. The competition? Cubase Pro -$587.98, Pro Tools $599 Digital Performer 10 $495. So yes, it is a bargain.
    • 1 year ago
    • By: Jay Asher
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