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Cubase vs Garageband, did I waste my money on Cubase?
Old 10th October 2018
  #1
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Cubase vs Garageband, did I waste my money on Cubase?

I've been hearing about Garageband forever and one thing that keeps bothering me about it is how some people supposedly create their songs there seemingly pain free and get a pretty good quality (mixing wise) sound while using about only 4 tracks.
On Cubase 9, I spend a lot of time mixing my songs, trying to find balance between the volume of instruments, EQing, editing vocals, doubling vocals, panning, routing stuff, using send effects etc and then I listen to every other Joe's song supposedly made in garageband which has depth in the vocals and space in the mix, while again, supposedly only using about 4 or 5 tracks in Garageband.

I don't have a MAC and for that reason I can't test Garageband myself, so I'm relaying on this forum to help me understand this.

Is garageband genuinely the better and easier DAW to create relatively simple songs with a 'polished' sound? Or are these people lying when they claim they only used garageband?

Thanks in advance.
Old 10th October 2018
  #2
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Owen L T's Avatar
No, Garageband is not better - not at all! Much of the time, I suspect, when someone talks about how they "made a song in Garageband" it's shorthand for: "I used a bunch of Garageband loops". Depth and clarity in vocals - or in a mix in general - have abdolutely zero to do with the DAW. Like, literally nothing. Once it's a digital file, then all the playback engines have imperceptible differences in them - just like it makes no difference if you listen to an audio file in Windows media player or iTunes.

A good vocal throug a good mic in a well-treated space will sound good. The issues you're experiencing will be related to any or all of the following: (i) the vocal itself; (ii) the room; (iii) the mic; (iv) Eq and processing choices you are making in Cubase. They will not be related to: using Cubase.

Forget about Garageband: it is a total red herring!

That doesn't mean those people are lying, though: someone who knows how to mix and EQ could do it in Garageband. But mostly it's about the prepacked loops. Cubase is a full-function production environment, and a great one at that. Its Mac equivalent is Logic, not Garageband. Cubase and Logic are equally excellent.
Old 11th October 2018
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen L T View Post
No, Garageband is not better - not at all! Much of the time, I suspect, when someone talks about how they "made a song in Garageband" it's...
Yeh, I meant, maybe Garageband comes with some automatic presets, for example, I don't know maybe some stereo enhancer and automatic EQ on vocals or something like that that'd make a simple 5 or 6 tracks song sound better from the get go rather than the many options in cubase, for someone who doesn't know much about mixing.
Old 11th October 2018
  #4
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BazzBass's Avatar
A good engineer can make garageband recordings sound as good , if not better,as you can on Cubase, or I can on Reaper.

Put another way, I can buy the most expensive band saw, router, table saw etc but I bet you anything a good carpenter with an old saw and a hammer will do a better job than I could ever do

My guitarist learnt on Tascam 4 track cassette machines in the 80s and he makes Garageband recordings that sound amazing........Gives me the sheets


Oh, yes, you did waste your money on Cubase, Reaper is $60 for a multi year license and can do everything Cubase can do, and probably more.(so I'm told hehe)
Old 11th October 2018
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BazzBass View Post
A good engineer can make garageband recordings sound as good , if not better,as you can on Cubase, or I can on Reaper...

Yes of course, but that's the opposite of what I'm asking.
I'm asking, if for most people (who are not good audio engineers) is there something about Garageband that makes it better to get a good sound 'from the get go'.

I'm asking precisely about John Doe with a soundcloud account with 3 songs, possibly all of them 'sad rap' where it is obvious that John Doe is NOT a great audio engineer, yet his songs sounds 'decent' mixing wise and John claims he made the whole thing on Garageband on his own in his bedroom or some sh*t.

Because if John Doe is being genuine, then I wasted my money on Cubase as I am neither a good engineer and I'm mostly interested into translating my compositions into something 'decent' as pain free and less time demandingly as possible.
Old 11th October 2018
  #6
Reality is there are no short cuts or magic tricks.
I'm not a Cubase user, but there is nothing to recommend a basic music program with lots of canned sounds and (other people's) presets, over a flexible music program like Cubase, Logic or Ableton Live.
Put the effort in and you will see Cubase is NOT a waste of money.
Old 12th October 2018
  #7
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BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
i have a mac pro, and a real studio.

i also have garageband and cubase.

cubase is the winner. it can do almost anything you want to do.

but you have to learn how to drive it, before you get the results.

Buddha
Old 12th October 2018
  #8
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zukan's Avatar
 

I'm not sure they can be compared truthfully. I use a number of DAWs as I run a commercial enterprise and can tell you that Cubase ticks more boxes than GB and in abundance.
Old 12th October 2018
  #9
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Owen L T's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlugPass View Post
Yeh, I meant, maybe Garageband comes with some automatic presets, for example, I don't know maybe some stereo enhancer and automatic EQ on vocals or something like that that'd make a simple 5 or 6 tracks song sound better from the get go rather than the many options in cubase, for someone who doesn't know much about mixing.
This really does speak to a fundamental misconception of the lay of the land: no, Garageband does not have "awesome male rock vocal" preset, or "punchy wide stereo mix" preset that means novice users of GB can get professional sounding mixes, while those in Cubase are left to spend hours agpnising over the exact Q and EQ of a vocal.

The simple fact is this: EQ is easy to understand, and EQing vocal (if it has been tracked well, in a good room) is a matter of a minute or two, no more. If you are spending ages massaging the EQ of your vocals, and not getting good results, then that's your ears not yet being able to identify problem frequencies and how (much) to fix them, or desirable frequency ranges and how much to enhance them. Hoping that this can be fixed with a different DAW that has just the right vocal preset is ... counterproductive, and, no, GB will not help you there.

Understand this: almost no experienced or serious producers use GB. Like, none. It's only really people who are starting out, and don't have a budget to buy a big-boy DAW. What that means is there is a segment of youngish musician-producers just starting out who happen to be good, and therefore a percentage of people who post good tracks that they say "just made this in Garageband". They could have made that same track in any DAW.

These "producers" will mostly just have used a few ready made loops, which are all made to sound big and fat and mix-ready. But Cubase has a huge library of loops too, so if you want to go in that direction, there's no shortage of possibilitiies.

Annoyingly, there are just some people who get good at things faster than others, in all areas of life - and that's what you're experiencing here.

Note: every minute you spend wondering if you'd get better results in GB is a minute you will NOT be getting better at this stuff!
Old 12th October 2018
  #10
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Owen L T's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by SlugPass View Post
Yes of course, but that's the opposite of what I'm asking.
I'm asking, if for most people (who are not good audio engineers) is there something about Garageband that makes it better to get a good sound 'from the get go'.

I'm asking precisely about John Doe with a soundcloud account with 3 songs, possibly all of them 'sad rap' where it is obvious that John Doe is NOT a great audio engineer, yet his songs sounds 'decent' mixing wise and John claims he made the whole thing on Garageband on his own in his bedroom or some sh*t.

Because if John Doe is being genuine, then I wasted my money on Cubase as I am neither a good engineer and I'm mostly interested into translating my compositions into something 'decent' as pain free and less time demandingly as possible.
Same reason there was a John Doe in middle school who was faster than everyone else and could throw a football better than everyone (or kick one, in the UK). You seem to be ingoring the possibility that John Doe has some natural talent for picking good sounds and good loops, and balancing these with a vocal.
Old 12th October 2018
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen L T View Post
You seem to be ingoring the possibility that John Doe has some natural talent for picking good sounds and good loops, and balancing these with a vocal.
Very true.
Old 12th October 2018
  #12
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I have always been meaning to open up Garageband one day and make a track. It's just sitting there.
Would be a nice change of pace and maybe come up with something different, but I love Cubase. Fits like a glove.

I do have some AU plugins I want to try.
Old 12th October 2018
  #13
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64gtoboy's Avatar
The limits in GB probably make it harder to FU IMHO. There ain't a lot of "there" there.
Old 12th October 2018
  #14
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BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by smoke View Post
I have always been meaning to open up Garageband one day and make a track. It's just sitting there.
Would be a nice change of pace and maybe come up with something different, but I love Cubase. Fits like a glove.
i have garageband, and logic pro X, and cubase 9.

logic has some very funky stuff in it, and if i was mainly working with programmed material i would probably use it more.

but I'm old school and cubase is a reflection of my analog mixer.

what could be better than that. Buddha
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Cubase vs Garageband, did I waste my money on Cubase?-jbls-dda.jpg  
Old 13th October 2018
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by BIG BUDDHA View Post
i have garageband, and logic pro X, and cubase 9.

logic has some very funky stuff in it, and if i was mainly working with programmed material i would probably use it more.

but I'm old school and cubase is a reflection of my analog mixer.

what could be better than that. Buddha
Wait, my Cubase 9 looks completely different than yours. Less analog somehow...
Old 13th October 2018
  #16
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Garageband is just a tool like Cubase, but the facts are that Cubase is a lot more flexible and can offer a lot more possibilities. With that said, I really dislike the sheer number of menus and all of the runarounds it takes to do just about anything in Cubase.
Old 13th October 2018
  #17
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BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by open_source View Post
Garageband is just a tool like Cubase, but the facts are that Cubase is a lot more flexible and can offer a lot more possibilities. With that said, I really dislike the sheer number of menus and all of the runarounds it takes to do just about anything in Cubase.
i understand what your saying.

i have been using cubase since version 2 on Atari, sometime in the 80s.

the latest offerings are immensely powerful, and fully optioned, to enable almost any operator, to do anything, they ever might want to do.

there is plenty in there that i never use, and I'm a long time user.

i think a good idea for software developers, would be to have a 5 level system, with options for complexity, and user choice on that, within Cubase itself.

so a new cubase user could choose entry level 1, and get just the basic features.

and slowly go up in levels as they get better with the program and more experienced. i have suggested cubase to various musicians, and many struggle for a while before they start to get their heads around it.

i would suggest level 1 could be comparable with C4 or C5, and this would be more in line, with many users computer DAW literacy level.

i know thats what Elements is about, but its a different licence and program.

but anyway, the developers just keep adding features and options, as this is there selling point of difference, and who would pay $50 for an update if there wasn't something extra in there.

Buddha
Old 13th October 2018
  #18
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BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by JSchlomo View Post
Wait, my Cubase 9 looks completely different than yours. Less analog somehow...
yes thats true. way less analog....

but if you look carefully you will see that the cubase mixer is basically a copy of what a real mixer looks like. very very similar.

so its very easy for experienced hardware mixers to work between the 2.

i personally love that.

Buddha
Old 13th October 2018
  #19
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BIG BUDDHA's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Owen L T View Post
No, Garageband is not better -
Forget about Garageband: it is a total red herring!

Its Mac equivalent is Logic, not Garageband. Cubase and Logic are equally excellent.
Garageband is an entry level program thats designed to get people started on Apple software. it has some limitations.

when those limitations annoy you, then you are supposed to upgrade to Logic Pro X and keep going.

Logic loads Garage band programs.

Yes Logix Pro X and Cubase 9.5 are around the same level of DAW.

Buddha
Old 14th October 2018
  #20
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If you think you wasted your money on Cubase as opposed to Garageband than you may have. What do you want out of your DAW?

Cubase 9.5 is a very deep DAW. In my opinion, no other DAW can cover all the bases like Cubase. It is arguably one of the best DAW's for working with MIDI. It has decent scoring right out of the box. Pair it with Steinberg interface and controller integration and its a dream to work with. You can run 4 separate monitor mixes, mix surround. I can record 32 channels live with 128 or less latency and play back 90 tracks without missing a beat. You can also integrate Softube's Console 1 right into it.

I am a Cubase power user and I still do not use half of it's functionality. There is a reason the Cubase manual is as thick as the NYC phone book. If you want to cut your teeth on using a DAW or just need to hit record/play, drop in a couple plug ins and be done with it, then Garageband is the ticket. Cubase 9.5 is a totally different animal.

Every DAW has its pros and cons. It all comes down to what you works for you. Garageband works fine as a idea notepad on my iPad but I could not do any serious recording with it. It does not have enough functionality.
Old 15th October 2018
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by BIG BUDDHA View Post
yes thats true. way less analog....

but if you look carefully you will see that the cubase mixer is basically a copy of what a real mixer looks like. very very similar.

so its very easy for experienced hardware mixers to work between the 2.

i personally love that.

Buddha
Yeah, I love that, too.
Old 15th October 2018
  #22
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The problem with lots of presets to "make things sound good, for a beginner," Is that unless you are mixing the exact same track that the preset was created for, it's not really going to help you. Spend some time learning to record and mix properly. The only things you really need are your ears (If you can tell the difference between a good and bad sounding record, you are already over half way there), monitors that you can trust (they don't have to be the most expensive) and an SPL meter so you can level match any changes you make and know that it's sounding better, not just louder.
Old 16th October 2018
  #23
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Synth patch presets can be excellent for the beginner who is truly trying to learn how to program their own stuff. I love browsing presets for distortions, reverbs, delays when I'm experimenting with textures and the sense of space - also great to study. Some delay plugins are about as complicated as synth patches these days as it is, easy to get lost spending hours on every single detail.
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