Garageband for Chromebook

GarageBandGarageband is an audio recording and production suite for Mac, aimed for the the prosumer market. It is produced only for the Mac. However, there are some web based alternatives you can use for simple audio production, with the added benefit on the Series 3 of the incredibly high quality audio hardware.

If you’re used to using Garageband or another traditional desktop sequencer like Cubase, Sonar or Protools, you’re probably aware that laying down tracks means creating a lot of large audio files, storing, mixing and layering on audio processing on the fly. That’s hard to do in a web application, but there are some surprisingly good options online.

Soundation

Soundation is a flash based multichannel sequencer, featuring a sampler, soft instruments and a built in loop library. If you want to lay out a simple house track it’s actually pretty capable – the default loops are high quality, and you can layer effects like phaser, distortion and delay on top of the track, all playing in real time.

Soundation
Soundation

Audiotool

Audiotool is more like Reason than a traditional desktop sequencer, so if you prefer that style this is a great option. Audiotool contains a host of very high quality samplers, synths and effects that you can combine together to create some great sounding tracks.

Audiotool
Audiotool

Audiosauna

Audiosauna is a fairly traditional sequencer, but it’s more for note triggered soft synths rather than audio loops. There’s a number of soft synths available as well as a mixing rack and effects.

Audiosauna
Audiosauna

UJAM

UJAM is probably the closest online package to Garageband – it’s made for writing simple synth & loop based tracks with real audio vocals that record from the built-in mic on your Chromebook (via Flash audio). If you are using a Series 3, you can expect UJAM to be a little jittery, but still usable. The only downside is the interface, which isn’t styled after traditional sequencers, so if you’re used to the Garageband layout it may take some getting used to.

UJAM
UJAM

14 thoughts on “Garageband for Chromebook”

  1. I like my chromebook, but none of these programs offer Midi support?

    All a midi keyboard is is an external keyboard. Instead of keys like “ASDFGHJKL;” like on a typing keyboard, the midi keyboard has different keys.

    What’s the point of putting USB ports on a chromebook if they cant support anything?

    Seriously.

    1. I know that USB on Chrome OS supports a bunch of standard devices like mice, keyboards, mics and speakers – I suspect the issue is the lack of a web API for MIDI input. This bug lists the request to get one built, but we’re not there yet.

  2. Can I take a SD card with audio on from a field voice recorder (mp3), plug it into a chromebook’s SD slot and then edit the audio in one of these programs?

    Thanks.

  3. I’m looking to accomplish two things with my new computer. I want to create music electronically (preferably with a keyboard hooked up), and then also record over lyrics. It would be even better if I had the ability to plug in a guitar and/or bass. Are any of these a solution? Is Chromebook an option for me?

    Thanks.

    1. You can create music with your Chromebook for sure, and the sites on this page will do that. I don’t think you’ll be able to plug a MIDI keyboard in though.

      If you want to plug in a guitar / bass, your best bet is to find a USB interface that works with Chromebooks – some do (I tested a Lexicon Alpha, which worked fine for me). That should pipe your instrument audio into the device no problem.

      That said – recording and processing audio is going to be tough until we see more native clients apps (i.e. offline apps) out there. I’ll update the list as things progress.

      Shahid

  4. I have an Oxygen 25 MIDI keyboard controller, but no app with MIDI support. I can only use it on my desktop on GarageBand, which is very frustrating because I can’t use it with my Chromebook. Do you know of any apps that support MIDI on Chromebooks?

  5. I want to set up a simple studio in my apartment, budget of course. The purpose is voice over work along with jingles. I use a snowball usb mic. can I accomplish this with the new asus chrome pc?

  6. Here’s the bug to watch for MIDI support on Chromebooks. In the mean time, Android devices that support OTG USB connectors might be a better option with apps like Caustic and FL Studio.

  7. for all those looking for a solution to make music on chromebook. i have successfully installed caustic 3 on my samsung chromebook running 56.+ and am currently working on finding a way to install the unlock key. the solution is a chromebook app called ARC WELDER. it installs apks…or changes the format to one that chromebook understands… i dont know. all i know is its working on mine.

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