If you're a musician or simply like to produce music, a great music editing apps is the best way to go about turning your recordings into well-produced masterpieces. Whether you're just a novice or a seasoned pro, a DJ or an acoustic guitar player, there's a music editing app for you!
Apple includes their entry-level GarageBand music editing app with every new Mac. That means, if you're new to music or a hobbyist, GarageBand is where it's at. GarageBand uses the same Drummer digital session player as Logic Pro X (though to a lesser extent in terms of available sounds) and is the perfect app to help you start creating and mixing songs — especially if you're a super novice.
The interface is easy to use and though the app is powerful and full of controls, it's not overwhelming or as involved as some of the more professional audio editors.
You can upload your own recordings to GarageBand and mix them with the digital instruments, or you can create an entire song using just your recordings or just the instruments found in GarageBand. If you're not satisfied with the instruments available, you can also purchase instrument packs to get different sounds. Use iCloud to store your projects or share them with friends for collaboration. You can even start a song on your iPhone and then finish it on your Mac!
If you want to get into music production and also want to keep things convenient and within the Apple ecosystem, GarageBand is the best place to start.
- Free with new Macs or $4.99 - Download now
Logic Pro X
Logic Pro X is Apple's pro-level music editing software that still manages to be accessible to beginners. The powerful app has all the tools you could want for mixing, editing, and songwriting, with a massive library of instruments and effects. If you're looking to make polished, professional-sounding recordings, without a ton of complexity, then Logic Pro X is where it's at.
The 64-bit architecture supports projects featuring hundreds of tracks and instruments, so if you're a composer, it's like heaven. I have to say: As a drummer, I hate canned drum sounds. Logic Pro X's Drummer is top-notch when it comes to producing authentic acoustic drums sounds, and sometimes I actually can't tell the difference (I know, shame on me).
The app does come at a professional-level price, at $200, but if you're serious about music editing on the Mac and enjoy songwriting and composing on a grand level, it's easily one of, if not the best choice out there.
- $199.99 - Download now
Pro Tools, by Avid, is one of the most popular music editing apps in the industry. It can be used to record, mix, master, and much, much more. You can lay down up to 128 tracks per session, with 32 inputs and over 60 plugins, and you can create an unlimited number of sessions.
Pro Tools is definitely not for the faint of heart and isn't necessarily an app you can just pick up and go with. I had to go to school to learn how to use it (before all these damn YouTube tutorials made school obsolete!). That being said, it isn't beyond the pale to learn the basics and get yourself up and running fairly quickly. Importing audio is as easy as dragging from the Finder window and placing it on the timeline (so long as your current session supports that file format).
From there, you can add a plethora of effects to your audio and edit it like mad, controlling volume, speed, pitch, tone, and much more. Honestly, the stuff you can do with Pro Tools seems just about endless. It is one of the most robust audio editing apps available, and is definitely for those looking to tackle things on a professional level.
That being said, if you have the cash, go for it, and learn all there is to know!
Pricing is what you'd expect: $24.92 per month with a 12-month agreement or $29.99 month-to-month, $599 to buy it outright.
For the performance DJ (or even the hobbyist, really) djay Pro has all the effects, compatibility, and mixing capabilities you could ask for. You can sample from iTunes and Spotify simultaneously, and you can even mix in video from the extensive video library for the ultimate experience.
You can mix from four decks and create mashups and transitions galore, and you can edit playlists on the fly, use external displays and AirPlay, and there's Pioneer CDJ/XDJ integration for even more versatility.
If you're a pro DJ or just want a fun way to mix at a house party, djay Pro's price might be its best selling feature, at only $40.
- $39.99 - Download now
Audacity is a free open source audio editing and recording software that lets you cut, copy, paste, and delete audio. It isn't exactly the most powerful when it comes to music editing, but if you're wanting to slap together some demo material or something like that, it's perfect. You can import audio in many formats, though for MP3, you'll have to install a separate, optional encoder library.
You can edit and mix a large number of tracks at once and even alter individual sample points, though you can't add effects or do any sort of mastering. Audacity may be better-suited to podcasting, but, like I said, if you're putting together demos or just need to create rough ideas, it's perfect, because FREE.
- Free - Download now
Are you a mixmaster?
What's your favorite music editing app for Mac? Are you a pro or is it more of a hobby? Let us know in the comments below!
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