Seeking an alternative to GarageBand for multitrack recording on the Mac

macOS & Mac Apps

Hey guys. Hope you're well. I'm looking for an alternative to garage band that will record from multiple sources and allow me to multitrack. Been battling with garage band but it just handles like a **** of a thing and i find it hard to find some of the most basic stuff. any help would be great :).



Submitted by mehgcap on Friday, July 10, 2015

Audio Hijack is the one that comes to mind immediately. You can mess around with multi-input sound devices in your Mac's Midi Setup Utility, but Audio Hijack is a far easier and more robust solution. It costs, but you can use the free trial to test it out. The trial offers full functionality, but puts white noise over your recordings after ten minutes. I did a podcast on Audio Hijack if you're interested or have trouble working with the devices grid.

Submitted by matt on Wednesday, July 15, 2015

That is perfect!! purchased it today. Thanks so much for the tip. Really takes the pain out of the situation.
To further that question is there a simple audio editor out there that will allow me to chop audio and do basic fades and things like that? Nothing fancy needed as its just for when i'm on the road and don't have access to the studio. I tried out fission and a couple of other apps but they don't seem really accessible.
cheers and thanks again for your help

Submitted by mehgcap on Wednesday, July 15, 2015

[Audacity](] is good, though there's a learning curve. Many people also like Amadeus Pro, and there are probably more resources out there for that one. The trade-off is that, while Audacity is free, Amadeus costs a good amount of money. There's a mailing list for Audacity users, though, so that might help with the resources disparity.

Submitted by splyt on Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Amadeus cost almost the same as audio hijack.
If you have the resources and disposition to buy it I can recomend. The only thing that I do not know iif Amadeus can do is record several sources as several tracks so supose I have seven inputs I don't know if it can record each one in different tracks.
Also Amadeus does not have a silence remover and it would be nice but other than this you should be really good.

Submitted by matt on Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Yeah i will give Amadeus another go, i originally looked at it when i was looking for something to record from multiple inputs but it really wasn't obvious how this was done and i have limited patients with basic things like that haha. but it might go well for editing...

Submitted by Thomas Byskov … on Monday, November 16, 2015


Sorry for reopening this, but I thought this might be a better option than to do a new topic:

First of all, I totally agree on the point Alex made about Audio Hijack. I found out, that if you prepare a few things in your setup, the time of editing can be speeded up a lot. Here is my simple setup:
I do love the way of multitrack record stuff, so every device in my recording has a stereo track of its own.
That means the result is in separate audio files when the recording is finished.
If I need to edit something, and easily find it, I do split every file each time I want to make an edit.
After the recording is finished I go into Amadeus Pro, which happens to be my preferred editor. Now I find Every file that is associated with every device. So for instance I have three files for my input microphone, and three files for my other inputs.
In Amadeus I can merge these files, so I do that for every device.
Now I do have two projects open. I then copy one into the other project, and paste it in a separate track with command-option-v.
Now I can easily jump from point to point, because every time I have split the file Amadeus by itself makes a marker that I jump to by pressing option right arrow.

You can record directly into Amadeus Pro, if you really want to, but that is not an easy way. You'll need a tool like Jack for OS X or Soundflower... Or perhaps Sound syphone if you need to get the audio from your computer.
Then you need to make a sound device from the audio midi setup utility on your Mac. This tool needs to include both your microphone and the other source you want to capture.
Then you'll need to go into Amadeus Pro, choose record to new file, and from the source tap choose your previously created device.
Now go to the button in the toolbar that says quality. Here you need to select stereo 2+2 front and back.
Then you can record and do markers as you want to do.

Now here for my questions:
Most newer Mac models comes without a line in port. That means that it might be hard to capture audio form multiple sources that I do in Audio Hijack.
Do you know of any devices that will work as a multiinput so I can capture e.g. a line in input and my microphone and something else without having to loose the multitrack abilities?

Best regards Thomas

Submitted by mehgcap on Monday, November 16, 2015

Short of a full mixer, you could get a USB sound card. Plug it in, and the Mac sees it as another sound source. Depending on the model, though, you have mic in and audio out, just like you're looking for.

Submitted by Thomas Byskov … on Monday, November 16, 2015

Hi Alex!

Wow, so you are saying, that the right mixer/soundcard will allow me to get each channel represented as different inputs in Audio hijack?
Best regards Thomas

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Monday, November 16, 2015

Now that I've mastered garage band enough I do all of my multi tracking on it. It's not really that hard. In fact it is one of the easier multi track recorders and I produce all of my albums with it in my studio at home.


Cool, have you also edited spoken word like podcasts with Garageband?
I looked at GB recently, and I couldn't exactly figure out how to record multiple tracks or edit them afterwards.

Submitted by mehgcap on Monday, November 16, 2015

Possibly, yes, if the card exposes each channel as a separate sound device. I was more answering your question about line-in recording, though; you can use a USB sound device to grab line-level audio on a Mac that lacks a line-in jack.

Submitted by Thomas Byskov … on Monday, November 16, 2015

Sorry, I was thinking about how to workaround the issue regarding audio hijack not seeing a mixer or another interface as multiple outputs. Do you know of any device that will allow this to be possible? Just for future users that might need a setup like this... and sorry for the confusion.

Submitted by KE7ZUM on Monday, November 16, 2015

No there is no software unless your card can do separate channels as separate devices.

Submitted by mehgcap on Monday, November 16, 2015

I don't, sorry. I've never had the need for that kind of thing. The people over at Rogue Amoeba (makers of Audio Hijack) might be able to answer you, though.

Submitted by Oliver Kennett on Wednesday, February 15, 2017


Rather than opening another thread thought I'd jump on here. I'm looking for something to multi track, record different tracks at different times. I'm not sure if the previous messages were talking about just separating signals. Got a blue spark digital and just wanted something that purely does audio, idea is a friend will then do some magic with it. Do these still stand?

All the best

Submitted by tunmi13 on Thursday, February 16, 2017

For me GarageBand on iOS is easier.