Does GarageBand have an oscillator/waveform generator like other DAWs such as FL Studio or Cubase?

I'm basically trying to create my own waveforms (to create bass, pads, chords, etc) from scracth, which you usually do using subtractive synthesis (e.g. with an oscillator).

I can't believe GarageBand would lack this key feature, so I'm pretty sure it's just sitting there somewhere waiting for me to find it.


Platform: GarageBand for Mac (macOS 12.1 Monterey)

Note: The "Alchemy Synth" version of GarageBand for Mac lacks the Synth/waveform generator feature (which is the exact feature i'm looking for); it just allows you to apply presets to existing sounds

Here are some examples from other DAWs of what I'm looking for:

Cubase 3x Oscillator: Cubase 3x Oscillator

FL Studio 3x Oscillator: FL Studio 3x Oscillator

  • 1
    There are 3rd party plugins that would let you do subtractive synthesis in garageband, is that a solution you'd consider?
    – Edward
    Oct 31, 2022 at 0:46
  • Thanks, I would certainly consider it as there seems to be no built-in solution to this day. Any free plugins for GarageBand/macOS you would recommend?
    – orangeBall
    Oct 31, 2022 at 0:52

1 Answer 1


You can use third-party plugins in Garageband, as long as they are in the Audio Unit (AU) format. Unfortunately I can't personally recommend a plugin here, since the ones I use are VST only, but I do know that Helm is pretty popular, and it looks like it covers your needs. It gives you three oscillators (osc1, osc2, sub) and a variety of ways to modulate the sound.

  • Thanks, this is exactly what I was looking for. Helm looks great. I'm currently trying to install it as a GarageBand plugin in Audio Unit format but that is a different question. Thanks!
    – orangeBall
    Oct 31, 2022 at 2:25

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.