Def is worth it. And which is better? I would have to say protools because it's more advanced. GarAge band is a very great program for home use. But protools is more professional ie more mixing options and plugins. Just an FYI protools and garage band files are interchangable so you can take something recorded with gb and mix it down in protools.
I think your talking about Protools LE or M-powered, the "light" versions of PT that have tons of features disabled. If you want a fully functional DAW you would go for Protools HD which will cost you over $2G. Keep in mind, no matter what PT you use, you have to use M-audio gear, since Avid owns Digidesign and M-audio.
Garageband on the other hand is free and you can use most any hardware with it, except it is extremely limited. What most people may not know, is that Garageband is a small version of Logic. Logic Pro is like the Apple version of Protools HD, and can meet or beat any aspect of it for less than half the total cost of a PTHD rig. Logic Express is the cheaper version and would compare to PT M-powered or LE.
The thing you must remember is that these are all just tools. Experience can make a hit album with GB and earphones. For the cost of any of these rigs, you would get better results to just find a studio. Equipment does not make the engineer, and experience does not come easy.
a guitar player in one of the bands I play with picked up a used ProTools HD package a couple months ago for 700 bones. so far I'm impressed with this version.
at home I have nuendo 2, which I am forever in love with. the stock multiband compressor in nuendo is AMAZING, and I like the built-in channel eq's a lot too. however, nuendo 4 brand new costs as much as the whole pro-tools hd setup just for the software. I bought a computer that came with a legit copy of 2 plus the install cd's used quite a while back for substantially less. one other caveat: if you're not familiar with digital recording, nuendo will probably scare the pants off of you. it's a very involved piece of software, and would be easy for a novice to get lost in.
Cubase is the more affordable version, it doesn't use as high of a samplerate/bitrate for its internal audio calculation, and lacks a bunch of features that, tbh, if you're not doing video you'll never miss. mind you, it's still in the same league as most everything else, just not in the same league as nuendo. if you're recording a demo, I'd recommend picking up an older copy of cubase. it's a great piece of software.
I've been familiarizing myself with Logic again, and it's awesome. the only issue with logic is that they keep changing the format requirement for plugins, so in the past if you had a bunch of plugins, when you changed over to the new version, you couldn't use the old plugins you'd become comfortable with.
there's also audacity if you're looking for freeware.
most of these programs work in substantially similar ways, they just have different bells and whistles. one of the things I like about cubase/nuendo is that they support the vst format of plugin, which is what most of your audio plugins are in.
Garage band is a wwwwwwwwaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy striped down version of Logic, and it is no where near as effective as any DAW. You can host pull-ins and the built in are hilariously cheesy. I would say you should wait and troll some forums, read some books/mags ( Sound recording for dummies is pretty good and easy to read, and EQ is a great mag with lots of good info. You seem young and ambitious but you can expect to know how to run it well enough to do anything productive with out knowing the basics, mic types, mic positioning, learning how to tell if an interface is worth the green, how to run your DAW, how to mix, proper mointoring, etc.
Its a huge learning process, I've been interested and involved in record for 6-7 years now and I'm still learning how to prefect my skills. I'm taking courses in colllege, and reading as much as possible on the subject. You really need to immerse yourself into the world of recoding before throwing down cash. Its also a huge investment too, you will soon see what it cost to setup a small home studio with little reading. I'm not trying to discourage you or anyone else, really I'm trying to show yo that its more than just downloading an illegal copy of protools and expecting it to work.
BTW Protools will not work with ANY interface that is not m-audio or digidesing and supports p.t.
You could get a lot of opinions in here .. and here's mine .. REAPER!!!!!
http://www.reaper.fm - I'm not affiliated with Cockos, but I sing their praises whenever I can. ProTools is awesome, Logic is as well .. but for the price ($60), REAPER is incredibly easy to use .. and their forum is one of the most helpful I've ever come across.
The evaluation version runs uncrippled (aside from a start-up splash screen that lasts 5 seconds) - and the download is 5MB for the 32 bit version. That includes tons of free VSTs that they write.
They release updates for it all the time, which is very indicative of how much the user community shapes the software. It's amazing. You'll be up and recording in absolutely no time at all. It's worth a shot .. for the 5 minutes it'll take you to get setup.
READ the forums, ask for advice on topics you can't find with the forum searches. Starting down the road of computer based recording can either be really cool, or make you want to kill yourself. Good luck!!!