Recording and editing your podcast in GarageBand can be easy. Here, you’ll learn the basics of recording, including how to organize your podcast sessions, simplify your editing and improve your audio mixes.
Plus, although these are examples for how to edit a podcast, the same concepts also apply for editing music, voice overs or audio for multimedia productions.
Let’s get started.
How to Edit a Podcast in GarageBand: Get Organized
Upon opening GarageBand, you will want to select Empty Project. There is an option to select Voice, but that feature is for something else. Once you select Empty Project, then select Choose down at the bottom of the screen.
Select Where Your Audio is Coming From
In this step you are going to select the microphone option, and then down at the bottom of the page, you want to ensure that input 1 is selected. This will ensure that the audio that is coming in is Mono – this means that both the left and right side of your headphones will be pulling in the exact same audio at the same time.
There is also an option to select which microphone is set up. In the diagram below, the audio set up says Built-in Microphone, however by clicking on the arrow, you will have a drop-down menu that allows you to choose the source of your audio. Then select Create on the bottom of the screen.
You will start to see the movement of sound coming through which should be evident by the colors appearing as you speak. Green indicates that you are in the correct range of volume. It’s okay if it dips into the yellow/orange space a bit, however, we do not want that indicator to reach all the way to the end. This is called clipping and means that people listening on the other end will hear distortion. You can adjust your levels by using the controls at the bottom of the page.
Set Up Your Workspace
When you are ready to record, you will notice that there are compressor controls down at the bottom of the screen. You don’t have to worry about any of these, as these are used mainly for musicians who are going to be recording a song. All that really matters for recording a podcast is the time. At the top, you will notice that the screen is displaying the time as well as the beats – you can set up your workspace so that you are only seeing the time.
Create Different Audio Tracks
You’ll notice that by default there is only one track – labelled Audio 1. You can set up different tracks to house different components of your podcast. For example, Audio 1 may just be the track for your intro music, Audio 2 may be your voice, Audio 3 can be your guest, etc. You can add new audio tracks by hitting the + sign on the top left corner.
Adjust Your Audio Levels
You can adjust the audio levels of each individual track. This is helpful if the audio on one of the tracks was a bit quieter than the others. For instance, if a guest you interviewed for the show was a quiet speaker, you may want to turn up just the audio levels for their particular track. You can do this by raising the level on the individual track as each track has its own volume levels – which will be discussed more in depth in step number 8.
Use the “Solo” option
Listen only to the specific track you’re editing by using the solo option which mutes all other sounds. This will help you catch unwanted breaths, sniffles or coughs that may be missed if you edit voice overs with the music and sound effects turned on.
You can do this by muting all tracks you don’t want to hear (the speaker icon):
Or by listening to the track you want to hear on its own (the headphones icon):
Splitting Your Tracks
Once you record, your audio tracks are imported, or said another way, recorded audio tracks will appear on your screen. If you want to make edits to the tracks, you can split the tracks and keep just what you want. To split a track, you are going to grab the ‘playhead’ (the line that moves as you are playing your audio) and drag it to the place on the timeline where you want to split your track.
Then you will select ‘edit’ and ‘split regions at playhead.’ You can then move away the split part or move it to somewhere else on your timeline.
Adding in Music and Balancing Out the Volume
When you add in your audio track, you may find that it is louder at certain points than you want it to be. You can adjust the volume levels at different points in the track by first selecting the track you want to edit by highlighting it on your timeline, going to Mix and then selecting Show Automation. This will give you a faded yellow line within your track. Clicking on the line twice where you want to begin fading will give you a dot. Adding a second dot to indicate when you want the audio to complete fade out will then allow you to drag down the volume to the appropriate levels.
You can then do this with all of your tracks until you are satisfied with the final outcome.
Set Up a File Structure and Stick With It
Properly name the folders, sub-folders and GarageBand session files. By keeping a consistent file naming scheme, particularly for podcasts, you can quickly locate all related documents, session notes, and audio files sent in by contributors.
Your final step is to export your audio from GarageBand by using the ‘Share with iTunes’ option. From there, you can convert the file to an MP3 and upload to your hosting service. Or you can export by clicking File > Save and then select MP3 as the format.
By following these simple steps, you’ll save some time when setting up new podcasting sessions, as well as improve the quality of your audio. For a full video tutorial on the tips we’ve discussed, checkout this video tutorial on how to record and edit a podcast in GarageBand.