GarageBand Mixes: 8 tips from a professional

Garageband tutorial

GarageBand is a whole music creation studio right inside your Mac — with “a complete sound library that includes software instruments, presets for guitar and voice, and virtual session drummers. An intuitive interface makes it easy to learn, play, record, create, and share your hits worldwide.” If you’re new into mixing and recording tracks and have no idea where to start from, don’t worry, we have you covered. Here we’ll be sharing 7 tips for GarageBand Mixing that can save you a fortune!

  1. Embrace Limitations: You don’t need to have a great room, audiophile preamps, or expensive mics, as long as you ensure that everything you record – vocals, acoustic guitars, cajon, Irish whistle, bass, bagpipes, etc.—is clean and quiet.
  2. Everything In Its Place: Arranging your GarageBand tracks in some kind of natural flow helps keep your focus intact. Better, label everything explicitly (“2nd chorus gtr,” “Main lead vox,” “Vox fix verse 1,” etc.), and arrange rhythm tracks, guitars, lead vocals, background vocals, and so on all together in their “family” groups. You don’t want to search for tracks during a mix.
  3. Fix Before The Mix: Plan a few “fix” sessions where all tracks are scrupulously scrubbed and edited before you sit down for the final mix. When you mix, your sole attention should be on arranging all the final tracks into a cohesive whole.
  4. Mix As You Go: Start crafting the final mix from the first session. The more the tracks sound like a record, the more energized your overdubs will be, and the mix session will be far less angst-filled because you’re already close to done.
  5. Watch Levels: GarageBand isn’t very tolerant of slamming the meters. If you hit the red, back down the master volume or your mixes may end up with unwanted audio artifacts.
  6. Optimize Monitoring: Ensure you’re hearing everything as accurately as possible—despite the sonic idiosyncrasies of your room—by sitting right between your two monitors at a distance of no more than a yard. Avoid putting papers, books, etc. in front of the speakers.
  7. You Are The World: As you can easily switch between iTunes and GarageBand, you have an excellent way of referencing your GarageBand mix to your favorite songs. Listen critically, and assess the sound of your mix against the pros. Is your mix muddy or too thin? Is the vocal too loud or too soft? Don’t mix in a vacuum like some know-it-all schmuck—pit your sonic spectrum against the big boys and girls, and take note of its strengths and weaknesses.
  8. Do Test Mixes: If you mix from GarageBand to iTunes, you may discover some track relationships changing during the conversion process. Vocals may be louder than you thought, for example. A few test passes—and the resulting adjustments to the GarageBand tracks—will ensure your masters sound the way you want them to.

Follow these 8 mantras and you’re just a step away from an amazing Mix. Happy Mixing!!