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How to easily record vocals in GarageBand – iLife Tutorial

GarageBand is great for getting music ideas off the ground, but where do you start if you want to add your own vocals? Check out our handy guide to get started.

GarageBand Recording Tutorial - Sidebar
GarageBand Recording Tutorial - Main
If you’re recording your own voice, you’ll need a microphone of some sort.
While all new Macs have a built-in mic, this is designed mainly for podcasting or web chat purposes, so for best results you’ll need an external mic that can be sited away from the fan noise generated by your computer. This could be either a regular condenser or dynamic mic plugged into an audio interface, or a USB mic that already has a preamp and analogue-digital converter built in and connects to your computer directly via a standard USB cable. Once your microphone’s sorted, this basic guide should help get everything up and running to record your own vocals in GarageBand.

GarageBand Recording Tutorial - Step-by-StepGarageBand Recording Tutorial - Step1

Step 1: Load project
Load your project and connect your USB microphone or audio interface. If the program asks you if you want to use the device you just connected, click ‘Yes’.

GarageBand Recording Tutorial - Step2

Step 2: Set preferences
The Audio/MIDI tab of Preferences shows the devices currently selected for audio input/output. Choose your mic, or its interface, from the Audio Input menu.

GarageBand Recording Tutorial - Step3

Step 3: Create a new Real Instrument track
Close Preferences and click ‘+’ in the lower left corner to create a new track. In the track creation window, select the blue-coloured ‘Real Instrument’ option.

GarageBand Recording Tutorial - Step4

Step 4: Instrument Setup
Click the Instrument Setup arrow to reveal pop-up menus that let you quickly configure your new track’s settings. Click each menu to double-check them.

GarageBand Recording Tutorial - Step5

Step 5: Turn monitoring on
Tick this checkbox to enable monitoring on your track. You’ll be able to hear your mic’s output, so make sure your headphones are connected to avoid feedback.

GarageBand Recording Tutorial - Step6

Step 6: Create vocal track
Click the Create button once all your settings are how you want them. GarageBand will add your new track to the project as a basic track with no effects.

GarageBand Recording Tutorial - Step7

Step 7: Select Vocals preset
Choose a setting from the Vocals preset menu to load a set of monitor effects. Your vocals are recorded to the hard disk with no effects; they are added on playback.

GarageBand Recording Tutorial - Step8

Step 8: Set record level
Play the track and sing into the mic to check it’s all working. If needed, raise the recording level with the slider until you can hear yourself clearly over the track.

GarageBand Recording Tutorial - Step9

Step 9: Record
Place the playhead where you want to start recording and enable a one-bar count-in from the Track menu. Then just click the record button and away you go!

(Click on the image below to zoom in and view the annotations)

GarageBand Recording Tutorial - Annotated

To complete this tutorial, you’ll need to download the issue 95 tutorial files.

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