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News

iLife Tutorial: Use ducking in GarageBand

Polish up your podcasts with GarageBand’s simple take on this classic broadcast audio technique

Ducking is a technique that has been in use ever since the early days of radio, when music tracks or ‘beds’ were reduced in volume so that a voiceover could be heard over the top.
Initially performed manually, as technology progressed it was subsequently done automatically. In GarageBand, the effect can be created by using a simple two- button system to set some tracks as lead tracks and others as backing tracks. The edit tab of the Master Track then gives you the opportunity to tailor the response of the effect, offering control over the sound. So, to add that professional-sounding radio station touch to your podcasts, read on.


1: Open project
We begin with a project containing a jingle from the Apple Loops library
used as a music bed, and a simple voiceover recorded on a separate track.


2: Enable ducking
GarageBand’s ducking function is something of a hidden feature. To turn
it on, select the Ducking option from the Control menu.


3: Up and down
Each track header now contains two small up and down buttons. These are
used to select which will be lead tracks and which will be backing tracks.


4: Assign lead track
To make the backing track duck beneath the voiceover, click the topmost
triangle in the voiceover track’s header. This makes it a lead track.


5: Get the blues
The lower triangle button in the backing track’s header will turn blue. This
will make its volume reduce when audio is present on the lead track.


6: Fine tune
To adjust the settings for the ducking effect, first double-click either track’s
header to open the track info pane, then click the Master Track tab.


7: Select preset
Click the Edit tab and select a preset from the menu to modify the behaviour
of the ducked track. They all have names that are fairly self-explanatory!


8: Take control
For more precise adjustment, click the large edit icon next to the effect
name to bring up the ducking control panel.


9: Over to the panel
From here, you have precise control over the reduction amount, threshold
level and attack, and hold and release times.

(Click To Enlarge)

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