Once you’ve captured satisfactory musical performances within your project tracks, the process becomes about mixing them together. This is a blending process, creating a harmonious ‘picture’ in sound, initially using volume to level things out. By then applying reverb effects, stereo panning and adjusting frequency with the visual EQ, you can achieve more dynamism.
Here we’ll examine using those tools and also identify the Master Track for applying project-wide edits more swiftly. The results are subjective, of course, but over the next few steps you should discover all the tools and techniques for maximising your mixing potential before exporting or sharing new compositions.
1. Show Master Track
Show the Master Track from Track>Show Master Track or with the Shift+Cmd+M shortcut. This is useful during mixing for making Master Effect edits across the project.
2. Master defaults
With the Master Track selected, the Smart Controls panel shows default effects applied to the overall project. It’s important to be aware of this extra layer when mixing.
3. Track volume
On each individual track is a volume slider with level indicator. From an ideal ‘zero’ point you can lower track volume by sliding left or add volume by sliding right.
4. Overall volume
In the top-right you’ll find another volume slider. This is a Master Volume control, useful when the combined levels are too high – hitting the red and causing clipping.
5. Track panning
Each track has a panning knob for moving the audio Left (-64) or Right (+63) in stereo. Hear the movement to each degree when monitoring via speakers or headphones.
6. Visual EQ
Click the Smart Controls EQ tab button and you’ll find the Visual EQ. Here you can use the graph to turn on EQ bands and redraw the curve to boost or reduce frequencies.
7. Effects preference
Visit GarageBand>Preferences and in the Audio/Midi tab, ensure the Effects box is checked. This enables Audio Unit effects for advanced track sound processing and mixing.
8. Echo & Reverb
Show the Smart Controls panel on a selected track. In the Inspector you’ll find Plug-ins plus Master Echo & Reverb. Toggle off here or edit the levels with the sliders.
9. Edit Master Effects
Click the Edit button or view Smart Controls on the Master Track. Here you can fine-tune Master Effects using the knobs or apply presets from the drop-down to the left.