By Stephanie Ciccarelli
December 2, 2010
Have you been wondering about how you can record your voice with Apple's Garageband?
This tutorial by James T. Dawson shows you how to do everything from creating the initial project to ensuring that you have the right settings for your microphone in preparation to record!
James has contributed before (audio recording on a Mac) and I think you'll enjoy this installment.
Learn more about how to get started with Garageband in today's VOX Daily.
Of all the tech calls I get on Macintosh computers and Garageband, the majority are questions about why they can't seem to "get the audio to work." So let's take a look at audio on the Macintosh and how to configure Garageband.
Current Macintosh computers come with built in audio cards. Relative to some consumer computers, they are very high quality. But they are not sufficient for most professional voice over applications. Fortunately, there are many audio interfaces from varying manufacturers available for your Mac.
Note: Internal audio cards on current consumer level Macintosh computers are quite good for recording while you practice and with options such as USB microphones, they are a good choice for beginners.
Of the three brands of audio interface that I have used; Apogee, Focusrite and Tascam, all used their own software, but still require configuring in the "Sound" System Preference when using Garageband. So let's begin by looking at the "Sound" preference pane in System Preference.
Click and hold on the Apple icon in the upper left handed corner of your screen and scroll down to "System Preferences." On the second row, which is labeled "hardware" and the far right you'll find "Sound" and the icon of a speaker. Click on this to open the preference pane.
It should look like this....
As you can see there will be the choice of the internal microphone or "line in." On some of the new Macs this is both an analog and digital input. Conceivably, you could connect an inexpensive microphone through this line in and record practice takes, but I do not see that it would present much of an advantage of using the internal microphone.
Alternatively, you could buy a USB microphone and connect it to one of the USB ports. There are USB microphones currently available from manufacturers such as Alesis, Blue and Samson beginning at $59.00. In the following illustration you can see how they might appear in the sound system preference pane. In this case, we were using a Blue "Snowball."
Below the input selection window, you can see the slider to adjust the input level and an input level indicator.
Next we can see what an external firewire audio interface will look like using the Tascam "FireOne" Because this is an input/output device, we will need to set both input and output in the individual windows.
Note: If you can see through the indicators that there is a sufficient input level but no output (sound) then you may have forgot to set the output to the audio interface.
The next step will be to open Garageband by double clicking on the icon on your dock. Begin by selecting "new project from template" and select "voice."
It will then ask you to name and create the project, simply begin by typing "voice demo" and then click "create."
The main interface will appear. You will see two separate channels, one for male and one for female voice. These are "pre programmed" with each type of voice in mind. They are excellent starting points for the beginner.
The next step, the point that most often confuses people is selecting the input for each channel. In the lower right hand corner of the screen you will see the interface for selecting the input for each channel.
As you will most likely be using only one channel for your microphone (not using a stereo microphone) select the channel in which you have connected the microphone cable to the audio interface.
Be sure to turn off any powered speakers connected to the audio interface and listen using headphones or feed back will occur. Feedback is a high pitched howling sound that occurs when the microphone picks up the amplified sound of itself.
Now you are ready to record!
Next time, we'll talk about using the different features in Garageband to easily edit your sample voice recordings!
James T. Dawson
About James T. Dawson
James T. Dawson is a voice over artist and Macintosh Technical Support Specialist. He is a former Program and Promotions director for five Fox affiliates, and an Addy Award winning video producer, editor and animator. He was a featured speaker at the Fox Network convention at BPME (Broadcast Promotions and Marketing) in 1991.
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