Advice, Please, for Mixing in Garageband

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by gvdv, Dec 3, 2009.

  1. gvdv macrumors regular

    Feb 18, 2007
    I'm using Garageband for creating some demos, and am looking for some help/suggestions because I'm having a hell of a time trying to get the MP3's that I'm making (in iTunes) to sound anything like the tracks created within GB.

    I'm actually quite shocked at the difference between the original tracks and the final mp3. One thing that I find consistently is that the vocal track is quite a lot louder/more prominent in the finished mp3 than the guitar tracks are; whereas in GB it is hard to notice reverb on the vocals, it is very noticeable in teh mp3 version. But perhaps the most shocking difference is in the drums. The original drum tracks were quite loud, and 'full', i.e. they had a lot of depth and punch, and were quite up front in the mix. In the mp3, the drums have been reduced hugely, lacking depth, sounding puny. They almost sound like someone has taken an empty plastic margerine container, put the lid on, and is tapping on those with their hands or fingers.

    Now, I'm fairly new to mixing on the computer, so I'm quite prepared to admit that I have a lot to learn about tuning my monitors correctly, and getting to know the biases of the equipment I have.

    At the moment I'm using a Presonus Firestudio 26x26 (with software not working fully, but enough to satisfy my purposes) as a preamp, and I have a pair of KRK monitors. These are connected to my Mac Pro.

    Any advice would be gratefully received.
  2. MezicanGangxtah macrumors regular

    Jul 21, 2007
    check your preferences in garageband. make sure your at best quality when working in garageband. next look for something that says normalize. it messes with your mixes. It makes tracks that arent as loud as the other things...louder. hence why your vocals are much more noticable and everything else is lowered. unclick it and you well get more accurate results to what your mixing. and then experimnet with it....make sure that you dont have ANY red peaks at all. otherwise thats what normalization goes for. it can work with you or againts you. depending on how you use it
  3. deej999 macrumors regular

    Apr 1, 2009
    Totally agree with the above. Also, check in iTunes you don't have any of the sound changing playback settings turned on: Sound Enchancer, play all at same volume, etc.

  4. A.list.face macrumors newbie

    Jul 25, 2009
  5. gvdv thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 18, 2007
    Hi MezicanGangxtah, deej999, and A.list.face,
    Thanks for your replies.

    I'm pretty sure I don't have normalize on because I can't stand the thought of it (would much rather achieve the same results by doing my compression manually), but will check that. Will also check the best quality settings, but think that I have everything optimized for best quality, as the sound quality of the basic tracks is what I want. I have also set the MP3 encoder to the highest quality possible.

    deej999, would the *playback* settings in iTunes have a bearing on how the MP3 is encoded? I ask this because when transferred and played on two other computers, the MP3 sounds the same (i.e., I don't just play it back through iTunes).

    A.list.face, what do you mean by "check your master track settings"? Compression, and the like? Noise gate? Are you suggesting that there may be settings which contribute to the sound I'm hearing? If so, which ones? More details please.

    Thanks, once again,
  6. Teej guy macrumors 6502a

    Aug 6, 2007
    This is also really key: Are any of your tracks clipping and is your master fader clipping?

    Step one: Make sure you set your master volume fader to 0.0 dB and leave it there.

    Step two: Are the red lights on the meters above the master volume coming on? If they are, you need to redo your mix so that no red clip lights come on anywhere (master fader or on any of the tracks.)

    I'm just taking a guess, but this is the number one thing I see people doing when they first start mixing. Good luck!

    EDIT: Also just quickly check if sound enhancer is on in iTunes (preferences, playback, turn it off)
  7. gvdv thread starter macrumors regular

    Feb 18, 2007
    Hi Teej Guy,
    Thanks for this.

    You know, I think that there *may* have been some clipping on the individual tracks when I mixed the track, but definitely not on the master volume (I made sure of that). And I am pretty sure that I have the master volume set above 0.0 dB..

    Would either of those be enough to cause iTunes to limit or compress (that's what I presume is happening) to the extent that I'm experiencing?

    I will check the track later on today and implement any changes necessary based on all of these suggestions.

    Thanks, once again, for your reply.
  8. Teej guy macrumors 6502a

    Aug 6, 2007
    Set the master volume back to 0.0...if the problem goes away then there was some limiting/compression going on before the encoding process as you suggested. It wouldn't be iTunes doing it, it would happen right before the encode to ensure there are no overs. If the problem is still there, go through the longer process of ensuring none of the individual tracks clip. If the problem is STILL there after ensuring there are no overs anywhere, then I've got no clue.
  9. A.list.face macrumors newbie

    Jul 25, 2009
    You can change the Master track presets. This has made a pretty big difference in my recordings in the past, especially because I record many different genres in many different moods.:)


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