How to use iSight mic with GarageBand?

Discussion in 'Digital Audio' started by poxod, Aug 11, 2004.

  1. poxod macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2004
    I just bought an iSight camera, and a large factor in the purchase was its high-quality (well, higher quality than my PB built-in mic) microphone. I figured it would be useful with Garageband. Unfortunately, when I go to GarageBand preferences to select the iSight mic, it appears grayed-out in the list of audio inputs.

    Does anyone know how to get GarageBand to connect to the iSight camera mic? Thanks!
  2. poxod thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2004
    No response!

    Here I am, checking back in two months later, and no response! It's funny because my question is the third result when one types in the words "isight camera garageband" into google, yet I have had no response, nor have I been able to find any answers anywhere else on the net. If posting a response to my own post puts me higher on some list-that-determines-what-gets-read, then maybe someone will respond. I'm curious that no one else seems to be doing the same thing, and I can find no talk about it anywhere else on the web. Weird.
  3. AmigoMac macrumors 68020


    Aug 5, 2003
    Nice try though ... :)

    How many people google "isight camera garageband" per month? :rolleyes"

    actually most of the things coming out from google are shops ;)

    back on topic, I haven't tried it but I will do it as soon as I get home...
  4. simX macrumors 6502a


    May 28, 2002
    Bay Area, CA
    I've done a bit of research on the topic, and it seems that the iSight's mic records to 48 kHz, and GarageBand requires 44 kHz input, which is why GarageBand won't work with the iSight. What's weird is there are many other mics that list that they work with GarageBand, but also list the fact that they record to 48 kHz. Maybe they can also sync to 44 kHz as well, which is why they're compatible.

    Surely there's some plugin or program that allows you to convert the sound coming in through the iSight to 44 kHz; i.e.: a program that creates a fictional input device that simply converts whatever's coming through the iSight to a 44 kHz input, so that GarageBand can use it. However, I haven't been able to find anything like this.

    Anyone got any ideas? (Note that I'm using GarageBand 2.0.)
  5. glangston macrumors newbie

    Mar 19, 2005
    I posed this question to someone I know who works at an Apple Store and she said the work around was thus

    "I make wee movies with my iSight into iMovie. What you can do is extract audio from the aforementioned iMovie, and export Audio either as a QT or Wiretap (freeware) the audio into iTunes. In iTunes you can convert it to MP3."

    Sounds like a lot of trouble.
  6. JulesLt macrumors newbie

    Apr 28, 2005
    Well - looks like this is the answer you're looking for (free program to cast the 48k input to 44k) - I'm amazed Apple didn't include this themselves (unless it's in Tiger) - but then I'm also amazed there's no way to plug any old external audio into the iSight and just use it as a Firewire audio convertor . . .
  7. simX macrumors 6502a


    May 28, 2002
    Bay Area, CA
    I found that page before and it doesn't help. This routes it to another DEVICE, not another application. So you still can't record directly into GarageBand using this method, at least as far as I can tell.

    (And from what I've heard, Tiger DOES add 48 kHz recording. I'll probably be getting it tomorrow, so I'll let you know. :) )
  8. t300 macrumors 6502a


    Apr 10, 2004
    Okay, so I got Tiger and still don't think I can record with my iSight in Garageband. Anyone know for sure? Thanks!
  9. BurtonCCC macrumors 65816


    May 2, 2005
    Wheaton/Normal, IL
    I don't know whether or not it can be done or not, but I do know, as a guy who's been recording the most professional tracks of anyone I know, you're going to want to get a REAL mic... no hybrids with cameras like the iSight... if you want to be a real artist, buy real equipment... unless you're just like making voice memos to yourself... the iSight's mic will never beat a good condenser microphone.

  10. faintember macrumors 65816


    Jun 6, 2005
    the ruins of the Cherokee nation
    I have two solutions, one may work (and is a strange work-around) and other will def. work.

    The sure working solution is buy a mic and interface. OR check out the Samson CO1usb. Its a condenser mic based on the CO1, but instead of using a xlr cable it uses a USB cable to connect directly into your computer, no hardware interface required. I am pondering buying one of these so i dont have to keep lugging around my interface around campus when i am obtaining ambient samples or just recording the fool that likes to sing with his window open. :)

    The other workaround would be if the iSight's audio could be sent out the audio out (i.e., to speakers/headphones/etc.). If so, loop the output back into the computers line in, then set GB's audio input to be the computers line in. This should work around the 48khz problem.

    If you really want to be serious though, look into buying a hardware interface and some nice mics. For a simple set-up like this you should be able to get in the game for, lets say under $450 US, thats for a interface, 2 decent mics, and your cables.

  11. pulsewidth947 macrumors 65816


    Jan 25, 2005
    Thats a really cool idea. Wonder if it that mic sounds any good. While this certainly would be a solution to poxod's problem, i'm not sure spending even more money would be popular.

    This would be at the cost of audio quality. Let me explain - the audio starts off in digital (48 KHz), it is converted to analogue, sent down an analogue cable, then converted back to digital (44.1 KHz).

    The method described by your Apple friend would be the best in my opinion. Try this -

    Record your sound in iMovie. Go File > Export. Export to > Quicktime, Expert Settings. Now click export. This brings up your settings box, give it a file name and choose a location. Now change the Export menu box thing to AIFF sound. Click on the options button next to the menu box, and choose None for Compression, type in 44.100, size should be 16 bit, i believe you should use mono as the mic on the iSight is mono (i'm pretty sure it is, correct me if I'm wrong). Click OK, then click Save.

    What that will do is create a 16bit 44.1kHz (thats CD quality) uncompressed AIFF file which you should be able to load into Garageband to do what you want with.

    This really is the best way to do it, please please PLEASE dont use the MP3 route as that'll reduce the quality of your recordings considerably!

    If you get any trouble, let me know, I'm here to help!
  12. faintember macrumors 65816


    Jun 6, 2005
    the ruins of the Cherokee nation
    Thanks pulse. I was aware of the loss of audio quality, but i figured if we were starting with an iSight built-in mic, that audio quality wasnt of MAJOR importance. hehe, i just wasnt that worried about it. It was my idea for a really, quick fix that circumvented using software.

    That is a great idea!!!! I totally forgot about doing it that way.

    This is the reason that we have these forums. Great ideas yall. :)

    edit..oh that CO1usb mic is around $80 US, and i hear that it is pretty decent quality. I mean, its not a super highend mic, but for just a quick recording i have heard good reviews.
  13. pulsewidth947 macrumors 65816


    Jan 25, 2005
    hope i didnt sound patronising when I mentioned the loss of quality.

    You know, thats really not that bad is it! Like you say for taking a laptop round grabbing samples thats perfect isnt it. £65 for a capsule mic is nothing to be sniffed at. Maybe I should have ordered the 12" Powerbook after all :p

    :EDIT: I forgot to mention this in my previous post, but if anyones interested and doesnt know why the iSight will only record in 48KHz, when your Average Joe wants to record at 44.1KHz (CD Quallity) read on. Basically it has to do with DV footage. If you capture a stream of DV footage, the audio that goes along with it is 16bit 48KHz (same as DVD.. thats standard film DVD, not DVD-A by the way which is a whole new kettle of fish).
  14. faintember macrumors 65816


    Jun 6, 2005
    the ruins of the Cherokee nation
    You didnt sound partonising at all. I was just saying that in my original solution that i wasnt worried about keeping the signal digital.

    Yeah the mic sounds like it is a good deal. When i get my next paycheck in i may pick one up. Right now when i want to record something in the field i either carry my PB, Motu mkI, presonus micpre, and my shure's or carry the my PB with the schools firewire 410, and the schools earthworks mics.
    Either way this is usually overkill, especally when i just want a decent recording without having to lug tons of equipment. Sometimes (as you have probably seen in some of my solutions to problems) i tend to go "quick and dirty" for many of my solutions. :p
    Maybe we should start a thread about mics in general, as i am looking into purchasing a decent set of mics for general recording use, but i dont want to drop $600.
  15. cadman1241 macrumors newbie

    Jun 29, 2005
    isight in garageband (podcasting)

    Here's a quick solution that makes recording with iSight pretty bearable.
    1. Record your voice using the audio panel used for voiceover in iMovie (for these directions I'm assuming iMovie HD as it makes packages instead of folders - with previous versions you could skip part...)
    2. Save your project
    3. In Finder, navigate to the iMovie project package.
    4. Control-click on the package and choose "Show package contents"
    5. Go to the Media folder and inside should be the audio files you created. Keep in mind that even your aborted attempts are here so be sure to grab the right one.
    6. Drag the file to iTunes to add it to your library.
    7. With the file selected choose "Convert selection to AAC" - this will create a new copy(depending on your iTunes preferences this may read MP3)
    8. Drag this new file to your Garageband project to create a new audio track.
    9. Add music, Sound FX, mix and stir...

    update As I needed a subject for practicing a podcast with chapters I used this set of instructions. Download the enhanced podcast here:

    Obviously, this may not be great for vocals that actually have to go with music but works find for podcasting.
  16. vitorialatham macrumors newbie

    Sep 29, 2005
    use the free program "audacity" ( to record using isight , it works with this prog. then export as mp3 using "LAME MP3 encoder - Allows Audacity to export MP3 files"-this is also free, then drag mp3 from where ever you saved it onto garageband timeline!
  17. poxod thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 11, 2004
    found a solution!

    Thanks for all the responses guys - a year and a half later I had almost forgotten about this thread.

    I found a solution that works: Download Soundflower from Cycling 74. It's a free piece of sotware that allows you to pass audio from one application to another. When it's running, you can select the output source of iChat to 'Soundflower' and the input source of Garageband to 'Soundflower' and the signal will be passed between the two applications. You need to have iChat, Soundflower and GarageBand running and your iSight plugged in (of course.) It works great, and the quailty of the mic is perfectly acceptable for my needs!

    I can post more specific instructions if necessary.

    Thanks again.
  18. ITASOR macrumors 601


    Mar 20, 2005
    I just record the audio in quicktime pro and then save it and import into garage band.

    SoundFlower sounds like a good solution too though!
  19. Kernow macrumors 65816


    Sep 30, 2005
    Glad you finally got it working, but it still seems like a huge oversight that Garageband will not record using the iSight mic, and a real pain that you have to use a third party app to do it. Did you send a report to Apple - if enough people do this, then they should implement it. It can't be that hard to convert the sample rate of the recording.
  20. quigleybc macrumors 68030


    Jun 17, 2005
    Beautiful Vancouver British Columbia, Canada
    Is the iSight mic even good enough for recording? I have one, and I record a lot of stuff, but I always assumed the iSight wouldn't give my very good results...

    I'll try it out now..
  21. dylan macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2005

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