GarageBand Podcast Tutorial for Beginners

A screenshot of the GarageBand website home page.

Because of popular demand, we prepared this GarageBand podcast tutorial. We want anyone who has even the most basic podcasting equipment to produce a great show.

Podcasting continues to gain popularity. More and more people are getting their hands on their own podcasts. They know, however, that they need certain resources to start one. A simple Google search can easily show you how to start, record, and publish a show. With the number of resources available, though, it can be very confusing.

One of the first tools to look for when you start your own podcast show is how to record your podcast.

There are many ways to record your show, but there are also some things you also need to consider, such as:

  • What type of recording are you trying to do?
  • Do you have a budget that you’re trying to work within?
  • What are the tools you already have?
  • Are you using a Windows PC or a Mac?

One of the most popular recording tools for podcasters is GarageBand. You can use this tool to record and produce an audio podcast. 

The big question is: How to use GarageBand for podcasts?

What is GarageBand?

GarageBand is an intuitive and user-friendly app that can record, mix, edit, and export shows with a pro-level quality.

It is a simple digital audio workstation and has been in the market since 2004. Although it was initially for Macs only, it can now run on laptops, desktops, iPads, and iPhones.

The Advantages of Making a Podcast with GarageBand

GarageBand is Free

GarageBand is free for MacOS, iOS, and iPadOS.

It is an affordable digital resource for creating and editing. If you are using the Apple ecosystem, you can easily add and edit tracks across your different devices.

The app also comes with the ability to play and record live instruments. You can plug in your different devices, especially if you’re making live music, record it, then add it to your sound library.

It Comes with Several Features and Tools

One of the biggest advantages when you edit podcasts in GarageBand is the welcoming layout, regardless of your expertise in editing.

If you are a beginner, the best place to start is accessing the Quick Help button in the top left corner. This will enable the yellow text boxes which can explain the different functions of the app as you hover your mouse cursor.

One of the most well-known features of the app is Touch Instruments. You can add the sounds of different instruments such as drums, piano, and guitar, which sounds like the real thing. This will ensure that you’ll add a more realistic sound to your shows.

Another feature of podcasting in GarageBand is the Groove Track. It acts as a spell-checker for rhythm and allows you to program all the other tracks you’ve selected to adjust and synchronize the timing to your chosen groove track.

GarageBand Podcast Tutorial

Before you start making a podcast with GarageBand, you need to make sure that you have the latest version of the app installed on your device.

You also need a microphone. You can use your internal mic in a pinch. We recommend external microphones, however. Internal mics cannot provide good sound quality on recordings.

Once you have your mic set up and you have the latest app, here are the steps on how you can begin recording.

1. Open GarageBand

Upon opening the app, you will see the option to select Empty Project.

Once you have selected Empty Project, click Choose down at the bottom-right of the window.

2. Choose your Audio Input

Select the microphone option. Make sure that you select Input 1 at the bottom part of the window. This is so that both the left and the right side of your mic or headphone will pull in the same audio at the same time.

The default audio setup is to use your computer’s built-in microphone. If you’re using an external microphone or if there are several audio systems connected to your device, there is also an option to select which one to use.

Once you have chosen which audio input source to use, click Create on the bottom right of the window. 

The app will then take you to the main window. If you make a sound, you will see the movement of the audio. The volume bars will also expand and shrink as you speak.

There’s also a green light showing that you are in the correct volume range. It’s okay if it will dip into the orange space, but avoid reaching all the way to red.

When it turns red, it means that the listener who will play back the audio will hear a distortion. Adjust the levels with the controls at the bottom of the page to avoid this.

3. Start Setting Up Your Workspace

A copywriter and content editor works on show notes for a podcast producer.

Are you ready to start recording?

You will see the compressor controls down at the bottom of the screen. You don’t need to worry about these buttons as these are for musicians who are recording and mixing their music.

You can set up your workspace by first removing the beat window. Then leave the time part to keep track of how long your show is. Click the down arrow on the right side of the box. Then select the time.

4. Start Saving

It’s best to save early and save often.

Go to “File,” and click “Save As.”

Name your file and choose where you want to save it. 

5. Create Different Audio Tracks

Once you create a new project, the default is only one track. The app automatically labels the track as Audio 1.

GarageBand allows you to add multiple tracks to house different components of your podcast.

How to edit podcasts in GarageBand using this feature:

You can use Audio 1 for your intro music, Audio 2 as the primary speaker’s vocal recording, and Audio 3 for the guest.

To add a new audio track, click the + symbol at the top left corner.

6. Adjust the Audio Levels

A mixer with colorful buttons used for audio editing.

Another advantage of GarageBand is separate audio levels. You can adjust the audio levels of each track separately. This is very useful for podcast episodes where you record each speaker in a different location. 

For example, you can balance the recorded audio. So, you can adjust a track that is louder than the others, so it matches. 

If the guest you interviewed for your show is a quiet speaker, you can increase the audio levels for that track. Click and drag the level on the individual track to the right to increase the volume or to the left to decrease the volume.

7. Use the Solo Feature

How to edit a podcast in GarageBand by removing the coughs, unwanted breaths, and sniffles? Use the Solo feature.

Click the Solo button, which mutes every other track, except the one that you’ve chosen. This feature will allow you to listen closely and catch the parts of the audio that you missed when editing.

8. Add Music

There are some instances when you’ll find that the new audio you added is louder at certain points.

You can adjust the volume level by:

  1. Selecting the track you want to edit by highlighting it on your timeline
  2. Opening the Mix dropdown
  3. Choosing Show Automation

You’ll notice a faded yellow line within your track. Click on the yellow line at the position where you would like to begin fading and a dot will appear. To show when you want the audio to complete the fade out, add a second dot, which will also allow you to drag the volume up or down to adjust the sound level.

9. Start Exporting

Now that you’re done editing your podcast, the last step is to export the audio.

You can share the audio to your SoundCloud or Music library, export to a disk, and even send it to your email.

One thing to keep in mind is that GarageBand doesn’t send files directly to your host, so you need to save your file locally.

  1. Go to Share and select Export to Disk.
  2. Select the location where you want to save your file, the file format, and the bitrate.
  3. Upload the file to your media host.

When exporting your audio, use the preferred format for podcasting: mp3. Mp3 is a compressed file size. Since it’s a smaller file, the download is quicker and it will give your audience a better listening experience.

However, to ensure the best audio quality, you should still export an uncompressed .wav file. Since most hosts will automatically transcode your file to mp3, it’s best to upload your audio with higher quality.

Recording your Podcast on GarageBand

You may record solo or have one or more guests. This recording app allows you to use either single track recording or a multi-track setup.

What’s the difference between the two? 

Single track recording

If you are recording solo, hit the record button in the transport (you can also use the keyboard shortcut R).

Double-check if your mic settings are correct and don’t forget to record a test to ensure that the levels are good. To know which are the best GarageBand settings for podcasts, if you are too soft or too loud, adjust the input gain on your interface. You want to be loud enough to hear yourself clearly, but not too loud that the meters will start hitting the yellow or the red territory.

Multi-track recording

If you are recording with two or more guests, it’s best to record each person on their own track. Keeping each sound source separate will give you greater flexibility in mixing down the line.

To add a track, click the + button on the top left corner. You’ll need to select “microphone track” again. Choose the appropriate input for every additional microphone, then click “Create.”

As you’re adding tracks, it’s best to rename each track with the speaker’s name to avoid confusion.

Since GarageBand also only records to one track at a time, you need to enable Multitrack Recording. To do this:

  1. Go to the menu bar and choose Track > Configure Track Header or the keyboard shortcut Option+T.
  2. Tick the box next to “Record Enable.” This will add the record-enable button to every track.

GarageBand Keyboard Shortcuts

Studying the software allows you to speed up the recording, editing, and organizing process.

A great way to learn more about the app is by watching different reviews and YouTube videos or using the Quick Help Tooltips. As you hover your mouse over the buttons or sections of the app, the Quick Help Tooltips will give you an explanation of what they are for.

To make it easier for you to use GarageBand, try using these top shortcuts:

  • Shift+? – Quick Help Tooltips
  • A – Open volume automation
  • R – Record
  • E – Open Editors Window
  • B – Open Smart Controls
  • CMD+T – Split track at playhead
  • CMD+ J – Join Regions (aka merge audio clips)
  • Opt+CMD+N – Create a new track
  • CMD+C – Copy
  • CMD+V – Paste
  • CMD+X – Cut

Is GarageBand for Me?

GarageBand is a powerful solution, even for beginners. It’s a widely used audio workspace with distinct features that you can use. Since it is free, you can hone your skills and give other software a try once you’re more familiar with recording and editing your podcasts.

 

Kaye Chang
Author at PodKick | + posts