Ever since Apple Inc. came up with Garageband, millions of users have rushed to download this holy grail of music making. True, it enables you to create great music, complete with loops, synthesizers, and instrumentation. However, most users quickly give up along the way. It takes more than just random skills to create great audio! It’s easy only if one takes sufficient time learning the ropes of how this works. The beauty of Garageband is that it has some music lessons to help and guide beginners on just how they ought to go about it. Recording the voice is the easy part; mastering or mixing the recordings is often the elephant in the room. In this article, we have compiled a step by step guide on how you should mix recordings on Garageband.
- Make sure you have good quality recordings – First and foremost, always check to ensure that the recordings you have are all of the good quality. There shouldn’t be any unnecessary background noise or bad notes. In case some notes sound off-key, you can always try to get the right one. In essence, if you get it wrong with poor quality recordings, then you’re doomed from the start.
- Arrange the tracks – Secondly, save and name each of the track or recording for ease of identification when mixing. Once you have the tracks clearly named, it will be easier to drag them on top of or below the other tracks that you wish to mix. In order to name the track, you just need to double-click on the present name (think of how we rename a folder on the desktop)
- Your audio output – How about investing in some quality monitor speakers, to bring out the best sound quality? Monitor speakers are specially designed to help music producers and makers hear all sounds with clarity. Forget your amplifier speaker used to play the guitar, or even the ordinary Hi-Fi system speakers. These may not help you acquire what’s technically known as a Flat Response. Mixing a track using this means that when the song is complete, it’ll always sound different when played on Monitor Speakers.
- Real work now begins – Mixing is about skills as it is about creativity. What do you want to achieve, do you have any ideas you are trying to realize? Before the final, mastered track, you’ll have tried different styles, rhythms, instruments, etc. It makes sense to even listen to the tracks in different settings; from your PC via headphones, in your car, at high volume in your house, to mention but a few.
- Arranging tracks – When you begin mixing your track, it is always recommendable to have the most important tracks at the center. These include lead vocals and drums, guitars, solo instruments. Additional tracks like the rhythm guitar or melodious sounds from the keyboard; these are best placed at the sides.
- Coloring the tracks – Coloring the tracks of the entire project means that you are able to easily distinguish the different instruments to be incorporated into the mix. EQ and compression, Reverbs, Phasers, Flangers; all these effects are crucial in enhancing specific instruments and blending them in smoothly.
- Tools available – Garageband has unique tools to make your mixing experience both easy and fun. The Pan Dial; this is used to move or alter the sound, usually by twisting the dial to the right or the left. The equalizer effects also come in handy when you wish to improve on the guitar sound or filter the voice to get a clearer version. Thanks to the multiple band graphic designers, you can tweak and fine-tune every frequency to the best sound possible.
Tips You Should Always Have At Your Fingertips:-
When it comes to mixing, we started by saying that it’s very important you get very good quality vocals, guitars, and the rest. The best way to ensure that you have good quality vocals is by using a high-quality Microphone. Cheaper microphones lack clarity; they produce a bass kind of sound. A good mic brand like Shure is a common one in most music production studios. But if you’re working on a tight budget, you still can try to balance the microphone you have to around 200HZ to 250 HZ.
When it comes to playing the guitar, it’s important that the rhythm guitar doesn’t overshadow the bass guitar. Actually, the common practice in music production is that the baseline should be slightly higher; this is because most tracks are all about the bass and the drums. Others like the lead guitar, cymbals, rhythm guitar; all these sound better when inserted into a framework of existing beats. Garageband tools mentioned earlier are able to help you balance all instruments with clockwork precision. So much so, Garageband has been installed by many on PCs as well (find out how in this guide).
Seeing that mixing is about skills and creativity, there are times you’ll need to have a pen and paper to jot down any changes you deem fit the track. Play the tracks and sit back listening, taking note of anything that sounds odd, anything that can be bettered or enhanced; you can then try and make those changes afterward.
- The hallmark of a well-mixed recording is that it should have clarity and balance. Clarity means that the vocals are audible, the guitars and other instruments are clear, and that the entire combination creates harmony. Balance means that all these are proportionate to each other and that none drowns out the other. The volume of each instrument may vary, but a keen listener is able to pick all sounds therein.
- There should also be consistency in your mixing! Bad mixes that are inconsistent tend to confuse the listener; these are as good as dead. Mind you, even the most famous artists spend more time mixing their recordings than actually recording. That tells you that this is something you should do with patience but persistence.
In the absence of good quality monitor speakers, you can also mix your recording using monitor headphones. These are specially made to attain the same standards you’d have, with the proper studio speakers.