Can GarageBand Record Multiple Tracks Simultaneously?


Apple’s GarageBand is one of the most user-friendly recording apps and software you can find in the market today. What I like about GarageBand is how straightforward its interface is, and how quickly you can turn your ideas into actual tracks you can listen to. In terms of live recording, Is there any way you can record different instruments simultaneously using GarageBand? GarageBand is an app that is deemed to be a non-professional software by most professional music producers. However, if you maximize the way you utilize this software, it can be more powerful than what it seems.

Yes, It is possible to record multiple tracks simultaneously in GarageBand for MAC. However, this option does not exist in the iOS and iPad OS versions of GarageBand. You can record numerous tracks by creating separate tracks for each instrument and enable the record button on which tracks you would like to arm for recording. Make sure you configure the track header to allow recording for multiple tracks.

WHY RECORD MULTIPLE TRACKS AT ONCE?

Recording multiple tracks at once is a technique used to record live shows, or live recording sessions. You will also need to record multiple tracks for recording acoustic drums. You will need several microphones to capture the cymbals, snare, kick, and toms. Multi-track recording is also used for stereo recording or getting a more extensive range when recording acoustic instruments such as acoustic guitar. You can record multiple tracks by using an Audio Interface with various inputs, or by using a mixer, can connect to a computer via USB.

WHAT YOU WILL NEED

  • AUDIO INTERFACE or MIXER

You will need a device that has multiple inputs for recording several tracks at once. A FOCUSRITE SCARLETT SOLO will have about two inputs. One is an XLR input, and the other is a ¼ inch guitar input. You can either use them both for microphones or instruments, as long as you have the right male cables. You can also use a mixer to expand the number of inputs on an audio interface. However, It is best to get an audio interface with more built-in inputs so that you don’t compromise the sound quality and bit rate.

  • MICROPHONES

If you plan on recording multiple tracks for acoustic drums, you will need a minimum of four dynamic microphones. Recording acoustic drums are better when using dynamic microphones as opposed to a condenser mic that you would typically use for vocals.

  • LAPTOP or COMPUTER with SUITABLE DAW

You will also need a device to record your instruments. Most of the software DAWs can record multiple tracks simultaneously, and GarageBand is no exception. Now that you have all the required gear for recording, it is time to learn how to set up a multi-track record in GarageBand.

HOW TO ADD A TRACK

To add a track on GarageBand, you will have to open a new project or open the existing project you are working on. Once you open a new project, a window will pop up, showing you a list of tracks you might want to choose from. In this case, you would want to select an audio track. Under the audio track option, you will find two selections. If you are recording guitar parts, select the “connect a guitar” option. If you are recording any instrument using a microphone, chose the microphone or line input option.

In that same menu, you will find input options. You can either select left, right, or stereo. It is better to select one input if you have multiple mics, as you would use one input for each mic as we go along. There is also an option for monitoring. You can click that option if you are using headphones. Recording through a mic will require headphones, and multiple outputs if you are recording with another person.

Click here to learn how to connect multiple headphones to your computer when you are recording.

Once you have created a track, you can simply add a new one just by double-clicking the space under the new track. You can also do this method if you are working on an existing project with a couple of existing records.

HOW TO CONFIGURE HEADER FOR THE TRACK

Once you have created multiple tracks, you will need to arm the tracks for recording. To do so, you will need to configure the header and add the multi-track recording option. To configure the header, use the mouse or trackpad to click on a track so that the menu collapses. At the bottom of the list, you will find the option “configure track header.” Click on that option and continue to the next list and click on “Record enable.” Once you have checked that box, a small record icon will appear on each track.

Helpful tip: You can open the header configuration by pressing ALT + T on your keyboard.

HOW TO START RECORDING TWO OR MORE TRACKS

To begin recording multiple tracks, make sure the inputs are connected to the audio interface and computer. A moving soundbar will indicate that there is a signal coming from the microphone or instrument. The same signal will indicate if the input is too loud. Make sure that the track is not clipping and that it is in the green area. If you are recording drums, make sure you adjust the levels that the mic would capture your soft hits, while not clipping on your loud and more laborious hits. The same goes for vocals, make sure you use a pop filter to decrease the plosives that will cause distortion.

Now that you have adjusted the levels, you can now enable which tracks you want to arm for recording. Just click on the record icon on each track you want to use, press R, and you are good to go.

NOTE: Make sure that you have selected the correct inputs for each track you want to record; otherwise, the track will not start recording.

RELATED CONTENT

GARAGEBAND TIPS AND TRICKS

  • Groove

In the header configuration settings, there is a box that you can enable, which will automatically make all your tracks as coherent as possible. This feature will only work with tracks that are a tad bit late or ahead of the drum track. Make sure you do not rely on this feature too much. You can always work on your timing.

  • Hidden Sampler

GarageBand has a built-in sampler that is hidden in plain sight. Instead of downloading a VST sampler for your music production, just create a virtual track and click on smart controls. In the smart controls menu, open the plugins from the panel and select the AUSampler. From there, you can drag audio files and assign them to your keyboard.

  • LOGIC Remote

If you have an iOS device such as an iPhone, you can download the LOGIC remote, which apparently works for GarageBand, as well. You can use your phone to adjust the levels of the mix and navigate through projects. To connect your device, you will need to download the app and connect it to the same WIFI network as your computer.

  • iOS to MAC

If you have new musical ideas but do not have a laptop with you, you can start a project on your phone, and later export it to your computer via Airdrop or iCloud Drive.

  • Auto Normalize

This feature will automatically adjust the loudness of your track before you render it. It will ensure that your mixes are up to par. It is an excellent feature for mastering a project or song that is almost complete. I sometimes render tracks and forget to adjust the volumes and turn out to be to quiet. Good thing GarageBand has this useful feature.

  • Create your own loops

If you are editing music or sound effects for a podcast, you can create your own Apple loops and store it in the loop library. All you need to do is record a track, click on a file then add the selected region to your loop library. It would be a lot easier if you have the loops you created for Vlogs or Podcast intros.

RECORDING DRUMS

You can buy a 5-piece mic set for recording your drums. The simple way for arming your drums for recording is to put one mic on each piece of the set, one for the bass drum, one for the snare, one for each tom, and one over-head microphone. The cymbals can be loud, and the surrounding microphones can pick the sound. It depends if you are hi-hat heavy, then you should assign one mic to your hi-hat.

For the positioning, the angles should be about 45-degrees facing the piece, and 3-4 inches above. When using a cardioid mic, the further it is from the section, the fuller the frequency it picks up.

SUGGESTED PRODUCTS:

SHURE DMK57- 52 DRUM MIC KIT

(Price: $427)

This product is an example of a mic kit set for recording drums. It includes 3 SM57 microphones, 1 Beta 52A mic, 3 A56D drum-mounting systems, a carrying case, and user guides.

This kit is suitable for home and live recording. You can buy all of the components separately.

The SHURE SM57’s is for your toms and hi-hats, and the Beta 52a mic is good for getting low ends frequencies like the kick drum.

AUDIX DP7 7-PIECE DRUM MIC PACKAGE

(Price: $999)

This microphone package comes with seven premium microphones suitable for recording drums and percussion. The package also includes gooseneck clips for mounting and a heavy-duty aluminum road case.

The package includes:

  • 1 D6 mic for the kick drum
  • 1 I5 mic for the snare
  • 2 D4 mics for rack toms
  • 1 D4 mic for floor toms
  • 2 ADX51 mics for overheads
  • Four gooseneck rim mount clips
  • One clip for the kick drum mic
  • An instructional video on “how to mic drums.”

RECORDING ACOUSTIC GUITAR

To get a broader range of frequencies when recording an acoustic guitar, you will need two microphones. Make sure you position them like a letter and capture the high-end by pointing the first microphone to the neck facing the higher strings. And capture the mid and low end by positioning the second mic between the neck and closer to the soundhole of the acoustic guitar. You can also try recording the guitar through direct input while using a mic to capture the high ends all at once if you only have one suitable condenser microphone. To learn more tips and tricks for recording acoustic guitar, click here.

SUGGESTED PRODUCTS:

FOCUSRITE SCARLETT SOLO

(Price: $99.99)

This brand has been well-known throughout most professional music producers. It has low latency, a preamp, and outstanding qualities for its low price. The 24-bit sample rate is best for recording guitars and vocals.

            Key Features:

  • Two inputs
  • XLR preamp input
  • ¼” guitar input
  • Indicator lights for levels
  • Gain Control
  • 24-bit sample rate

AUDIO-TECHNICA AT2020 USB

(Price: $129)

Unlike the original Audio-Technica 2020, this one is connected via USB and does not require Phantom Power from an Audio Interface. Because it connects to your computer via USB, you can use this mic as a second mic to capture your acoustic guitar range better.

NEUMANN U-87

(Price: $3,000)

This vintage style mic is an excellent mic that producers like Calvin Harris and Steve Aoki even tweet about buying this microphone. It is a large-diaphragm microphone that is suitable for capturing almost any vocal and acoustic instrument tracks. This mic is a classic studio microphone that has three directional characteristics, Omni, cardioid, and figure 8. The features give the mic more functions in a recording session.

CONCLUSION

Experimenting with multi-track recording is a skill you can use on any other DAW that shares that same feature. GarageBand has tons of useful hidden features is a good stepping stone before you decide to go to the next level and purchase a professional DAW like LOGIC X PRO. You can practice and maximize the use of this DAW’s features and get the experience you need. Who knows? Maybe you can even build a career in music production with enough practice.

Recent Content