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Q. Why can’t I get my GarageBand songs as loud and crisp as commercial CDs?
[Related Entries : Mastering ]

A. Unfortunately pro studios have hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment, including multi-thousand dollar compressors and other Dynamics processors, and more importantly years of technique. If you're just starting out, it will take time to learn how to properly Master a recording, or...

set of recordings.

You can probably approach pro quality by use of GarageBand's AU MultiBand Compressor, AU Peak Limiter, and/or AU Dynamics Processor, but it'll be tough to match a commercial release, and more than anything it's technique. You don't just flip a switch, or select a preset and magically have great sound across the board. It really is something you need to practice and work on. It's just like the directions to Carnegie Hall, and it's why professional Mastering Houses can charge the rates they do.

iLife '08iLife 09 iLife '11 GarageBand version 10 icon

GarageBand '08 (and later) now...

offers a Normalize feature to increase the volume of a project, without clipping, during export. This option is available from GB's preferences under Advanced, and CAN, along with choosing the 24-bit output option, be a first step in getting a well Mastered final output.

We use the word "Can" because it can also work against you. If there is some, even millisecond, spike in volume, Normalize can in fact bring DOWN the volume of your final project. In this case the PeakLimiter can help resolve issues such as this so that Normalize can function as intended.

See the overview on "Mastering"
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GarageBand from Apple Computer uses audio loops and MIDI loops in Apple Loops format. It can work with Audio Units plug-ins. Apple Macintosh Compatible FireWire and USB interfaces can be used to connect Audio and MIDI instruments to your Mac, and be recorded into GarageBand.

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