Import & Export

Which audio formats can I import and export?             And how about MP3s?

You can import AIFF and WAV files (from a CD, iTunes, the Internet, etc.) as long as they are 16 bit. If you import an MP3 file, it will be converted and stored in your project as an AIFF file. Just drag and drop.
You can export as an AIFF file to iTunes, where you freely convert between four formats: AAC and MP3 (compressed, small file sizes) and AIFF and WAV (uncompressed, large files)
In version 1.0.1 Apple added support for Propellerhead's Re-wire format. Re-wire allows GarageBand to drive audio data (such as synths and samplers) in Propellerhead's acclaimed Reason in a master-slave configuration. Hit the spacebar in GB and both GB and Reason tracks play back and can be sent to iTunes.
Import/Export MIDI?             yes and no In short: import MIDI yes, export MIDI no.

Importing Midi is done simply by dragging a Midi file to the main window, where it will be converted to (green) software track data. .

But exporting GarageBand's Midi data is not possible at this stage. You can only convert the Midi tracks to audio, or export to iTunes which will convert the whole song to the AIFF format, and then to MP3, AAC or WAV if you wish.



Any signal weaker than "line level" wil need to be amplified before plugging into your Mac. This goes especially for microphones, but also for many guitar and bass pickups and other instrument signals. A good mixer is the ideal solution, but there is a cheaper option which is very handy if you want a simple way to plug in a mic or guitar: the Griffin Imic USB Audio interface. ($36.95 from

Griffin describes the unit like this: The iMic universal audio adapter is a USB device that adds a stereo input and output to your Mac. This allows the connection of virtually any microphone or sound input device to the iBook, Titanium PowerBook, PowerMac or any other Mac with a USB port. Currently shipping, the iMic supports both line and Mic level input as well as line level output for any USB capable computer. By using USB, the iMic provides significantly superior audio input and output performance over built in audio. The iMic is a must have product for people who are serious about getting high quality audio in or out of their computers.
It is important to get all settings and levels right when using the IMIC, but the company provides good support on their website
midi keys
Musical Typing        what does qwerty sound like?

If you have not yet bought a keyboard or keyboard controller (see the GarageDoor | Resources | Keyboard Controllers),you can use your Mac's keyboard to lay down a track. Turn on Musical Typing (Shift-Command-K ), and you can use the keys on your computer keyboard to play notes. Play the "white keys" using the middle row of keys ("a" through "l") on your keyboard. For sharps and flats, use the top row ("w" through "p"). By using the Musical Typing window, you can also change the octave, raise or lower velocity, change modulation, bend pitch or turn sustain on and off.
Input Volume             don't push it..

Be careful to set "input volume" correctly: Up high for a weak signal (like when you are not using a pre-amp), low to mid for a strong signal like keyboard or "line level"(see also "input levels" on the the GarageDoor | Live recording page). How? Go to System Preferences and choose: Sound. Select the input device and slide the "Input Volume" lever.For example, when using the Imic as an input device, don't set the input volume too high - about halfway is right. Any higher and the input signal goes "into the red" - meaning distortion.

Input distortion            the important bits

When using the Griffin Imic and some other pre-amps as an input device and you have distortion, it may be that GB is set to the wrong "bit-rate". Do the following:
-In the Finder, go to Applications-Utilities.
-Open the Audio Midi Setup App - Click on the Audio Devices tab -Choose the iMic under "Properties For" on the left
- You now see "Audio Input"; select "2ch-16bit" instead of "2ch-8bit". GB switches the iMic to 8bit (every time you launch) and that's what causes distortion.
See also the tip above on "Input Volume".
To the Top