Recording With Multiple Microphones Using GarageBand
Thursday June 27, 2019. 01:00 PM , from MacMost
You can use more than one microphone or input device with GarageBand on your Mac. Instead of buying more hardware, you can configure your Audio MIDI Setup utility to create an aggregate device that treats each mic like a track in a single input. Then you can set up multiple tracks in GarageBand to use those tracks so each mic records to a different track.
Check out Recording With Multiple Microphones Using GarageBand at YouTube for closed captioning and more options.
Video Transcript: Hi, this is Gary with MacMost.com. On this episode I'm going to show you how to use multiple microphones simultaneously in GarageBand.
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So say you want to use multiple microphones at the same time in GarageBand. So each microphone goes into it's own track. You can set that up using the audio midi utility that comes with your Mac and knowing how to set it up in GarageBand.
The first thing you need to do is build what is called aggregate device that's going to be a single input device that includes the channels from all of your microphones. So to do that you're going to run an app called audio midi setup. It comes with your Mac. If you just use Go to Utilities you'll go to your Utilities folder inside your Applications folder and you'll find it there or you can just search for it in Spotlight. Now here you're going to see every audio input and output device. So here's one microphone and it says 2 inputs. Here's another microphone and this has got 1 input and 2 outputs because a lot of times microphones includes speakers or listening devices or if it's like a headset like this, of course, there are outputs. Then here's another one, the main microphone that I use, and there's a set of 2 outputs and 2 inputs here. This also has a headphone jack for you to monitor. That's why there's two outputs.
So you want to use the Plus button here and create an aggregate device. Then you get to name this device. So I'm going to name it All Mics and I'm going to add here in this list all of the mics I want to include. So I only want to look at things that have inputs. Here's one microphone so I'll add that. Let's go in the list here and look for this microphone here and I'll add that. Then here's the other one and I'll add that. So now you can see I have five channels. One of the microphones only has a single channel. The other two are stereo.
Now I get to choose which one is the Clock Source which basically means which one is running the show here. So it probably doesn't matter but I'll choose this one here. I can choose my Sample Rate if that's important to me and see all of the different devices here and which channel they map to. Notice that Drift Correction is checked off for the ones that are not set as a Clock Source. In other words it's going to try to adjust the timing so everything is in sync.
So now I'm all set here. Now in GarageBand I'm going to start an empty project and I'm going to start off with one audio track using a microphone. You can see here I can choose the instrument. So I'm going to click that and that will open up GarageBand Preferences and allow me to choose the input device. I'm going to go from System Setting to All Mics which is the aggregate device that I created.
Now with All Mics selected I can click here and I can see the different inputs. You can see there are five different inputs here. Now I know that the first two, 1 and 2 are the left and right stereo inputs from one microphone. So I'll select those. I'll hit Create and I get a track here that's going to listen in on that microphone. Hit the Plus button to create a new track and also choose that as audio. But this time I'm going to do 3 and 4. So the second microphone. Then I'm going to do the Plus button again and choose 5, I could choose 5 and 6 but there is no track 6, 5 to get that last microphone that's only one track.
So now I have three different microphones. But the problem is only one is recording at a time. So if I click this one you can see that it's picking up my voice there but these other two go silent. If I select this one it's picking up my voice there but these two are silent. So it's only going to record one at a time. You can change that by selecting a track and if you Control click on it you do Configure Track Header. You can see Option T is the keyboard shortcut for that. I can put Record Enable on for that track. I'll make sure Record Enable is on for each of these tracks.
Now that Record Enable is on I can click Record for each one of these. So all three now are flashing red and they're going to record for each one of these microphones. So now when I talk you can see each one is recording and some of them are picking up better because they are right in front of my mouth. Others are off to the side and I get three tracks. Now when I play it back I can hear all three. So now when I talk you can see each one is recording.
Now how well this works definitely depends on the quality of the mics. When I try this with some older cheap microphones it gave a noticeable echo. So even with Drift Correction the timing was a little bit off. But the three mics I was using, which are all pretty good, there was no noticeable echo. So it would have worked say if I had three people around a table each with their own microphone recording a podcast. Or three people playing different instruments each being hooked up as a different audio input.
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