Volume in GarageBand is a lie?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by TheBlackVeil, Apr 20, 2009.

  1. TheBlackVeil

    TheBlackVeil Guest

    Hey, guys.

    I've been lurking for a few weeks, stealing your best informations as I find it.

    However, I've run into an issue that's got me totally stumped. I'm trying to mix a song for my band (we're trying REALLY damned hard to do our recording in-house so we don't have to pay someone else to screw up what we can screw up ourselves).

    Anyways, I'm running into this: after doing bunches of EQ'ing and crap, the GarageBand file sounds pretty solid, at least considering how noobile I am at all this.

    However, when I bounce it to *.mp3 or *.AAC (iTunes) the levels are totally jacked. TOTALLY.

    The vocals are super loud, the drums come in pretty clear, and the guitar is suddenly MUCH lower than it plays in GB.

    Any advice?

    Thanks, in advance.
  2. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    Lol, I like your style. I used to use Garageband, it's a decent start, but you'll have to re-learn everything once you move to a real DAW unfortunately. I want to hear what you guys sound like! Post the clip. It could be what you are using to monitor is lying to you. I don't have prosumer monitors so I'm guessing with my EQ still to this day until I play something in my car and then I'm like "OH! add more treble to guitar. That vocal part's gotta come up a bit" you know etc.
  3. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    currently Billings
    Try bouncing to pcm wave to see if that makes a difference. MP3 is a lossy format and though you may end up there take the middle step first. If the mix is not correct in wave format then it probably wasn't correct in Garageband either.

    If you are mixing on headphones then this could be your issue as well. Headphones are good to check a mix with but not very many people can actually put a great mix together with them.
  4. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    PCM wave = WAV? I'm not sure if it's the same thing, but if it is, shouldn't he bounce to AIFF since WAV = PC, AIFF = MAC and he is using GB which is an apple thing. Wow, that's a lot of abbreviations in one post.
  5. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Distinguished Member

    currently Billings
    Good catch. Any lossless format would work for these purposes. GTG for catching something that was AFU.
  6. TheBlackVeil

    TheBlackVeil Guest

    Don't think GB has an option. At least, all I'm seeing is under share > export song. . . > are the options for *.AAC and *.mp3.

    EDIT: Okay, if I choose not to compress, it offers the *.AIF format. Sweet. And, yeah, the guitars are a still low. This leads to my next question... what the Heck can I do to bring them up? Because just raising the output level doesn't seem to affect the mix after it's bounced, only when it's in the project.

    Sorry for the 20 Nooblon questions.

    Yes, I am mixing on headphones. DOn't have access to monitors, at the moment.


    http://www.myspace.com/testalot41 -- Prepare for your ears to bleed.
  7. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    I'm listening right now, it's not horrible. Think the voice needs compression, sometimes it's too loud and sometimes it's too quiet. The bass drum is too loud, the guitars shouldn't be panned that far from center and the snare needs to come up. But it's not as bad as I was expecting. Leave that mix up then make changes and re-post as mix 2, I've found this helps to monitor your own progress.

    EDIT: you might not have to raise the guitars at all, just move them more towards the center of the L and R pan ranges and that might be all you need. As it is the mix seems like it has a lot of empty space, this should help in that regard as well.
  8. TheBlackVeil

    TheBlackVeil Guest


    1) Awesome feed back, thanks. This'll give me the direction I've been lacking as far as what to do.

    2) The bass drum situation is a beast in itself. I bought a Shure SM Drum Mic Kit, including an SM Beta-52a, the "industry standard" for miking up a kick..well, it picks up EVERYTHING, for sure, it just sounds like it's behind a damned wall. So, I have to compress the ever-living $*^t out of it.

    3) I'll see what I can do about the vocals, what exactly ought I be attempting with the compression(remember how noobile I am?)?
  9. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    I can't really offer any useful advice on the GB compressor as it's not a good one. But here is the general way I use a compressor that does not have any sort of GUI/level of effect metering. Put the ratio as high as it can go, put the attack to as low as it can go. Next drag the threshold from as high as it can go gradually down until you hear an obvious difference in tone. Then back it off just a bit, adjust the ratio down to the 3-5 range (for vocals). Adjust the attack to 5-15ms ish and release based on the instrument. A release of 90-120ms should be good for most vocals. But basically your knowledge/effective use of compressors and compression will tenfold once you start using compressors with some kind of feedback as to how much compression is being added at any one time. Hope that helps.
  10. Guitarfreak

    Guitarfreak Well-Known Member

    I'm looking over this thread again cause I like it, and I sympathize with you. I remember GB for being notorious with levels and stuff. Level changes usually don't show up and the like. My guess is don't use the stock mastering effects. If you want to master a track, bounce it and then import it and use the track level plugs to compress/EQ as you would while mastering. If you don't know what mastering is, that's ok, I'm still learning myself.

    My guess is that it is GB's presets that are screwing with your mix. By the way, how is the master bus level? You know that little sideways meter on the bottom of the screen. Is it hitting red line very often or at all? I'm pretty interested in hearing the updated mix, how is that coming along?

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