How to Record Using Two Different Microphones in GarageBand.
Sounds familiar? You want to create a podcast. You have a limited budget. You’ve already decided to use GarageBand and found the perfect microphone, but after a little research, you realize that the sound quality can be greatly improved by using two microphones instead of one. The problem is that GarageBand doesn’t recognize secondary input.
It seems that connecting two different microphones to a computer is easy, but it is not as easy as it seems. Even if you connect two separate microphones, you can get two separate audio streams.
Here’s how to record input from two separate microphones into one audio stream. Also check out my previous post on using GarageBand to record playing a real instrument.
How to connect two microphones to GarageBand
GarageBand only recognizes one input, but it can record from two separate devices. You just have to make the program think that the two connections are one. Here’s how to do it.
1. Open Finder and choose Go Utilities, or press Command + Shift + U with Finder open.
2. Open the Audio MIDI Setup application.
3. In the lower left corner of the screen, tap “+”.
4. Select Create Aggregate Device.
5. When you do this, the new aggregate device appears in the list above. Double-click the device name to rename it.
6. With this device selected, you will see a list of all available audio devices in the Audio Devices window. Select the inputs you want to use. You must select the two microphones you want to use, but pay attention to the order in which you select them. The order in which they are checked determines the order in which the system will view the inputs.
7. If you select multiple devices, you will have the option to select the synchronization source. Without going into technical details, this will be the audio input that the time is based on. Select the source with the most reliable clock rate.
8. After selecting the two microphones to be used, exit the Audio MIDI setup.
Choose an aggregate device in GarageBand
Now that you’ve created an aggregate device, it’s time to return to GarageBand and select the device you want.
1. Go to File New and select the type of project you want to use.
2. Look in the lower left corner and click the arrow next to the “Details” box.
3. Click Input Device and select an aggregate device from the list.
4. Select the output device you want to use. Note: you do not want to use the built-in output as it may distort the sound when recording. Use headphones or another output source instead.
5. Click Select.
6. Then go to GarageBand Preferences and select Audio / MIDI.
7. Select “Aggregate Input” from the “Input Device” menu.
8. From there, return to the GarageBand screen and press the Smart Controls button (or just press the B key).
9. From the Smart Controls menu, select Login and select Aggregate Device from the list if not already selected.
At this point, you should be set up and ready to record from two microphones. However, there are a few more problems that can arise. If you have two identical USB microphones, it can be difficult to get the computer to recognize them as separate devices because their digital signatures are identical. It can be easier using different types of microphones.
If you try to record and find that one of the microphones is not working, don’t make the mistake we made and repeat every step above – at least from the beginning. The first step is to make sure the second microphone is on. Congratulations and good luck with your recording.