Creating a Podcast Using GarageBand

The iTunes Podcast directory is a tempting offer. Without much effort, you can get your voice out to thousands of people. Of course, if your podcast doesn’t reek of quality (both in terms of content and presentation) no one will pay attention. The content part only you can figure out, but if its quality you want, GarageBand provides an easy solution.

I’m going to show you how to create a technically sound, professional quality podcast that you can share either using an iWeb site, or through any other iTunes compatible RSS feed.

On launching GarageBand, select “New Podcast”. This will enable the podcast track, essential for chaptering your file. GarageBand will then load up a familiar track based arrangement, but there are some extra features geared for creating podcasts.

Let’s Get Recording!

If you don’t have an audio clip recorded yet, you can record it directly in GarageBand. Click on the Male or Female voice track, and press the record button. If you don’t see the volume meter bouncing up, change your audio input in the GarageBand preferences. Of course, if you are recording two voices over the internet, I’d suggest you use Skype or iChat to have the conversation, while recording your voices in Quicktime or GarageBand. Once that is done you can just drag and drop tracks into the track mixer.

Recording a Podcast with GarageBand

Recording a Podcast with GarageBand

Cutting and Hacking

You will of course need to edit out certain bits of your recording. For larger edits, place your track head at the place you want to cut out and hit Cmd+T. Do the same for the end, and then delete that clip. You can also make finer adjustments using the Track editor, where the wavelengths are shown much bigger.

Jingles and Effects

GarageBand comes with some nifty jingles and effects you can use for your podcast. Choose Control » Show Loop Browser (Cmd+L) and you can find a variety of useful sounds. Try some of these as a background score, start/end soundtracks, and use the effects to bring some life in an otherwise. All you need to do is drag and drop them into the track mixer.

Cleaning Noise

If you’re using the built in mic, or getting the audio from a noisy source, it’s best you clean it up first. While GarageBand doesn’t feature a dedicated noise cleaning tool, you can use some effects to bring down some noise. Select your voice track, and bring up the Track info in your sidebar (Cmd + i). Click on the Edit tab, and click one of the grey boxes to add an effect. Choose “Treble Reducation”. You can choose from the high, medium, low options, or even go in for the manual setting. You can tune the settings live while the track is playing to get a feel for what the effect is doing.

Reducing Noice

Reducing Noice


No, this is not an iPhone typo. Ducking is giving preference to certain tracks, while toning down others. You may have a steady background track but want it to drown out and let the voices be heard when people are speaking. You give the voice tracks preference, while ducking the background track. GarageBand by default will automatically unduck the voice tracks and duck the Jingles and Stingers.

The Ducking Technique

The Ducking Technique

The Podcast Track

Right at the top, you will notice the podcast track. This is where all your track metadata is stored. Click on it to load it up in the track editor at the bottom. Drag in your podcast artwork (make sure it’s a square image). Edit the podcast details in the Track info panel (Track » Show Track Info). All this info will show in the iTunes podcast directory.

Adding Chapters

Move your track head to where you want a chapter to begin, and click “Add Marker”. You can drag in artwork for each track, as well as specify URLs for people to click through. For instance, if you want people to refer to a weburl while you’re talking about something, add that in to the chapter. Go on adding chapters till you reach the end. If you don’t add any artwork for a chapter it will display the default podcast artwork.

Adding Chapter Markers

Adding Chapter Markers

Exporting it

If you have an iWeb site, everything is taken care of. Just hit Share » Export, and the podcast will be sent to your iWeb site ready to be published. If you have something like a WordPress blog on the other hand, you will need to use a podcasting tool like Podpress to get a podcast into your RSS feed. Just hit Share » Export to disk and choose an appropriate quality setting.

To test out your chapters, play the file in iTunes. You should be able to switch chapters using the Chapters menu in the menubar. That’s it. Pretty simple wasn’t it?

If you manage a podcast created in GarageBand, please feel free to leave a link in the comments so we can check it out!