MacMost Now 539: Multiple Mics With GarageBand

You can record multiple microphones each into its own track in GarageBand. First you must set up an aggregate device using the Audio MIDI Setup utility. Then you need to enable multitrack recording in GarageBand and give each track a channel from the aggregate device. To get all microphones working well it takes some trial and error.

Comments: 43 Responses to “MacMost Now 539: Multiple Mics With GarageBand”

    Crystal
    8 years ago

    This video was incredibly helpful, thank you very much. It worked well for me. The tip about changing the audio input setting in GB to reset was particularly helpful.

    James
    8 years ago

    Thanks Gary. I’ve been sweating about making this work and switching the resample options is helpful. Do you have any advice about two Blue Snowflake mics becoming awful and electronic after a few minutes? Any help would be great.

      8 years ago

      Sorry, I don’t use those. Haven’t heard anything but good things about them, though.

      Bob
      7 years ago

      James – Did you ever figure this out? I have the same problem with my new Blue Snowball microphone. After a few minutes, I hear a lot of distortion or something. I usually have to unplug then plug back in to get it sounding ok again.

        Gerald
        7 years ago

        I’ve had the same problem twice. After recording, I always give what was recorded a quick listen through. The audio becomes distorted, echo like, very unbearable to listen to. I have two Yeti mics connected directly into my Mac. Has anyone figured it out?

    Jamm
    8 years ago

    Got 2 Yeti Blue mics and I’m using Garageband ’08. Isn’t working. Any advice? Do I have to update my Garageband? Both Mics seem to show 2 input and 2 output devices. Very confusing.

      8 years ago

      It should work with 08 (but why not upgrade anyway?).
      Did you create the aggregate device?

    Jamm
    8 years ago

    Yes, I did everything you said but the kicker is when I open up the Aggregate Device Editor each Yeti mic shows up as 2 “In” and 2 “Out”. I’ve followed your instructions thoroughly but can’t seem to get the 2 mics on 2 seperate tracks. Seems easy enough but…

    btw, thanks for the quick reply

      8 years ago

      Not sure. Hard to advise without being able to try it myself. 2 in means that they are stereo mics. But you should still be able to do this. Experiment and play around with it.

    Jamm
    8 years ago

    Thanks Gary. Wanted to mention the reason there are 2 outputs is because there is a headphones jack on the Yeti mic itself, which I’m assuming is in stereo as well.
    I think I might upgrade garageband through my ipad – its cheaper

      8 years ago

      Note that GarageBad for the iPad and GarageBand for the Mac are two different apps. They do different things. You can do a lot more with the Mac app than with the iPad app. But there are some fun things you can do with the iPad app as well.

    Jamm
    8 years ago

    All I want to do is record a conversation between 2 to 3 people on seperate mics. Is this possible through the ipad version?

      8 years ago

      Not without more hardware (a mixing board). And probably some special way to connect the board to the iPad via USB (no audio in besides the headphone jack). I’m not sure it is possible at all on the iPad unless someone has come out with a special connector and board specifically for this.

    Mike
    7 years ago

    I’d like to record vocals and an acoustic guitar simultaneously in GB. Does it matter if the two mic’s are mono or stereo? I haven’t bought the mic’s yet but if I know what would be best it would at least help me know what I am looking for.

      7 years ago

      Mono or stereo shouldn’t make a difference. But it is hard to use two independent mics (two USB connections) to record music. If one is .1 seconds slower than the other in converting the analog audio to digital, then your recording will be bad.
      Instead, I would get a USB mixing board to do it properly. Two mics go into it, one USB out. The audio is in sync.

    Helene
    7 years ago

    Is there a way to do this with Garageband ’06?

    Steve Podraza
    7 years ago

    Hey Gary! Great Video!
    Question: So I have two USB microphone headsets. Both work perfectly. When I try to use both of them (both plugged into USB ports) ONLY one headset is recognized? I can’t get past the Aggregate Audio Step. Have any idea?

    Thanks

    Steve

      7 years ago

      If you have both plugged in, then both should be there.

        Brian
        7 years ago

        Same thing happening to me

    Tom
    7 years ago

    I set up my Aggregate device but it isn’t showing up as an option in the garage band settings. Any idea why?

    0gre
    7 years ago

    Great video.

    This may have solved some recording issues I am having right now.

    Thank you!

    Patrick
    7 years ago

    I DID IT! I managed to record with two Blue Snowball microphones! Originally, I bought two of the same type of Blue Snowball mics – both brushed aluminum. When I went to plug them both in and set up in Audio/MIDI Setup, it would only read one mic, not both. However, I plugged in my friend’s white Blue Snowball mic and BOTH were able to be read by my MacBook Air! I guess it has something to do with thinking the two separate Blue Snowballs are the same mic because they’re both the same kind? I don’t know. Either way, I’m now recording with TWO mics instead of sharing ONE Blue Snowball microphone! HUZZAH!

    Nick
    7 years ago

    Hey Gary I need some help. I bought two Samson R21S Dynamic microphones, 2 3D USB Sound cards, and a USB hub. I’m trying to plug the two microphones into the sound cards, and the sound cards into the hub so I can record with multiple microphones. I couldn’t get them to work together so I figured I’d try one at a time. Going into System Preferences on my Mac and looking at Sound, I can’t get any levels off the microphones, even by themselves. Is there some setting in the computer I need to change in order to get the computer to hear the audio? Thanks.

      7 years ago

      I’d try to contact the manufacturer for support. Maybe you have bad units.

        Nick
        7 years ago

        The microphones are bad or the sound cards are bad?

          7 years ago

          Impossible for me to say. I’,m not quite sure what you mean by sound cards — a card is something you would plug into a Mac Pro or a PC tower, but you say you are plugging them into USB? So they are really USB audio interfaces? I’d start by contacting the maker of those.

            Nick
            7 years ago

            I’ve decided my hook up is too complicated. I’m going to return everything and start fresh. Have you heard anything good about Samson Go mics? I’m making a cartoon and need to record voices, and I don’t have much money to spend. I found them on Amazon for $40.

              7 years ago

              Haven’t heard anything about them. Maybe consider a USB headset. It keeps the mic the same distance from your mouth while you move. It gets in the way when doing video, but for non-video it works best.

                Nick
                7 years ago

                Do you have any recommendations for USB headsets. I really want it to have a good microphone, but again, I can’t spend too much. I need to get two of them.

                  7 years ago

                  There are a lot and I haven’t really reviewed them. The one I have is a Plantronics and it might be the best mic I have. I think I spent about $100 on it, but they have cheaper models too. Mic quality is important (Pros often say that the most important part of video is audio) so I would try to get as good quality as you can.

    Bryan
    7 years ago

    Hey Gary, is there a way to do this with xlr mics through an audio mixer? I have 2 xlr mics, and I also need a way to connect my iPhone to the board. I have a mono cable for the iPhone that runs into my input 3 on the board, but Garageband keeps saying that I need a different input channel.

      7 years ago

      Depends on the board. There are those specifically made for this sort of thing. I’d ask an audio/board expert to recommend one.

    Rod
    7 years ago

    Thanks for the tip about putting the stereo input device first in the aggregate list. I had put my Apogee Mic first, Scarlett 2i2 second and was getting very frustrated trying to record a stereo piano track with the Scarlett. Problem solved!

    David
    6 years ago

    Hey. Same problem as a few other people….

    2 Yeti Pro mics (using USB, converting to XLR soon)

    MacBook Air only recognizes one at a time.

    Which ever is plugged in last, that is the one the Macbook Air recognizes.

    Would like to troubleshoot with out having to buy a new mic or usb mixer. I’ll buy both eventually, just not too soon.

    Thanks.

      6 years ago

      Did you try the “aggregate device” method in the video?
      Have you tried contacting the manufacturer? They may have some advice.

    David
    6 years ago

    Wrote the manufacturer. Waiting to hear back.

    Tried the “aggregate device,” but again, the system only recognizes one — which ever is plugged in last. If I unplug the second, it will default to the first. Plug the second back in and thats the one the system picks up.

    Hoping the manufacturer, Blue, has a better solution than “buy a mixer” which I’m going to do, but after the holidays.

    Steve
    6 years ago

    I followed the video and it doesn’t work with 3 mics. I have 3 Samson meteor mics and have successfully set it up with 2, but when I try all 3 it doesn’t work. Do you have any idea why?

      6 years ago

      Impossible to say without troubleshooting it first-hand. Try different things. Experiment. Consult with an expert in person, maybe.

    David
    6 years ago

    Hey Gary,

    Pulled the trigger on an Alesis Multimix 8 USB FX Mixer. Coupled with the two Yeti Pro mics and using XLR — its sounds ok.

    Was wondering… anyway to get garageband to to pick up the two mics I have plugged into the mixer separately? In other words, Can the mics have their own tracks or will they converge into one track?

      6 years ago

      A good USB mixer will do exactly that. But I’m not sure about this one — I think you need the Firewire version for that. Check the specs and it should say.

    Will
    6 years ago

    I spent 30 minutes on the phone today with Apple support trying to find out how to get two mics recording in Garageband. I was told it was not possible and maybe it could feature in a updated version.

    Thanks to you, within 10 minutes I am up and running!!

    Many thanks!!

    Nathan
    6 years ago

    Thanks for the tutorial, it was very helpful for setting up my podcast for the first time.

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