Recording, Workflow

The Secret to Better GarageBand Recordings

Written By : Andrew Siemon

The secret to better recordings in GarageBand or any DAW for that matter, is not some special compressor or EQ setting.

Cycling Option in GarageBand
The easiest way to instantly improve your recordings is to use the Cycling option by pressing ‘C’ on your keyboard and then selecting an area you’d like to repeat until you’ve perfected it.

How to Set Up Your Workflow for Better Recordings

As I explained in my video tutorial, the best way to improve the quality of your recordings is to record the absolute best take you possibly can.

This is why the Cycling option is so useful. You can re-record the same section repeatedly until you’ve got the one you want.

Additionally, you can merge (“comp” or composite is a more common word for this process) several takes together to form the perfect one.

1) Press ‘C’ on Your Keyboard to Enable the Cycling Option

Cycling Option in GarageBand  - 1
You can either press ‘C’ on your keyboard to enable the feature or click on the cycling button at the top of the DAW.

2) Select the Area You’d Like to Repeat

Selecting the Cycling Region
From there, you can use your mouse or trackpad to select the area where you want the recording to repeat.

It’s important to note that you can choose to enable the count-in feature or not.

I usually prefer to have the count-in as part of the process, otherwise the recording begins too quickly and I’m not ready for it.

In some cases, however, the count-in feature can test your patience so you may decide to deactivate it.

3) Record As Many Takes As You Need

Many Takes in GarageBand - Cycling
For this part of the process, just repeat until you have as many takes as you want. Usually 10 is enough for me.

The more takes you do, the better you’ll get at the section.

Additionally, it gives you more raw material to work with, after the fact, so you can do as I mentioned earlier and splice regions together.

4) Create New Tracks & Copy the Takes Onto the Tracks

Copy and Paste All Your Takes Onto New Tracks .jpg
For this process, I find it’s best to use the (Command + C) and (Command + V) feature in conjunction with the “Enter” key.

The Enter key will bring the playhead arrow back to the beginning of each track so the region isn’t pasted in a weird place. You can get more keyboard shortcuts here in my guide.

5) Right-Click the Region & Select the Desired Take

Selecting Your Takes
This part is important if you actually want to go through and hear what you’ve done for each take.

You can use the “Mute” button to silence takes you don’t want to hear, or you can use the Isolate button to isolate tracks.

6) Delete the Unused Takes on Each Track

Deleting Your Unwanted Takes.jpg
You don’t necessarily have to delete your takes.

But in my view, this eliminates rendering and processing time, because then your system doesn’t have to recall large amounts of data repeatedly.

7) Cut The Best Parts of Each Take to Form the Perfect One

This Is All One Recording .jpg
I would keep the regions on separate tracks, rather than splice all of them together on one track.

The reason is that it allows for more specificity.

You can have separate volume and plugin effects than the other tracks. This makes for easier editing and customization.

And that’s pretty much it for optimizing your recordings in GarageBand. The next best thing for ensuring better recordings is either a high quality audio interface, a vocal isolation booth, or premium guitar amp simulators.

Do you have any questions, comments, or concerns about this process? Feel free to ask any questions in the comment section below. If you have any tips to share, make sure to do so.

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Andrew Siemon is the principal creator of, a website dedicated to all things music, including music production, music theory, recording, and how to use the most popular DAWs. Starting out as a metal guitarist, Andrew has since moved into other areas of music production including hip-hop and fusion

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