Imaging & Panning, Mixing & Mastering

This is Why Your GarageBand Projects Suck

Written By : Andrew Siemon

If your GarageBand project isn’t sounding very good across multiple devices, one of the better ways to do something about it is to listen in mono. I’ll show you how to do that.

With your GarageBand project open, Hit ‘B’ on your keyboard to open the Smart Controls and select the Master Track. Open a plugin and choose “Utility” and then “Gain.” Bring the plugin’s “App Presets” up and choose “Convert to Mono.” Switch between Mono and Stereo repeatedly while mixing.

How to Convert Your Project to Mono While Mixing

As I explained in the YouTube video above, the number of listening devices available to the public nowadays has increased considerably.

We’re using Bluetooth AirPod Pros and portable Bluetooth speakers. Some people prefer wired headphones, while others use professional monitors, car and other vehicle audio systems, and concert sound systems. The list goes on.

Other than actually testing your mix across all of these devices (which is a great idea and something you should do), the “Gain” plugin’s “Convert to Mono” option is a great testing ground to ensure there’s no phase cancellation issues.

1) With Your Project Open, Hit “B” to Open the Smart Controls

1) With Your Project Open, Hit B to Open the Smart Controls
You also just hit the “Controls” button there to bring up this section.

In my opinion, the best way to bring up the Smart Controls is just with the “B” keyboard shortcut.

2) Choose the “Master” Track Option

2) Choose the Master Track Option
Then you can click on the “Master” option to bring up the Master Track.

The plugins selected here will affect everything in the workspace, not just an individual track.

3) Click A Plugin, Choose Utility & Then “Gain”

3) Click A Plugin, Choose Utility & Then Gain
Choose the “Utility” plugins and then “Gain.”

4) Open the Menu then “App Presets” > “Convert to Mono”

4) Open the Menu then App Presets  Convert to Mono
Then you want to select your “App Presets” within the Default Presets drop-down menu and choose “Convert to Mono.”

Why the developers chose all of these options to be in the “Gain” plugin and not the “Stereo Imaging” one is beyond me, but regardless, this is where you can find all this stuff.

5) Switch Between “Mono” & “Stereo” While Mixing

From here, I feel like it’s a wise thing to regularly switch back and forth between Mono and the default, Stereo, when you’re working on your music. Particularly during the mixing phase.

As I said earlier, this will ensure you don’t have phase cancellation issues, and it also gives you a much better idea of how things will sound on an iPhone speaker and other devices.

If you do run into issues with how things sound, it usually means you have to change the panning on some of your tracks. This is the easiest way to make the biggest difference.

If you have any other questions, don’t be afraid to drop a comment below. I’m also curious to hear any ideas for how to make a big improvement in your projects.

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Andrew Siemon is the principal creator of ProducerSociety.com, 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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