How to Edit Audio in GarageBand

The Audio Editor in GarageBand for Mac is a great feature to help you edit your recordings and projects. You can also edit audio in the iOS version of the app right within the main track window, although you don’t have quite as much control. 

I’ve been actively recording, writing, and producing music for years, and I have a lot of experience working with GarageBand. I’ve edited hundreds of projects and know the tools and features the app provides to help you edit. 

This post will show you how to edit audio in GarageBand. I’ll show you how to access the Audio Editor and use this to your advantage as you edit. I’ll also walk you through the steps to edit in GarageBand on your iPhone. 

Let’s get to it. 

Key Takeaways

  • Editing audio is critical to recording and producing music projects, so you should take the time to understand the basic functions and features within GarageBand that help you accomplish this. 
  • The macOS version of GarageBand gives you more editing tools and capabilities than the iOS version. 
  • Everyone finds their unique process for editing audio, but the tools and concepts you use are generally the same. 

The Basics of Audio Editing

Before getting into how to edit audio in GarageBand specifically, I wanted to touch on some general basics of audio editing. This will give you a better understanding of how to use the tools and features I’ll point you to in the following sections. 

Focus on the Recording First

One of the best tips I’ve ever learned about editing audio is to focus on capturing a good recording before you start to edit. This will save you a ton of time and effort in the long run because it’s much easier to polish a good track than one that needs a lot of work. 

Using quality equipment such as microphones or instruments is a solid start for getting a good  recording. But you also want to make sure that you choose a take that is close to being perfect, so there isn’t as much to edit down the road. 

Understand the Waveform

Every edit you make applies to the waveform of the recorded audio track or project you are editing. The more you understand the waveforms you are working with, the better you will become at editing them during the process. 

The audio editor in GarageBand, which we’ll look at in the sections below, gives you an up-close and personal look at the waveforms. And you’ll use the tools and features to make edits that impact it. 

The Playhead

The Playhead is the line indicating where you are currently working in the project. You need to become familiar with moving and adjusting the playhead to ensure all of your edits are precise and in the proper location. 

Moving the playhead around is as simple as dragging your mouse. It’s very intuitive but something you should also keep an eye on during the recording and editing process. 

Undo Command

Make sure you memorize the Undo command when doing edits in GarageBand on your Mac. This will undo the previous actions you made, and you can do it by pressing the Command and Z keys at the same time. 

You won’t always make the edits you want, and sometimes even professional audio engineers make mistakes. So having the power to quickly and easily undo a change is very useful during the editing process. 

Take Your Time

Audio editing can be a tedious project, and you never want to rush through things. You might need to listen to one section or even one note over and over again to get it dialed in just right. Even if it’s painstaking, you always want to take your time.

If you move too fast through an editing project, you will likely miss things that you’ll have to return to later on. You’ll get faster as you gain experience, but you don’t want to make it a race, or the final result will suffer.    

How to Edit Audio in GarageBand Mac

Editing audio in GarageBand on Mac is easy when you use the Audio Editor tool. This gives you quick access to all of the tools, features, plug-ins, and anything else you want to use during the editing process. It also gives you a close-up look at the waveform you are editing. 

To edit audio in GarageBand on your Mac using the Audio Editor, follow these steps: 

1. Open the GarageBand app. 

2. Open the project you want to edit. 

3. Double click on the track you want to edit. This will bring up the Audio Editor window at the bottom of the screen. 

(Screenshot taken in GarageBand on my Mac)

4. With the audio editor open, you can make any edits to the waveform. You can click on the Track or Region tabs to see features such as Pitch Correction and Transposition, which allows you to edit how the track sounds. 

5. Scroll to the right of the track to see some other editing options a the end of the window. Click on the track to see the Loop and Length Adjustment features. You can click on the icons at the end of the region to length or shorten the part. 

(Screenshot taken in GarageBand on my Mac)

Quick Note: You can also make editing adjustments without using the Audio Editor window, but I like to use it because it gives you a more detailed look at the waveform, allowing for better edits.

How to Edit Audio in GarageBand iPhone

You can also edit audio in GarageBand on your iPhone, but you won’t have as much control over the waveform as you will in GarageBand for Mac. But it’s still good to know how to make edits if you are working.

To edit audio in GarageBand on your iPhone, follow these steps:

1. Open the GarageBand app on your iPhone. 

2. Open the project you want to edit. 

3. You can perform basic edits right from the main window. Tap on the track you want to edit, and you can use slide the region to loop, lengthen, or shorten it. 

4. Tap on the track again to pull up more editing options. You’ll see editing options pop up such as Delete, Loop, Split, and Edit. 

(Screenshot taken in GarageBand on my iPhone)

5. Select any of these options to make edits to the selected track. To make further edits, you can tap on the track again and select another option. 

How to Cut Audio in GarageBand

Cutting an audio track is one of the most common edits you’ll make in GarageBand. It’s a simple task to perform on both your Mac and iPhone, but the process for doing it is a bit different on each. 

Cutting is also known as trimming or splitting, and it allows you to trim a specific track to any given length or cut it into several tracks that you can separate from one another. 

Check out my post that details the trimming and splitting process if you want to learn all the necessary steps to help with your editing. 

Final Thoughts

There are many ways to edit audio in GarageBand, and the tips and suggestions in this post are just the tip of the iceberg. They will get you pointed in the right direction with your edits, and you can build your skills from there. 

Editing is a very important aspect of home recording, so you should take the time to learn how to do it. These skills will help you become a better musician, and you can improve the quality of everything you record along the way. 

Do you have any tips or tricks to help edit audio that I didn’t mention in this post? Let me know in the comments below.

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