Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Note to Garageband Users: Export Song to Disk ADDS DISTORTION

I have been supremely stumped by a problem with Garageband: The projects sound clean when played back within Garageband, but the AAC/m4a files created under Share/Export Song to Disk sound absolutely horrible due to added distortion. I'm not talking about the usual audio quality loss due to compression from the project to AAC/m4a, but a huge amount of distortion which is especially noticeable in the lower registers.

Well, I have found a workaround: Instead of Share/Export Song to Disk, which creates the AAC/m4a file directly from the Garageband project, use Share/Send Song to iTunes. The song will then arrive in iTunes as an uncompressed AIFF file, which sounds just as perfect as the playback from within the Garageband project. At that point - in iTunes - go to Advanced/Create AAC Version and the song will be duplicated from the AIFF version to an AAC/m4a file. No more distortion! You can then drag and drop the AAC file from iTunes to your desktop, which effectively duplicates it, as the original stays in iTunes. Yeah, it's quite a few steps, but the AAC conversions Garageband does are so bad as to be unusable.

For some reason, Garageband does not convert from a project directly to AAC/m4a worth a darn, but iTunes does just fine converting from AIFF to AAC. No, I have no idea why, and yes, it is very un-Apple like.

Since this has been driving me crazy FOR SEVERAL MONTHS, I thought I'd put my solution on the intertubes for anyone else who is having this problem. I had actually gone back to Protools LE and even set up Cubase LE because of this problem, so it's nice to be back on Easy Street with Garageband: If you just record solo stereo guitar, you don't need the complexity of Protools or Cubase, not to mention the hardware limitations of Protools.

Now I can get back to my recording project!

5 Comments:

Blogger Minicapt said...

Will this project improve on "Chinese Democracy"?

Cheers

4:57 AM  
Anonymous Dan O said...

This has been driving me crazy for only days, not months. Thanks for sharing. I'd been to so many boards, and not once did I -- or anyone else -- think of this as something to test! And why would we?

Infuriatingly, everything I did, while it did nothing to diminish it, changed the distortion each time, which spurred me to keep trying new things in vain.

9:48 AM  
Anonymous Dan O said...

This has been driving me crazy for only days, but I thought I'd offer my warmest thanks for sharing. I'd been to so many boards, and not once did I -- or anyone else -- think of this as something to test! And why would we?

Infuriatingly, everything I did, while it did nothing to diminish it, changed the distortion each time, which spurred me to keep trying new things in vain. Over and over and over.

9:53 AM  
Blogger Bicky Wicky said...

I've been working on an Opera/Piano track and have come accross the same problem. It's as clear as a whistle in garage band but then distorted in itunes. I've done what you've suggested but still the same problem. Any other suggestions? I've played around with the export settings further but no luck so far.

Much appreciated

3:02 PM  
Blogger Hucbald said...

I think it may be different versions of OS X and iTunes. I get the distortion in OS X 10.5, but not in 10.4.11, which I have on my oldest Macbook Pro. It actually has the old 2006 version of iTunes, which seems to work perfectly.

I just got a new Mac Pro with 10.7.5, and I haven't tried it out yet, but right now, I send the Encore file from my Mac Pro to my Macbook Pro, and make the MIDI file there. Then I put it into iTunes on the Macbook Pro and make the AAC version (I have lots of soundfonts to choose from there). The Macbook Pro/iTunes 2006 combo also makes perfect AAC files out of the exported audio recordings from Garageband.

I also went ahead and got the entire Garageband sound set for the macbook Pro, so I plan to try that out too.

Maybe I'll do another post on this topic, because a LOT of people contact me with this problem.

Cheers,

George

4:26 PM  

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