We built an incredible podcast studio with state-of-the-art digital mixers and studio-quality microphones. I’m not running any special software, though. I bring the mixer output directly into Garageband, where I record each microphone input to an independent track.
Even with my mixer output via USB maximized, the audio doesn’t come in at a reasonable volume. Within Garageband, I can increase the volume of each track, but then I don’t have room to adjust each in relation to one another in my post-production process.
Here’s what the audio looks like when it’s recorded. You can see the extreme difference between the two audio tracks up top and our professionally produced intros, ads, and outros below. There isn’t enough room in the settings to make adjustments.
Garageband has a feature that I both love and hate – normalization. If you love controlling the output volume of your podcast using Garageband, you’re going to hate it. Normalization takes over on export and adjusts your volumes to optimize (questionable) for playback.
In the case above, though, we can use normalization to our advantage. If you mute all but a single track and export the individual track as an AIFF file (AIFF files are uncompressed and can preserve the original audio quality) and do that for each track, they will be normalized on export. Then you can delete your audio within each track in your project and re-import the outputted, normalized audio file.
Here’s the result:
Now look at the audio on each of the vocal tracks (the first two). They now match one another’s volume and can be adjusted easily in relation to the intros, ads, outros, and each other. I hope this helps you as much as it’s helped me!
Update: We eventually purchased some Cloudlifters to amplify the microphone outputs, and they corrected this issue!