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Setting Sound Input Lines in GarageBand in iLife ’11

One of the major perks of GarageBand in iLife 11' is the recording features. Before you can start your rock and roll career, you need to assign the sound input. To assign sound input to your Mac’s built-in microphone, or to its line-in connection for recording with GarageBand in iLife from an external microphone or an electric instrument with a line-level output, follow these steps:

  1. For a line-in connection, connect your instrument, microphone, or sound source to the line-in connection on your Mac.

    If you don’t have a line-in connection, you can use a USB audio input device.

  2. Choose System Preferences from the Apple menu in Mac OS X.

    The System Preferences window appears with icons—separated into sections—for setting preferences.

  3. Click the Sound icon in the Hardware section to open the Sound pane, and click the Input tab.

    The Sound pane’s Input pane appears.

  4. Select Line In or Internal Microphone from the list of sound input devices.

    The change takes place immediately, by activating the line-in connection or internal microphone.

  5. Quit System Preferences by choosing System Preferences→Quit (or click the red Close button in the upper left corner).

    Setting up the Mac’s line-in connection for recording.
    Setting up the Mac’s line-in connection for recording.

To set the volume level for sound input, follow these steps:

  1. Start playing the instrument you’re recording or start singing/talking into the built-in mic.

    The internal microphone or line-in connection is always on and detecting sound.

  2. Watch the Input Level meter on the Input tab.

    As the volume grows louder, the oblong purple dots are highlighted from left to right. If all dots are highlighted all the time, you’re way too hot (too loud). If none of the dots is even highlighted, you’re way too low. You want the dots to be highlighted about three-fourths of the way across, from left to right, for optimal input volume.

  3. To adjust the volume, drag the Input Volume slider.

You can still record from an audio interface, a line-in connection, or an internal mic while your system sound preferences are set differently. Choose GarageBand→Preferences and click the Audio/MIDI button to see the Audio/MIDI pane. You can then set the audio input to Built-In Microphone, Built-in Line Input, or System Setting (to reflect whatever you set your system sound preferences is set to). You can also set the audio output to Built-in Output or System Settings.

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