Garageband convert.

I’ve been using Garageband for years but suddenly it’s refusing to export my finished tracks to the HD, a problem I see that a multitude of other users are wrestling with and for which there appears no reliable fix.
So, ever resourceful, I decided to switch to Audacity.
What I find now is that whereas everything was whisper quiet in Garageband I’m encountering a lot of background noise with Audacity. Whether I try the built-in microphone or my usual setup of a Zoom H4 in USB microphone mode there’s a lot of white noise.
I know how to use Noise Reduction, I’m just perplexed that in Garageband it sounds almost studio quality and in Audacity it’s awful!
Any clues why, or what I could do to fix it?
Thanks for your help.

it’s refusing to export my finished tracks

Which are what? Music performance?

Zoom H4 in USB microphone mode

H4 built-in microphones?

Do you get the same problems if you use the H4 built-in microphones in stand-alone and transfer the sound files later? I’m interested in whether the H4 will run not connected to anything else.

Nothing leaps to mind, but that sometimes means you have more than one problem.


Thanks for your response, Koz.
It could have been me playing music but today it was spoken word, I was recording a hypnotherapy track for someone.
It’s 4:15am currently so I won’t check the H4 stand-alone right now but I do know that I encountered the same problem using the built-in microphone and also trying both microphone methods on my wife’s laptop.

One of the troubleshooting techniques is to split the system into pieces and see if the pieces all do what they’re supposed to.

And just to be a bucket of cold water, it’s not that unusual for a comfortable, old, legacy system to work terrifically well and that’s the last time you get that lucky. Defects are not always evil.


I haven’t had time to check the Zoom on its own yet, Koz, away from home too much, but I did try the same setup on my wife’s laptop, running off battery in case there was interference from the mains electricity. Both using the Zoom mics through usb and the built-in laptop mic and there’s still that continual background noise. I know I can get rid of most of it with Noise Reduction but that does subtly alter the finished sound of the vocals.

And that doesn’t alter the fact that GarageBand is whisper quiet on the same machine, using the same setup! Grrrrr… it’s so frustrating! :unamused:

So this topic is nothing to do with converting GarageBand files :confused:

I’m trying to understand what you are trying to describe, but I’m struggling to form a clear mental picture.

Is the problem that the recording level is very high when recording with Audacity and very low when recording with GarageBand, or is the problem only to do with background noise? If the latter, is that background noise hiss (only), or some other kind of noise or combination of noises?

So this topic is nothing to do with converting GarageBand files

That was a poor choice of topic titles.

The problem seems to be a Garageband recording is much quieter than an Audacity recording without changing the microphone system. More than one microphone system.

I think Garageband may be “broken.” I think Garageband is applying environment management or some other cleaning process. Audacity doesn’t apply anything and that recording is normal and works just like everybody else’s does.

Yes, it could be an ordinary volume problem but I wouldn’t put a lot of money on it. It doesn’t “feel” right. I really wanted to hear an H4 completely divorced from the computer.

I’m not a fan of Garageband. It makes too many assumptions about what you want and I wouldn’t be shocked if it was helping in the background. Oddly, Garageband’s success in this case is causing problems.


Is that “much quieter overall” (everything that is recorded) or “much less hiss” (but similar recording level)?

whisper quiet in Garageband I’m encountering a lot of background noise with Audacity.

That appears to be classic “cellphone” real-time noise reduction. This would make sense, since Garageband’s goal is to record your musical performance, not record what’s there with strict purity.

Further tests are indicated.


OK so here are some sound files to demonstrate my problem.

Here’s the Zoom H4 recording direct:

Then the Zoom used as a microphone only, recording into:


And then without changing anything, merely switching to record via:


And Audacity using Noise Reduction:

I guess I’m lazy and like the idea of GB doing all the work for me behind the scenes. And I think the finished sound is better, kinder to my ears anyway. The extra bass, if that’s what it is, sounds more “studio-like” more polished to me.

But it looks like I’m going to have to get used to Audacity (therefore I think of myself as a convert, hence the thread title) because of it’s more reliable export function.

Thanks for your help and attention.