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I have a guitar track that I accidentally recorded in stereo. I can't find anywhere in garageband to change it to mono after the fact. Is this possible?

Panning the guitar track to the right silences the track, but if it's panned all the way to the left it's full.

Any ideas?

11 Answers 11

7

This was driving me mad, but I now use an very smooth way based on JHerran's answer. It has the virtue of only requiring Garageband and is quick.

N.B. I assume your track has a single region: if not you will have to shift-click to select all the regions in the track that you want to convert.

  1. Click on the track that you want to convert. The single region should automatically be highlighted.
  2. Command-D or >Track>New Track with duplicate settings to create a new track
  3. Command-V to paste the original regions to the new track
  4. Shift-Click on the original region(s) to highlight it again
  5. Command-J to join the regions, select "Mono" for the mix-down
  6. The mix-down will replace the original stereo track - you can now click on the temporary track and Delete it.
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  • I think this method will sum the L and R tracks, which could lead to clipping. – wisbucky Apr 11 at 22:20
  • This was a pretty straightforward technique but I would add one step which is to drag the level (volume) slider of the second (duplicated) track all the way to zero, ensuring that you don't sum the two tracks (resulting in 150% volume). – Tom Auger Sep 12 at 17:14
5

There's a command line approach to this that, once you get it all set up, is a little more straightforward.

First you need to install Homebrew, the best package manager for OS X out there. Open up Terminal and type:

ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL https://raw.githubusercontent.com/Homebrew/install/master/install)"

With Homebrew installed you can install all kinds of cool command line tools using the brew command. We're going to use it to install sox, "the Swiss Army knife of sound processing programs":

brew install sox

With sox installed we can split our audio file in to two mono tracks with one simple command call. First, from GarageBand, export your stereo track to disk as a wav file. With the file on disk, open up a Terminal program and change to the location:

cd ~/Music/GarageBand/bounces/

And then run this sox to command to split the file in to two mono tracks, one for the left channel and another for the right channel:

sox My\ Song.wav My\ Song.L.wav remix 1
sox My\ Song.wav My\ Song.R.wav remix 2

sox will keep the WAV settings the same as the source material so you should be able to, quite easily, drag and drop these split files back in to GarageBand as mono tracks.

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  • +1 for the uber geeky solution. But seriously, wouldn't it be infinitely simpler (and less fun) for 99% of computer users to just open the stereo file in QuickTime or iTunes or any simple sound app and export it as a mono file instead? I guess then they wouldn't learn anything though... – Benjamin R Nov 24 '14 at 20:27
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    @BenjaminR but think of all they learn this way. :) sox is a super useful tool if you're in to audio production. – Ian C. Nov 24 '14 at 21:58
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2017: it’s in the Track controls (where the sends and reverb and stuff are, double-click on the track header) next to where it says “No Input” (or possibly input, depending on what you have set up). There are two intersecting circles. Click that and it becomes one circle. This works even AFTER recording, I just checked. Hope this helps! I made a little illustration because this took me WAY too long to find just now, even with the help of this thread. There are too many things in garageband that are buttons that do not look like buttons.

enter image description here

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  • Pretty sure this only affects NEW recordings, not tracks with existing stereo recordings you want to convert to mono. – Tom Auger Sep 12 at 17:21
1

Found the answer here

Pan the GarageBand track to one side, and export to iTunes via the Share menu. Next, in iTunes, set iTunes' importing preference to the format you want, and mono, Select the song in iTunes and choose the "Create [format] Version" menuItem from the advanced menu. Repeat the steps panning the other way if you want the other channel as a mono file as well.

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1

I found an easy way,

  1. Record your stereo track (the one that can only can pan to one side).
  2. Record another track but set all the controls to the minimum levels (Gain, track volume, etc.) the track can be recorded with silence.
  3. Select both passages and join them ( + J) GB will show and option to join the tracks in mono!
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1

Select the track. Go to edit (click the i in the bottom right to open all the effects and such). On the bottom where it says "Input Source" change to Mono.

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  • 1
    It sounds like you're describing how to record a new track in mono, but the OP was asking about how to convert an existing stereo track to mono. – Ian Dunn Jun 4 '17 at 22:01
  • Can you walk me through how to do that? If I select Edit at the top, I don't see any "i" to click. The bottom right of where? – Josh Rachlis Feb 15 at 23:15
  • @JoshRachlis That's a rather old answer, the poster may not be active on the site any longer. If you can't get it to work, please use the Ask Question button to ask a new question and include a link to the post here for reference. – nohillside Feb 16 at 9:28
1

Here is a quick way in GarageBand. Specifically, I needed to create a stereo track out of a mono/video track. Dragging or importing the track into GarageBand did not allow the track to pan. But, by creating an audio/vocal track in GB, then dragging my mono/video track into that lane, it allowed some level of panning. So, I duplicated my first track, to add even more stereo simulation by lessening the more dominant track to balance out the weak one. It’s mono by making stereo; maybe? I hope this helps.

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1

Another really simple option (if you have a spare Plugin slot free) is to apply the "Gain" plugin set to Mono.

Steps:

  1. Click on the track you want to convert to activate it
  2. Open the Track Controls (that's the one where you can see the knobs for Compressor, EQ etc)
  3. Scroll that bottom window down (on the left-hand side) and you'll find the "Plug-in" section.
  4. Choose a plugin you're not using (it will be black or empty) and click on the little up/down arrows next to that plugin to select a new plugin to replace it
  5. Go to Utility > Gain
  6. Now click again on that plugin slot, but in the middle this time to open the Plugin controls
  7. Using the pull-down menu on the Gain plugin control, choose "Convert to Mono"
  8. You should be good to go!

If you DON'T have a plugin spot you can spare (if you're using all 4) then use the accepted answer to bounce your track down to mono.

enter image description here

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1

I find Tom Auger's suggestion of using the Gain plug-in to convert to mono the cleanest and simplest method. After doing this I export the track and then re-import it to make sure its mono status is baked in and that it looks like a mono track as you work with it.

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otherwise, for older GB version : export the track to audio; load it into the audacity free software, there go into the Track menu, then -> Stereo to mono. Now File -> Export audio ... choose AIFF (Apple...) save it on your desktop. Now drag the icon on you desktop to an empty GB track that will be mono then =no more problem.

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download Tipard All Music Converter and when exporting the original stereo file select settings and choose mono. This will blend whatever is on the R & L sides into the same output on each sides of the new file.

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