How to Make a Voice Recording on a Mac

By David Wayne

All new Macs include GarageBand, an application that records audio from a microphone or instrument preamp. While iMacs and Macbooks have built-in omni-directional microphones, a Mac Pro requires an external microphone to record audio. Although GarageBand includes advanced mixing, recording and effects capabilities, recording your voice is simple and doesn't require special knowledge or experience. When creating a new GarageBand project, the software walks you through the steps to select your microphone input and record a vocal track. After recording a track, GarageBand enables you to edit the audio and add enhancements.

Things You'll Need

  • Microphone

Step 1

Connect your microphone to a USB or audio input slot on your computer if using a Mac Pro.

Step 2

Open GarageBand and select “Empty Project” from the New Project window. By default, a new audio recording project is selected, and your default microphone is specified in the Input section. Click “Create” to start the project.

Step 3

Deselect the “Metronome” and “Count In” options in the toolbar. When these options are active, they're highlighted in purple. Disabling them prevents the metronome from clicking during your recording and makes the recording start right away instead of waiting four beats.

Step 4

Click “Record” and speak into your microphone. When you're done recording, click “Stop.” Listen to the track by left-clicking and dragging the play head to a section of the audio and then clicking “Play.”

Step 5

Click the “Scissor” icon to open the editing window if you need to remove or redo a section of the recording. In the editing window, left-click and drag over the section you want to remove, then press “Delete” on the keyboard. This action removes the selected portion and splits the remaining track into two sections.

Step 6

Drag the play head to a location where you want to add new audio. For example, drag it to the beginning of the deleted part of the track. Click “Record” to re-record that portion and click “Stop” when you're finished.

Step 7

Click “Track Info” and select “Vocal” to see a list of vocal effects. Choose “Female Basic,” “Female Speech,” “Male Basic” or “Male Speech” to apply a subtle reverb effect to the vocal track. After adding reverb to the track, click “Play” to preview the effect.

Step 8

Click “Share” and select “Export Song to Disk.” Choose “AAC” or “MP3” from the Compress Using menu and select a quality level from the Audio Settings menu. Click “Export,” then name the recording, choose a disk location and click “Save.”

Tips & Warnings

  • You may also want to try the free audio recording program Audacity (link in Resources). It doesn't offer as many editing features or built-in effects as GarageBand, but recording and exporting a vocal track is somewhat simpler. Use the Record and Stop buttons to record your vocals, then click “File” and “Export as WAV” to save the file to disk.
  • To send audio output from other applications to GarageBand or Audacity, install SoundFlower (link in Resources). This application enables you to combine several sounds into one track, for example, if you're recording a podcast. In the source application's settings, select “SoundFlower” as the output device, then choose “SoundFlower” as the input device for a new GarageBand or Audacity track. SoundFlower appears in an application's Settings menu as an input alternative to your microphone and an output alternative to your sound card.
  • Information in this article applies to OS X 10.9 and GarageBand 10. It may vary slightly or significantly with other versions or products.