Can You Use an Audio Interface with Garageband? (Answered)

By Bob •  Updated: 05/12/21 •  6 min read

Garageband is a fantastic audio recording software, and with the right equipment, you can record professional-sounding recordings.

Many people ask themselves when it comes to Garageband is whether or not they should use an audio interface for their computer.

This article will explore the benefits of using an audio interface and how it will help your music production skills grow!

Will an audio interface work with Garageband?

The answer lies in understanding what Garageband does and how it interfaces with your computer.

When you first open up Garageband on your Mac, iPad, or iPhone (depending on which device you’re using), the app will ask for permission to access your microphone and camera as well as any other input devices like USB microphones or MIDI keyboards connected via USB cables.

This means that yes, the app accesses all of these devices, including audio interfaces, as long as they connect to your computer.

The only thing you need to do is plug in the audio interface and connect it with a USB cable or any other cables required for connecting it, such as HDMI.

If you have an iPad Pro, Garageband will detect this and ask for permission like any other device.

If you’re unsure how to set up an audio device, please read our article on “How To Setup Your Audio Interface.”

What is the best audio interface to use with GarageBand?

The Focusrite Scarlett Solo is the best audio interface to use with GarageBand and comes in at a reasonable price.

It’s one of our top picks for an affordable option that provides you with everything you need and some extra features such as MIDI I/O, which can be helpful if you are looking into recording any instruments or synths onto your computer.

The Focusrite Scarlett Solo is a good balance between cost and quality.

This audio interface isn’t the cheapest option, but it’s well worth the investment in terms of reliability and sound quality.

We have looked through all the audio interfaces that are compatible with GarageBand, including some other popular brands such as Yamaha or Roland, to find one which fits your needs best!

You can view our list here: [link]

How many inputs do the Focusrite Solo audio interface have?

The Focusrite solo audio interface has two inputs.

This is perfect for recording vocals or instruments like the guitar, bass, piano.

Recording drums with only two microphones is tricky, but it can be done.

If you need more than two input channels, consider purchasing an additional audio interface with at least four inputs and a microphone preamp with phantom power to simultaneously record multiple microphones. 

The Focusrite Scarlett 18i20 offers eight XLR/line combo jacks plus two instruments (Hi-Z) inputs in a compact size. 

Other options are available from Yamaha, Roland, and Korg, which are also compatible with Garageband on Mac computers without any drivers needed! 

Do I need an audio interface to mix songs in GarageBand?

Yes, it is possible to mix songs in GarageBand without an audio interface. Still, you will not be able to record any audio.

If you want to record vocals or instruments with GarageBand, then you’ll need a microphone and an external audio interface on your Mac.

How do I use an external mic with Garageband?

To use an external microphone with Garageband, you will need to connect it through your audio interface.

If the mic has a USB connector, then plug in the cable and select “USB” as the input in Garageband

If it doesn’t have a USB connector but does have a standard ¼ inch jack, then purchase an XLR adapter for $15, which includes both male and female ends of this type of connection.

If it has neither of these connectors, then purchase the correct cable to go from your mic’s type connector (XLR or ¼”) and use one you already have.

Then plug the microphone into your audio interface using this new cable connection instead of a USB cord.

How to connect an audio interface to iPad/iPhone Garageband?

You will need a USB lightning or 30-pin cable to connect an audio interface.

Connect the other end of your cable into one of the ports on the backside of the audio interface and plug in the power cord for it too.

Connecting via Bluetooth: 

When you want to record, make sure that both devices are connected by going to Garageband > Audio MIDI setup > “Show available input sources.”

The iOS device must be running at least version 11.0 (the current operating system) with the AV Foundation framework installed to use this option.

On some models like iPad Pro 12 inch 2018 and iPhone XR, speakers will automatically turn off when using external headphones.

Still, they won’t display any indication about whether they’re muted, so check volume levels before recording if necessary.

Turning on Input: If you’re using a Bluetooth connection, make sure both devices are connected by going to Garageband > Audio MIDI setup and checking the box next to “Show available input sources.”

To record with an audio interface via cable, go to Garageband > Record or press Command + R. Make sure that your device’s volume is at least halfway up (this can be accessed in System Preferences).

If it isn’t already open, click File > New Podcast Episode. Select where you want to save the episode file and click Create.

When the new track appears under Library in Track View, drag it into Arrange area for editing purposes if necessary, then hit Command+I/O/Tilde key (~) to bring up the Input menu.

To use an audio interface with Garageband, you’ll need to connect your device via a USB cable and plug in the included power cord (or any powered USB hub) before starting to record. 

For Garageband to detect input from external devices like microphones or guitars, make sure that you turn on input by going to System Preferences,> Sounds > Outputs tab. 

When using an audio interface and Garageband, make sure that the input is set to your external device by clicking on “Input” in the top left-hand corner of the GarageBand window (or use the Command+I/O/Tilde key (~) again).

If you have any problems with connecting a microphone or running cables, please consult our tutorials for more information.