Prevent clipping

Recording sound at too high a volume level can result in distortion, or “clipping.” You hear clipping as a sharp, crackling sound, which is undesirable in most cases. In a GarageBand project, clipping can occur in one of two situations:

  • When you record a Real Instrument or electric guitar with the track volume level set too high
  • When you export a project with the master volume level set too high

When the red dots to the right of the level meter, called “clipping indicators,” light up, the track or overall project is clipping at some point. After you identify where clipping occurs, you can try removing it in any of the following ways. Different situations require different solutions, depending on what is causing the distortion.

To prevent clipping on a Real Instrument or Electric Guitar track:

In the Track Info pane, do any of the following:

  • Choose On from the Monitor menu before recording.
  • Select the Automatic Level Control checkbox before playing or recording.
  • Lower the output level of the audio interface or other audio device connected to the track.
  • If you are recording with a microphone, move the microphone farther away to lower its output level.

To prevent clipping in the overall project:

  • Drag the master volume slider to the left.
    Master track
  • Add a volume curve to the master track, then add control points at the place where distortion occurs to lower the volume level.
    Master track
  • If the project includes any master effects, lower the level of the effects at the place where distortion occurs.
  • If there are several regions at the place where distortion occurs, delete or mute some of them.
  • Rerecord regions at the place where distortion occurs so that they are lower in volume or intensity.