Exporting Your Composition


Are you ready for the next, and last step? Garage Band isn’t just a program that allows you to record your ideas, and put them together in a song. The programmers who made Garage Band have tried to make it a complete “unit” by also allowing you to mix your tracks into a final, polished version, complete with effects. Traditionally, this step would be done by a separate piece of software or hardware.

After you have tweaked your settings (pan, volume/levels, tuning and tempo) it’s time to export your composition. Exporting “mixes down” your song into a two-track file: a left/right stereo AIFF file. The resolution of this file is 44.1 kHz at 16 bits. This is the same as CD-quality sound. Choose “Export to iTunes” in the File menu.

Mixdown in Garage Band

iTunes are now Your Tunes

iTunes creates a special playlist with all the compositions you create using Garage Band. The AIFF file Garage Band automatically imports into iTunes is large. A quality AIFF file is great for burning a CD of your own music. But what if you want to share the music digitally through e-mail or the web?

Playlist Screen Shot.

What you will need to do is convert the digital file into a smaller, compressed file. The most popular format is MP3, a model by which the sound file is compressed and made smaller. MP3 stands for MPEG-3 layer 1 standardized by the Motion Picture Experts Group as a high-quality compressed audio format.

Settings for iTunes preferences.

MP3s are typically one-tenth the size of an uncompressed AIFF file, which means they’re small enough to transfer online. To convert your AIFF “original” into an MP3, follow the procedure below. To learn more about compressed audio formats, check out Digital Audio System’s webpage.

Converting AIFF to MP3 using iTunes

  1. Choose Export to iTunes within Garage Band.
  2. Wait, while Garage Band creates the “mixdown.”
  3. Next, Garage Band should launch iTunes. Search for your new playlist, or the title of your Garage Band composition.
  4. Check the Preferences for iTunes under Import. Make sure MP3, 128 bit is chosen as the resolution for MP3 files.
  5. Select your track, and choose “Convert selection to MP3” under the Advanced menu.
  6. Look for your new track in the Library. You may want to drag it, and drop it on your new playlist. Compared the sizes of the original AIFF to the MP3.
iTunes encodes AIFF files into MP3


  1. What do the letters MPEG stand for?
  2. Apple uses AAC encoding for music sold at the iTunes music store. What do the letters AAC stand for?
  3. According to this document, when did the MP3 standard become adopted? Can you believe it's that old?
  4. Do you think a 192-bit MP3 file will be larger, or smaller, than a 128-bit MP3?
  5. What is an advantage of saving the original AIFF file Garage Band produces?

© 2005 by John G. Hendron. Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.