How to Master Hip Hop in GarageBand

By Ryan Cockerham ; Updated September 15, 2017

Things Needed

  • Computer
  • Speakers
Digital audio tools provide music producers with a quick and powerful solution for mixing and mastering.

With the increasing availability and affordability of digital audio technology, aspiring music producers can create and refine their musical products without purchasing expensive hardware products. The hip-hop genre of music relies heavily on electronically synthesized and sampled sounds to create its signature style. Many of these sounds are produced in digital audio workstations such as Logic, Garage Band and ProTools. Using Garage Band, ambitious hip-hop artists can create quality results using the included mastering tools.

Open the hip-hop song you have created in Garage Band by selecting the "Open" tab in the "File" menu. In the menu that appears, locate the Garage Band file you have created.

Adjust the equalization of your hip-hop track by clicking on the designated waveform within Garage Band's main display. Click the "Master Track" button on the right side of the screen. If you would prefer to use one of Garage Band's mastering presets, click the "Browse" tab and select "Hip-Hop" from the menu. You can now choose one of the hip-hop mastering presets for your song. As many hip-hop songs feature heavy, thumping bass, consider selecting the "Deep Thump" preset.

Click the "Edit" button within the "Master Track" menu. You will now see a list of effects currently available for use on both the broader master level and the more specific track level. Click the "Manual" button under the designated effect name to manually adjust its customization parameters. Activate the effect by clicking once on the purple square. If the purple square glows, you have successfully activated the track. Press the square again to deactivate it.

Raise the treble within the equalization window's frequency spectrum to add a sharp, biting quality to your hip-hop vocals. In similar fashion, slightly raise the middle area of the frequency spectrum to enhance instrumental lines and melodies within your hip-hop song.

Double-click the waveform image to open the wave's adjustment parameter settings. These tools can adjust the timing and tuning of your track using beat detection and pitch adjustment. If your hip-hop vocals suffer from intonation problems, use the "Enhance Tuning" slider to reduce blatant discrepancies. If your hip-hop beats or rhythms rush or drag, move the "Enhance Timing" slider to quantize your track's audio to the specified rhythmic parameter.

Tip

Although Garage Band is considered an "entry-level" digital audio workstation, it features several powerful mastering tools that can dramatically shape the sound and quality of your music. Experiment with tools like the reverb, echo, ducker and compressor utilities to discover your ideal musical aesthetic.

Warning

When mastering music, keep in mind each speaker set or pair of headphones has its own inherent equalization settings. These settings can drastically alter the "true" texture of a track. Listen to your product on several different playback devices to avoid unwanted characteristics.

About the Author

Ryan Cockerham has written for various websites since 2006, focusing on a variety of subjects ranging from music history and technology to photography and fashion. He received his Bachelor of Music from the University of Arkansas and is pursuing a Master of Music in music technology from New York University.