GarageBand: How to create stereo tracks

My friend, Lekowala, texted me: “How do you get the guitar tracks to go stereo?”

I don’t know about other GarageBand users, but here’s how I do it. There are two main possible ways:

  1. Use the “Chorus –> Spread Stereo” effects setting
  2. Create a duplicate track (or record a second track), then adjust the Track Pan settings to create a Left and Right track

METHOD #1: CHORUS – SPREAD STEREO (click on the image to see larger sizes)
iLife GarageBand '06 - creating a stereo effect (A1-1)
GarageBand records in Mono (I’m using iLife ’06). At the Track Info panel, under Input, it says “Channel 1 (Mono)”. It’s still Mono even if you select “Channel 1 & 2 (Stereo)”.

Chorus” effect. You can instantly hear the difference.
iLife GarageBand '06 - creating a stereo effect (A1-2)
One easy way to get the stereo effect is to select the “Spread Stereo” option from the

If you don’t want to use any effects to distort your original recording, here’s an alternative to using the Chorus Spread Stereo effect.

METHOD #2: Track Pan settings (click on the image to see larger sizes)
iLife GarageBand '06 - creating a stereo effect (A2-1)
After you’ve recorded your track, make a Duplicate Track. Then copy the recording (from your first track) and paste to the duplicate track.

Click on the “Track Volume/ Pan Curve” button (i.e. the little triangle icon). The choose “Track Pan“.

iLife GarageBand '06 - creating a stereo effect (A2-2)
Adjust the tracks to pan to the left and right respectively.

TIP: If you can’t seem to be able to get both tracks to have the same Pan curve number, don’t stress yourself out. Seems there’s always a +1 difference between the left and right pan. In my case, I have the top pan track set to “-34” and the bottom track to “+35”. You can never get “-34” and “+34”.

Out of curiosity, I searched if there were other related blog posts/ sites. Here’s a few, although some may not have specific instructions on stereo tracks:

10 thoughts on “GarageBand: How to create stereo tracks

  1. Pingback: How to create stereo tracks in GarageBand « SeaStars 2007 :: The Album

  2. I’d agree with your stereo tips except for one thing. Duplicating tracks is a great way to create stereo tracks, but it’s not the most effective. When you duplicate tracks, sure we have our L and R headphones each with a different track, but in reality all we are doing is just raising the track level all together. For a stereo effect, what I do, is either re-record the first rhythm track or add an accompanying track with minor differences than the original. Pan each to L and R and it sounds more real, giving the idea that two guitarists were used in the creation of my project, instead of just dup’ing the first track. Love your post, as many people are looking for more garageband tips and tricks!

  3. Thanks for the comment, Kris. I’d forgotten about this post until your comment! Good tip on recording two different tracks. I also use that technique when I want to achieve a more interesting overall sound. But I won’t say duplicating tracks is “not as effective”. It’s just a different effect. For instance, let’s say I only want one guitar recording rather than two. After recording the track in Mono, the only way is to duplicate the track and create a Left and Right pan track.

    But what I’ll correct in my post is not to say they are two “main” ways. More correct to say two possible ways, and I’ve incorporated your preferred method in the second point. Thanks!

    • Sorry for my long rant of a post I should have read the other posts first….I should have been able to guess that basic track layering was already covered so sorry for beating that in LOL. All in all this is a good blog/forum your info is very informative

  4. Pingback: Creating stereo tracks in GarageBand « GarageBand Meetup Singapore

    • Hi Loonesta, as far as I know, you can record a “live” instrument as a mono track (open up Track Info and select ‘Mono’ under the Input Channel) and that’s about it. You can’t really make a “mono” mix in GarageBand if your mix contains stereo tracks. All the software instruments are stereo by default. So if you have tracks that are from software instruments mixed with live instruments “mono” tracks, you still get a stereo track. An alternative method is to use a free Open Source software like Audacity ( Import your completed track to Audacity, convert to a Mono track using one of its option there. Hope this helps.

  5. I’m guessing since a lot of your fax r wrong that you’re using an older version of garage band? correction actually I’m sure you’re probably not wrong it’s probably just a different version right

  6. I’m gonna introduce everyone to a fun term…. it’s called a phantom zero and what that is is the effect u get from recording one track, panning that left and just copying and pasting to the other speaker. it is basically the same thing as recording 1 track and leaving it dead center. what you wanna do is record 1 mono track dead center, pan left or right and then play the EXACT same part again and pan opp direction. even if you think it sounds exactly the same on both parts its not. and I am referring to guitars and vocals and things of that nature where nobody could possibly mimic the exact same thing twice(its human imperfections that you probably can’t even hear that make this work nobody playing a guitar or singing can make the exact same sound twice it may sound exactly the same but there are little indiscernible differences that the human ear can barely pick up that separate the 2 tracks) this doesn’t apply to a lot of electronic instruments because an electronic instrument like a keyboard CAN be played the exact same way twice

Comments are closed.