Create and Convert an Audio File on a Mac

If you have been asked to create an audio file as part of your course work, you should submit it as an MP3 file. The first tutorial below describes how to record an MP3 file on your Mac using GarageBand. The second tutorial describes how to convert an audio file of a different file type (some examples of other audio file types are WAV, WMA, and OGG) to an MP3 file using iTunes. This second tutorial will be useful if you have used a digital audio recorder, phone, or other device to record your audio, as many such devices do not record in the MP3 format.

We recommend GarageBand and iTunes in the following tutorials because they typically come pre-installed on all Mac computers.

Create an Audio File with GarageBand

  1. Open GarageBand.
  2. Select New Project, Podcast, and then Choose to start a new podcast project.
    GarageBand New Project window
  3. Type in a name for your project (we've used 'My Song' in the example image below), select 'Desktop' in the Where drop-down list, and click Create. You do not need to change the other settings.
    GarageBand New Project Settings window
  4. If you are using an external microphone, ensure that it is plugged in to your computer.
  5. Click the Record button at the bottom of GarageBand and begin speaking.
    GarageBand recording controls
  6. When you are finished, click the Stop button to stop recording.
    GarageBand Stop button
    GarageBand should now look something like the image below.
    GarageBand window with recording
  7. You can play back your audio file, and if you are satisfied with it, select the Share menu, and then Export Podcast to Disk….
    GarageBand Share Menu
  8. On the window that pops up, change the settings to the following (if necessary), and then click Export:
    • Compress Using: MP3 Encoder
    • Audio Settings: Spoken Podcast
      GarageBand Export Settings window
  9. On the following window, click Continue, and on the final window, click Save. Your audio file will now be saved to your computer's desktop. If you have created your audio following the above steps, you will not need to use the instructions for converting your file below.
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Convert an Audio File with iTunes

Most assignments that require you to create an audio file ask that you submit it as an MP3. The following steps will allow you to convert audio files of different types to MP3s. We will use iTunes to convert the audio file.

  1. Copy or move your audio file to your desktop.
  2. Open iTunes.
  3. In the iTunes menu, select Preferences….
  4. On the General tab, select Import Settings….
    iTunes General Prefernces
  5. In the Import Settings window, select 'MP3 Encoder' from the Import Using drop-down menu, and 'Good Quality (128 kbps)' from the Setting drop-down menu. Click OK.
    iTunes Import Settings window
  6. Click OK again to close the General Preferences window.
  7. Drag your audio file from your desktop into iTunes. iTunes will ask you to confirm that you wish to convert your file. Click Convert.
  8. When the audio file is converted (it won't take long), it will appear in your 'Music' list. Right-click or Ctrl-click the file and select Show in Finder.
    iTunes Show in Finder
  9. Copy and paste the new audio file to your desktop.
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Submit Your Audio File

If you are creating or converting an audio file for an assignment, you can then submit it to your instructor. Please see the Assignments page in the Moodle Startup Kit for instructions.



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