How to reverse audio in Garageband
By Joe Dochtermann
Updated September 22, 2017
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Reversing audio creates unique sound textures and dramatic section changes in music arrangements. Garageband has no native "reverse audio" function, but it is possible to export an audio file from Garageband, reverse it and import it back into your production.
Select the audio region you want to reverse by clicking on it in the Garageband mix window.
Open the edit menu. Choose "Add To Loop Library." Enter a unique name for the region so you can easily find it in your loops folder. Click on "Create."
Open the folder "Library> Audio> Apple Loops> User Loops> Single Files". In that folder is an .aif file of the audio you selected to export for reverse processing. Select that file and choose "open with> Audacity". The file will open in the Audacity audio editor window.
Press "Apple A" to select the entire file (in Audacity). In the Effect menu, choose "reverse." Press the space bar to play back the reversed audio file. In the File menu, choose "Export as .wav file," and save the file with a new name onto your desktop.
Switch back to the Garageband application and simply drag and drop the reversed file onto the mix window. The file will now appear on a new track, ready for playback.
Align the imported reversed audio file with your original file. Play back the audio and adjust the start point of the reversed audio file as needed to fit into your musical arrangement.
Reversed audio files often have timing problems, and you may have to adjust the start point, listen and readjust a few times to find the right "groove." For reversed cymbals and drum hits, try lining up the end of the file to the beginning of a bar or beat.
Audacity is a free, open source audio program that every audio engineer should have. Even seasoned pros sometimes use it for some of the convenient features and unique effects.
Joe Dochtermann has been writing professionally since 2005. He has written several books on music theory and recording technology, and has appeared in "Guitar" magazine in Europe. His latest work is "Big Studio Secrets for Home Recording and Production," published April 2010 by Cengage Learning/Course Technology. He holds a Bachelor of Science in music and sound recording from the University of New Haven.