Stereo Pan in Garageband and iTunes

Ok, I know this probably doesn’t apply to anyone but me, but if there are any worship leaders out there using Reason or GarageBand and then mixing down to mp3 with iTunes I have discovered a sneaky little feature that iTunes has which caused me literally DAYS and DAYS of headaches so I thought I’d post on it.

I make loops with Reason and GarageBand to use in services under the other instruments.   All of these include a click track panned hard left and the backing track panned hard right.  Well, as soon as I imported the song into iTunes, the click track bled (and vice versa) into the backing track.  While this may not seem a problem, when you are playing in front of a large crowd, you probably don’t want them hearing the click…


So TODAY I discovered this little check box in iTunes called ‘Sound Enhancer.’

Screen shot 2009-10-15 at 5.02.32 PM

This little checkbox actually CAUSES crossfade inbetween the left and right channels!  ARRGGGHH!  Why iTunes, Why?

SO, if you are doing split track recordings and bouncing them to iTunes, I would suggest that you UNCHECK the ‘sound enhancer’ box.

Peace Out!


22 thoughts on “Stereo Pan in Garageband and iTunes

  1. I’m with you on this one. Took me awhile to read about why my split click/loop tracks weren’t panning hard Left and Right.

    Be careful in GarageBand of the individual track “echo” and “reverb” which Apple uses wash into the other channel to create the effects…even if you hard pan to Left or Right.

  2. Awesome!!! Thanks for the help. This was a nightmare since I was trying to use a stereo track for live purposes with the audio on one side and a click on the other. Can you imagine our surprise at the sound check when the click was bleeding through the PA.

    Thanks again.


  3. Isn’t there any garage band solutions? because there is this one song i play with my band that i must have the guitar plugged into my mac and into a track on garage band so guitar rig 3 can do this crazy, timed effect on the track, and because of it, i need the click track for the drummer. the thing is that i can’t save the project because the guitar is played live. help?

  4. I am having trouble panning in GB. I have all master track effects off and individual track effects off. Any ideas?

  5. @Ptynes – I’m not sure exactly what you are looking for. Is it a software problem or hardware problem? Software: Are you panning and you just can’t hear it? Or is GB not allowing you to pan?
    Hardware: Are you running a stereo output into left and right speakers?

  6. @Matt

    the thing is, on garage band when we pan all the way to one side, the track still bleeds to the other one. and i think that this is a mac issue.
    and yes, i have got all the correct cables. that being a stereo mini-jack cable coming from my mac, then into a stereo splitter adapter, and i plug the right channel only into the mixer. and i hear bleed from the left channel! i tried changing all of the cables, but the problem is still there.
    and when i export the track and open it with any audio editing software, there is no bleed visually.
    is there a way that this audio “Enhancer” is also present on garage band? and if so, is there a way to turn it off?
    the one on my itunes is already off.

  7. matt odegaard,
    thanks, this was a big help. I’ve been using backing tracks for almost a year now, and have been putting up with this obnoxious inconvenience. The church sound guys and I have been troubleshooting without success. Thanks for posting the secret to this easy fix.

  8. What kind of set up do you use to run direct to the PA? I am currently experimenting in a group and I have a Presonus box that I use for recording. I thought about running that through a Radial direct box, but is there something cheaper? I would be running midi and or loops.

  9. I use a Tascam US122 which is probably similar. It has stereo out so I split the click to the left and loops etc on the right. I then run that into a stereo Radial DI. It sounds better than using an 1/8 inch to DI from the Mac direct out.

    I use the Tascam for midi and input when I record as well.

  10. First of all to mattodegaard: thanx so much. I never would have guessed it was something like this. I’ve also had this panning problem. BUT: it still isn’t solved entirely, a minimal amount is still bleeding through, like with Alex Z.
    So this is my answer to Alex Z : It is possible it’s because of the following: in garageband the standard (company) set-up is that every track has it’s delay and reverb effects enabled! This goes for every solotrack as well as for the stereotrack. Try to uncheck these. I’ll try it myself tomorrow. I’ll let you know. If this is the solution, I’d be happy but still curse GB for causing such amateurish problems.

  11. I’ve checked it out, and here is still bleeding. The only thing what’s left to think is that Garageband is just crappy software. I’ll have a look for protools or such instead.

  12. Hey guys, I could never find a solution to fix the actual track in GB so I started a process that takes a little more work but you get clean left and right channels for running isolated click/voice cues and tracks. I build the loops like normal without regard to how any effects will interfere with the panning. When I am finished creating the track and have everything as I want it, I bounce the individual left and right channels to itunes and bring them back in to GB. So for the right channel, I pan the track right and mute the voice cues and click and bounce it. Then swap it. Mute the track and only bounce the voice cues and click. As long as you don’t change anything between bouncing the two tracks, they will line up with the snap to grid feature enabled. After I bring the two separate tracks back in to GB, I pan them again and it is good to go! This remedy is wonderful compared to the headaches we were going through with our musical director.

  13. @ptynes:
    Perhaps it can be good for click cues, but for making the end-mastering it’s no solution.
    You’ll still have the same panning problem trying to get it out of GB

  14. @ray:
    I wasn’t anticipating anyone using garageband for mastering. I assumed something of higher caliber would be used for that and that most people on this thread were in the same situation as me trying to isolate click track and loops for live purposes. Sorry that your problem isn’t solved. I guess your explanation is probably pretty accurate about garageband being crappy software! Ha! Hope your situation works out for you. Good luck!

  15. Hey Matt. Two questions: 1. If importing a song into GarageBand can you spit the track (into L and R)? For example, the track only has vocals all in the R and instruments in the L. Is there even the capability to do that w/ this program?

    2. How did you end up being a worship leader? Do you need to have a degree or just the musicianship? I used to ‘lead’ at a small church but not professionally. I want to do it as a profession some day. (Unfortunately currently I’m a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan). I play on the worship team here at the ARMY chapel.
    ANYWAY…Do you end up having to kno someone or attend the church 1st? Let me kno…Maybe we could talk more in dept later. Thanx

  16. 1. GarageBand should automatically import the track into left and right. If you want to import into ‘two’ tracks you have to arm two tracks , one with a left input and one with a right.

    2. I became a worship leader over many years in church. I began in the church I grew up in, first playing guitar then eventually leading. I began there as a volunteer worship leader and then I started leading in other churches. I then sent out resume’s and got a job as a worship pastor. I think the biggest thing to consider starting out as a worship leader is just to do it where ever and whenever possible. As far as knowing someone in the church, it definitely helps, but I have led in many churches where I either didn’t know someone, or I knew someone who knew someone.

    Blessings on your journey, and THANK YOU for your service!!!

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  18. I had found an article by Matt Odegaard on youtube on how to create the click track and for live performances with my band to send only the click track to the drummer while the rest of the band is playing with the backing tracks.I cannot find the article.Please can you show me how to do it? I am using garage band and I am new to it.Thank you.

  19. So, after, oh, 5 hours working on the problem I came up with a fix that works. First of all, make sure your iTunes setting is correct (as many forums explain): go to the iTunes tab in iTunes, click “preferences,” click “playback,” make sure “Sound Enhancer” us unchecked and click “OK.” You are still going to have bleeding – here is how you fake it:

    In GarageBand (for this demonstration lets put main tracks on the Left and Clicks on the right – because I am OCD and that would put the main tracks on the board on the left channel which the further left you go the more dominate the importantce of the channel – again, I am an INTJ and a bit OCD).

    All the tracks going to the house: turn up the volume as high as you can without distortion, then pan it 3/4ths to the LEFT (-48).

    All clicks: turn all the way to the Right (+63)

    Now listen to the Left channel of your headphones only and turn the volume down on your click until you cannot hear it (should be about 1/4th of the way up).

    This should now give you a virtually clean track for the house and a right channel click with a little bit of the other tracks for reference (you could pan your main tracks all the way to the left if you didn’t want any in your click — you are still going to have a little because of the bleeding issue, but it wont get in the way).

    You now have two tracks – here is the catch, your click track is very soft, so you will have to run it very hot – I run it through a channel on the mixer to an extra moniter send, push it hot back to FOH, then run it through a headphone monitor amp.

    Not the perfect solution, but it gets the job done.

    Any questions, email me at

    and to Ryan, I Marine in the Marine Band – the first step is get all the experience you can I took every gig (church and non church) I was offered for years. Experience was almost as helpful as my formal eduction – . While a formal education is not necessary, my leadership abilities, theological understanding, and the ability to plan worship that was neither dull and drab stuck in a hymnal, nor thologically anemic singing love songs to Jesus, grew by miles after attending seminary. Yeah, any grad school is hard, and it is three years of intense work, but it was transformative and I couldn’t imagine (for myself) having an effective carreer as a full time worship leader without the challenge and education that comes only from a seminary setting.

  20. Fast forward to May, 2016 and….THANK YOU!!!!

    After years of use, my enhancer somehow mysteriously checked itself and I was going nuts trying to figure out what happened.

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