GarageBand exporting large audio files


While trying to publish the dreaded podcast today, I hit upon an issue where GarageBand complained that my file was too big to export:

The bounce file exceeds the maximum file size (AIFF 2 GB; WAV 4 GB). Please change the format to CAF, or decrease the bounce range.

But where was the option to change this? I think this calls for another pet peeve

It seems potentially GarageBand won’t export/share if it is over 90 minutes long with 10.0.2. A solution is to split the file, publish and then recombine in a program like Audacity, or publish to a different format and convert from there. I went with the latter option.

GarageBand files like others on the Mac are sneaky and are actually folders. You can select Show Content, and locate an AIFF file that can then be pulled into iTunes and converted. Or, you can publish to a AIFF file when using ‘Export Song to Disk’ and convert this file.

Then right click on the published or copied AIFF file and select ‘Encode Selected Audio Files’. This comes up with a ‘Encode to MPEG Audio’ tool that creates a .m4a file.

Now someone with a more technical background would use some sort of m4a encoder to convert this file to an mp3, but I simply dropped it into iTunes, then located the playing file, right clicked this again and selected ‘Create MP3 version’. There’s a hack for everything, right?

There was a better and more detailed solution on the Apple Support Community by Roger Wilmut1 that I’m reproducing here:

Start by dragging the files concerned into the Songs list in iTunes if they aren’t already there.

To convert files to M4a (‘AAC’):

In iTunes Preferences>General click the ‘Import Settings’ button and choose ‘AAC encoder’ (it may be the default) and use the next drop-down menu to choose your settings - you can choose ‘Custom’ and set the bitrate as suits you.

Click OK, then OK again to close the Preferences.

Now go to the library, select your original files and from the from the ‘File’ menu choose ‘Create new version’ then ‘Create AAC version’ (iTunes 11 - in earlier versions choose ‘Create AAC version’ from the ‘Advanced’ menu).. This will make duplicate AAC versions and you can delete the original versions in iTunes. (Never tamper with the actual library in the Finder).

To convert files to MP3:

Firstly, go to iTunes Preferences>General and click the ‘Import Settings’ button. Set ‘Import Using’ to ‘MP3 Encoder’ and use the next drop-down menu to choose your settings - you can choose ‘Custom’ and set the bitrate as suits you.

Click OK, then OK again to close the Preferences.

Go to the Music list; select the files you want to convert and from the ‘File’ menu choose ‘Create new version’ then ‘Create MP3 version’ (iTunes 11 - in earlier versions choose ‘Create MP3 version’ from the ‘Advanced’ menu).

MP3 versions will be created and placed in the music list (the original versions will remain there). You can drag them out if you want to save them elsewhere (doing this will not remove them from the Library). You can select and delete any files as required in the Music list. (Never tamper with the actual library in the Finder).

(It has been suggested that converting files to WAV or AIFF will improve the quality - it won’t. AAC and MP3 compression works by leaving out bits of the sound it is assumed you cannot hear because they are masked by other sounds. Copying to an uncompressed format such as WAV cannot restore the missing sounds, so you are maintaining the same quality and just making the files a lot larger.)

References: Apple Support Communities: Garageband 10.0.2 not exporting large files, Apple Support Communities: how to convert m4a to mp3?.