LOGIC PRO X
By default, Logic Pro X won’t play back a MIDI note unless the playback bar passes through the start of the note. This can be annoying if you’ve set up a loop in the middle of your track that excludes notes triggered before the loop actually starts. To fix this, go to File » Project Settings » MIDI and click Chase. Click the Notes checkboxes at the top and in Chase on Cycle Jump at the bottom.
Sometimes, it can be interesting to experiment with the structure of your piece by ‘jumping’ from one part to another. You could delete all of the notes in the section you want to omit, but this is pretty drastic if you’re still making up your mind. Instead, loop the section you want to ‘jump over’, and then reverse the locator positions
If you want to audition several separate approaches to the part for a particular instrument, you don’t have to make multiple copies and furiously work the Mute and Solo buttons. Instead, try Track Alternatives. As you’ll see in our video, this lets you try out several ideas before choosing your favourite.
The Pencil Tool is a useful way of inputting MIDI notes, but it can be time-consuming to have to click 16 times to input a row of hi-hat notes in a drum pattern. To do this quickly, select the Brush Tool. This lets you ‘paint’ lines of notes as you click and drag, quickly creating note runs.
You’re moving from one Instrument track to the next, making changes to key parameters as you go. However, the plugin window for the synth on Track 1 stays active when you move to Track 2, so you’re constantly opening and closing GUIs. Click the purple Link button in the top right-hand corner of the plugin window and the Instrument on your current track will always be the one in front of you.
You’ve got loads of plugins running, maybe including some ‘lookahead’-compatible ones like Logic’s own Adaptive Limiter in the output channel. Suddenly, any notes you play on the keyboard start to lag, with an audible gap between notes being triggered and the corresponding sounds. Head back to the
Customize Control Bar options and select Low Latency Mode. Enable this whenever you need to add notes to a busy project.
Grouping complementary sounds together using Logic’s Track Stacks makes mixing much easier. Suddenly, all of your drums can share a single fader, whilst auxiliary effects added to a Stack will affect all sounds inside it in the same way. Select the individual tracks you want to ‘stack’ and then
right-click to select this option from the dropdown menu.
Rather than saving multiple Logic projects with different file names for the different ‘versions’ you’re working on, save them as Project Alternatives ( File » Project Alternatives). These keep the plugins associated with a project active, making it easier than loading a new session.
Enable Capture Recording, and anything you merely ‘play’ can become a recording. Switch it on by Ctrl-clicking the grey Control bar at the top. Select Customize Control Bar
and Display and choose Capture Recording. You’ll see a second record button next to the main one – press this after inspiration strikes and whatever you’ve played will appear as a new ‘recorded’ region.
Need to grab a sound, some MIDI or automation data, or a whole channel setup you’ve used in another project? You don’t have to close the one you’re working on. But how can you make yourself a master of imports?
Smart Controls can be useful – that is, unless you want to manipulate parameters which aren’t among those offered by the default dials. To edit the selections, click i in the top left-hand corner of the Smart Controls window, then click the dial you want to reassign and browse through the parameter options that are available for it.
When you’re programming beats, it can be frustrating to use the Note Edit window to accommodate notes which are sometimes octaves apart, such as a pattern with a kick on C1 and a crash cymbal on G4, for instance. Once you’ve included all of the required notes that you’ll need in the pattern as a whole, click Collapse Mode and any unused notes will be omitted from the interface.
One way to make glitchy, weird beats is to enable Flex Mode and choose Tempophone as your Flex algorithm. Click on the audio region to create Flex Markers and pull these around, creating high and low speed sections in the process. Then try varying the Grain Size on the left-hand side. It can sound like your beat loop has been attacked by grains of sand!
If you’re working with third-party multichannel plugins such as NI’s Kontakt, you might want to host several instruments in one plugin instance. Match each instrument to its own MIDI channel by selecting the right one on the left-hand side of the Inspector. To set up the next MIDI channel, choose Track » Other » New Track With Next MIDI Channel.
Sometimes the velocity ‘weight’ of our controller keyboard doesn’t suit the real-time performance of a part we’re adding. Rather than painstakingly boosting low velocities and curtailing high ones, the Velocity Processor MIDI effect can do this for you. Almost like some kind of ‘MIDI Compressor’, you can select a Threshold point, above which the Ratio will set the amount of velocity reduction.
Let’s suppose you’ve played a sequence into your DAW with a series of shorter notes, and then you suddenly decide you want each one to sustain and last until the next note takes over. Rather than manually adjusting the length of each note’s duration, open the Note Editor, select all notes, then choose Edit » Trim » Note End To Following Notes (Force Legato).
Logic Pro lets you create automation either for a specific region or across an entire track. So for example, if you want the same filter movement in repeat for every bar of a synth sequence, create this with Region Automation selected. On the other hand, if you also want the synth to, say, fade in and out over a longer period of time, this curve can be drawn by setting things to Track Automation mode.
If you want the depth and control offered by a live drum recording session when working with acoustic drum samples, try selecting a Producer Kit. You can choose these from the Instrument Library in Drum Kit » Producer Kit. Select one and you’ll see that in the Mixer, a close mic channel is created for each drum, alongside overhead, room and leak channels.
Alongside its time-correction Flex Modes, Logic Pro X also offers Flex Pitch, its very own Auto-Tune or Melodyne-style pitch correction mode. It’s worth familiarising yourself with the ‘hot spots’ around the edge of any detected note, as these all control different parameters. Fine Tune, Pitch Drift, Vibrato amount and even per-note Volume can all be adjusted here, depending on which corner of the note you’re dragging.
Drummer, MIDI and audio regions all have a part to play in making great drum parts – here’s how
1 We’re starting with a basic sequence incorporating a pulsing sub bass, a plucked synth line, a beat loop and a Solina-style string line. Now we want to add something we created in another project… 2 We can browse to the relevant track without having to leave this project. Click Browsers in the top right-hand corner, then All Files. Browse to the location and double-click the correct Logic Pro X project. 3 Click the Content for the sound(s) you want – and, if you like, the auxiliary effects and automation you used too, then click Add. The regions from that project will be added to your current project – move them, edit them and drop them where you like.
Use the Brush Tool to duplicate notes with the mouse
Smart Controls aren’t locked to their initial settings – you can remap them to serve different uses
1 This Drummer region is using a Modern House kit. We’ve added a dark piano hook from Omnisphere and a bassline from Razor. We don’t have much control over the details of the drum pattern beyond the broad changes we can make in the editor at the bottom.
3 We convert the MIDI region to audio using Bounce In Place. Then, we select the last two hits of the audio region, muting the rest, before adding a slow-down effect at the end. We mute the corresponding section of the MIDI. We also create a reversed audio file in the last beat of bar 4.
To have more control, we Ctrl-click the Drummer part and select Convert To MIDI Region. This turns the part into a regular sequence, with individual hits now represented as MIDI notes. We can now easily edit the drum pattern.
Multi-output instruments needn’t be a faff in Logic