Logic Pro is vast and there is tons of clever stuff that easily goes unnoticed. Here are five very useful Logic tips and techniques to enhance your workflow. Some of the tips I have discovered on my own, some I’ve learned from others. Let’s share the wealth…
Match EQ magic
Match EQ is not only good for making things sound similar. I find it even more useful for making things sound different. I’m talking about resolving conflicts in the mix.
Let’s say you have a synth track that clashes with vocals in your tune.
You can have Match EQ analyze the vocal track’s frequency content and then use that info to reduce those exact same frequencies in the synth track, thus making space for the vocal to come through.
How do you do this? Sidechain the EQ and give it a negative value!
- Set up Match EQ on the track you want to cut on (in this case the synth track).
- Set up the track you want to analyze (the vocal track) as the sidechain source. You’ll find the sidechain box in the upper right corner of Match EQ.
- Play the song and click “learn” in Match EQ. Let it run for a bit.
- Click “match”. Then start bringing down the “Apply” fader – make it negative. A little goes a long way – extreme settings will break down the sound as with any other EQ.
There we go – you are effectively ridding the synth track from the exact frequencies that the vocal occupies, and nothing else. The best part is that this really works very well most of the time, as the cutting is a lot more accurate than what you’d normally get with a conventional EQ plugin!
The accuracy depends on the “smoothing” setting. The smaller the value, the more accurate the EQ gets. With larger values Match EQ starts to act and sound more like a conventional EQ. This can sound better sometimes so you should always experiment with different values to get an idea of what works best.
You cannot get a sidechain source signal directly from software instrument tracks. Should you want to use a software instrument track as a source, just send some of the signal into a bus and use the bus as the source for the sidechain.
I like to set up a dedicated bus for the sidechain where I remove the output object of the corresponding bus completely. This way you will never hear the signal but it’s there for the sidechain.
Clever Plugin Switching
Logic has two EQ’s that look very similar – the Channel EQ and Linear Phase EQ. Don’t be fooled by the looks as they are entirely different beasts under the hood.
The Linear Phase EQ uses a technology which preserves the phase of the audio signal, thus yielding more natural sounding results. It also uses a fixed amount of CPU resources, regardless of how many bands are active.
Because of this technology, Linear Phase EQ is also a lot more demanding on the CPU and introduces a lot more latency. You can make up for the latency using Logic’s latency compensation feature, but the CPU drag is still there. So much so that it’s often not possible to use it on every channel of a busy mix.
Now, there is a reason for the two EQ’s to look the same. The parameters are identical, enabling you to freely copy settings between the two plugins.
And it gets even better – if you replace a Channel EQ with a Linear Phase EQ (or vice versa) in the same insert slot, the current settings are automatically transferred to the new EQ.
One application for this would be to replace all your Channel EQ’s with Linear Phase ones for the final bounce of the track.
This also works for any other Logic plugin when switching from a mono instance to stereo. Just load the stereo plugin on top of the old mono one. The settings will be there.
Dedicated Automation Objects
Sometimes you have a nice automation curve going on and you need to copy it around over the lenght of the song.
I don’t really like doing that in the automation view – it’s slow, bound to get messy and you easily click at wrong places creating extra nodes that you then need to remove. So I like to use this little trick whenever I need to copy/repeat/move/handle a lot of automation:
- Create a new track with the same channel strip/instrument (you’ll find this option and key command in the “Track” menu).
- On the new empty track, create an empty arrange region using the pen tool. Stretch the region to match the lenght of the automation you are about to copy.
- Now bring up the automation view. Set it to show the automation you are going to copy, if it doesn’t already.
- Select the empty region (make it active) and go to menu “Track -> Track Automation”. Choose “Move Visible Track Automation to Region”.
Now you can control automation straight from arrange screen without actually entering the automation mode. You can copy or repeat the blocks of automation just as you would any other arrange object. You can even easily move/copy this automation across different tracks.
You can also reverse this in the same manner – just choose “Move Visible Region Data to Track Automation”. There is also an option to move all automation data instead of visible.
A Smart Folder for Your Projects
Sometimes I quickly go through loads of projects, and Logic’s “Open recent” menu becomes useless because it only shows a limited number of recent items.
Fortunately you can create a smart folder for your sidebar, dock or desktop that will always show all of your Logic projects.
- Type this in spotlight: “kind:logic -.0 -(crashed)”
- Click “Show All”, save the search (upper right corner of the window) as a smart folder and place it where you want
Done. This will give you a smart folder that shows your Logic Projects, excluding automatic backups and crashed project saves.
Using the manual from the Logic help menu is tedious to say the least. Fortunately there is another way: you can open it up in your browser where things will work A LOT better. Just open this link in your browser:
Put it in your bookmarks and you’re set. The manual loads up from your hard drive – you don’t have to be online for this to work.
Share Your Logic Tips
Let me know in the comments if you are finding these Logic tips useful. There is a lot to discover in Logic Pro so let me know about your favorite techniques in the comment section. Feel free to share this article with your friends and colleagues.