Recording audio – use templates!

One of my favourite features of Logic Pro is the ability to create templates. If you’re a musician, you’ll want to strike while the iron is hot. After all, the riff you’ve come up with could be a real life changer for you.

Preflight check

 

  1. Make sure you have your audio device set-up correctly
  2. Have a sound source to record, (e.g. A microphone, guitar pedal etc)
  3. Some headphones or monitors to hear the recorded audio
  4. Some pen and paper with a diagram of how your instruments and microphones are connected to your recording device. Importantly, make sure you know what channel numbers things are going into.
  5. Ample space on your hard drive
  6. Approximately 10-15minutes

 

Getting started

 

Start up logic Pro by clicking the Logic Pro icon in the dock

 

Open Logic

 

Logic will perform checks on the system to make sure that everything is authorised and recognised. This can take a few minutes depending on the number of additional plug ins and instruments that have been purchased or added.

 

Logic Checks

 

(There are different ways to set up logic when it first opens. Cross off any options that come up automatically but make sure “LOGIC PRO” still appears in the top left hand corner of the screen. The aim is to create a new project from scratch.

To create a new project, CMD+N will work. Alternatively go to the top menu bar near the Apple Icon, find the menu labelled “FILE”, and  click “NEW”.

 

new project

 

The template window will now open autoamtically and present a list of different options depending on the project type. The aim of this tutorial is to demonstrate how to add a here so that the template can be used for future logic sessions. To create a new template, make sure that “EXPLORE” is selected and select “EMPTY PROJECT”.

 

New project

 

Once the new project is created a drop down menu will appear in front of the “ARRANGE WINDOW”. Create as many audio tracks as are available on the recording interface by typing a number in the “NUMBER OF TRACKS” filed.

 

insert audio tracks

 

As this is an “AUDIO TEMPLATE”,  leave the option for “AUDIO” checked. There are two other options available; “SOFTWARE INSTRUMENT” and “EXTERNAL MIDI”. These two options deal with other areas of Logic Pro, which will be discussed in the next series of tutorials.

 

new tracks

 

Continuing down the options, there is an important drop down menu labelled “FORMAT”. This refers to whether the inputs form the recording interface will be operating in “MONO”,  “STEREO” or “SURROUND”. As a rule of thumb, most microphones operate in “MONO”, where as instruments such as Synthesisers, Samplers and Effects modules usually want to be recorded in “STEREO”, if there is available space on the recording interface. Using “STEREO” on sources like Synthesisers makes sense as panning channels where the inputs are not balanced will help ensure the song is easier to mix at a later date.

 

format

 

The next dropdown menu labelled “INPUT” refers to the number of inputs available on the recording interface. A Motu 828k3 without any ADAT connections will display 1-8 inputs for example.  Unfortunately, Logic is not smart enough to know what is connected to the interface yet, but it can be taught. It’s very important to check the audio inputs correspond to the instrument’s that are available on the interface.

 

input

 

Scrolling down to “OUTPUT”  enables the use of different outputs (if available) on the recording sound card. This enables the use of multiple mono outputs to external devices such as a mixing desk, favourite compressor, limiting processor etc. A word of caution: some audio interfaces such as the SSL MADI EXTEME 64 with an SSL ALPHALINK output headphone audio on channel 21-22. If you are not hearing sound, you’ll need to check the recording interface’ manual.

 

output

 

Next to both the output dropdown and input dropdown are checkboxes labelled “ASCENDING”. Checking this option tells Logic that you have multiple “INPUTS” and/or “OUTPUTS” and every audio track that it creates in sequence will have the next audio input available. For example, if there are 3 audio tracks, the next 3 audio tracks will be labelled in the following way:

Audio Track 1 – Input 1, Output 1

Audio Track 2 – Input 2, Output 2

Audio Track 3 – Input 3, Output 3

 

ascending

 

Once the number of audio inputs has been specified and that all the options have been considered, click “CREATE”. Logic will now create the number of audio tracks specified.

 

arrange

 

Selecting “AUDIO 1” and double clicking the name when a hand appears will enable you to change the name of “AUDIO TRACK 1” to something recognisable. Using a studio diagram, label the audio tracks that correspond to the inputs that have been created. There are various different ways of labelling things, some people like to label using a particular piece of equipment (e.g. Line 6 Pod) and some people like to label based on the source they are recording (e.g. Vox).

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 07.17.13

 

Repeat the stages for as many audio tracks as there are. Good labelling is an incredible time saver and will help identify if there are any problems in the studio a lot quicker than without labels. To help with labelling, Logic has the ability to assign icons to audio tracks. The “INSPECTOR” displays to menus and core information about the audio tracks including any MIDI data (under the title of “MIDI THRU” and audio under the title assigned in the previous step. Below this heading is the icon. Click the icon and select from the list that appears, an appropriate icon.

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-15 at 07.21.47

 

Logic creates a fader on the left hand side of the arrange window to enable quick access to the selected tracks volume and effects very quickly. On selecting a different audio track, logic will change the fader to display the currently selected track. (Try it: push the down arrow on your keyboard and you’ll see the “INPUT” field change on the channel strip). 

 

input 1

input 2

Be very careful that enabling audio inputs will allow audio to pass into and potential out of your computer. If not set up correctly, this can cause feedback, which can damage your hearing. As a caution, make sure you reduce the volume of your monitoring source, and gradually raise it once you are satisfied there is no feedback audible.

Test the inputs that you have selected. This is done by enabling “INPUT MONITORING”. This is located on the “AUDIO TRACK” header right next to the text field used to change the name of an audio track.  The icon is very similar to the text con inside Microsoft Word. Hovering over the icon will bring up a description in logic displaying “INPUT”. It is possible to activate functions like this in one go, but this tutorial will focus on activating an individual change.

 

input enable

 

Once enabled, any instruments or audio attached to that field will now be audible. It is possible to enable input monitoring on every channel, so that once the template is opened all attached sound sources can be heard if that is what is desired.

 

double input enable

 

Once everything has been setup correctly it is possible to save these settings for a template. Navigate to the top left hand corner of the screen and click the “FILE” button. Navigate down to “SAVE AS TEMPLATE”.

 

file save template

 

Logic will offer to save this file in a templates folder with all user created templates. Create a name for the template that is relevant to the intended use of the template. For example, if recording a full band, the template could be called “LIVE BAND RECORDING”.  Once named, “click SAVE”.

 

save template

 

Logic can be closed using CMD+Q. Once loaded, create a new project. The templates window will appear once again. This time, instead of clicking “EXPLORE”, select “MY TEMPLATES”. The template that has just been created will now be available. Once opened, Logic will prompt you to save your new project in your projects folder.

 

open template

Voila! You’ve just created your first template.

If you are struggling to create a template, why not arrange a “LOG ME IN” session, and we’ll set it up for you.

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