Understanding the different channel strips, part 1

When writing and composing music in Logic Pro there are a variety of different options for the different types of audio that might be used in the composition process. In this tutorial, we’ll focus on 3 specific types of track in this tutorial:

 

  • Audio Tracks; strictly for passing audio
  • Software Instruments; strictly for software instruments including logic’s own package as well as external options e.g. NI Native Instruments
  • External Midi; for passing midi data to external instruments in the real world as well as other pieces of equipment that respond to midi data, e.g. Lexicon MX200 reverb and digital delay.

 

Preflight check

 

  1. In this tutorial, we just need an empty logic project

 

Getting started

 

Open up Logic in the usual way and create an empty project. Once prompted, create 1 audio track.

 

New track

 

Once the track has been created, open up the logic mixer by using the shortcut “CMD + 2”.

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 08.55.06

 

 

Looking at the audio track, logic has created 3 different types of audio track for the project. This tutorial will mainly focus on an audio track, but some of the features are transferable to different types of audio tracks.

 

Setting

 

Looking at the audio track, the first available option is labelled “Setting”.

 

setting

 

The setting menu is where many of a project’s settings for channel strips can be accessed. Logic comes pre shipped with a host of different settings for different instruments, but importantly, the setting function also enables the user to save their favoured settings for specific instruments.

It’s important to note that only audio presets will appear on audio channel strips. The same is true for auxiliaries, and main outputs. As these are different types of channels the presets for audio channels will not be available in the setting in the menu.

 

Gain reduction

 

Next up is a small field labelled “GAIN REDUCTION”. This is quite a useful little tool and displays any gain reduction being used on that channel strip. Double clicking the field will automatically open a native Logic Compressor.

 

If you are not sure what “GAIN REDUCTION” is, it’s worth understanding the basics, as many commercial records have gain reduction applied creatively to all tracks. To find out more, head over to our little explainer, more about gain reduction. 

 

gain reduction

 

If a compressor is active on the current track, a purple bar will be displayed to show how much gain reduction is being applied to the track. The more purple, the more gain reduction being applied.

 

gain reduction applied

 

EQ

 

Next up is a very important field for making critical adjustments to the timbre of the selected audio track. EQ or equalisation is a tool used to make changes to specific frequencies in a project.

 

setting,gain,eq

 

Logic Pro X has a very useful feature of showing a small snapshot of the EQ setting that is applied to the track.

 

eqalive

 

Double clicking the blank field labelled EQ will open up the “CHANNEL EQ”, a native equaliser included in Logics stock of plug ins.

 

eqplug

 

Apply the a standard preset to the “CHANNEL EQ” by clicking “FACTORY DEFAULT” and selecting from the list of presets. Once selected, the EQ will change. Close the plug in and look at the snapshot on the channel strip.

 

eqsnapshot

 

Input

 

The input field is where the user is able to select the inputs from an audio interface if one is available. Clicking the field will display the list of available inputs, including busses in the project.

 

input

 

There is a useful feature available which enables the busses of the mixer to be routed back into the audio channel. To help with resource load on the computer, this creates the ability to print FX to an audio track. This is sometimes a preferred way of working as it is less system intensive.

 

Audio FX

 

The aforementioned “GAIN REDUCTION” and “EQ” are part of the stock section of logic pro plug ins. When being used, these two plug ins are displayed in the “AUDIO FX” section of the channel strip.

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 09.26.37

 

 

 

Depending on the types of processing required for a channel, there may be times when another manufacturers tools are more appropriate for processing the audio. These can be accessed in the “AUDIO FX” section by clicking the empty space. This will display a list of available stock plug ins. To access other manufacturer plug ins, go to the “AUDIO UNITS” option. If compatible the plug ins will be displayed here.

 

Sends

 

Sends are used to send audio from the current channel to an auxiliary or bus. Using this method of routing audio is more efficient than applying multiple instances of reverb or delay on a particular audio track (unless it is being used creatively for that instrument alone). However, if using reverb for a variety of different audio tracks, say an ensemble, it makes sense to make the one plug in available to all voices. Additionally, it will help with the overall sound of the track as there is some consistency between the spaces being used. To activate a send, click the box next to the circle.

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 09.32.32

 

Once a send is enabled, the user will be able to to selectively send an amount of audio to the bus. This enables different amounts of audio to be fed into the bus.

 

Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 09.34.59

 

Thus concludes part 1 of the tutorial. The next edition will be available shortly.

 

 

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