Naming lanes in the step editor

If you use midi instruments such as an external drum machine or something similar, it’s worth spending some time labelling up your studio in Logic so that your workflow is quick and doesn’t stop you from writing your next hit.

In this tutorial, we’ll look at how you label the different areas of the step editor so that they are consistent with your external synth. In this example, we’ll be using the Roland JD-XI to create a drum lane. In this drum lane, we’ll be labelling the kick drum channels, snares etc.


Preflight check


1. An existing audio project or template (to save for quick work later).

2. A soundcard to hear your triggered synth or external instrument

3. Understanding of your midi studio


Getting started


Open up logic in the usual way


Open logic


To trigger an external instrument, you’ll need to make sure you have at least one external instrument in the arrange window. To do that, create a new external instrument track and select your instrument from your midi interface


external instrument


Once created, any midi information created or sent will be sent directly to that port on the midi interface. Create a midi region so that we can input some data. To do that, select the pencil tool and create the region on the arrange window.


Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 10.55.17


Select the midi region and open the step editor. To do this, select “WINDOW” from the menu and click “OPEN STEP EDITOR”. The step editor window will now open.




To create the template for the synth, select “LANES” from the menu.




On the dropdown menu, select “New lane for GM drums”


Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 11.00.26


A list of different types of drum lanes will appear. This is where the editing of names and lanes will happen. To name the setup for the synth, select the name next to the option “LANE SET”. A drop down menu appears for the different GM options. To rename the currently selected GM drum lane set, click where it says “GM DRUM KIT…”. Directly below is the option “RENAME LANE SET”. The name should now be editable, so name it something appropriate. In this tutorial, we’ll name the lane set as “JD-XI”.


Screen Shot 2016-02-21 at 11.06.01


Now we’re ready to label our midi instrument. Using the CMD key, the mouse pointer should change to a pencil. Click one of the lanes in the midi lane area. If setup correctly, the midi instrument should now be triggered. To change the label for that lane, select the lane you have added a midi note too. Look for the menu option on the left hand side of the screen that is labelled “LANE”. Click the name that logic has performed. This is an editable field and will enable you to re-label the lane. In this example, I’ve used “KICK” as the field name.




Repeat until you are happy. If using a sampler or instrument that only has a limited number of triggered notes, you may want to delete some lanes. To delete the lanes that aren’t being used, use the command “CMD+BACKSPACE”. This will delete the currently highlighted line.


Now save the project as a template. This will make your GM template available upon opening Logic Pro X.



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