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Music Production in Logic Pro X with Rob Mayzes

Transcript
Hello, and welcome back to this free series all about producing better music in Logic Pro X. I’m Rob Mayzes of musicianonamission.com, and in this video today, you’re going to learn how to get started with Logic Pro.

How to open up a project, make a recording, edit that, remove mistakes, anything like that, so that you’re then ready to start playing with virtual instruments, mixing, and really the fun stuff that comes down the line, but if you want a quick, easy way to get over the initial learning curve with Logic, keep watching.

Now, if you enjoy this video, check out the other videos in this free series here on YouTube, and also check out the full Logic Pro course below if you really want an in-depth look into this, and you really want to take your music and mixes to the next level.

So first of all, we need to create a new project so that we can record some audio, so let’s just go ahead and create an empty project, and add an audio channel.

Now, this is the first way to add audio channels, because you’re prompted every time, and if you know you’re going to be adding or recording several tracks, you can just change the number of tracks here, set the input. If you have quite a big interface and you want it to go input 1, input 2, input 3, etcetera, you can hit ascending.

Let’s leave that unticked now. That’s one way you can quite easily add channels. Let’s delete those.

The second way is by just clicking this add button here, and that brings up the same interface. You can also double-click to create the same channel again as the last one you created. So just keep double-clicking here, and there we go.

So if we’re just recording one channel, let’s delete these and expand this one. Now you can see here that my voice is already triggering this meter, but you might not see that yet, because you need to make sure you’ve got the right settings, and if you’re using an audio interface — a USB one or a firewire one — you need to change your settings, and even if you’re just recording with a USB microphone, you also need to change that.

So let’s go to preferences and audio, and that’ll bring up this dialogue. And this is where we tell Logic what output and input device we want to use.

Buffer size, if you are recording, use a low buffer size and that means you won’t get any latency, but if you’re mixing, use a high buffer size, because that gives the computer more time to process all of your plugins. So now let’s use a low latency, and it’ll tell you roughly what the resulting latency will be.

Then you can add the delay if you want to as well here, but let’s just leave that at zero, and leave the other settings on their standards.

So we hit apply changes once you’ve selected your interface, and now make sure this is on “R” for record arm, and you will see your audio.

So if you don’t have it on record arm, this is defaulted to it, but if you don’t have it on record on, now this one is on record, you’ll see that when I hit the record button, it’s only recording to this channel, because that was the only one that’s on record arm, whereas if I change this to input 2, even though there’s nothing there, you’ll see that I can now record arm two tracks.

So now I’m recording to two tracks at once. And there we go.

So it’s that easy. When you want to record, just press record arm, and hit the record button. Now, there’s a few settings that you need to be aware of. So if we go to record, recording settings, we can change our settings here. So count in, you can also use this button. You can see when I press that, counting goes from one bar to none, but if you want to, you can change it here, and you can also add pre-roll in seconds, and when I add a pre-roll, it will not wait two seconds, it will go two seconds back and then start recording.

So you can either do it by bar or by time. But let’s turn that off. This option here, auto-colorize takes is really handy. If I turn that on and then go to here and press Option+C, it will bring up this color window, and using this, I can change color of this channel, and you can see the color at the bottom there changes.

Now with auto-colorizer, when I then record onto that channel… And it will stay red when it’s recording, because that will indicate that it’s recording, but now this is changed to purple. But that’s really handy when you’ve got lots of channels and you’re recording lots of things at once, you might want to have all the drums one color, the bass a different color, all the vocals the same color, etcetera, and that helps you to navigate around your project. Some of the other settings are MIDI related, and just be aware that they’re here. You can change the recording path as well, but I recommend to just leave this on default, and it will record to your folder wherever you saved the project.

When you record, it’s important to record at a good level.

So you’ll see here when I’m speaking that the meter is kind of around -18, and this is the ideal level to record at. You want to be mostly around -18. Peaking, if I speak loudly now, peaking no higher than 6.

So there you go. You can see it started approaching 6, but not peaking any higher. A lot of people record really hot. They record at really high levels, and if I turn up the gain, this isn’t going to sound nice, but as I turn up the gain, you can hear my voice distorting.

And even when it’s not distorting, at this point where it’s close to distorting, it’s going to sound bad. And if I turn it all the way up, yeah.

So let’s bring that back down to a good level. The idea of recording hot goes back to analog days where you’d push the desk to get a good sound out of it, and push the analog equipment, but they also had a different dB reference, and they used dB VU, and when you pushed audio to 0dBVU and above that, to +3dBVU, it sounded good. It drove most hardware and gave it a nice color.

0dBVU is the same as -18 on this channel, which shows dBFS. Now, it can get a bit complicated, but all you need to know is -18 is the sweet spot for the average volume of your audio, and that’s where most plugins sound best. -6 is — if you go above that, you’re starting to approach the kind of territory where you start distorting and overloading your converters, and your audio is just going to sound worse.

So aim for around -18.

Once you start recording lots of takes, it can really quickly become a large project file, and you might want to delete unused audio, and you also need to be careful that you’re not accidentally deleting the wrong stuff.

So say we’ve got a region here. If I trim this region like so, I haven’t deleted all of this audio, it’s all still there, and I can just grab it back, but if I highlight the whole region and press delete, it prompts me, “Do you want to delete this from the disk, or do you just want to remove it from the session?”

So if I say keep, it’s all still there, but where has it gone? Well, this is where we use the media browser. And as you can see here, we’ve got projects, and this is all of the audio that’s within your current project, and you can see the waveforms here. There’s also media, and this is iTunes down here, movies, and then you can finally browse just your normal files, and this is good if you want to start importing audio.

But for now, let’s just look at the project view. So this is all of the audio that we’ve recorded in this project, and we can audition it just by clicking and holding…

[voice]

And it will also tell us the bit rate — sorry, bit depth, sample rate, file size, and tempo information as well.

So if we want to delete stuff permanently, just go here, press delete, and that prompt will come up again, and we can delete stuff from the disk. Now, another really handy thing, if you’re sure that you want to delete loads of stuff, but you’re not sure what’s being used and what isn’t, you can go to edit, select unused, and this will select any files that aren’t being used. Of course, I’m not actually using any, so it selects them all of course.

But say this audio. You can just drag it in. It’s being used in the project. Now when I go to select unused, you’ll see that that is unselected, and I can then go to delete and delete all of them.

If you click for all, it will do it for them.

There’s some other handy features here, like strip silence, which will automatically detect all the audio, and we can strip anything below a certain level, which is the threshold. So now I can strip silence, and you can see what it’s done here is deleted, and that’s quite handy for vocals or other things where you want to remove any background noise.

You need to be careful, because it can be quite destructive, and I recommend using a noise gate instead, but that can be handy if you’ve got really long silences between say, for example, a live recording of a whole gig, you can just set the audio threshold really low, so it only cuts the absolute silence like this part here.

Now that you know how to record your own audio, you need to have a better understanding of editing, and how you can maneuver and manipulate that audio within your project.

So first of all, let’s import some new audio. So if we go back to that media browser, and the media tab, and then let’s find something that we can import. So anything will do, just grab anything off of your computer. This is in stereo, so it’s going to create a stereo track for me. I’m going to change that to stereo.

So let’s have a listen.

[music]

That’s an important thing to note. If you’re using audio files that are in stereo, you need to make sure that your channel is set to stereo, and it’s this little button here that toggles between it. So now you can see, I’m recording two inputs, and that’s because it’s in stereo.

If I had it in mono, have a listen.

[music]

That’s in mono. Flick it to stereo.

[music]

And that’s the way it should be. So any time you’re using a stereo file, or recording stereo sounds like a synthesizer that’s in stereo, or you could even record a pair of drum overheads on one channel in stereo, and you just click that little toggle there.

So now that we’ve got our audio, let’s look at how we can manipulate it. So press — highlight it and press z to zoom to the whole thing, and let’s get rid of this, whatever that is and move this. To move, you just click and drag.

Let’s look at the mouse tool. So up here, you have these tools, and there’s quite an array of them. So far, we’ve only been using the pointer tool, and we briefly used the marque, which you can use by holding Command and then I can delete sections, for example, but so far, we’ve just been using those. So let’s look at some of these other tools.

We have the pencil tool, and this is handy for automation, which we’re going to talk about later. So this allows us to draw in automation.

So it’s a pencil. Any time you want to draw something in, you use the pencil. So let’s turn automation off, and let’s go to the eraser tool. And this is the same thing. Again, in automation, we can use this to rub stuff out. So we can just remove all of our automation, like so.

The text tool is handy if we want to edit the name of the audio file itself, so I can change this to music, and there we go. Scissors tool is pretty self explanatory. If we turn up automation, this just cuts at a certain point, which is good if we then want to move this around or cut some of this out. You can also use the glue tool to stick regions back together.

So this is two separate regions I’ve got here, as you can see. If I move them together like so, and then use the glue tool whilst having this region highlighted, I then hold shift and click the other one, it glues them together and removes that edit point. What we can also do is glue over gaps, and that will just add silence. So we can create, and let’s now bounce it down with silence as well.

You can use the solo tool to solo particular channels. I’ve only got this one channel, so let’s add some more in. And let’s say we had some audio here of me speaking.

[music]

Then use the solo tool just to solo this one channel.

[dialogue]

And while we’re playing, just hold that just to audition that. Or I can click this one.

[music]

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Like so. And we can do the same with the mute tool. This one is just a one click to mute.

Zoom is the same as holding Alt. So with the pointer tool, we can hold Alt to use zoom, or we can just use the zoom tool itself to zoom into sections.

The fade tool is for adding fades at the end of tracks. So I just highlight the whole section I want to fade out, and it adds a fade out, and then I can adjust the curve of this fade out as well, and I can do the same on the beginning of the track. Do a fade there. Then we can edit it. And we can drag this as well with just fade. So let’s have a listen to that as an example.

[music with fades]

So you can hear how that fades in. The fades are important when you’re editing, because if you’re cutting audio, you need to add really short fades. So for example, I could drag this. This is another really clever tool is the clip tool, and using this, I can just drag the edge of an audio file.

So what you would normally do is make sure that your fade’s right there just to make sure there’s not any clicks. Like so.

[music]

And you do that at the end as well, but more on that later. We have the automation select tool, which allows us to select areas of automation. So if we added some in with our pen tool, we can then use the automation select tool to just select those automation points, and I can move them up or down, or I can delete them.

We can also add curves like so to our automation, which can be handy.

Finally, the marque tool works in the same way as holding Command when you’re on the pointer tool, and flex tool, this allows us to add flex points, and move the audio like this.

[music]

We’re going to cover that in a lot more detail later.

So that’s all of the tools, and you’ll also see here that there’s one on the right, and this is our secondary tool. So the default is to have the pointer as our main tool, which we can use to move, we can use it to grab the ends, we can also use it by holding Alt, and we can zoom in, then when we hold Command, we can go to our secondary tool, so the default is the marque so we can delete stuff.

But if you find that a lot of the time, you’re using a different tool, you can change it to a fade here. So now when I hold Command, I now have the fade tool. And then when I hold Command, I can move this fade, add crossfades if I wanted to, add a scissor point. Can then overlap the audio, and I can add a crossfade here like so.

I tend to use this quite often, but you’ll find out what tool you find the most valuable. Not very helpful using the zoom tool, because you can do that with Alt anyway, but you have to be off the region. So it is more helpful, but you’ll find what you use the most.

Something that’s quite handy that you can do with the solo tool is scrubbing, but this is turned off by default. So if we go to preferences, audio, and then editing, then go to scrubbing with audio in tracks area.

Now if we highlight the solo tool, first of all, let’s just cut a small section. Bring this back to marque. Let’s just highlight a section. Let’s also delete here.

Select this and press z to zoom. Now if we use the solo tool, as I just showed you, you can just hold down to just audition this one region.

[music]

But now that scrubbing is on, we can also hold and move.

[scrubbing audio]

And this can be handy for finding particular hits.

[scrubbing]

So if I wanted to make an edit, there would probably be a good point, just before this hit.

So that’s a really handy feature. When you’re using solo, you can also Option+Click…

[music]

To make sure you play it from the beginning, rather than click and hold, which plays it from your cursor point.

To get back to the pointer, you could go up here and select the pointer, or we could just press T, and this brings up the menu at your cursor location so you can easily swap out by clicking.

Or you can press T and then another letter to quickly select a different tool. So if I wanted to go to the glue tool, for example, I would press G. Then if I wanted to go to the solo tool again, I could then press T and S.

Once you learn these different tools, you can get quite quick, and at any time, you can just double press T to go back to the pointer.

Now let’s put all of this into practice in a real life example. So here, we’ve got this Gonzo track, and what we’re going to try and do is just cut the intro straight into the outro, so first of all, let’s find the right location.

[music]

So it’s that there that we’re looking for. If we go to the solo tool…

[scrubbing]

So it’s this one here. Now, the easiest way to do this is to simply add a scissor point.

[scrubbing]

So we go to T, then I for scissor tool, then add our cut.

We could, if this was a shorter edit, we could just use the marque tool, and we could’ve just selected what we wanted to delete like so. But because we’re skipping a whole song, let’s do it this way. So let’s go back to our arrow — pointer tool, sorry. Z, find the outro and zoom in there.

[music]

Just trying to find the beginning of this phrase. So there it is. If we zoom in here, again, T, I, select scissor and cut, then T, T to delete this.

Then let’s zoom out all the way. Drag this. Then we need to get rid of that. Check where the right point is.

Cool. Now let’s have a look here, and if this doesn’t work, we’ll have to add a crossfade, but let’s try it like this for now.

So that sounds alright to me, but let’s add a crossfade anyway. Let’s just highlight these like so.

[music]

Then we can just use a cycle to just listen to that over and over a few times.

[music]

Sounds pretty good to me. Now press enter to go back to the beginning. Let’s go back to the pointer tool by pressing T twice. This is a really important tool here. If you are using the pointer, when you hover over the bottom half of the file towards the end here, you’ll see it’s only on the bottom half, but at a certain point, it disappears.

You can then just drag your clip, and this is essentially cropping it. So let’s go to T, A, add a short little fade in. Have a listen from here.

[music]

So in the outro, that ring out is quite long there, so let’s just trim that, then press T, A for the fade tool. Drag that in like so. Have a listen to that.

Then finally, we can press T, G, and glue these together. Then now we’ve got our merged file, and we could press T, Text to change the name of this to Gonzo Short. Whoops. T, T to go back to pointer.

Click and drag. Enter to go back to the beginning, and then play.

[music]

There we go.

You now have everything you need to get started with Logic Pro. So go away from this video, and actually implement this stuff. Open up Logic and start recording. Start playing around, start making music, start creating something, which is ultimately what this is all about.

Now, if you want to go more in-depth with this, and you want a complete guide to Logic Pro, every single feature of Logic Pro, every setting, literally everything, then check out the course below. That’s going to help you to skip all the wasted time from learning this stuff, so you can start producing music that sounds great in less time, and just kind of turn yourself into a pro at using Logic.

So that’s in the link below, either way, thanks for watching, and see you again soon!

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Rob Mayzes

Rob Mayzes

Rob Mayzes is an audio professional, musician and educator. He has helped thousands of home studio owners produce better music and mixes through his website Musician on a Mission.

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