Transients – How Big Are They?

We’ll continue with “70’s Rock Piano 57”. I like how the fourth chord sounds. One pianoplayer needs a mani bad! Drag in the loop, and bounce the region in place with ctrl+B. Hit W to open the Sample Editor, drag its Tab to pop out the window.

logic pro sample editor

Drag a selection around the beginning of the chord, something like this:

logic pro sample editor

Zoom in horizontally with ctrl++

logic pro sample editor

There’s some release of the previous chord selected, so shift the selection to the right : hold down option and drag the selection, like so (or use the hand tool) :

logic pro sample editor

You can increase or decrease the size of your selection by holding down shift while dragging either the selection start or end. Play the selection by hitting the spacebar.

So how large is this selection? Check the indicator at the top right of the Sample Editor window:

logic pro sample editor

Position is on the left, selection length is on the right: 159…. what? These are ticks. Let’s change it to time as we know it best, so select Min:Sec:Ms.

logic pro sample editor

Ok, 90 milliseconds! Now select the entire third chord. I get 550 milliseconds, give or take a few. So what’s the deal with these numbers?

Compression Settings.

Go back to the arrange window, press X for Mixer, and add a compressor to the track. Set the Attack to 90, the Release to 550, our numbers. Set it to extremes, like so:

logic pro compressor

I’m probably exaggerating a bit, my laptop speakers are really popping now.

Change the Attack to a far smaller value, and you’ll hear that the transients won’t pop through. Change the Release to a far higher value, and you’ll notice that the compressor starts missing some of the transients. At some points it’s just too slow to treat the next chord right.

That’s why I picked the third chord : the chordchange from the third to the fourth is the quickest in this pianosequence. So, a Release of 550 could be considered the max release time in this case, at least, if you want to catch all transients. Let your ears be the final judge though, I actually preferred a bit shorter Attack and Release after some tweaking.

Ok, now go back to the Sample Editor, and select +/- 90 ms of the fourth chord again. Click ‘Functions’ or hit ctrl+G to change gain, add 2.5dB:

logic pro change gain

Zoom out a little, click somewhere before the fourth chord for some preroll, hit play. Sounds familiar doesn’t it? Of course this is a very rough way to work the transients, you’ll probably hear a click in the result now. It’s just to illustrate that this is basically what compressors and transient enhancers do to transients.

Transients are tiny.

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