How To Turn Logic Pro Into One Mean Loop Mangling Machine

It’s Sunday, and that’s our fun day. So why not mangle some drum loops with Logic Pro’s Transformer Object? In this article, I’ll exactly show you how to set up Logic Pro’s Environment for some inspiring, experimental, out of this world audio manipulation, and go right up to the point where you’ll lose all sense of control.

One Mean Loop-Mangling Machine

Have a look at this setup (click for big pic):

lean mean loop mangling machine

In this example, I’ve created an instrument in Environment called ‘Play Me’. Its output is connected to a Transformer Object by cable. The Transformer Object is connected to an Audio channel strip, on which I put a randomly picked drum loop. I inserted 6 bus sends on the Audio channel strip. I put some plugins on bus 1 through 6. Choice of plugins is irrelevant, use your own imagination here. Note that the Audio channel strip has no output.

The Monitor Object, hooked up to the Audio channel strip, shows Fader messages with channel 1 and parameter 28 when I move the send level on bus 1. Duly noted! Since I wanted to control all the bus sends by keyboard, I set up the Transformer Object to convert Note data into Fader parameter data.

Setting Up Transformer

Have a look at the Transformer Object:

To recap: note messages get converted to fader messages, whatever channel comes in gets fixed at 1, the playable range on the keyboard is set to C2 through C3 (that’s just my preference). C2 has note number 48, we need it to be parameter 28, so we’ll subtract 20. This way, we can add more buses should we need them later. Velocity values get passed on, but have no function in this example.

Not Just For Live Use: Precisely Program Your Effect Grid

Playing this stuff live is fun, programming it is more precise. A little obvious to say perhaps, but by selecting the ‘Play Me’ instrument in the Arrange window, you can record your mélange of mangling manoeuvres. The Piano Roll Editor then becomes one awesome effect grid editor:

Audio example. The original loop plays for the first two bars. It’s a bit distorted, and experimental.

From Entropy To Total Chaos

Before I leave you with your new toy, I’ve got one more big pic to show you:

lean mean loop mangling machine

Here I introduced two faders into my Environment. One knob to simply click on, and one vertical slider to be able to churn out more data quickly. Both faders are sending out Fader messages. This I set up in the parameter boxes for both faders (note the ‘Output’ parameter):

Look at what the Transformer Object is doing to that data:

As you can see, Channel data gets fixed at 2 (for insert slot 1). The Transformer Object randomizes parameter messages to a value between 0 and 40, and it randomizes parameter values to a value between 0 and 100. This way, I can change plugin settings at random. I’ll give the button a push for one random plugin parameter change, and move the vertical slider for complete random madness. It’s actually a lot of fun and very inspiring to play around with. And that’s exactly what I’ll be doing right this instant. Remember, when you’re stacking plugins in Logic Pro and using more insert slots per Aux bus, don’t forget about their channel. Randomize this data too if you want. For some eye candy, make all plugins visible and move the vertical slider.

Have fun mangling!

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