Awesome Group Fading In Logic Pro

We’ll look at fading groups with one fader object, have two Transformer objects do all the dirty balancing work, and control the Transformer object’s operation values with faders while we’re at it. This way, a simple fade can be turned into a very powerful part of your arrangement. Read on and master those group fades…

Cue Megan, Cue Solo Cello

Suppose you’re working on some music for a movie scene. The camera is zoomed in closely on the main character. We’ll happily call her Megan. Cue dramatic solo cello. Once the camera zooms out, you want to fade in the rest of the string ensemble – but the viola should come in louder than the violins. What would your workflow be?

Suppose your arrangement looks something like this:

Solo cello comes in first, then the same passage is repeated, this time with viola and violins added. To make a fader group, you’d open the Environment window, and select tracks while holding , and assign a group, like so:

You’d want to make the viola a little louder. With Group Clutch, +G, you’d temporarily disable the group, boost the volume of the viola, and turn the group back on again by hitting +G once more:

While moving any fader of that group, volume relationships between faders will be retained. Beautiful basics – good enough in most cases. But to tweak this balance, you’d constantly have to toggle Group Clutch and adjust the level of the viola. Let’s look at how this could have been done in Logic Pro’s Environment, with some Transformer objects and a couple of faders (click for big pic):

The fader object you see here is connected to two Transformer objects. Both Transformer objects multiply incoming values by a number smaller than 1. Both Transformer objects have different operation values. Transformer object “mult by X” is connected to the string channels, Transformer object “mult by Y” is connected to the viola’s channel. More on why I called them this later. For guidance, look at the settings for “mult by X”:

The other Transformer object, “mult by Y”, has a slightly bigger operation value. This way, the viola will always be a little louder than the violins when moving the fader object. If you’ve been reading my recent posts, this shouldn’t be all too complicated.

There’s A Meta Event For That

To avoid painstakingly tweaking the two Transformer objects’ operation values to get the balance of the viola and the violins right, let’s use faders to control the Transformer object’s operation values! Look at the same setup in Environment, this time with two more faders added:

Still with me? Good. The two added faders are special faders. They send out Meta Events. I chose them by selecting New>Fader>Special>Transform Operation Par 1. They’re merely presets though – you can have any fader send out Meta Events just by changing Output in the fader’s Parameter Box:

Meta event number 127 corresponds to the Tranformer objects’ operation value. For a quick overview of what Transformer parameters can be altered with Meta Events, I’ll just quote the manual, page 1130:

Like MIDI controller events, meta events have two data values: the first one indicates the type of meta event (49 to 127, but not all are used), and the second one is the event value (0 to 127). Meta events 122 to 127 affect transformer parameters.

  • Metaevent #127 sets the first (top) operation value.
  • Metaevent #126 sets the second (bottom) operation value (if available).
  • Metaevent #125 sets the first (top) condition value.
  • Metaevent #124 sets the second (bottom) condition value (if available).

You can watch the values change in the Transformer object, but you’ll have to release the fader for the value change to become visible. To quickly recap the above setup: Fader “Value X” controls the amount by which Transformer object “Mult by X” multiplies incoming values, and fader “Value Y” controls the amount by which Transformer object “Mult by Y” multiplies incoming values. By tweaking these two new faders, you balance out your fader group.

Pfew! Some ride. Try this on a group of (background) vocals, or a group of guitars, drums, you name it. Note that once you’d like to keep a certain balance, you can always send the entire group to a bus to be able to control its ‘master’ volume.

Good luck, and have fun.

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