You probably know the drill by now: You start a new project from scratch in Logic Pro. You create some audio tracks, some instruments, some MIDI tracks perhaps. Some of these you assign to aux buses for sub grouping, some of these you put sends on (and a bus is created automatically), and you may also create some aux buses for printing stems. That’s a lot of aux buses with three different purposes. Since you’ve created these as you went along, your aux bus structure has quickly become messy. And what if you decide to delete a track, rendering a bus obsolete? The bus stays dude!
So there you are, your right-side brain on fire with creativity, while your left-side brain is badly needed to make some rational decisions about the structure of the routing monster you have just created. Oh, that engineer you will eventually be sending your project to, for mixing?
He’s on Pro Tools. His/her demands:
- Wet FX
- Processed tracks
- Unprocessed tracks
- The Whole Shebang!
Result: major left-side/right-side brain conflict – which usually ends in frustration. It’s worse than having lost your World of Warcraft password especially when your client is breathing down your neck. So what can you do? Better yet, what can I do? I’m still struggling with this issue every now and then. Writing about it helps, so let’s dig into some Aux Bus Therapy. You’ll see that organizing and bouncing Aux Buses in Logic Pro is entirely possible.
Simply Activate All 64 Buses
Why not call up all 64 buses right from the very beginning? Look:
When starting a new project, just have Logic Pro create 64 Audio Tracks for you, assigning the first Audio Track to Bus 1. With the “Ascending’ checkbox activated, 64 Aux Buses will be created in ascending order. You can delete the Audio Tracks you don’t need – the buses will stay. You can’t reorganize the order of the buses in the Mixer Window (Logic Pro X feature request!) – a fact you’ve just turned into something positive. And don’t forget: this is the stuff that templates are for, so go make one when you’re done!
Some suggestions on keeping 64 Aux Buses manageable:
- Use Bus 1-20 for subgroups
- Use Bus 21-40 for 100% wet effects you’re sending to
- Use Bus 41-50 for stems
- Use Bus 64 for recording (for printing subgroups, outboard gear, etc.)
- Color your buses, at least the ones that are in use. See below.
- Apply a strict naming regime for you buses. See below.
On coloring your Aux Buses
If you ever need to change the order of the active aux buses for whatever reason, you’ll need to do so in the Arrange Window.
Yes, 64 buses is a lot to deal with. If you at least color the ones that are actually in use (one color per bus type) these will remain quickly identifiable. Whether you choose ‘Arrange’ view or ‘All’ view in the Mixer Window doesn’t matter: all 64 buses will always be there. That’s a bit of a drawback. However, buses of the same color can be selected in one go with shift+C in the Mixer Window. By using and selecting colors, you may want to add all active buses to the Arrange Window with ctrl+T, and enable the Hide function on them. If you then unhide these buses in the Arrange Window by pressing H, and the Mixer Window view is set to ‘Arrange’, your active buses will be neatly aligned from left to right in the Mixer Window. How about that?
If you ever need to change the order of the active aux buses for whatever reason, you’ll need to do so in the Arrange Window. There isn’t that much “logic” to this, just experiment until you grasp this blurry concept. Feeling dizzy yet? So do I.
If all this doesn’t fit your style, and you prefer creating buses as you move along, just remember: Aux Buses can only be reordered in the Arrange Window. Just put them there by selecting them, using ctrl+T in the Mixer Window. Your Mixer Window will display what’s being displayed in the Arrange Window, provided that ‘Arrange’ View is active in the Mixer Window. You dizzy yet? About *explicit language* time.
On Naming Your Aux Buses
Start subgroup buses’ names with something like “sub”, and names for buses with wet effects with “fx” or something like that. You’ll be thankful for having done this once you start looking at the names of the files that the Export> All Tracks As Audio Files function has produced. Need to batch rename those filenames? Have a look at Quick File Renamer. Or use NameChanger. If you’re an Automator user, check out this thread on logicprohelp. Or look at my article on how to batch rename audio files with Automator on OS X Mountain Lion.
Bouncing Aux Buses
Once you start exporting all tracks – in one go – via Export>All Tracks As Audio Files, and you would like your aux buses to be included, remember to put an empty region on those buses in the Arrange Window to ensure that the buses will be bounced properly. See this excellent article by Apple Support. One last thing: exporting via Export>All Tracks As Audio Files will include any hidden tracks…
Feel different? Go ahead and kill me in the comment section! There must be something that I have overlooked.