main site sponsors

Tips On Organizing And Bouncing Aux Buses In Logic Pro 9

logic pro organize buses

You probably know the drill by now: You start a new project from scratch in Logic Pro 9. 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!

Left-side/Right-side Brain Warfare

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 mixing engineer you will eventually be sending your project to?

He’s on Pro Tools.

His/her demands:

  • Stems
  • Subgroups
  • Wet FX
  • Processed tracks
  • Unprocessed tracks
  • The Whole Shebang!

Result: a 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? 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 9 is entirely possible.

Simply Activate All 64 Buses

Why not call up all 64 buses right from the very beginning? Look:

logic pro audio tracks

Creating 64 Buses in Ascending Order

When starting a new project, just have Logic Pro 9 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.

Tags: , ,

  • 0db

    Thanks for this article! I think it’s worth considering how you use multi-output auxes too. If you’re in Arrange view, then your multi-out auxes will appear attached to the ‘host’ track (e.g. Ultrabeat or EXS24), but if you’re in All view then they will be in order with the other auxes. This could potentially interfere with your system, if you’re creating buses as you go, as you cannot choose which bus a multi-out aux appears on. (As far as I know it just appears on the next available one.)

    • 0db,
      I’m testing this now. If you first create 64 aux buses (which is my point), and then create a multi-output exs24 and then give it more outputs with the + button, extra auxes will be created at the end of the line.Logic Pro will name these starting at ‘aux 65’.Cheers!

  • Hello danski, great article. Can you do one on coloring configuration of track’s and buses? I cant seem to find anything on the web and I’m not that talented to color match things.


    • Hey Fabricio,

      It basically works the same way as coloring regions. In the Mixer Window: Use option-c to assign a color, and shift-c to select tracks with the same color. If you want to color the tracks in the Arrange Window, ctrl-click on a track in the Arrange Window, configure the track header and enable ‘track color bars’. Ciao

      • Hi,

        I was looking more into a color configuration not coloring it self =) Browns for BD percussions, black for busses, etc… I would just like to see what people use.

        • Face The Crowd

          Most of us tend to set them up the way we’d like, then save as a template. One we’ve begun a song and want to change something, it’s quick to punch Option-c and choose another colour.

  • Greg Scheer

    First, Danski, you’re my hero. Second, my question: I’m finishing up a project in which I need to deliver vocal and instrumental stems. Exporting all tracks as audio files seems like overkill. Is there a way to export just busses, or export selected tracks/busses? If not, it may be easier to simply bounce each buss I need manually.

    • Hey Greg, thanks very much! And thanks for stopping by. Good question, I think the answer depends on the size of your project. From the top of my head: You could try bouncing all tracks, and then pick the stems you need (this requires a healthy naming regime). You could also create tracks to record the buses on (set inputs to a bus, no output). Whether this will all work in one go depends on your system I guess. Or you could try to solo the required bus, then bounce the Output channel – make sure you’ve assigned every track to a bus though! Cheers.

  • Marcus

    Wow, great information!  This is going to help me organize my tracks a whole lot better…fyi, I found this blog while searching for a free maximizer which landed me on the Audio Energizer post.  Look forward to your articles.

    – marcus

    • Marcus, glad to hear that! Cheers

  • Stone Walters

    Great article!  Is there any way to have only the auxes associated with a group of tracks automatically show up in the Mixer window?  For example, if I have all my drums in a folder assigned to various auxes and I switch from the Arrange page to the Mixer page with ‘Same Content’ (Yellow) enabled it brings up all 64 auxes rather than just the ones the drums are using.  Is there a way around this?  

    • Hey Stone, thanks for dropping by. If you color all buses you used for your drums, you can quickly select them using shift-c in the Mixer Window. By tapping ctrl-t, while all used buses are selected, you can add them to the arrange window – in your case, your drumfolder. Now use ‘Arrange View’ in the Mixer Window to your advantage. All used buses should be next to your drumtracks now. But yes, all the other ones are still visible but at least this is better organized. Should you want to reorganize the order of appearance of buses, do so in the Arrange Window. Don’t worry, I actually just re-read my own article for this! Cheers.

      • Stone Walters

        Thanks for the reply!  I like your suggestion.  I was hoping there was another way to do it – in a similar way to how the ‘Single’ function works in the Mixer simply because I sometimes share auxes between instrument groups so prefer to key all my auxes the same color.  Maybe it will be possible in Logic X if it ever comes out!

        Oh and great blog by the way.  I plan on scouring through the entire site this weekend.  I also particularly love the Key Command section.  I plan on having it open constantly until I become a Logic Pro Jedi Master! 

        Thanks again and keep up the good work!

  • Greg

    I don’t know if this is the best place to ask, but I have a question about signal flow with sends/aux tracks in Logic. I’ve noticed that by default, when you send signal from one channel to an aux track via a bus, the output of the aux channel gets blended back in with the output of the original channel. The Logic manual seems to corroborate this; it says, in reference to an example in the manual where a signal is sent to three aux tracks for effects, “The channel strip’s signal is split and routed to three separate effects, one on each aux channel strip. These three independent signals are then sent back from the respective aux channel strips and combined into an output stream from the original channel strip.”

    Often it doesn’t matter, but I don’t always want this to happen. For example, right now I’ve got a kick drum that I’m sending a little bit of signal of to a reverb track. The kick then goes through parallel compression, gets combined with the parallel compressed signal in a kick bus, goes to a drum bus, then goes to the stereo bus. I’m applying effects to the kick bus and the drum bus, and I don’t want any reverb signal in those buses.

    I’ve been working around this by sending to effects later in the signal chain. But is there any way to just stop the output from aux tracks from blending in with the original channel output–so that the aux output only goes to whatever it says the output of the aux track is?

    • Pretty sure it already does this. For example: I have a number of drum tracks… Everything is being sent pre-fader from the source to a parallel compression buss (so I can feed the comp a different mix), snare/HH are sending to a verb, HH is sending to a delay. The individual drums and the parallel comp channel are output to a drum buss. When I solo the drum buss, I no longer hear any of the verb/delay. Meaning I think it’s only in the monitor path for the sake of soloing (basically per channel auto solo safe). Also, I don’t know how to change this, but if you figure it out please let me know :)

  • gerryt

    I’ve got a problem understanding the soundflow of tracks in combination with Aux’es cq Buses.

    I got a setup like: x tracks have their output routed to say Bus 1; Bus 1 is routed to another Bus which goes to a StereoMaster, everything works as expected. Now I insert one instance of melodyne in a slot of Bus 1 and try to record into the plugin. But apparently no visual evidence of any audio reaches the plugin. I can hear it, but nothing gets recorded.
    This puzzles me and I do not understand how this can happen. You can safely assume that I have setup everything correctly.

    It would be tremendously appreciated if you could comment on this.