Logic Pro From A to Z – E is for Synths
Edgy, energetic, effervescent, enigmatic, are all eligible adjectives appropriate to describes Logic Pro’s many “E” named synths. Since its first software instrument, the ES1, Logic Pro has used the letter E to name all of its synth (except for Sculpture, Ultrabeat, and Retro Synth). Even the recently renamed keyboard instruments were originally named EVP88, EVB3 and EVD6. Exploring them all in a single post is impractical. Instead, I’ll take a factory patch that begins with the letter E from each of these synths, suggest a tweak or two, and then try to make some music with them.
Logic Pro From A to Z – EFM1
EFM1 is an FM (frequency modulation) synthesizer. The basic sound is generated by setting different tuning ratios between the modulator and carrier oscillators and by altering the FM intensity. The carrier oscillator is a pure characterless sine wave, while the modulator oscillator allows for a choice of multiple waveforms. This modulator oscillator is used to modulate the frequency of the carrier oscillator and generate harmonics.
Every piece of music needs a lead sound. For this synth, I’ve chosen the very first patch, in the very first category, FM Leads. The patch is called Evolving Leads. The patch sounds nice as is of course, but by rotating the Wave knob further to the right, I obtained a more complex waveform for the modulator oscillator. Modulating the sine wave based carrier oscillator with this creates a richer more complex sound.
Logic Pro From A to Z – ES E
Ensemble type chorused pads and textures are the ES E’s specialty. This is a simple but effective subtractive synth based instrument. Ensemble Square is the patch I’ve chosen to use from this synth. By adjusting the attack and release times slightly, increasing the resonance knob, and lowering the cutoff knob, a filter wah type of sound is created. The attack adjusts the time it takes for each note to reach full volume. The release determines how long it takes to return to zero once the note is released. And by increasing the resonance value, the sound is being excited at the specific point in the frequency range set by the cutoff knob, creating a sharper resonant peak.
Logic Pro From A to Z – ES M
Edgy bass sounds are this synth’s specialty. It’s a simple but aggressive mono synth. There are no factory presets beginning with the letter E, so I have chosen the closest one alphabetically; Dub Bass. Increasing the cutoff gives the sound more cut, since more of the higher frequencies are making it through the filter. Lowering the Decay knob’s value in the filter envelope parameter section gives a more percussive quality to the sound. And increasing the resonance, although it is cut off quickly due to the lower decay time, gives a nice “thump” to the attack of each note before the filter reaches it’s decay stage.
Logic Pro From A to Z – ES P
Excellent sounding oscillators are the measure of any subtractive style synth The ES P offers access to six oscillators, including noise, that can be blended together to taste in order to create a rich textured sound. I’ve chosen the Eighties bass preset for this synth. Lowering the rectangular oscillator slider and raising the two sub oscillator sliders beefs up the sound nicely. A touch more Overdrive really gives it some weight. Since I plan to blend it with my ES M bass sound, modifying the envelope parameters help shape the tone so it will work better when layered. Establishing a quicker decay time and higher sustain level gives the sound some bite and sustain at the same time. It’s nice on it’s own like this, but works really well together with the ES M. With the octave set to 4 in this patch, it creates a really nice octave double.
Logic Pro From A to Z – ES1
Everything has a beginning. And with Logic Pro, it was the ES 1. It’s very first soft synth, it offers fat and warm subtractive synthesis. Since there were no factory patches beginning with E, I went in to the ES 1 Legacy presets, and found Electric Chirp inside the Electronic percussion category.
Energizing this fairly weak sounding patch was easily accomplished with the Drive knob. I want to create a nice chord sound with this patch, so I raised the decay and sustain parameters to give the sound more body. Lowering the octave to the 8′ setting brought it into the range I needed. And finally, adding some of the preset chorus thickened it up nicely.
Logic Pro From A to Z – ES 2
Exquisite sounding synthesis at it’s complex best, this synth is a beast! It can do practically anything. I started off with the Euro Hook patch in the Synth Leads category in order to creating a pulsing rhythm. First thing I did was lower the cutoff frequency to get a little less buzz. Setting the LFO rate to the lower half of the slider’s range allows for speeds that sync to the project tempo. I set it to eighth notes. Then in the routing section, I set the source for the Cutoff 2 target to LFO2. This way, the cutoff is modulated by the LFO in musical sub divisions that will fit with the tempo. Lowering the slider softened the intensity of the modulation, and finally, setting the instrument to Ploy mode instead of Mono mode allowed for chords to be played instead of restricting the instrument to single line monophonic playback.
Logic Pro From A to Z – EVOC PS
Exploring this instrument is a complex process. It is designed to be used with a side chain input and triggered by an external source. Not wanting to get into that for this article, I chose the simple Emotion Pad setting from the Synthesizer category of presets. Lowering the cutoff value, changing the octave to 8′ and raising the balance slider created a nice dark slightly pulsating pad type sound.
Logic Pro From A to Z – EXS24
Exactly what every DAW needs; a nice simple, CPU efficient sampler. This instrument is Logic Pro’s oldest workhorse next to the ES 1. It has a mature Factory library with well over a decade of sample an instrument development invested in it. I chose the Electroclash remix drum kit form the Electronic drum Kit sub category of the Drums and Percussion instruments. The only tweak I made to this was to boost the Drive knob in order to give a bit more weight to the samples.
Effectively using all these sounds together in a coherent piece was an interesting creative challenge. I layered the Dub Bass and Eighties bass sounds together for a fat and full bass part. The Euro Hook and Emotion Pad sounds were layered for an underlying delicately pulsing pad. Evolving Lead and Ensemble Square were combined for a lead sound. I additionally added Evolving Lead to the bass layer toward the end during the fade out. The Electro Chirp comping part helped keep the momentum and sense of motion going. And finally, I blended some percussion and electronic drum sounds together from the Electroclash kit for a busy but nor overpowering groove to drive the piece. Here is what I came up with: