Logic Pro From A to Z – I is for Input
I’m going to write about Inputs in this post. Inputs, you’re wondering? Either stick a mic in your audio interface, a MIDI cable into a MIDI interface, or a USB cable directly into the computer. We all already know that. Here I’ll share six tips with you as to how you can modify the input signal reaching Logic Pro before hitting the record button. Three dealing with Audio, and three with MIDI.
Inevitably you will get a guitar player (or other instrumentalist or vocalist) in your studio who wants to record while monitoring effects. Sure, you can stick effects on the record enabled channel strip, and hit record. But what if you are going to be recording several guitar tracks and don’t want to waste CPU power duplicating a huge effects chain across half a dozen or more guitar tracks, just for the purpose of tracking?
Instead of doing that, output your audio track to an unused Bus, say Bus 1 for example, name it Guitar Bus, and put your effects there. Now you can have each new guitar track automatically output to that same bus. There are three ways to achieve this.
A. Either use the “New Track With Duplicate Settings” function to create a new track with the same routing.
B. Set the output field in the New Tracks Dialogue Box to Bus 1, so each new track is created with that routing.
C. Save the audio track with the output routing as a preset, use the define As Default function in the Library, and simply use ⌘ ⌥ A to create a new audio track with the output routing automatically in place.
Input object. It’s hidden away in the Environment and is extremely useful for processing audio before it is recorded to disc. Open up the Mixer layer of the Environment Window. Create a new Input Channel Strip from under the “New” menu. Make sure the Input is set to the actual input you are using for the guitar on your interface. You can set this in the Inspector in the Environment Window. Place your guitar effects on this Channel Strip. Be warned though that effects placed here will be captured with the newly recorded audio. Unlike the Aux track method, this is permanently embedded in the recorded audio. Which may be a good thing, or not; depending on how you like to work.
Instantiate an Aux track in the regular Track Mixer. Set the input field of this Aux Channel Strip to correspond to the input on your audio interface receiving signal. Set the output to an unused Bus. Put your effects processing on this Aux Channel Strip. Set the input field on any newly created Audio tracks to correspond to the Bus output you set in the output field of the Aux Channel Strip. Now all incoming audio will be processed with the processing in place on the Aux Channel Strip.
In order to monitor the effects while recording without printing them permanently, make sure to raise the level of the Aux channel strip receiving the input signal, and set the output to the Main Output instead of another Bus. Then simply assign the Input to record enabled Audio Tracks, while keeping the fader of the record enabled Audio Tracks all the way down. That way the input is monitored through the Aux channel strip with the effects rather than through the record enabled Audio Track.
In the Environment Window’s layer menu, you’ll find a layer called Click and Ports. On this layer, you will see a large object on the left called Physical Input. It is cabled to a keyboard and monitor object and then to an object called sequencer Input. Any Environment processing placed between the Physical Input object and the Sequencer Input will alter MIDI data before it is recorded into Logic Pro. There are a variety of simple and useful processes that can be cabled between them.
Intelligently scaling the velocity response of you keyboard is simple with a Transformer Object. Create one from the New menu and cable it after the Physical Input object before the Keyboard object. Set the Status field in the Conditions to Notes. Set the last field in the Operations row to Scale. Adjust the scaling to taste.
In some instances you may want to transpose incoming MIDI data either to shift it by an octave, or to another key completely (I’ll confess to occasionally doing this when singers want to try songs in different keys and I’m too lazy to transpose them myself.) Set up a transformer as described above. Set the second to last field in the Operations row to either Add or Subtract, and then enter the amount of semi tones you want incoming MIDI transposed. The notes will actually be recorded at the new pitch. The transposition will be applied to any and all MIDI tracks in the Main Window.
Inspector parameters wield a lot of power. With no regions selected, set the Region Parameters as you like. These become the default MIDI Thru settings, and they will automatically be applied to all newly recorded MIDI regions. I often use this for quantizing and looping newly recorded regions in advance. Be warned, if you use Transposition here, it will sound at the new key on recording and playback, but the actual notes recorded will be the actual notes you played on your controller.
In the middle section of the Inspector, you’ll find the Track parameters. Unlike the Region parameters, which apply either to selected regions or newly recorded regions (if MIDI Thru values are set), these are track based and apply to anything on the track. Here you can set transpose as well, and as with the Region parameters, they will sound at the new pitch when played and recorded. But the values will be applied to that track only. And the actual recorded data corresponds to what was played in on your keyboard. I often use the Track section of the Inspector to set the transpose up or down an octave for sounds that I wan to play in a certain range on my five octave controller, but sound in another octave.
Included in this section of the Inspector and parameters to alter the velocity range and key range. Velocity and Delay offsets can also be set.
I hope you have found these tips useful. They offer ways of altering data on Input, either aurally on playback, or permanently in what is actually recorded. Although with MIDI, nothing is ever really permanent of course 🙂