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Logic Pro from A to Z – N is for New

logic pro from a to z N

Nearly every creative step in any DAW requires the creation of something new. A track, a plug-in, a send routing, a preset change, etc. And Logic Pro of course has myriads of functions for creating new things. Projects, tracks, regions, templates, controller assignments, groups, zones, screensets – to name just a few! In this post I’m going to share one of my favourite workflow routines to force Logic Pro to create new channel strips the way I want them.

New commands abound in the Track menu. There are at least ten variations immediately available.

01 New Tracks

Numerous though they are, there is no key command to create a new channel strip with customized routing and/or plug-ins already set up. It is possible to save new default audio and instrument channel strips with custom routing and plug-in assignments in the Library. And creating new tracks from these customized defaults generally works pretty well. Except sometimes in complex projects, bus routing and output assignments might go awry if certain busses are already used. You could also theoretically use the Track Import feature for this – bringing in pre-customized tracks. But in practice, it is several mouse and menu clicks away and can also be prone to unexpected reassignment.

Never say never though with Logic Pro. There is always a way! Following is my preferred workflow which guarantees that new channel strips are created the way I want them:

1. Start a new Logic Pro project and create a large number of audio and instrument tracks; more than you anticipate you might realistically ever need. Maybe 100 of each!

2. Select all the tracks at once in the Mixer window and call up the desired plug-ins you want as a default. Inserting a plug-in will instantiate it on all the selected tracks. For example, I generally have a Channel EQ with a high pass filter set at about 30 – 40 hz on each track. Maybe you want a Gain plug-in at the top of each channel strip? Or a bypassed compressor?

3. Do the same with sends. With all tracks selected, set up a send routing and it will be applied to all selected tracks. I like to route all my tracks to one Aux for headphone routing, and another Aux for general tracking reverb.

4. Assign output routing as desired. I like to have all my audio and instrument track output routing default to a master summing bus before hitting the final output. It gives more flexibility when mixing. I use Bus 64 for this, so as to leave all the others available on an as needed basis.

02 Channel Strip Defaults

5. Now here is the important step: Go to the Audio tab of the Project Settings and disable the checkbox for Automatic Management of Channel Strip Objects.

03 Project Settings

6. There’s no need to leave hundreds of tracks in your Workspace. Set up your Main Window with only as many of these tracks as you want to have in front of you when you start a new project by deleting the tracks from the highest number down. Personally I don’t like seeing more than a handful of instrument and audio tracks in a new project. So, for example, if you created 100 audio tracks, delete tracks 9 – 100. Same for Instrument tracks. In this example, you would be left with just 8 of each in your Tracks Area.

7. This step is optional: Depending on how you like to work, you may want to go back to the Project Settings at this point and re-enable the Automatic Management of Channel Strip Objects check box. (More on this option below).

8. Save the project as a Project Template.

Now you can use this template as a starting point for new projects. When you want to add more audio or instrument tracks in your Tracks Area, simply use the New Track With Next Channel/Instrument function. The menu shows “Channel” when an audio track is selected, and “Instrument” when an instrument track is selected. The default key command is ctrl+Return. Because the Automatic Management of Channel Strip Objects setting was disabled when deleting the tracks from the project in Step 5 above, all those channel strips with the preset routings and plug-ins are actually still in your project template. They were merely removed from the main Workspace, but still remain in the Environment. So, invoking the ctrl+Return command merely brings back what already exists in the project but is not yet in the Tracks Area.

04 New Track With Next Instrument

Naturally, you may want or need to delete some tracks from your Tracks Area at some point in the course of your projects evoloution. This is where the option in Step 7 comes into play. If you leave the Automatic Management of Channel Strips settings off before saving your template, you can freely delete and add channel strips, and they will always maintain their routing and setup. If you turn it back on before saving your template, you can still add them in and maintain their customization. But only once. If you delete them and then try to re-add them again, they will be re-initialized to their default state.

New workflows always require some trial and error to determine what works best for you. If you are the type of user who likes to audition many patches from the Library, you’ll almost certainly want to leave the Automatic Management setting enabled. Without this setting on, your mixer will quickly become cluttered with unnecessary Aux channel strips that result from deleted factory Library patches.

Now if you are a more seasoned Logic Pro user and know your way around and where to go to get what you want, without calling up and removing patches that will ultimately be unused, you just might want to live with the Automatic Management setting disabled. It ultimately gives you more control over how your mixer is set up. It forces Logic Pro to your will, rather than the other way around!

Eli Krantzberg
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Eli Krantzberg

Apple Certified Pro Eli Krantzberg is an internationally known author and music software trainer for Groove3. His instructional videos have helped demystify music software such as Logic Pro, Pro Tools, Sonar, BFD, Melodyne, and Kontakt for thousands of users all over the world. Based in Montreal, Canada, Eli is involved in all aspects of audio production. In his studio he works with various artists, as well as on commercial jingles, corporate videos, and original music composition.
Eli Krantzberg
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  • EdgarRothermich

    Great “New” article with a great idea for pre-configured Channel Strips waiting in the wings.
    I have a question about optional Step 7. The procedure when creating a “New Track with next Channel” is this: 1) a Track is created in the Tracks Area, 2) a new Channel Strip Object is created in the Environment and assigned to that Track.The Channel Strip Object is the one with the next higher Channel Strip Type Number, unless there is an Object with a lower Channel Strip Type Number that is not assigned to a Track yet. In that case, that object is used for the new Track assignment.
    This is the procedure you are using for your workflow. However, this only works if the “automatic management” is enabled. Otherwise, new Tracks will be assigned to Channel Strips that are assigned already to other Tracks, creating a potential mess. Does it work on your system, because I tried it on two machines with that exact behavior.
    I you can verify that, then Step 7 would not be optional, the automatic management has to be enabled for this to work

    • Eli Krantzberg

      Hi Edgar – Thanks for taking the time to check this out in detail. After spending more time with it, I agree, definitely working with the Automatic Management option enabled is the most consistent.

      When it is disabled, it seems like the names of the channel strips take precedent over the actual channel strip channel assignment. So, when using the New Track With Next Instrument” command, Logic gets confused and starts assigning alphabetically based on name. And so yes, if a channel strip has already been used in the Tracks Area, it will get called up again based on it’s name rather than channel number and whether it has already been used or not. So yes, you are right, this can lead to unintentional and unexpected channel strips being placed in the Tracks Area.

      When the Automatic Management setting is enabled, and the “New Track With Next Instrument” command is used, it reliably calls up channel strips based on their channel assignment. Any names that may have been assigned are initialized and default names are used. And it does respect whether a channel strip has already been used in the Tracks Area.

      So yes, Logic definitely seems to behave more consistently with this option enabled. And thanks for your due diligence!

  • dcs

    {N}ever figured out, how to set the default saving path of a new project. I do have every time to redirect Logic to my project folder since years now. Do you maybe know how to change that, Kranztberg?

    • Eli Krantzberg

      Hi dcs,

      Unfortunately no, Logic irritatingly defaults to the User –> Music –> Logic pathway every time the save command is first invoked in a new project. This is annoying, I agree. There are probably some third party utilities that can allow custom file pathways to be set. But there aren’t any that I am currently using that I can recommend. (is Default Folder still around???)

    • DCS, have you tried making an Alias of the ‘Logic’ folder?

      1. right-click the ‘Logic’ folder

      2. select ‘Make Alias’

      3. Move the original “Logic’ folder to a destination of choice, you may have to drag while holding down ⌘

      4. rename the Alias folder to ‘Logic’, i.e. remove the ‘alias’ part.

      Just tested on Yosemite with original folder on Desktop. I’d suggest you make a backup of the ‘Logic’ folder just to be super safe.

      D.

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