Logic Pro from A to Z – N is for New
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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