Cheat Sheet

Logic Pro X For Dummies

From Logic Pro X For Dummies by Graham English

Logic Pro X is software for music producers who compose, record, arrange, edit, and mix music. Logic Pro X is fun and easy to use, and it gives you a powerful set of tools to edit and polish your music to near perfection. To efficiently capture and hone your ideas, here are some quick and easy tips for the various phases of a Logic Pro project.

Creating with a Productive Workflow When Using Logic Pro X

Productive creators will tell you that a big part of their success depends on their creative mindset. Here are some tips to develop a productive and creative mindset:

  • Work in these five phases: composing, recording, arranging, editing, and mixing. It's best to keep these phases in order because they build on each other. For example, mixing before you've recorded everything is like putting the roof on a house before the frame is complete.

  • Finish your projects. You'll get a confidence boost by finishing projects that you start. Set yourself up to win by starting projects that you can complete quickly.

  • Start projects with specific purposes. Here are some examples of projects you can start:

    • Learn a tool or editor.

    • Create a short loop, groove, or riff.

    • Compose a full song, composition, or remix an existing song.

    • Build a project template, preset, or patch.

    • Collaborate with a partner or client.

Composing and Recording with Logic Pro X

The most important factors to consider when you're composing with Logic Pro X are speed and ease of capturing ideas. Familiarize yourself with the following commands to accelerate your composing:

  • Press Shift-Command-N or choose File→New to create a new project.

  • Press Shift-Command-T or choose Track→Global Tracks→Show Tempo Track to show the tempo track.

  • Press K to turn the metronome on or off.

  • Press Option-Command-S or choose Track→New Software Instrument Track to create a new software instrument track.

  • Press Option-Command-A or choose Track→New Audio Track to create a new audio track.

The two basic types of recording in Logic Pro X are audio recording and MIDI recording. These shortcuts will help you record audio and MIDI with Logic Pro X:

  • Press Control-R to enable recording on the selected track.

  • Press R to begin recording.

3 Tips for Arranging and Editing with Logic Pro X

After you've recorded your sound tracks, you can use Logic Pro X to arrange and edit them to sound better. Because you can almost always find an element of your project that wants to be tweaked and edited, give yourself time limits and don't aim for perfection.

These tips will help you arrange and edit with Logic Pro X:

  • Use the tracks area for arranging and coarse editing. The tracks area is capable of fine editing, so this isn't a hard-and-fast rule, but the tracks area is ideal for arranging and has a larger scope than the audio and MIDI editors. Press Command-1 to open a new main window displaying the tracks area.

  • Use the audio and MIDI editors for fine editing. You can manipulate the smallest details of your track in the editors. Press E to display the editors.

  • Use the tools and editing menus: Editing audio and MIDI involves tools, menus, and functions. Press T to open the tools menu. Look in the Edit and Functions menus for commands that will help you achieve your editing needs.

Logic Pro X: 3 Sound-Mixing Tips

Mixing is the art of balancing tracks and manipulating sound to achieve a cohesive listening experience. Fundamental rules of audio may apply to mixing, but the subjective tastes of you and your listeners ultimately decide whether a mix is a great experience.

You can quickly get good at mixing if you follow this advice:

  • Don't clip the audio signal. Your level meters should never reach 0 dBFS, the digital audio limit. To give yourself plenty of headroom, pretend that -6 dBFS (or even -12 or -18) is 0 dBFS. Lowering the levels 6-18 dB will improve the sound quality and your workflow.

  • Mix at different volume levels. Mix at low volume levels to focus on the balance of the midrange frequencies (roughly, between 250 Hz and 8 kHz). Mix at moderate volume levels to focus on low frequencies (up to around 250 Hz) and upper frequencies (above 8 kHz). Avoid prolonged exposure to loud music to protect yourself from hearing loss.

  • Master your mix separately. Mastering is the process of fine-tuning the mix as a whole and boosting the volume to competitive levels. Mastering occurs after your mix is complete.

    When you can, have your final mixes mastered by a fresh set of ears. Good mastering engineers are like the four-star chefs of audio; they can provide just the right amount of seasoning and high-quality ingredients to your project.

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