10 Tips to Speed Your Logic Pro X Workflow - dummies

10 Tips to Speed Your Logic Pro X Workflow

By Graham English

Start by giving your Logic Pro project deadlines and clear outcomes. If you don’t have a song to work on, create a learning project. You can create projects to learn tools, workflows, plug-ins, and software instruments, in addition to songwriting and music producing. You’ll speed up your chops with experience, especially if your purpose is clear.

Keep detailed notes

Start most projects by opening the project notes (Option-Command-P). Write a brief sentence about your project goal and sign your projects, adding an URL and copyright notice. That simple sentence alone will save you time as you search through projects for stuff.

Project notes are also an ideal place to list all your deliverables. List reference tracks, effects ideas, track groups, bar numbers, lyrics, and anything else you can dump out of your brain. Use project notes as a to-do list so you can keep track of what you’ve done and what’s left to do.

Use track notes to store specific information about the track, such as instrument frequency ranges and effects chains. Keep a change log of significant edits and patches or channel strip settings. Keeping notes saves you from having to commit anything to memory, so you have more mental energy for the music.

Use key commands

You can use more than 1,200 key commands in Logic Pro X — many more than you’ll ever need. But many Logic Pro functions can be achieved only by key command, so one key command you should memorize is Option-K, which opens the key commands window.

If there’s anything you want to do in your project, you can search through menus to find it, or you can quickly open the key commands window and search. The second way is usually faster. Open the key commands window regularly and search for commands related to your task.

Keep one key combination for ad hoc key command assignments. When you find a key command that doesn’t have an assignment, you don’t have to find a permanent home for it right away. You can assign it to your temp key command and use it immediately.

Use screensets

Screensets are snapshots of your current screen layout. To access your screensets, press any number key on your keyboard from 1 to 9. Hold Control for the first digit of double-digit screensets.

As with key commands, keep an ad hoc screenset that you can set up and duplicate from the screenset menu.

Save track stack patches and channel strip settings

Track stacks are easy to pass back and forth, and they free your precious time. You can save groups of tracks, effects chains, instrument sounds, and so much more.

You can also save project templates to save time, but merging templates isn’t as easy as loading a few patches. Open the library (Y) and load several patches, and you have a complete band and orchestra with all the audio routing and effects you can imagine.

Adding a common set of plug-ins to a channel strip is easy from the mixer. Open the mixer (X) and save the channel strip settings from the Setting button at the top of the channel strip.

Choose a tool and master it

If you spend an entire week focusing on a new tool while you work on your projects, you’ll know its strengths and weaknesses and you’ll know exactly when to use it. Press T to open the tool menu. Press T twice to select the pen tool, the most common tool.

Master the pointer, pencil, marquee, scissors, and zoom tools. You’ll use them a lot. Editors can be tools too. Spend a week using the step editor in your projects, and you’ll master it. Spend a week working on flex time, score editing, smart controls, and the other powerful features and you’ll dominate Logic Pro.

Choose a tool and ignore it

Logic Pro is so deep that you’ll probably never touch some of its features. You might never need to open the score editor if you don’t read music. You might never mix your own music. Whatever your situation, feel free to ignore what you don’t need.

Use the fastest way, not the right way

If something isn’t working, ask yourself whether there’s another way to accomplish the same goal. Sometimes what seems like the right way isn’t always the fastest way.

There’s no such thing as perfect software. But there is such a thing as software used well. A proper project is a finished project.

Establish a troubleshooting strategy

It’s not often that you have to troubleshoot Logic Pro. Use the following strategy:

  1. Is the problem with the hardware?

    Test all your hardware, including instruments, cables, audio interface, speakers, and anything else that could be connected to your system. Check the computer’s audio system preferences.

  2. Is the problem with the software?

    Test different projects and new projects. Check the Logic Pro preferences and the I/O buffer size.

  3. Is the problem with the project?

    Import parts of the project into a new project. Gradually add more parts of the project.

  4. Is the problem with a project component?

    Test your third-party effects and software instrument plug-ins.

You almost always find a solution by searching in this order. If you don’t, then search online and visit the Apple discussion forums. Set a time limit for troubleshooting before you ask for help online. Then set a time limit for your online search before you call Apple or visit a local Apple store.

Save and back up frequently

One of the greatest productivity tips of all time is don’t lose your data. Digital storage is getting cheaper and cheaper, and you can find many free storage services online. Back up your data.

Backing up doesn’t take much time to set up and is easy to automate. Search for cloud storage and backup or something similar, and you’ll be presented with competitive offers.

Don’t lose sight of the music

Sometimes you have to make things more complicated before you can make them simple. When you have a song that you’re going to record, you have to break it into parts and rebuild it so you can share it. When you compose, you essentially break your ideas apart and rebuild them. Logic Pro is a tool to help you compose, record, mix, and produce your own music.