Take Inventory of Your Track List in Logic Pro X

By Graham English

Every track you create in Logic Pro X is added to the track list and given a track header. You can reorder tracks by dragging the track headers to new locations in the list. To select more than one track at a time, Command-click the track headers.

You can delete tracks by choosing Track→Delete Track or by Control-clicking the track header and choosing Delete Track. You can also navigate your track list by using the up and down arrow keys.

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Make headway with track headers

Track headers are customizable and resizable. Choose Track→Configure Track Header (or press Option-T) to display the Track Header Configuration dialog shown. Select the additional items you want to see in your track headers and click Done.

You can also Control-click any track header to pull up the Track Header Configuration dialog. You can resize the track header vertically or horizontally by placing your cursor at the top, bottom, or right edge of the track header and dragging when your cursor changes to the resize pointer.

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By default, all the buttons and controls aren’t shown on the track headers. Here’s a brief description of the track header configuration options:

  • Control Surface Bars: Select this option to add on the far left of the track header a thin bar that indicates whether the track is being controlled by a control surface. A control surface, such as your iPad, is a hardware device that allows you to control a digital audio workstation such as Logic Pro.

    Many MIDI controllers can also be used as control surfaces, which allow you to use hardware to control the onscreen faders, knobs, buttons, and displays. To read an in-depth manual on control surfaces, choose Help→Logic Pro Control Surfaces Support.

  • Track Numbers: Select the Track Numbers option to display the track number on the left of the track header. Selecting this check box also gives you the option to select the Color Bars check box, which colorizes the track numbers area and visually organizes your tracks. You find out more about track colors in the next section.

  • Groove Track: You can set one track in your project as the groove track and select other tracks to follow the timing of the groove track. When a groove track is selected, a star will appear to the right of the track number and all other tracks will have check boxes that you can select to make a track follow the groove track.

  • Track Icons: If you Control-click the track icon in the track header, you can choose a new icon from the icon pop-up menu. Track icons are useful visual indicators and look cool, too.

  • Additional Name Column: Add a name column to the right of the track name. You can also customize what the column displays by using the drop-down menu in the track header configuration dialog.

  • On/Off: Use the on/off icon to save processing power. To turn off tracks, you must select Show Advanced Tools in the Advanced Preferences pane. When a track is turned off, it is silenced.

  • Mute/Solo: The mute icon silences the track. You can mute all tracks by pressing Command while you click the mute icon. The solo icon mutes every track except the soloed track. You can mute or solo multiple tracks at once by clicking and holding down on the icon and dragging your cursor up or down the track list.

  • Protect: This icon prevents changes to the track. With the protect icon enabled, you won’t be able to record or edit the track. Protecting a track is useful when you want to make sure it remains exactly as it is, without accidental changes.

  • Freeze: When you freeze a track, you reduce processing power on the track by temporarily turning the track and all its audio effects into an audio file. This feature is useful for software instruments and audio tracks with lots of plug-in effects that require a lot of processing power.

    With freeze enabled, all plug-ins (including software instruments) are temporarily deactivated and the track is turned into an audio file that includes all effects.

  • Record Enable: Click the record enable icon to enable your track for recording.

  • Input Monitoring: This icon allows you to monitor audio tracks that aren’t enabled for recording. Use this icon whenever you need to set audio levels for recording or to practice a part you plan to record.

  • Volume/Pan: If you’re used to working in GarageBand, having your volume and pan control in the track header might help you get accustomed to Logic Pro. The volume slider does double-duty as a level meter. You can change the pan control to an effects send control.

You can quickly rename a track in the track header by pressing Shift-Return and typing the new name. You can get through the entire track list by pressing Tab between each new name.

Make it pretty with track colors

Track colors not only make your tracks pretty but also help you identify tracks and groups of tracks quickly. In the track header configuration dialog, you can display the color bars to aid visual recognition. When you create new regions on a track, they are also colorized in the same color.

You can even change the color of regions independently of the track color. However, selecting a track automatically selects all the regions on the track, so if you colorize a track while all the regions are selected, those regions will also change color.

To change a track color, Control-click a track and choose Assign Track Color. You’ll be shown a beautiful palette of 72 color swatches that you can use to colorize your selected tracks and regions. By default, MIDI tracks are colorized green and audio tracks are blue. Drums get their own color, lead vocals get their own color, background vocals get a different color — you get the idea. Group your groups with color.