The Tracks Area of Logic Pro X - dummies

The Tracks Area of Logic Pro X

By Graham English

The tracks area of Logic Pro X contains your project’s tracks of audio and MIDI regions. When you create a project, Logic Pro asks you what type of track you would like to create. The tracks you create are added to the vertical track list to the left of the tracks area.

To create more tracks, click the new tracks (plus sign) icon at the top of the track list or choose Tracks→New Tracks.

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The toolbar above the tracks area contains several menus to help you work.

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Here’s an overview of what’s available in the menus:

  • The Edit menu gives you several functions that you can apply to your regions, including basic functions such as copy and paste and region-specific functions such as splitting, joining, and repeating. The options in this menu are almost identical to the options in the Edit submenu in the main application menu, so you have two places to execute commands.

    This feature is useful when you don’t have the main window open and are working in an editor in a separate window.

  • The Functions menu gives you even more actions to take on your regions, such as naming and coloring your tracks and regions, MIDI quantizing (snapping your MIDI events more precisely to the time grid) and transforming, and removing silence from audio regions. When you want to do something to a region, check out the Functions and Edit menus first.

  • The View menu gives you more viewing options and useful tweaks to the tracks area. If Advanced Editing is selected in the Advanced Preferences pane, you have a Link option to control the relationship between open windows. Selecting the secondary ruler is useful when you want to view your project ruler in clock time as well as in bars and beats.

    The marquee ruler gives you a visual indicator of selections you’ve made with the marquee tool. You can get rid of the grid in the tracks area if you’re working in free time or if it gets in the way visually. The Scroll in Play option continually scrolls the tracks area as you play.

  • To the right of the View menu are icons to display or hide automation and futuristic flex modes and catch the playhead, that is, the tracks area will follow (catch) the playhead instead of remaining still.

  • In the center of the toolbar are two tool menus. The left tool menu is the currently selected tool that’s visible when your cursor is in the tracks area. The right tool menu selects the Command-tool that becomes available when your cursor is in the tracks area and you press the Command key.

  • The snap function makes dragging regions easier. You can choose the snap mode from the drop-down menu to the right of the tool menus. Smart mode is usually all you need until you’re trying to do something specific. At the top of the drop-down menu, you can choose a finer snap value if you need to move a region more precisely.

    If you snap a region to a relative value and the region doesn’t start exactly on the beat, it will move relative to its current position. That’s the default value and usually what you want, until you need to move something more precisely. To make use of snap modes, select Snap to Grid in the Edit menu.

  • To the right of the snap modes is your drag mode drop-down list. The different drag modes allow you to overlap, not overlap, crossfade, or shuffle regions in a track. Overlap mode preserves the region borders of the selected region when you drag it on top of another region. No Overlap shortens the right boundary of the region on the left. X-Fade creates a crossfade the length of the overlapped area.

    The shuffle modes move the regions in the direction of the particular shuffle mode selection; in addition, resizing a region resizes all the regions, and deleting a region moves the regions by the length of the deleted region.

    Shuffle is a complicated function that is used mostly in audio situations such as editing voice-overs or audio interviews and not in musical settings. Only one audio region can be played at a time, so any part of a region that’s hidden won’t be heard.

  • Finally, on the far right of the toolbar are a zoom button that zooms your audio waveforms and sliders that control the vertical and horizontal track zoom.