Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Transferring MIDI and Audio sessions from Logic to Pro Tools in about 5 minutes.

It's pretty common to have to transfer a song written in Logic into Pro Tools for a client to mix (or remix). Here's how to do it as fast as possible with the least amount of hassle.

Audio Files Only

If all you need to supply is audio files for transferring to Pro Tools (usually the most common requirement), it's a very easy 5 steps (MIDI files are trickier - we'll get to those later).
All files will start at the same point and be as long as they need to be.
Files won't include any Bus/Aux effects, only what's on each Channel Strip.
Files are PRE-fade (ie the equivalent of the fader being at 0.0), so they may be quite loud.

1. Name your Logic tracks intelligently (double click on the track header to give it a useful name - this is what your file will be named)

2. Make sure the length of your song is set to about the right length -ie not 200 bars if it's only 20 bars long. It's no biggie if you forget this one, but you'll be sitting waiting for longer than you need to while waiting for the files to bounce.

3. Delete any unused tracks and/or mute unwanted regions.

4. Select menu File-Export-"All Tracks as Audio Files".

5. Select Wave and 24 bit (unless something else is desired). Select Normalize "Overload Protection Only" (this is not your typical "normalize" function and will just make sure your Channel Strip level will never overload). Make sure you know where you're bouncing to. The default is the "bounce" folder within same session. (You don't have to enter any file name/s). Hit "Save". All done.

Easy huh?

MIDI File Export

Exporting MIDI tracks as MIDI files is a bit fiddlier than creating audio bounces, as many of the processes in Logic such as region Quantise and Transpose are "real-time" and need to be rendered into the MIDI track itself before exporting as a Standard MIDI File.

Do this (assumes standard Logic key commands):

1. Select all MIDI regions you're going to export as a file.

2. Press "Control N" (normalises any region parameters for the selected regions - eg Transpose).

3. Press "Control Q" (normalises any Quantize parameters for the selected regions).

4. Press "Control L" (turns any loops into copies).

5. Press "Shift =" (merges the copies and other regions into a solid file on each track).

6. Name each region with the text tool (you'll thank me later).

7. Select menu; File-Export-"Selection as MIDI file". Name your file (eg blah.mid), hit Save and you're done.

Importing into Pro Tools

Now to bring these shiny new audio or MIDI files into Pro Tools.

The easiest way is to create a new, empty Pro Tools session, then drag your files directly from the "bounce" folder in Finder and drop them into the empty Edit window in Pro Tools. PT will now import the files and automatically create the appropriate track for each file.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Logic 9 - using Pedalboard in parallel mode for fat Bass and Guitar sounds

Click on the photo to enlarge.
A little while back I wrote a blog article about cool things to do with multi-band compressors

One of the things I discussed was how to use the crossovers built into one of these plug-ins to separate the lows and high frequencies of, for example, a Bass track, so that distortion could be added to the top-end of the Bass without robbing the fat bottom end.

Well now with Logic 9's new Pedalboard, you can easily add some grainy distortion to the Bass track without thinning the sound by using the distortion pedals inserted in parallel mode.

Pedalboard is a great new plug-in that has been added to the latest version of Logic, and includes some great-sounding pedals that can be custom-assembled into complete pedalboards. (You can even map individual pedals to controllers with built-in macros, but we won't cover that in this article)

By dragging, for example, a Distortion pedal from the selection box on the right into the main pedalboard, then adding a Splitter pedal, you can then click on the name above the Distortion pedal to toggle it between series and parallel modes.

Series means the whole Bass sound goes through the distortion pedal, parallel means the distortion pedal is blended with the original dry Bass sound.

What's even better is you can switch the Splitter pedal into "Freq" (Frequency) mode. This allows you to select what range of frequencies goes into to the parallel chain. In my example, I've set it to send from 1.5kHz upwards. (Hint: to see this exact value, I temporarily switched the plug-in "View" from "Editor" to "Controls").

When you insert a Splitter pedal, it automatically inserts another Mixer pedal at the end of the chain so you can blend the two parallel paths back together again, in whatever proportion you desire.

Here's another tip - if you've recorded your electric guitar straight into Logic via your audio interface and are then adding effects in Logic - try using the parallel mode to blend your clean electric guitar with the distorted version on the other side of the parallel chain. This can give your wall of distorted guitars some extra clarity.