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Posted on May 16, 2011 by Dave Gale There have been 3 comment(s)


Mac... check! Logic... check! Monitors/headphones... check! Audio/MIDI interface... check! MIDI controller keyboard... check!

So, you're all set-up to start using Logic Pro, but you're not feeling too confident about jumping in at the deep end? Have a read of our simple beginner tutorials and you'll be up and running in no time...

And if you are feeling more adventorous, check out our Logic Pro Intermediate Tutorials and Logic Pro Advanced Tutorials for information on recording MIDI, the piano roll editor, quantization and looping and cycling.


1. Introduction and Contents
2. Basic Walkthrough
3. Troubleshooting/The Sound of Silence
4. Sonic Possibilities
5. DIY Virtual Instruments

2. Basic Walkthrough


So you’ve got to the dizzy heights of installing Logic on your Mac! Now it’s time to get inspired and explore the wealth of sonic and creative possibilities available to you.

When you load Logic for the first time, you will be confronted by the ‘Template Browser’, which is where you need to make your first decision as to what you want to use to make your music. I always like to start with an ‘Empty Project’, as this allows for the greatest creative freedom, so I will assume, for the moment, that this is what you are going to choose.

Once you have clicked on ‘Empty Project’, you will need to set up some tracks. Pick the number of tracks that you think you might need to get started (you can always add more later!) and you will be confronted by 3 options (see Fig. 1a and 1b) ; 1) Audio - which is where you might plug in a microphone and record something, 2) Software Instrument - which is a sound normally played by using a connected MIDI or USB keyboard, or 3) External MIDI device - which is where you might choose to play an external synthesiser or sound module from within Logic.

Logic Pro initial screen.

Fig. 1a - Logic Pro track options screen.

Logic Pro track creation window.

Fig. 1b - Logic Pro track options close up.

I often find the best place to start is with a Software Instrument, as this will allow you to easily check that you can hear sound.

Select ‘Software Instrument’ and click on 'OK', then Logic will load up the number of tracks you requested. Now move to the upper right hand side of the window and you will see a small button on the top row marked ‘Media’. This will open and shut the ‘Media Browser’ (Fig. 2a and 2b) where you will find a tab which is labelled ‘Library’. By clicking on this tab, you will see a wealth of categories of instrument available to you, and you can choose something you might like to work with. Why not start with one of the many Acoustic Pianos. Once the sound has loaded (which takes just a few seconds once selected) you can then play your MIDI/USB keyboard and you should be able to hear something, which should sound like the timbre you selected.

Logic Pro media browser.

Fig. 2a - Logic Pro media browser.

Logic Pro media browser close-up.

Fig. 2b - Logic Pro media browser close-up.

If you don’t have a MIDI/USB keyboard, press the ‘Caps Lock’ key on your Mac keyboard, and you will turn your Mac QWERTY keyboard into a music keyboard, albeit one which is quite hard to play, but at least you can check that you can hear some sound!
3. Troubleshooting/The Sound of Silence


By now you should have loaded up Logic and selected a sound to play on a track, BUT you are confronted with the sound of silence! What’s gone wrong?

There are a number of reasons why you might not be able to hear anything, so let’s go through the most likely causes.

If you are using your Mac without an audio interface, then you should hear audio coming from the main speaker on the Mac, or even better, be plugged directly into the Mac via the headphone socket, with either headphones or speakers. If you are using external speakers, make sure that they are powered up and that the volume isn’t set to zero, or if you have an amplifier, make sure that the volume is turned up here, but not too loud to start with!

Next, check that the volume on your Mac is turned up. You can do this by pressing the right hand ‘Speaker’ icon button on the top right of your Mac keyboard. This will increase the volume, and should make a clicking sound as the volume increases.

If you have opted to use an Audio Interface with your Mac, make sure that it is also powered up and the volume is set. Most audio interfaces also require software from the manufacturer to get them to work, so make sure you have installed any appropriate software. It is always best to visit the manufacturers website and download the latest software, which matches your version of the Mac OS. That way you can be sure you have the most appropriate version of the drivers.

Once you have checked all of these points, play your keyboard again and see if you can hear anything.

You might also like to check your ‘Core Audio Preferences’ from within Logic. You will find this setting in the ‘Logic Pro/Express’ menu -> Preferences -> Audio. (Fig. 3) You should now see a 'Preferences' pane, which tells you what Logic is communicating with. If you are using the Mac headphone output, it should read ‘Built-in output’ in the ‘Output device’ field, otherwise it should read the name of the Audio Interface you are using.

Logic Pro Preferences Window.

Fig. 3 - Logic Pro Preferences Window.

You should now be hearing some Audio, or at least you will if you play something from your keyboard.
4. Sonic Possibilities


Choices, choices! What to compose, what to record?!

The chances are, you probably have a good idea of the kind of music you want to start writing, and the style or idiom you want to work in will probably dictate your instrumentation.

As I mentioned before, when you first load Logic, you will be confronted by the template browser (Fig. 4). I like to start with an Empty Project, mainly because I like to know that I am using the instruments that ‘I’ want to use, rather than the instruments Apple think I should use if I want to write a piece of music in a certain style, although I must point out that it can be useful to browse through the templates to get a feel for the sort of sounds which are on offer.

Logic Pro Template Browser.

Fig. 4 - Logic Pro Template Browser.

Once you have chosen your desired project and chosen your desired sound or timbre to work with, it’s time to start writing or composing. But if you have chosen a sound from the library within the media browser, there may well be other attributes and decisions which have been taken out of your hands and might alter the sound you have selected.

When selecting sounds from the media browser, in many cases, effects and EQ (tone settings) have been applied to the instrument, often enhancing the sound you are listening to. However, you can easily see what has been applied by looking at the channel strip, which you will find in the bottom left hand corner of the of the Arrange window (Fig. 5). If you want to look at these effects in detail, just double click on the effect you want to see, or even try hitting the ‘Bypass’ button (top left of each plug-in effect, or Alt-click on the active (blue) effect in the channel strip), which will remove the effect so that you can hear how the instrument sounds without this added element.

Logic Pro channel strip.

Fig. 5 - Logic Pro channel strip.

In Fig. 5 we can see a Bosendorfer Piano, setup with EQ and Space Designer Reverb on the channel strip, but the actual timbre is being generated by the EXS-24 sampler instrument.
5. DIY Virtual Instruments


If you don’t like the idea of hearing instruments with lots of effects and EQ applied, why not adopt the DIY approach by loading up a sound and tweaking it to the level you might like.

Rather than heading straight for the media browser and the library within, why not load the virtual instrument you want to hear from the channel strip on the bottom left of the screen. By clicking in the field just below ‘I/O’ on the Logic channel strip, you can load up the ‘raw’ instrument, such as one of Logic’s advanced synths like the ES-2 or Sculpture. (Fig. 6) From here you will be able to get at all of the controls that effect the raw timbre that you are listening to and tweak every aspect of the sound.

Logic Pro instrument slot menu - close-up.

Fig. 6 - Logic Pro instrument slot menu.

If you are looking for inspiration, all of the synths have a little drop-down menu, which will reveal presets. (Fig. 7) Once you have selected a timbre, be brave and go and have a tweak with the controls on the synth. The worst that can happen is that you have to re-load the sound because it’s been too radically altered. You will not easily overwrite the sound, so do not think that you can change it forever, accidentally.

Logic Pro instrument preset menu.

Fig. 7 - Logic Pro instrument preset menu.

Many of the synths can be described as ‘Subtractive’ synths, which is a particular category of synthesis and by far the most common, so a little time exploring one synth will often appear familiar in numerous others. The simpler synths which share this common form of synthesis are the ES-1, ES-E, ES-P & ES-M, and when you are feeling a little more adventurous, look at the ES-2. It’s more complicated, but it sounds amazing!

This post was posted in Computer Music, How To Guides, Product News and was tagged with daw, pro, tutorials


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  • watmon says:

    good tutorship

    Posted on April 3, 2013 at 7:23 am