OS9 to X and Back

Many people are still using 9 despite what the media would have us believe and some are using both. Whilst there are still issues with OSX I will continue to use both. OMF still doesn’t work properly on Logic 6 in OSX, which is pretty essential if you are moving projects between platforms. There are a few idiosyncrasies you need to be aware of some of which may be sorted by the time you are reading this.

When transferring files from X back to 9 IR’s don’t always work and sometimes you get a message saying there isn’t enough memory to open IR. This is remedied by re selecting the setting that you were using. If you created your own make sure that the setting exists both in X and 9. 

When dragging audio files from a CD you will often find that you don’t have the permissions to edit the audio under OSX. Once the files are on your hard drive select the files and press “apple I” this is the key command for get information 

 Also be aware that if you wish to bring a song from OSX back to 9 that not all the plug ins will transfer and some need to be relocated once open in 9. In itself not a big program but it’s worth being aware of and saving any settings that are precious to your song before heading back to the familiar ground of 9.

Installing OSX for Audio

When you get your New Mac out of the box. Stop! Grab the install discs and start again. Wipe the drive. And reboot from the install discs. Choose install and when you’ve gone through the usual menu’s choose custom install. Switch off everything you are not going to use. There’s a gig of printers in here you don’t need. Switch them off and if you have a printer just download the drivers for your printer later. Turn off BSD software. Turn off Fonts. Turn off speech stuff. The Applications , well that’s up to you. Once again this is only my opinion do feel free to spend hours on user groups and in chat rooms. As soon as it reboots from the install, go to font smoothing in the preferences and increase the minimum smooth size to 12. Then switch off any other languages ( top right hand side of the screen where the union jack or what ever flag you sign up to is. Now go to Expose and turn off as much as you can as a lot of these key commands conflict with Logics own. Now go to the Keyboard Preferences Tick use Custom keys for F keys (mainly relevant for Powerbooks). Now stay with the Keyboard Preferences and go to keyboard short cuts and turn them all off apart from the screen grabs.  Now go find the Disc Utility program. Its in Utilities in Applications and disable Journalling as this can interfere with audio.

Logic 6 watch outs.

Rex import direct from the esx still seems to be unstable on some set ups.

I am hoping that one day soon you can place an alias of your rex folder in the exs24 instrument folder and then open the rex straight in the exs24. I am encouraged by the fact that the first time you try this it works and board by the fact that the next time you open a song that you have done this on Logic tends to crash.

Drawn logic automation doesn’t seem to work in group. I suspect this will be sorted so watch this space.

Be careful with the freeze function . When tracks are frozen they are not included in “select-alls” so its easy to make a mess of your arrangement. Sometimes it’s still better to bounce.

When recording out to another in Via an external effects unit always check that the returned file is inline It can end up ahead or behind depending how you left your interface I sometimes use logics in and outs within helpers to prevue an external effect when bounced these end up early. Where as when I choose alternate outs on a track the bounced file ends up late. We are talking a few milliseconds but it’s the difference between grooving and not in is also one of the factors that leads people to believe that the darn thing doesn’t groove or translate well from hardware.

Also when selecting all anything that is hidden is not included

Logic 7 watch outs

A lot of the 6 watch outs still apply in 7

Loads more features with core problems still not sorted

Loads of plug ins don’t work in 7 unless you have the absolute latest version of all of your plug ins watch when updating plug ins if you are in the middle of a project as with the latest internet authorizations its easy to run out of authorizations whilst trying to stay up top date


Logic 7.1 

Thankfully a lot of the issues with 7 have been addressed although there are still some major issues and I still find on the whole when recording in a high pressure situation I revert to 6.43 as it still seems faster and more stable.

This situation has got a lot better with logic 7.2 although this version only works with OSX 10.4 so once again you have to way up all the things you will need to update if you are not running 10.4. Incidentally if you are going to run 10.4 I find 10.47 to be a good stable OS.

Do bare in mind though, that when you first install the OS spotlight has a major hit on the drive performance as it searches every file on your computer and connected hard drive. If you are not bothered about the search facility or are on an important session I suggest you turn this feature off.

There is a new feature where a master track can create chords from a midi region.

Once you have done this any tracks that don’t have the “don’t transpose” box ticked in there channel parameters will transpose with the chord sequence.

The chord master track can also be used to generate a chord sequence in score mode which unfortunately doesn’t transpose with the score like chords you put in manually.

File management

Saving 

Save often and occasionally update the name of the song so that important songs have a history beyond the basic back up. It’s very easy if you rely solely on the back up files to find you have backed up so often that you can’t go back early enough to find that great bass sound that you did yesterday that you didn’t realize you deleted when  the phone rang.


Audio

And while we are at it. Have a separate drive or partition for audio and a separate folder for each song and name the audio the same as the song. Name your audio relevant to the song and avoid vague names such as “great kick” or lead vocal. I know this is becoming less of an issue with some of the more up-to-date file management tools but trust me in a couple of years you don’t want to be looking for “big guitar” or “great tune”

I tend to have a drive for the systems and programs, a drive for samples and all things loopy and an audio drive. Sounds a bit convoluted but this sort of discipline means I can write groovy tracks from start to finish without even stopping the computer. It’s all about trying to get these computers up to the speed of your creativity . . . . 

I try not to use audio track one and leave it set to stereo and at a moderate level. Logic defaults to previewing out of audio one so when ever you audition audio from within Logic it will send it out of this track unless you change it on the left hand side of the audio window but it will default back to one when you reboot so why not just keep one free, its not like your short of tracks.

When recording after formatting a hard drive record a couple of files of nothing first and check that they have nothing in them. I find that if a drive has not been zeroed then sometimes bits of old takes appear in the first take after a format. Despite most the major software companies claiming that they have never experienced this I have seen or rather heard it happen many times. So just record a blank to be safe. (This has not been as much of an issue since OS 9.1 but be aware of it.

When editing within the sample edit window always check whether update position in arrange window is on. If this is on when you move the right hand start locator of the audio the relative position of the region will be updated and the audio will stay in time. This is highly desirable when you are working with a vocal. Sometimes you will require this feature off when for instance you have cut a region where you require the kick to be but it is late, Switch off the update and cut the region after the area you wish to edit so that we do not move other data. Then double click to open the sample edit window. Now move the start time of the kick up against the waveform of the kick being careful not to chop the transient at the beginning like it is on most crap sound modules. With update arrangement off the Kick will have moved into time with it on you will have just taken away the noise before the kick. (pre kick noise include the rest of the band, squeaky bass drum peddle and drummers droning on to engineers about how great there latest acquisition sounds.)

When ever you wish to do a destructive edit such as time stretching, reversing etc use the convert region to audio file so that you can always revert to your original file. I often select just the section of a region I wish to edit and make several region copies and then convert to audio files before attacking them. Although it’s worth noting that with time stretching within the timeline under Logic 6, logic always makes a copy anyway. We are talking the make selection  size of locators kinda thing. This is also useful when preparing audio for use within the EXS24. If you have a sample within the EXS24, which you wish to move from the sampler to the timeline, once again it’s a good idea not to edit the original in case it’s being used in another song. Play the sample that you wish to use. Open the edit window of the EXS 24 and make sure that the sample you require is the one selected. If you have the option show last selected key group on then you should be funky dorry. Now hit the E within the key group to open the sample. Strangely close it again. Now close the Exs24 and open the Audio edit window, which shows you all the regions and audio within your song. The EXS should have added the sample to the bottom of the list unless it was already in there. You can now drag the sample into the arrangement and then choose convert region to individual audio file (apple F9 if you are using my key commands, if not I’m sure you can find it). I know that seems a little long winded but once you get up to speed it is a good and safe way of maneuvering samples. Also if you name a region something relevant to the song before converting the file will adopt the name you have given the region plus a numerical extension. Further to this if you have a few audio files you wish to convert to individual samples you can select them all and once again name them something relevant to to song but add “01” at the end and then they will all be numerically named in order. Do remember to put a “0” at the beginning of “01” or you will find that “1” is greater than “10” and things may not go to plan in the garden.

Apple Loops

Some people like to add loops to there apple loop library from a remote hard drive and without moving the files.

When you drag loops onto the loop browser Logic will ask you where you wish to add the loops or just link to there original location. If it doesn’t ask this and just starts moronically filling up your boot drive with the files this is usually because you do not have permission to alias the files at there original location. One quick way to sort this is to apple I there drive and tick: ignore ownership. This is a quick fix and be aware of the implications of ignore ownership on other programs such as retrospect.


The Arrange Window

Before you edit click in a space. The hardest thing to keep in mind when you are starting out or over tired is that you are editing everything that is selected. For instance when you select a track in the arrange window everything on that track is selected even stuff you can’t see downstream or upstream. If you are zoomed in and can only see one sequence in the arrange window you might think, “hm I’ll just shorten this sequence to get rid of that really pants note I played at the end”. When you shorten the left hand corner of the sequence you are in fact shortening all sequences selected and worst of all you may not notice until you’ve saved the song so many times that all of your back ups have the same problem. If you click in a space then select the sequence you wish to edit then you will be sure that you are only editing the sequence you have selected. To be even more sure when you select an item check the sequence parameter box on the top left hand side of the arrange window. If it says midi thru then you have nothing selected, if it lists the sequence parameters of a single sequence then you only have one selected, if it says something like 8 items selected then strangely enough you have 8 items selected. There are times when you will want to edit more than one item at a time which is fine but its still a good idea to click in a space and then select the items you want to edit.

The Matrix Editor

This is the most common editing window and if you are using my key commands it can be reached by hitting “k”. But what is not so common knowledge is that, if you wish to view more than one sequence of data in the matrix at the same time you can double click in a space and then select “sequence colours” from the view menu and you can then see all sequence data in the same window. Can be a little confusing but good for locking bass and drums together.

Time Signature

Time and the mad click. The metronome goes nuts or goes nuts at a certain bar. If it seems to be clicking far to fast for your tempo from the beginning of the song this is probably a time signature issue. Locate the time signature icon on the transport and check that it is set as intended. What the F**k does that mean, I hear you shout. For the none egg head most pop music is in 4/4 or 6/8 or 3/4 but mainly 4/4. Occasionally in 5/4 but if your talking top 20 normally 4/4. Which basically means 4 beats to a bar. Each of these beats are normally cut up into 4’s or 3’s depending on whether the groove is straight or shuffle. 4 beats in a bar cut into 4 hence a grid of (4X4) 16 or (3X4) 12. This is a bit of an over simplification but we are not trying to launch the space shuttle at the moment. The point is if the time signature is set to 4/4 you should here a metronome of 4 beats to a bar, which will enable you to play in time (hopefully). Now if someone has been fiddling with the time signature you might end up with 4/64 or 17/24 or just about anything because logic is capable of doing virtually any time signature you can imagine. Ideal for arts council symphonic dead fish music but a bit useless for the hottest “teeny bop pop anthem”. Anyway accidentally changing these time signatures is usually the reason for the metronome going into overdrive! Even more annoying is if you do it down stream. I.E. if you find you have grown a signature change half way through the song. The only way to right this is to go to the exact position of the song where the time change is and change it back to the correct one. If you change it at any other point you will just add more signature changes.

Virtual Synths / Audio Instruments

The first thing to take on board is that this is “new technology” and although the various companies will sing there praises there are certain quirky elements that it is worth being aware of. Firstly when you skip up and down tracks whilst a song is playing the audio instruments you select may jerk whilst they become the current playable channel, this is because which ever channel you wish to play live needs to be set to a low latency mode where as the none live tracks are actually looking ahead in order to use less power. It all happens in the background, although be aware that if the channel you are playing does not have a red rec button on it then the channel will not play live although any data on that channel will still work during play back. Sorry if this sounds a bit confusing, take comfort in the fact that most of this works in the background and normally if a audio instrument wont play just popping up and down a channel will sort it. If you are working pre Logic 5 or in midi control mode it’s a good idea not to use the first plug in after the audio instrument as the control messages from the synth tend to leak into the first insert. You may also find that when recording in cycle mode that the track doesn’t always come out as planned. I have found that turning off midi data reduction often improves this situation don’t ask me why.

Alias items

Aliases do a similar job to what ghost tracks used to do in Notator/Creator. When you make an alias of an object the alias is just an object that reads the data of its originator. Very useful when you need multi copies of an object that you might need to change later on. 

I.E. the bass line on the verse, which is in the ballpark but not quite there. If you use an alias to copy it to other verses then when you change the original on verse one then all the other verses will change too. Later on in the songs development you can convert the aliases to real copies (when you reach a point where you want to vary the lines on different verses).

Don’t forget that you could put all the sequences of a verse or chorus in a folder and then make an alias of the folder to quickly build a song using just one verse and one chorus older. You can even make folders that are hard copies but all the elements inside are alias. The advantage of this is that you could then mute different items inside the folders on different verses. The only thing to watch out for with aliases is if you cut them everything goes down the pan. Always best to make hard copies of aliases or folders with aliases in before you get the scissors out.

Folders

Folders are a very under used yet practical part of Logic. Especially in the early stages of building a song.

Say for instance you have just had a great idea for a song. You’ve got the verse and a chorus but you haven’t really made your mind up about the structure. Well build one verse one chorus. Put all the elements of the verse in one folder and all the elements of the chorus in another. Then just drag and copy (or Alias) to make the basic Song format that you might want as a staring point. Maybe verse chorus verse chorus chorus half a verse and then fade on the chorus (loop the last chorus folder) You can then hammer out the lyrics and bother about the final details of the structure later.

Folders are also good for dance tracks where you’ve jammed 8 bars and built up the main phat mix section. You can pop that 8 bars into a folder mute most of it and copy it downstream unmuting as you go and hey you’ve got the beginnings of a great track. (providing it was a good idea in the first place).

Do watch out with folders as when you have audio within them that is looping several times within the folder occasionally the audio continues beyond the limitations of the folder. The solution is to make loops real copies within folders and then turn the loop on the audio region off. If you are using my key commands loop toggle is “shift L” where as make loops copies is “control L” a lot of these commands I have grouped around the left hand so that the right hand is free for mouse usage and drinking beer.

The Environment

A lot of problems stem from here and can also be sorted here. Remember the environment has lots of layers and when you go there you won’t necessary have the right layer open. You could be on, a global view or audio or midi or what ever. Sometimes it’s easier to go to the track list on the left hand side of the arrange window and double click on the item that you want to edit.

Here’s a problem I get sometimes. When you send a “send all midi program change command” (I have mine set to m) not all of your midi devices change correctly or at all. This can be due to you having a multi instrument for you multi timbral synth with a program change on the multi setting as well as the individual channels. If this is the case Logic will try and send this command at the same time as all the other program changes. As nothing happens at the same time in midi land then it’s pretty much luck of the draw which message the unit gets first (and please no nerd emails listing the order of midi events). So to cut a long story longer the golden rule is to turn off the multi change on a multi instrument. To do this selects the multi in the environment window. (Drag the mouse around it so that no individual channels are selected and then switch off the prog change, volume change, and pan on the parameters on the left hand side.

Don’t forget that you can also make transform objects within the environment and use these to convert events live on the way in.

Transform

Before we get fully onto transforming in the true sense of the word. A quick note on getting note lengths the same in the edit window. Select the notes that you wish to change in any window. The matrix is always good then open the edit window place the mouse over the length/info of the longest note and press down the mouse button but don’t release. Now if you drag up or down the note length gets longer or shorter. If you hold alt while you do this when you drag down beyond the shortest note selected, the longest note will still be able to shorten and eventually all the notes will be the same length. Then you can drag back up and bingo they increase as equal notes.

Automation

One of the things that has vastly improved on Logic 5 is the automation although when changing from Logic 4 to 5 it doesn’t always behave how you might expect so watch out!

Here’s an annoying thing, which is still not sorted. Sometimes to put midi program changes at the beginning of a song I have a bar of nothing at the top and then start the song on bar 2. Whilst I am at bar one I toggle into record and just switch the prog change off and on along with any other info which I require. This is a very old fashioned way of doing it but with midi I find it very reliable. Here’s the problem though. If you toggle record I.E. drop into record without the song in motion when you move up and down your song, which ever track you select also selects all sequences in it and then when you record any data, it merges all sequences and much worth when you try and undo you get that wonderful message, “can’t completely undo”. What the F*k does can’t “completely undo mean”? Any way the upshot is it fatally craps up that track. The solution is to put a cycle of bar one on and then when you select a track nothing outside of it will be selected. The only downside to the new automation is that it has made controlling some synths slightly more complicated as they no longer respond to straight midi controllers for the more in-depth programming, but lets face it the limitations of straight controller messages limited the full control of these synths anyway. Logic’s synths now use Fader messages to control the parameters. A quick transform in the environment linked to the track is all that is required to control these with your old control messages. 

Synchronization

There is no way to some up all the aspects here that can send you too hell especially where digital cables are involved. If you are getting clicks or any random crap always check that all your devices are working at the same bit rate and Hz. Some devices only work at 48hz and keep very quiet about it. Alesis A1 AtoD D to A converter is one such candidate. I rang Alesis to ask if it worked at 44.1HZ as well as 48Hz and they said “ have you checked the net” Also make sure you have the best device as the master. Always try it every way and suck it and see. I’m sorry to sound vague but there are so many variables that I don’t want to give you misinformation. Word clock can be good but only if you need it. If you are working with one audio card in your computer you might not.

Pop on top of this the black art of SMPTE and you really need a paddle or a Unitor 8, which takes care of business without placing extra code between logic and the outside world.

Oh here’s a fun thing to watch out for. . The other day I was busy making a tempo map from a guitar vocal track for a drummer. Mapping the tempo of every bar. Hours into doing this the client turned on his  tascam multi track which generates Midi time Code. Because the Logic song was in autosinc it heard the midi time code and promptly replaced my tempo map with a global tempo. This is less than useless and worth being aware of if you have any items in your studio capable of sending sinc messages. I.E. Any drum machines, workstations or multitrack gear. So the rule of thumb is to turn of the autosinc, although what would be more useful would be an autosinc that asked for confirmation.

Logic Control Surface

Ok while we are on the automation front tis time to approach the Logic Control Surface. A great bit of kit although I wish it were twice the price and bulletproof, waterproof and made of steel but that’s another story.

You’ve got a lot of the keys doubled up here

The Solo key on the left of the controller is the solo on the transport (shift solo to lock) Where as the solo on the channel is the mixer solo and will not mute midi unless the midi is running through your audio hardware ala protools zero latency.

I have also found that from time to time the firmware fly’s south and needs reinstalling. If you end up doing this via a midi file as I did on one occasion thanks to a very helpful guy on the emagic help line (don’t look surprised). Be aware that if you have already used the logic control, the unit will need deleting from the environment in order for it to not be sent messages whilst you are trying to send a midi file to it. Does that make sense? Not sure maybe try reading the sentence a few times whilst scratching your goaty.

Meanwhile back to the features of the logic control. Be aware that if you are in touch mode rather than latch that when you grab a channel you will be over writing previous automation data.

Oh and I have my logic control set up so that when I am using protools it emulates a Hue Control Surface. ( The driver to do this is on the Logic site ) It’s a bit of a pain to set up, if you have any problems with this within protools do email me.

Logic and Rewire

Do bear in mind that if I have set your autoload song up to work with Reason or any rewire application that if you open any old song which was made pre your reason ready autoload or from another system that Reason will not work straight off the bat with this song. Rewire channels need setting up within the environment as well as a rewire object in order to play midi from logic. Also keep in mind that often when installing another rewire application your rewire settings in Logic need resetting to include your new application and also check that your old rewire apps still work.

Also when using Reason in this way you don’t need OMS (hurray!! Clink Pop Fizzzzz. )

When opening a rewire application such as Reason the tempo of the logic song changes to the Reason default. Always make a note of the tempo of your song before opening Reason. This is crucial, as all the audio in the logic song will loose its relationship to each other if you don’t log the tempo. Also be aware that in some situations Reason doesn’t like having an open song within it whilst Logic doesn’t have a song open. These are all issues, which will probably be addresses but meanwhile be aware.

Rex and OSX. If strange things happen when loading rex files or Reason Refills it’s always worth checking that your rex extension is up-to-date. There’s a couple under OSX one in your library folder under Application support and another in receipts, although the rex lib in application support is your main cookie to worry about.

Also when running Logic and Reason together I never use bar 1 for beats, or anything timing specific. Save it for program changes and sysex.

EXS24 Sampler

What to do when your library gets big and heavy. Some of you may have noticed that when you have a large library within the EXS that saving of patches starts to get slow. Worth also getting into the Logic Project manager if you are using Logic 6 onwards. When I am particularly editing sounds rather than creating songs I often use an alternate version of logic in a different location with a cut down vst and Sample Instrument folder. When I am happy with my patches that I have created for the EXS I drag them to the correct position for use in my chubby Logic set up.


Space Designer

The Impulse responses that come with 7 are well organized and still compatible with 6 if you wish to use these in 6 under osx then you will need to replace the space designer folder within plugin settings within the Logic 6 folder with the one from 7 ( Library/Application support/Logic) you will also need to mover or copy the Response folder to the emagic folder within Application support




© logictoolbox 2004