OMG, I can do that in Logic? part 1

Tuesday, October 4, 2016 15:42

It is no secret that Logic is a very "deep" program with sheer endless features and functionalities. But in addition to all that, there is more stuff, sometimes hidden or undocumented. In this new series "OMG, I can do that in Logic?" I will show some of those secrets.

AAC Simulation

Everybody wants to have the best sound quality for their mix. That''s why you got the second mortgage to buy the gear that lets you record in 24bit 192kHz with your high end pre-amps. However, after you mixed your song in that pristine quality and released it, it didn''t hit the charts and you wondered why. When you finally got out of the studio and looked around in the real world, it dawned to you. All the kids were running around with their iPhone ear buds (or even worse, Beats headphones), listen to music in sh!tty compressed audio quality. If only you had listened to your song how it sounded after that audio compression.

The good news is that Logic has a plugin that lets you simulate that iTunes compression and and it is called "AURoundTripAAC". You find it in the Audio FX Plugin menu under Audio Units ➤ Apple ➤ ➊.

Once loaded in in your Output Channel Strip, you can select the Compression format in the popup menu on top ➋ that you want to simulate. You can even set your own custom compression settings. Start with the lowest Bit Rate of 16kbps to hear the effect. Now click between the Source button ➌ and the Encoded button ➍ that function as a before/after switch. But that''s not all. This little Plugin has a lot of additional features  built in worth exploring.

Custom Images for My Templates

When you open the Project Chooser (Edit ➤ New) to select "New Projects" ➊, you will see Logic''s built-in Templates. They are represented by nice images ➋. However, when you save your own Templates and select them in the Project Chooser by clicking on the "My Templates" tab ➌, then those Templates are displays with a just a screenshot  of your Project when you saved it.

In my book "Logic Pro X - Tips, Tricks, Secrets #1", I showed a workaround how to create better images in the Project Chooser. But, if you want complete freedom over that displayed image, then here is the right hack for you:

  • Create a jpeg file that you want to us as the Template image and name it WindowImage.jpg (Logic doesn''t seem to care much about a specific size or image ratio).
  • Let''s say you saved your Project as a Template named "GEM Template" (Edit ➤ Save as Template...) .
  • Go to ~/Audio/Audio Music Apps/Project Templates/ (This is where Logic stores your custom Template) and right-click on your Template "GEM Template" to open the Shortcut Menu.
  • Select "Show Package Contents" from the Shortcut Menu to "open" the file content and navigate to Alternatives/000/ where the default WindwoImage.jpg is stored.
  • Now drag you own image (named WindowImage.jpg) into that folder to replace the default image.
  • Repeat the step for the other Template files you have stored

Now, when you open the Project Chooser and Select My Templates ➎, you will see your custom images representing your custom Templates ➏.

In case you wonder where Logic stores the images for its own Templates:

/Applications/Logic Pro X/Contents/Resources/Project Templates/New Projects/"Name of the Template"/Contents/Resources/template.tif

Modal Dialogs

What the heck are Modal Dialogs, you might ask. These are windows you encounter constantly, even if you are not aware of their functionality (a standard interface tool that app designer use).

A "Dialog" is a special type of window in an app that engages you into, you guessed it, a dialog. That means, you have to respond to it. It could be a simple OK button that you have to press, or the Dialog window might provide a wide variety of settings (checkboxes menus, etc.) that you can configure and then press a button to confirm/apply those settings. The "modal" part means, that, as long as this Dialog window is open, you cannot do anything else in your app until you close the window.

The Bounce Window (cmd+B) in Logic is one example of a Modal Dialog. But how does that knowledge help you write your next hit song in Logic? Maybe with a speedier workflow. The Logic developers added some (undocumented) functionality to those Modal Dialogs that might help you to cut down on "travel time" with your mouse to various controls on a window to click on.

Because you cannot use any other action in Logic while the Modal Dialog is open, all the Logic Key Commands also don''t work. That means those Key Commands now can be used exclusively for this window. And here is how it works. Look at all the checkboxes, radio buttons, and setting on a Dialog. Most likely, typing their first letter Realtime Offline, Surround, will toggle those controls. Some Key Commands respond to the second letter of a label. You have to play around a little to find the assignment. After all, who needs Pokéman Go, when you can search for hidden Key Commands in Logic, where you won''t bump into any poles or get hit by a car.

Cmd+D for "Don''t"

During a busy Logic workday, how often are you confronted with various Dialog window with buttons asking you if you are OK with a specific action or if you want to Cancel that action. Next time, before you take your hands off your keyboard, reach for the mouse, travel to that window to click on one of those buttons - please don''t. Those buttons also have Key Commands assigned to them.

There are three types of buttons:

  • Blue Button: The blue button is the one that is assigned to the Return key. Press the Return key and you are done. Please, if you have used computers in your life for more than a week, then, by all means, don''t take your hand off your keyboard to grab the mouse and move it to that button to click on it. Just press the return key. It should be a reflex by now.
  • Cancel Button: This is another reflex that should be hard-wired in your brain. The Cancel button in most Dialog windows is assigned to the esc key. Don''t you dare to take your hands of the keyboard. Press the esc key instead and you are done. Trust me, after a while, it becomes a "go away window reflex".
  • Don't Buttons: Other buttons often have Key Commands assigned to them too. Most likely, it is the command key with the key for the first letter of the label. For example, if the Dialog window has a button with "Don''t Close" or "Don''t Save", then the Key Command is cmd+D.

These Key Commands work system-wide in macOS, so you can use them in other apps too.

Toggle Window Panes with the Resize Tool

The Logic Main Window (formerly knows as the Arrange Window) has many window panes that you can show and hide. This so-called "Single Window" concept lets you manage screen real estate more efficiently. The important thing is to remember the various actions that let you quickly show or hide those window panes when needed. There are plenty of buttons, menu commands, and key commands for that. In case that is not enough, here is an additional procedure to show/hide window panes, the Resize Tool.

Your mouse cursor always changes to the Resize Tool whenever you move your mouse over the divider line between the window panes or the border of a window. This lets you resize the width or height of a window pane by dragging the divider line. But there is an additional function:

  • Close Window Pane: With the Resize Tool visible (when moved over a divider line), double-click on the divider line and the window pane closes.
  • Open Window Pane: You can even use the Resize Tool in some cases to open a window pane. For example, when you move the cursor over the right border of Logic''s Main Window and click on it, then the right window pane opens, the one that was open before (i.e. List Editor, Loop Browser, etc.).

GarageBand Mode

And finally, here is a little Logic trick that is not that earth-shattering, but if you recently upgraded from GarageBand X and miss those cute buttons on the Track Header and the familiar wood panels, then here is something to help bring back "the good old days".

Select the Advanced tab ➊ in Logic''s Preferences and disable the first checkbox "Show Advanced Tools" ➋. This puts Logic Pro into "GarageBand Mode" using  those GarageBand Buttons ➌ in the Track Header and, hurray, the beloved wood panels ➍.

However, as a side effect, when turning Advanced Tools off, many features in Logic will not be available. But hey, sometimes less is more and if you really really need those features, just enable the Show Advanced Tools checkbox again (and say goodbye again to the wood panels).


That''s it for the first batch of my series "OMG, I can do that in Logic?". I already released two books that reveal much much more of those hidden and lesser known features and functionalities in Logic Pro X that are often not found anywhere else, not even the official Logic User Guide. No matter whether you are a beginner or an advanced Logic user, with many of these tips and instructions, you will speed up and improve your Logic workflow right away, guaranteed.

Graphically Enhanced Manuals

I hope you found this tutorial useful. If you are interested in learning more about Logic Pro X, check out my books "Logic Pro X - How it Works", "Logic Pro X - The Details", "Logic Pro X - Tips, Tricks, Secrets #1", and "Logic Pro X - Tips, Tricks, Secrets #2". They are available as pdf, printed books on Amazon and interactive multi-touch iBooks on Apple''s iBooks Store.

For a list of all my books in my "Graphically Enhanced Manuals (GEM)" series and all the links, go to my website.



Thanks for your time and interest,

Edgar Rothermich