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In Logic Pro 9 Essential Training, Scott Hirsch explains how to harness the power and flexibility of Logic Pro, Apple’s popular songwriting software, to record, edit, and mix music. The course includes instruction on how to compose in Logic Pro, and spend more time being creative and less time dealing with technical uncertainties. Scott focuses on setting up a workspace, recording with both live performers and digital instruments, editing and arranging, and mixing and mastering a composition. Exercise files accompany the course.
So, you spent hours and hours leveling, panning, processing, affecting and automating your mix. Now what? Now we are going to go over the final mix down or in Logic terms, the bounce. Before starting our mix down, or bounce, we need to make sure a few things are in place. We need to set the start and end points for our project. Logic bounces from the start point, indicated by the left clear rectangle in the Arrange bar ruler, to the end point, indicated by the right clear rectangle in the bar ruler. To move these around, you can click on them and drag them from left to right.
You want to make sure your end point isn't too far to the right. Otherwise, you'll be left with a bunch of silence written into your final file. You also want to make sure it isn't too close to the end of your song, because you don't want to cut anything off. Be aware that if you are using any time based effects, like Reverb or Delay, they could still be ringing out after the last region ends. You probably don't want to cut that stuff off. Now deselect all the regions by clicking in the gray area of the Arrange window. Make sure you don't have any track soloed or muted before you bounce. Logic bounce is exactly what you are hearing when you hit Play.
So, if you got forgot that you had muted the shaker or something else earlier, make sure it's unmated now. Otherwise, it won't end up in your final mix. All the levels and automation you set in your mixing process will be part of the final bounce. So, make sure in the Mix window, they are all in the right place. You can bounce in two different ways. One is to go to File > Bounce. The other one is to go to your Output 1-2 and click the BNCE button. Both of them take you to the same window, the Bounce dialog. This is the Bounce dialog window. The first thing we'll do in this window is to choose a location and a name for our bounce.
No, Output 1-2 is not a good name for your bounce. I like to name my mixes with a date and version number, something like Nathaniel (the song name) _020510 or February 5th, 2010 _V1 for Version 1. Next, we'll choose our destination. For now, I'll just put this in the Bounces folder. Down here, Destination also refers to what type of file we are bouncing. The coolest thing about bouncing in Logic is you can make four different types of files in one bounce. I love that.
It's a real timesaver. These four types of files are PCM, which stands for Pulse-code Modulation. This is an uncompressed file type. File formats are either AIFF, Wave, CAF or Sound Designer 2. The PCM settings I recommend, if you are planning to use this mix in a professional best sounding way, are to leave the setting exactly as your original recording session settings were. That means if you are recording at 24- bit, leave this resolution at 24 Bit and leave the Sample Rate to whatever your recording session was.
For File Type, Interleaved is usually fine. Do not use dithering unless you are lowering the bit rate, something that should only be really done in mastering. However, if you need to burn a quick CD of the mix, you'll have to convert it to 16-bit resolution. In that case, you might want to dither. Dithering is a process that gets the most out of your down conversion. If you are going from 24-bit to 16-bit in your bounce, you'll want to choose POW-r #2. That's the best for stereophonic material. There is an option for all bounce styles to normalize.
This gets your mix to the maximum level. However, I don't recommend using this feature. If your mix will be mastered, the mastering process will do this much more effectively. Also, the Overload Protection setting shouldn't be necessary if you mix your tune while minding the output levels properly. I'd only use these settings if you are rushed to get an unfinished demo to someone and you don't have time to master it or level it correctly yourself. Let's go back to the destinations. We've talked about the PCM. Now we'll talk about MP3. Your MP3 options for bouncing are just like the ones in iTunes.
I usually use 256 kbps. You can also click Add to iTunes library. Once it's done bouncing, Logic will automatically add it to your iTunes library. Isn't it cool to be in an Apple program? M4A is Apple's own MP3-like codec that's used for iTunes downloads. You can bounce to that format from here too. Finally, Burn: CDDA will burn your bounce directly to a CD inserted in your writable drive on your computer. Here again, you should choose to dither if your project is at 24 Bit, since CDs are at 16 Bit.
So, you can choose your Dithering option here. You can take advantage of offline bouncing if you are not using any external MIDI or audio effects devices. If you are using these or if it would be helpful to hear one last time for safety while bouncing, use Realtime bounce. We'll keep it to offline for now. Okay, now we are ready to bounce. We are going to bounce this time just to PCM and MP3. So, uncheck the M4A and the Burn. Okay, make sure everything is right. I am going to take a look at my Arrange window one more time. Everything looks good and I am going to hit Bounce.
In offline bouncing, you don't hear the song, but it goes pretty fast. It's a lot faster than listening to the whole song at one time. Here's our song in iTunes. Let's take a listen. (Music playing.) It's time to celebrate. Bouncing marks the last stage of the complex mix process. Enjoy your work. Now let's start on the next song.
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