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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.
We can measure sound waves in terms of their frequency and their amplitude. Frequency is what determines the pitch content of a sound, how high or low pitched it is, while amplitude is the sound's volume. In this video, we're going to look at a plug-in tool called an Equalizer, or EQ, that controls the frequency of a sound in a track. By altering the frequency within EQ, we can carve out a unique space for a track, so it fits better in our mix. An EQ can be inserted as a plug-in on any track. It can be used to enhance elements of a sound, and fix problems. It can even be used to make a sound compliment another sound on a different track, when it's combined in a mix.
The most common EQ you'll see is the Channel Strip EQ in Logic. Let's insert one on the Snare track. Click under the Inserts to an available plug-in slot and go to EQ > Channel EQ - since this is a mono track, we can choose Mono. The plug-in window pops-up, and you also see a green area at the top of the track. This is a handy, quick-glance visual reference for our EQ Settings, once we make them. That way we can see what's going on in the EQ of the track without opening the Plug-in window. Let's look at the Plug-in window itself.
The range across the middle is the range of human hearing. At the lowest, we have 20. That's 20 Hz, or the lowest frequency we can hear. On the right, we have 20 kHz, or 20,000 Hz. That's the highest pitch we can hear. Let's Solo the Snare track so we can hear it by itself. Click the S button in the Mix window. EQ settings can be made in real- time while you listen to the audio. We have a loop cycle here so the snare will just keep repeating. As I listen, I'll click and drag on the line in the middle to make some rough EQ settings.
(Drum playing.) Finer tuning can be done with the controls below each band. The top number is the frequency you're working at in Hz. Right now, this low boost is at 106 Hz. The number below that is how much we're boosting or cutting. In this case, we're boosting by 7 dB, at 106 Hz.
The number below that is the Q or the width. It's the shape of the band. I'll now use these fine controls to adjust the EQ as I listen. (Drum playing.) The Q value can be a little bit confusing. The lower the Q value, the wider the band.
The higher the Q value, the sharper the band. You can use a very sharp band to fix problem areas. I am going to use the sharp band to identify a ring in the snare drum, and then I'll remove it. To do this, I'll boost the setting really high so I can hear the ring, and then I'll bring it down to remove it. (Drum playing.) After boosting, I identified that the ring was at 210 Hz.
Then I was able to pull it back to remove the ring from the sound. If you EQ your track with it soloed, make sure you always put it back in the mix to make sure it works with the other tracks. Let's hear it all together. (Music playing.) It sounds good. Now let's EQ the vocal. Go over to the Vocal track and we're going to insert the same type of EQ. This time, instead of making the settings yourself, we're going to use a preset.
Go into the Plug-in Preset menu. Under Voice, we have one already made for Male Lead Vocal. Just because Logic made it as a preset, doesn't mean it will work for every male singer. But it's a good place to start. One thing you notice on this EQ is that there is a low cut. This is useful because for a male voice, there is not a lot of frequencies below 95 Hz, where the cut happens. This way we can use the EQ to filter out any low rumble or anything going on below the voice. Let's take a listen and I'll alter the EQ a little bit to match what I want to here. (Music playing.) If we like this setting for this particular singer, we can always save it.
Save Setting As, just call it, My lead vocal eq or something descriptive. It will now be available for all your other Logic projects. Let's try a different kind of EQ. We'll go over to the Background Vocal tracks. On one of them, select EQ, but this time choose Fat EQ. This is a different style of EQ. It has cruder controls, but it has a different more analog sound. I am going to Command+Tilde to my Arrange window for a second, and then adjust the playback so it's going over where those background vocals are.
Now I am going to adjust this EQ to where I like to hear it. I'm going to move up the fourth band to get some more high frequencies in there, and then I am going to turn up the Master Gain just to give it a little more gain. (Music playing.) That sounds good. Let's go back to the Mix window. You might have noticed I only EQed one- half of those vocals, the one on the left.
So, I want to copy these settings over to the other side. To move a plug-in from one track to another, you can Command+Click on it. That makes your cursor into a hand, and you can click and drag it. We want to copy it over too. So, I'll hold Option+Command, and that will allow us to copy the plug-in with the same settings over to the other track. See? Both tracks now have the same plug-in settings. Let's hear how that sounds. (Music playing.) EQs are essential tools in mixing.
It's not uncommon to have an EQ on every track of a song by the time you're done mixing. Equalizers in Logic don't take up too much processing power. So, you can feel free to use them as often as you need them.
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