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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.
Mixing in Logic definitely has its advantages over mixing through a traditional console. From one, everything is recallable to 100% accuracy. That means if you need to fix the vocal level a touch 5 or 500 days after you mixed it, you can open the project and everything comes right back. If you are sitting in an expensive mastering session however, you might not have access or time to do that. So, here are some tips to save yourself by making alternate mixes. Alternate mixes are simple and easy to do, especially since Logic has an offline bounce mode. I recommend always making a version without vocals and a version that is a cappella, or only voice.
For one, it's common for licensing companies to need a version of the tune with no vocals for use in advertising, film, TV. For two, if you get the lead vocal level wrong, which is one of the most common things that can happen in the mix, you now have a way to save your mix and just add the vocal back at the right level when you're mastering. To do this, just simply mute the Vocal track and bounce it, naming it something that make sense, something like Nathaniel, then the date, then NOVOX. Once you are done with that, solo the track and do the same, this time naming it VOX only at the end.
One thing you might wish to add or not is the voice effects, but I'll leave that up to you. You might want to do the same thing for the bass track, since the bass level is often a level problem in the mix. Another method that comes in handy for mastering are stems. Stems are a few separate pieces of your mix broken down by instrument. To make them, you need to decide which mix elements go with one another. For example, in this mix, I might do just the Drums and Percussion. So, I'd solo all the Drums tracks and then maybe the Beat and Shaker tracks.
Then I might go back and do just the Guitars, then the keyboards and Harp and the Bass separate. That would be five stems. Again, just solo all the tracks you want to include in the stem and bounce. Finally, another approach to alternate mixes is to make different versions. For example, you might have a bass down version, or a vocal up version, or you might increase or decrease the level of those elements, a few dBs in either direction. These will be in addition to the master mix you think is the best one, just in case. The one thing to remember when you make alternate mixes is to be careful of the naming of the files.
You don't want to be in a situation where you can't remember what is what. So, be thorough when you're naming.
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