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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.
Logic ships with a very large arsenal of incredible sounding synthesizers. To new users, their names are very confusing. Many of the synths begin with ES and contain an initial after that. This lesson aims to briefly describe each of Logic's synths and shows you a few ideas about how to start manipulating the controls to craft your own sounds. Let's start with the top track. On here we have an ESM. To open up the instrument parameters, double-click on the ESM in the channel strip. This is what the ESM interface looks like.
This instrument is a monophonic, one-voice basic synth. And it's primarily used to make solid, fat-based synth sounds. In this synth, you can only have one note playing at a time and this comes in handy. Since it can't play chords, the next note supersedes the one before and you can use the Glide control to slide between notes. Also check out the Cutoff filter to carve your sound. Let's hear it. (Music playing.) Let me solo the track and let's hear this synth.
(Music playing.) With a lot of these instruments, they contain dials. To control dials, click directly in the center of the dial and drag your mouse up to turn it right, and drag your mouse down to turn it left. The next track contains an ESP. The ESP is a polyphonic synth. Let me open up the ESP control and close the ESM. Double-click on ESP in this channel strip and there are the ESP controls.
I will solo the track. Like the ESM, it's a simple synthesizer. The instrument has eight voices that can play all at once, so it is polyphonic. It can be used to create more complex bass sounds in the ESM or simple chordal sounds. You can use the sliders on the left to dial-in different wave shapes that can craft the sound. You can also use the A and D of the ADSR filter on the right to carve the way your notes begin and end. Let's hear this one. (Music playing.) On our next track, we have an ESE. This is the ensemble synth.
Let's double-click on it to see it. The ESE is designed to play pads or chord-based synth beds. It's great for retro style pads. Like the ESM, the Cutoff filter is especially useful in this synthesizer. Let's solo this track and hear it. (Music playing.) Next we have the EFM. We'll solo that track.
The EFM is a different style of synthesizer. It uses something called frequency modulation. That's what the FM stands for. You might know of this from the Classic Yamaha DX7 synth of the 80s. Frequency modulation especially excels in metallic shimmery sounds, but it is very versatile in its uses. Change the controls of the Modulator and the Carrier to create an infinite amount of new tones. Also detune the Carrier for wild bendy sounds.
Let's hear this one. (Music playing.) Next we have the ES1. The ES1 is a more versatile synth and it can make many different sounds, from baselines, to pads, to polyphonic tones. Let's open it up. It has two oscillators or tone generators, which you can blend together, and an LFO or Low Frequency Oscillator for modulation style effects.
Use the Mix slider and the wave shaped dials to change the sound of the two oscillators. (Music playing.) On our next track we have an ES2. The ES2 starts taking the synthesis techniques into higher levels. As you can see, it has many, many controls. It looks like a spaceship. It has three oscillators and can do more complex synthesis techniques like ring modulation.
It also has a router at the bottom that lets you control the signal flow of the effects. Check out the cool graphic interface, the triangle to blend the three oscillators, and the square graph to manage the effects. I like to use this synth for the interesting sequences that are stored in the Preset menu. This one is called Wave Pad Groove 01. (Music playing.) The next synth we'll go over is the EVOC.
The EVOC is Logic's vocoder synth. Vocoder is short for voice encoder. Like frequency modulation, vocoding is a different style of synthesis that blends a carrier and modulator to create a third synthesized sound. You're probably familiar with vocoding if you listen to Kraftwerk or any song with a singing robot sound, but it has many other uses as well. It uses an audio track as a carrier. In this case, the track above it called words. And it has its own MIDI input as the modulator.
Let's check out how this sounds. I'm going deselect the Cycle region and play it from here. (Music playing.) The last synth we'll go over is Sculpture. Sculpture is truly a masterpiece of synthesis. It employs theories and methods of a fairly new field of synthesis, modeling synthesis. It relies on the acoustic properties and a theory of an oscillating string. So, as you might expect, it's pretty awesome at strings emulation. But as you can see, the complex and innovative processing allows for many rich and evocative sounds, from lush soundscapes, to deep-synth string beds.
I love this instrument for doing sound design for film and video and in my opinion the weird or spooky sounds are awesome. But that's just the tip of the iceberg and the more you spend and learn about this tool, the more uses it will have. Here is one preset sound I actually used for a film soundtrack. It's called Marble on a Journey. (Music playing.) This is by no means a comprehensive tutorial on all the ins and outs of these synth instruments.
But hopefully these ideas give you a place to start with them. Some people are content working from the presets, but others like to tweak to no end. These ideas should get you going.
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