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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.
Here is another technique that comes straight from the good old days of tape-based analog recording. It's called varispeed and it refers to speeding up and slowing down the tape transport to create pitch and speed effects in recording. Of course, Logic has no tape transport. But the Varispeed speed features in Logic 9 emulate this kind of technique and add their own special twist of course. We are still listening to our work in progress, "Nathaniel." (Music playing.) (Man singing: Oh Nathaniel, how the days are laid down.) To turn on varispeed we will go to the transport prefs.
Right-click on the Transport Bar and choose Customize Transport Bar. Here in the middle under Display you can check Varispeed. Hit OK. This brings some new controls in your Transport Bar. You have plus and minus button on the right. You also have Speed Only in the middle. This is our Varispeed controls here. To enable Varispeed, click on the plus minus button. You see Speed Only lights up. Speed Only is a kind of modern twist on tape varispeed, because it allows you to slow down or speed up the project, but then Logic automatically compensates for the pitch, leaving the song in the same pitch.
It does use a lot of real-time processing and this can result in some audio artifacting. Let's hear what it does. Click directly on the percentage button and drag up to speed up. I am going to speed it up 20%. You can also double-click on this and type in the number 20. (Music playing.) (Man singing: Like a dominos or like moles in the ground.) (Music playing.) (Man singing: Our mountain to ashes...) As you can hear the song has sped up, but the pitch is the same. Let's try slowing down. Double-click here and type -20.
This is going to be 20% slower. (Music playing.) (Man singing: ?flag a ride.) (Music playing.) (Man singing: Blowing, blowing down the mountain...) Although we do hear a little bit of audio artifacting, the pitch is the same as normal, but the whole song has slowed down 20%. If you click on Speed Only, you get pulldown menu for all the controls related to Varispeed. In here we can change the way that we control our speeding up and slowing down by other things besides percentage. We can speed up and slow down by Resulting Tempo, we can detune using Semitones and Cents, or we can deal with the Tuning Reference using hertz.
Of course, in Speed Only detuning and tuning reference won't do anything, since this mode doesn't actually alter the pitch. Let's try out Varispeed Mode. Varispeed Mode does not correct for pitch. It's actually more like slowing down and speeding up actual tape. Let's go back into the menu and choose Semitones. Here we'll double-click and will type -5 to slow it down 5 semitones from normal. Let's hear what this sounds like. (Music playing.) (Man singing: I was that kid on the Georgia line.) So here we hear less artifacting and we hear the whole pitch move down and everything slow down together, just like slowing down tape.
Let's hear what it sounds sped up. Let's go 5 semitones above. (Music playing.) (Man singing: I was that kid on the Georgia line.) You can use varispeed in MIDI Mode if you have the software instruments tracks. This mode pitches the audio up and down and also transposes non-drum MIDI events up and down to match the audio shift in pitch. So audio in MIDI stays locked in tune. So you only want to use this one if you have software-based tracks with MIDI on them, something we don't have in this project.
I want to make a note here that varispeed is different than Flex Time, which we'll explore in the Flex Time video. Flex Time is track specific while varispeed affects the entire project globally. So why use varispeeding? If the artifacting isn't too bad, you can use Speed Only Mode to pick the tempo up for the whole song just a little bit, or slow it down just to get a little bit more in the pocket. You can use the Varispeed Mode to slow down the song to make it heavy and slow. If that's your thing, but also you can slow down or speed up, record to that speed, then put it back to normal.
This can yield interesting textures and effects for your song. Varispeed Mode takes some old-school tape techniques and brings then into the digital world. Another awesome new feature of Logic 9.
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