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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.
If you are new at using complex tools like EQ, Compression, Delays, and Reverbs, Logic's many options can be a bit overwhelming. You might say to yourself, "How do I know what EQ and Compression combo is right for my lead vocal?" Or you may even have a sound in your head that you don't know exactly which combinations of mixing tools will get it for you. Well it turns out, Channel Strip Settings aren't just for instruments. They work for mixing too. Let's start with the lead vocal. Right now, the track has no plug-ins in it. Let's look at the Channel Strip Settings available for this track.
Since this is an audio track, there are some different options than what we see in a software instrument track. Let's choose Voice > Male Voice > Male Slap-Back Lead Vocals. As you can see, it loaded the track up with plug-ins. Let's go through these, and see what they do. Double-click on the Channel EQ. I can see that the EQ in here is pretty subtle. One of the things it does is it cuts all audio from about 100 Hz down. Since most male vocals don't go down that low, this we will use to cut out any rumble. There is also a slight cut at 200 Hz.
This is probably to take care of any boxiness in the sound. Then we have a slight boost at 1200 Hz. This will emphasize the mid range of the voice. Remember, Logic doesn't know exactly how you're recording sounds. I wouldn't trust all of these settings completely, but they are a good starting place. The next plugin is the compressor. This compressor uses a relatively low ratio, 3.7:1, and has some pretty moderate Attack and Release times. Next, we have a St-Delay. This is an echo effect, and it's set to be a slap-back.
Slap-back is a common delay effect that you might know from the sound of Elvis or John Lennon. I am going to play the track with the track soloed, and as a turn up the output mix on the left and right side, we will really hear this effect emphasized. (Male voice singing.) The next plug-in we have is called Ensemble.
This is a chorus type effect. It's using subtle pitch and phase shifting here to subtly widen the vocal in the stereo field. It's kind of a classic trick that a lot of mix engineers do to make the vocal appear wider as we are listening. If we turn up the mix, we can hear it more dramatically. (Male voice singing.) Finally, we have s Space Designer plug-in, which is a reverb on a small hall setting.
If I turn up the Reverb while it's playing, we will hear this effect emphasized. (Male voice singing.) So, this might be the exact sound you are looking for this track or maybe not. I recommend taking some time to examine the contents of different Channel Strips one plug-in at a time, like we just did. It's a great lesson on how pros can get their tracks to sound a certain way, and you can learn a lot from it. Also, you can use Channel Strip Settings that aren't necessarily made for the instrument on your track.
For example, in this song, we have a Harp track. I am going to un-solo the vocal and go down to the Harp track. Here it is. There is no Harp Channel Strip Setting. What about something else? Let's open the Channel Strip Settings here and let's try some ones for Acoustic Guitar. How about Bright Acoustic? It turns out that the EQ in this setting and the compression sound really good with the harp. You will hear what I am talking about when I hit play. I'm going to go to the Arrange window to make sure I am playing the right spot. Here is the harp with that Channel Strip Setting for Acoustic Bright Guitar.
(Harp playing.) Don't forget if you hit upon a good combo or alteration that you made on your own, you can always save it for later use. For example, the plug-ins on the kick drum for this song I set myself, but they work really well, and there are seven other songs in this record that we are mixing that were recorded with the same Kick Drum and mic. You can save this Channel Strip Setting and use it in other mixes. Go up to Setting > Save Channel Strip As and save it out.
It will be available for other Logic mixes. If you want to reset any Channel Strip to remove all current settings from a track, just go to that track and click on the Channel Strip Settings and choose Reset Channel Strip. This will let you start again from a clean slate. Channel Strip Settings are a powerful part of Logic. They make your life easier by loading up tracks quickly with plug-ins, but also, you can use them to learn how the pros process tracks.
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