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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.
Now that we're set up for surround, let's go into some techniques for panning in Logic Surround Panner. To put a track into Surround, let's choose steel go to the track output and choose Output > Surround. This gives as a Surround Panner, as you can see in the channel strip. It's hard to control from this view, but if we double-click on it, we get a pop-up window view of it. This is Logic's Surround Panner. As you can see, we are working with a 5.1 surround setup. We have got our left, center, right speakers, a left surround, a right surround and our LFE.
The dot in the middle is called a puck. When we move the puck around the panner, if we have a surround set up you can hear the sound go around to the different speakers in our room. The Angle and Diversity displays are at the top of the window. They give you values depending on where you are with your puck. When the angle is at 0, the panner is directly up the middle in front. You double-click here and type 0. notice how the puck is right in the middle, in the front. When the angle is at -180, it's directly behind the listener.
The listeners represented right in the middle. That would be the sweet spot of our mixing room. When the value is positive, the puck is on the right. Right now, it's at +92. When the value is negative, the puck is on the left. Now it's at an angle of -92. Diversity is the amount the signal is spread to other speakers. It's a value between 0 and 1. In other words, at one, it's in all speakers at the same time. As it approaches 0, it's more defined to a particular speaker.
Right now, it's at 0 and the whole signal will be coming out of the left surround. If we have an Angle of 0 and a Diversity of 0, the sound would only be coming out of our center speaker. Let's put another track in this surround. This time we are going to do the afro drums track. I'll go into Stereo Output and change the Output again to Surround. Let's double-click this Surround Panner. Notice it looks a little different. That because this is a stereo software instrument track and we get a stereo panner in surround window.
Moving the center puck keeps the left and right signals linked. You can also experiment by clicking on the left or right independently to widen the image or narrow the image. Sometimes, you may want to place a sound across the front, but lower the center channel a bit. This can be done by panning across the front with a diversity of about 0.30 and lowering the Center Level a little bit. The LFE level, which is the 0.1 of your 5.1 system, can be accessed by turning up the LFE slider for any surround enabled channel.
This sends a signal to the LFE channel. You can use that for the low rumble we might need for certain sound effects. If you want more control or restriction of the amount of separation between channels, you can open the disclosure triangle at the bottom of the panner. This gives you more control between the values of zero and one for the left right front speakers, the rear speakers, or the front back percentage. When the number is at 0, for example, in the front, both speakers contain the same signal, or in other words a mono signal is coming out of your left and right speakers.
When you move it back to 1 you get more of a stereo image. Certain software instruments are made to natively output in surround and will give you that option when you call them up. An example of this is sculpture. Let's put it on the Instrument 1 track at the bottom of our Arrange window. Go to the I/O of this track. I'll choose Sculpture and here we get to choose Stereo, or in this case we'll do 5.1. This gives us a sculpture instrument that's automatically going to talk to the 5.1 outputs of our mix. You can see Logic automatically put the surround outputs on our channel strip.
Finally, some plug-ins have multi mono modes on surround enabled tracks. Let's put an EQ on the sculpture track to see. Choose EQ > Channel EQ > Multi Mono. I'll close this Sculpture window. This is a Multi Mono EQ. It looks like a normal EQ, except you have some Configuration controls at the top. Click on Configuration. This allows us to group certain surround outputs to different EQs. For example, lets put our left and right speakers on group A. They are already on group A, so we'll leave them there.
Let's put the center channel on group B and lets put the left and right surrounds on group C. Now if we click on L-R up top, we can make an EQ just for our left and right speakers. Then we can click on C, and we can have a different EQ for our center speaker. Then we can have another different EQ for our left surround and right surround speakers. Finally, we can have a separate EQ for just our LFE speaker by itself. So, in other words, Multi Mono EQ lets you have separate EQ controls over your different channels.
Remember, automation can be written to a surround channel when the track is in Touch, Latch or Write Mode. Let's hit the A button to go into our Automation view. If you wanted to write automation on this sculpture track, you can just put it in Touch Mode and it can perform automation on the panner as we hit Play. You can see we are writing automation already in the track. (Music playing.) This allows you to fly sounds around the room during your song, if that's you want to do. Surround mixing opens up a whole new world of possibilities to your mix.
It's up to you to decide whether you want to re-create a naturalistic room environment or a completely immersive listening space with sounds flying all around.
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