Join Skye Lewin for an in-depth discussion in this video Using Track Stacks, part of Logic Pro X: Mixing and Mastering.
Track stacks are a really powerful and useful feature. In this video, we're going to take a look at a couple of ways that we can use them to streamline our mixing workflow. The first type of track stack is a folder stack. These are great for when you have a ton of tracks that you want to keep organized in your project. You can place any kind of track, whether it be audio, instrument, MIDI, aux tracks, and even the other type of track stack that we'll talk about in a minute, inside a folder stack. With folder stacks, a main track can hold a bunch of subtracks within it.
Let's make a folder stack. First, I'm going to select all the drum tracks in the project. I'm going to scroll down, click on the first of the tracks, hold Shift, and click on the last. And then, right-click on one of the tracks and choose Create Track Stack. You can also use the default key command Shift+Cmd+D. To create a folder stack, check Folder Stack, and to creating a summing stack, check Summing Stack, which we'll look at in a minute. You can click here for details about the different types of stacks available.
Then just click Create. We now have a new folder track with all of our drum tracks tucked neatly inside of it. We can double-click to rename this track stack just like we could if it were an audio track. I'm going to call it Drums. With folder stacks, the stack master channel strip lets you control multiple tracks together, but leaves the audio routing of the individual tracks alone. We can mute and solo the folder track, and even change its volume level. The main track here displays a conglomerate overview of all the tracks contained within the folder.
If you want to open it up, you can click the triangle. And now, we can scroll down to see all the drum tracks within the stack. Let's press the X key to open up our mixer. And here we can see, by scrolling to the right, all of the tracks within our stack. If we close the drum stack, we're now only going to see the one track for the drum stack itself. Let's close the mixer by pressing the X key. And now let's remove, or flatten, this track stack. This is really easy to do. Just right-click the track stack and choose Flatten Stack.
You can also use the key command Shift+Cmd+U. Now we're right back to where we started. I'm going to scroll down again, hold Shift, and select all the drums again. And now, we're going to make the second type of track stack, the summing stack. Again, right-click, chose Create Track Stack or use the key command, and this time, click Summing Stack. In a summing stack, the audio outputs of all the tracks contained by the track stack are routed through a summing bus on the main track. This allows us to apply processing to the summing stack so that it will affect all the tracks within it.
This is functionally similar to creating a sub-mix, which we'll look at in a later video. Creating a summing stack is actually really useful for drums because we can actually mix all of our individual tracks within the stack and mix the overall drums as a whole through the summing stack. Let's click Create, and I'm going to rename this Drums again. The main difference between the two types of stacks is that we can now apply processing, such as EQ or compression, to all of the drums through the summing stack. In this example, we're using our summing stack to create a sub-mix of our drums as audio tracks, while also using the track stack to keep the tracks tidy.
We could just as easily use a summing stack with MIDI drums. If we had several individual MIDI drum tracks, one for kick, one for snare, et cetera, we could put them in a summing stack and route them all to the same software instrument, for example. In addition to being useful for consolidating the number of visible tracks in your project, stacks can be really useful in the mixing process.
- Importing audio
- Using Track Stacks
- Working with the Logic Mixer
- Mixing a song
- Automating and bouncing the mix
- Mastering the final track(s)