Join Skye Lewin for an in-depth discussion in this video Using sends and returns, part of Mixing and Mastering with Logic Pro X.
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Let's take a more detailed look at using auxiliary Sends and Returns. An aux Send is just a copy of the signal on any given channel, which is then sent to another destination. The Return is what we call this destination. The aux Returns is typically an aux channel. An aux channel is just a channel that only routes audio and doesn't contain any source material of its own, like audio files or software instruments. When working with Sends and Returns, the Return's purpose is to Return the signal sent via a specific bus.
Multiple channels can all be sent to the same bus and return to the same aux channel, as this diagram illustrates. Using Sends in Logic X Mixer is incredibly simple. Go ahead and open the exercise file for this video or your latest session, if you're not using the exercise files. We're going to create a Send on the lead vocal channel, which we can use for a reverb. We'll talk about using reverb in your mix later in the course. To create a Send, click on the Sends drop down on the lead vocal channel, and choose an available bus for the Send. We can see that Bus 1 is already used in the track stack for the drums, so let's choose Bus 2.
The bus carries or shuttles a copy of the source signal from the source to the destination, in this case Aux 2. You can see that Logic automatically creates an aux Return for us, sets the input to the Return here to the same bus as the send output. And it names the Return channel for us, in this case Aux 2, or Aux 3, or Aux 4 would be next. If we were going to use the Send and the Return that we just created for a reverb, delay, or another effect, we could insert the effect plugin on this aux Return channel.
We could also rename the channel to reflect what we're going to use it for. To the left of the input on the aux Return is a circle. This is the format of the channel. One circle indicates a mono channel, and two circles indicates a stereo channel. Just click on the circle or circles to toggle from Mono to Stereo, or from Stereo to Mono. When you do this, notice that the meter in the mixer changes from one to two channels. If you want to see the newly created Return in the main window, just right-click on the Returns channel strip in the mixer and choose Create Track.
We're not going to do this for now though. The benefit of doing this is that it allows you to easily edit the automation for the Return channel. We'll cover automation later in this course as well. A useful feature in Logic X Mixer is the ability to quickly locate a Return channel for any given aux Send. You can do this by double-clicking a Send bus in the mixer. Now, let's select a different channel in the mixer, since we already have our reverb Return selected. And on our Send, just double-click, and you can see that we can easily locate our Return by doing that.
And the same technique works with outputs. For example, if you double-click on any of the outputs, notice how the output channel is automatically selected. Sends can either be sent pre-fader or post-fader. Pre-fader means that the signal is taken from before the volume fader, so any automation moves or level changes will not affect the level of the signal reaching the bus. Post-fader means that the signal is taken from after the volume fader, so automation moves or level changes will affect the level of the signal reaching the bus.
To set or send the pre or post-fader, just click and hold on the Send Bus. I'm going to scroll to the left, so we can see our Send. And we can click and hold here, and choose Post-Pan, Post Fader or Pre-Fader. You can see that Post-Pan is the default. In the signal flow, pan comes after the volume, so selecting Post-Pan sends the signal from after the fader and from after the pan. Next, we'll delve a little deeper into routing, and set up a sub mix within Logic X Mixer
- Importing audio
- Using Track Stacks
- Working with the Logic Mixer
- Mixing a song
- Automating and bouncing the mix
- Mastering the final track(s)