If you’ve been following the Logic Pro Essentials series, then you’ll now have Logic up and running, preferably with your audio interface ready to rock and one or more empty audio tracks in your project.
In this section we’ll be discussing some of the basic settings you’ll need in order to record on to your tracks. And, for you MIDI people, that’s coming up in the next part of the series. OK let’s get to it.
Playing and stopping the Project
“Hang on a minute, there’s nothing in it!” Yeah I know, but in order to set the tempo correctly, we need to hear how fast the metronome is, and to do that,we need to play the project.
To play the project, press the spacebar. Obviously, doing that at this point won’t respond with very much. To stop playback, you press the spacebar again. The third key command you’ll need right now is the Go to the start of the project command. You do this by pressing the return key.
Whenever you play your project, playback starts and logic advances what is known as the playhead through your project. The playhead is just like a cursor in a document. By default playback will continue from the current position of the playhead and, when we come to recording, recording will commence right at the spot where the playhead is.
Turning the metronome on and off
Logic has a built-in metronome, which I’m sure comes as no surprise to most of you. The metronome is a sound that ticks in time while you are recording so that you can keep everything in time.
Now, I promise not to preach apart from this one piece of advice. If you want to sound, record and produce like a pro, Use the metronome at all times, otherwise you’ll find yourself in a world of hurt, particularly when it comes to editing.
OK, so to turn on the metronome or click, press the k key to turn it on and press k again to turn it off. That’s all you need to know about it right now, but you can change the sound of it and how it ticks etc, but for now press k to turn it on and then press the spacebar to play the project and you’ll hear it.
Setting the Project Tempo
The default tempo of your song is 120 beats per minute, but you can change that very easily with VoiceOver. To change the tempo:
- Bring up the item chooser by pressing VO+I.
- type the word tempo. VoiceOver will say “120.0000 tempo slider”
- Select the tempo slider by pressing VO+space and VoiceOver will take you right to it.
- Change the tempo by interacting with the slider and changing it’s value.
What you’ll find is that, interacting with the tempo slider allows you to change the value in chunks of 10 beats per minute. If you want to set the tempo to something that’s not a multiple of 10, then press Shift+vo+space on the tempo slider twice. Then you can type a number followed by the return key to set your project to what ever tempo you want.
Setting the Time Signature
If you’re recording some music that’s not in 4/4 time, you can change the time signature of your song by changing the values of the Signature number of beats slider and the Signature note value popup.
As you’ll have probably guessed by now, my favourite method of finding items on the screen in Logic, is via the Item Chooser. If you know what you’re looking for, it’s definitely the way to go.
The default time signature of a project in Logic is 4/4 but, if you’re recording in 6/8 time, you would change the time signature as follows:
- Bring up the item chooser and type the word sig.
- You’ll now see 2 items in the item chooser, so choose the signature number of beats slider.
- double-click the slider by pressing shift+VO+space twice.
- type the number 6 and press the return key.
- Just to the right of the signature number of beats slider is the signature note value popup menu, so VO to the right to land on the popup.
- Open the menu in the usual way with VO+Space and select the /8 option and press return.
If you’re following along with this tutorial, it may seem like there are many things you have to do to actually record into Logic, but, setting the tempo and time signature are typically things you’ll only have to do once per project.
In order to make things simple, I’m going to assume that you’ve got an instrument or a Mic plugged into input 1 of your audio interface and that you’ve named your track, Guitar or Vocal or whatever you’re about to record. If you need to know how to do this, checkout the previous part of this series entitled Projects and Tracks , where this is explained.
Next, just check that the Input Monitoring checkbox for your track is checked. You can do this by finding your track in the track headers group, interacting with your track and finding the input monitoring checkbox. However, it will be checked if you followed the recommendations in the previous article.
By the way, if monitoring is a new term to you, it just means listening. So, the input monitoring checkbox enables you to hear whatever you’ve plugged into an input on your audio interface. Turn up the input level on your interface and you should hear your instrument coming through your headphones or whatever speakers you are using as studio monitors.
Once you can hear your instrument, make sure it’s not distorting, if it is, turn the level on your interface down a bit. You can check this more precisely in Logic, but we’re not going to get into all that right now.
When you’re ready to record, press return to make sure that you’re at the start of your project and then press the R key to start recording. The metronome will give you 4 ticks count-in and then you can start playing.
When you’re finished recording, press the Spacebar to stop recording. Then, go back to the beginning of your project by pressing Return and press Space to hear what you’ve recorded.
How did it sound? Was it not loud enough? Did you make a mistake when recording? No worries, Logic is a dab hand at helping you to get your project exactly as you want it before sharing it with the world.
If you want to get rid of what you’ve just recorded and rerecord it, you can use the standard undo key command which is Command+Z. You can also add more tracks and record on those to fill out your song with different instruments.
Getting Around Your Project
There are many ways of getting round your project in Logic. Here are a couple that I use frequently.
To move forward by 1 bar, press the period key.
To move backward by a bar, press the comma key.
To go to a specific bar, press the slash key, type the bar number you want to go to and then ress return.
To go to the beginning of your project, press the Return key.
There are other ways of moving around your project such as setting up markers and navigating between them, but we’ll get to those methods later on. For now, become familiar with the comma, period and slash keys for navigation. One of the things I like about Logic is that VoiceOver frequently let’s you know where in your project you are. You’ll hear the location of the playhead announced when you press the comma or period keys or when you stop the project.
Navigating by smaller increments
So, what do you do if you want to get to, say, bar 3, beat 4? Again, Logic gives you options here, but, for now, press the slash key, type 3 space 4 and then press the return key. Quick and easy.
If you need even smaller increments, you can get down to the tick level, there 480 ticks to each beat. You can navigate to the tick within a beat by adding the tick number you wish to use after the beat number. So, to get to bar 6 beat 2 tick 240, you would press slash and then type 6 2 240. followed by Return.
In this tutorial, we’ve seen how to set up the tempo and time signature for a project. We’ve also made our first recording on to an audio track and learned how to get around our project. Here is a quick summary of the key commands you need to master from this lesson.
Play and stop the Project, Spacebar.
Go to the beginning of the project, Return key.
Turn the metronome on or off, K key.
Record, R key.
Move forward a bar, period key.
Move backward a bar, comma key.
Enter a bar manually, slash key.
In the next installment of this series, we’ll be talking about MIDI tracks, software instruments, the Logic Library and all that Jazz, Read it now