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LOGIC - Tracks & Objects

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Author: admin
Date: 29-Jan-02

Here's another attempt to demystify Logic Audio for newbies... There are already a few other pages on Dancetech about the Logic's 'Environment' & other things... YOU MUST read this in context of those other articles although it does make sense on it's own... I beleive in repeating things in different ways you see... until they sink in.. :)

Ok here's yet another page - This time let's look at Logic in a different way... that might help most of all..... See Logic opens in an 'open-ended' state, and can be configured to be how you want things showing like many s/w's.. I personaly don't think it opens in a very good way in terms of making it clear what's going on!... Mebbe this page will help newbies and those getting into Logic Audio...

The Layout - default

Here's the default Logic opening... checkout the main left-hand side where the action is... We see a bunch of Track Headers... with different titles... Well... the thing is, these are NOT the Track NAMES/TITLES... That is the first confusing thing about Logic Audio - It defaults to show the Track Headers with the text & icon for the ASSIGNED TRACK OBJECT OR INSTRUMENT... (more on this later) - Suffice to say, one expects these to be the track titles.. and when you click on it you'd NORMALY be going to re-name a Track in most s/w's.. Click on the Track header title/icon in Logic, and .. WTF!!!... some weird big window opens full of gobbledegook & icons & stuff ??....

ok rewind... Let's SHOW the TRACK NAMES... then things start to get clearer!!...

Position the mouse over the devider exactly over the corner where the vertical & horizontal borders meet..... The mouse pointer changes to be a strange 4 arrow-headed shape.. Now hold the mouse click down & drag the panel/track headers out to the left... wider.

There is as you can see, plenty of extra width & space on the headers now... Now let's see what we can & cannot show on these Track headers!...

There are in fact 8 columns possible for the Track headers/strips.. 5 of them are visible at default load up of Logic -(image above)

The 8 possible Columns are:

  • Track numbers/Level meters
  • Mute Switch
  • Record Switch
  • Track Protect Switch
  • Track Instrument Channel
  • Instrument Icon
  • Instrument Name
  • Track Name

We can show some or all of these columns... but the way Logic defaults to open is rather confusing to understanding the data flow thru the programme.... let's go thu a simplification process...

VIEW MENU - (Track header options menu)

As you can see, there are a few options... The one we want to show the track NAME/TITLE is highlighted in the picture... VIEW - 'TRACK NAME' - Check this item & close the list...


Your selected Track Header now shows like this, with the *track name

Now you can click the '*track name' & rename it & hit enter to fix the rename... you might find that renamed title squeezes to close to the devider-line to the left of the track name - in that case, what I do is, when re-naming a Track, I simply hit the space-bar a few times then type the new Track Name - simple !!

Now go down to the next track and double-click on that header - sadly. Logic Audio does not show any sort of fixed devider line on the track headers to show the Track Name column after you've selected it to be visible by doing 'View - Track Name' - so just make sure when you go to re-name another Track, that you double-click directly verticaly underneath the first visible '*track name' that appears... Just double-click in the 'Track Name' column (even tho it's not visible until a track IS 'named'), and each time a new: '*track name' will appear ready to be typed & renamed.....

See?... now we can see the actual Track NAMES/TITLES... First let's re-name all the tracks... it takes a few minutes, but you can save this layout & reload it at any time...

I suggest you name the tracks like this, to mimic/copy the visible assigned 'Instrument Names' & 'Instrument icons' that you can see already on the left of the newly created 'Track Name' Column... BUT REMEMBER - we are simply giving the track a name at this point so that each 'Track Name' slot is full... But regrdless of 'Track Name' given, we can assign ANY type of 'Object' to this track... a 'Midi Instrument' or an 'Audio Instrument' or an 'Audio Track' etc etc... the TRACK NAME is just a title UNIQUE to that Track - More then One Track can have the exact same 'Object' assigned to it... you'll see as we go what I mean....

See?... now we can see ALL the actual TRACK NAME 'slots' in the 'Track name' Column.... we can rename 'em anytime... But wait up!!... So WTF are those OTHER names to the left next to the icons ???? - They are the assigned INSTRUMENTS... or rather assigned INSTRUMENT 'OBJECTS'.... it'll all become clearer as we go on... let's first arrange the layout of the Track headers/strips a bit...


Let's go back... back... ba-a-a-c-k... to the VIEW menu...

Deselect 'Instrument Name' by clicking it and the menu closes... and the screen looks like this... with only the assigned 'Object' Icon visible next to the 'Track Names' we added...


Go Back to the view menu...

Deselect 'Instrument Icon' by clicking it and the menu closes... and the screen looks like this... Now all we have is the 'Track Name' apart from the basic control buttons like mute & record-ready.

NOTE - The left hand side lower/largest 'TRACK PARAMETER PANEL' (in red rectangle) - shows the basic info for the 'Object' the Track has assigned to it. - In this case the Track 'Midi channel 1' has: 'GM device - (sub channel 1)' assigned to it..


Meanwhile.. back at the view menu....

Select 'Track Instrument Channel' by clicking it and the menu closes... and the screen looks like this...


Now....... press the 'H' key on your qwerty board.... This HIDES/SHOWS the left-side PARAMETERS PANEL.... we'll come back to those...

heh heh.... Also, drag the devider/seperator - which we moved over to the Right at the begginning - back to the Left, so that the Track Headers only occupy enough width to show the Track NAMES/TITLES... neat & tidy huh!!...

The only problem with this method is, quick allocation of an INSTRUMENT OR INTRUMENT OBJECT to a track from the Track Headers area alone is not possible with this minimal layout... *sigh*.... you can do that by another method, but right here i'm trying to drill into the confused Logic newbie the concept of the flow of data thru Logic's 'Tracks'....


So back at the VIEW menu... Select 'Instrument Icon' by clicking it and the menu closes & the icons appear again on the Track headers/strips...... Then open the VIEW menu again & DE-select 'Track Instrument Channel' by clicking it and the menu closes & this column dissapears...

I tend to think it is best setup like this... with the VIEW menu selection showing:

  • Track numbers/Level meters
  • Mute Switch
  • Record Switch
  • Instrument Icon
  • Track Name

... so it looks like this...

This is a good layout to work with, affording a decent viewable work-space for your music midi & audio parts to the right...

You can select a Track, then SHIFT/double-click the TRACK NAME to re-title/name the track uniquely...

IMPORTANT once the INSTRUMENT NAME column is DE-selected in the VIEW menu so it does NOT show on the track headers, you must do: SHIFT/Double-click on the Track header Track Name column to re-title/name them...

you can quickly assign an INSTRUMENT to that track by mouse-click/holding over a Track header to reveal the Track Assignment select list.... and you can click the qwerty 'H' key to open & close the Track/Parts Parameters panel on the left of the screen when needed....

You can always add the Column: 'Track Protect Switch', which is a good one when you get further into recording & want to Lock tracks down so they can't be edited by mistake.


Ok... so a TRACK has:

  • a TRACK NAME/TITLE called the 'Track Name'
  • an assigned INSTRUMENT OBJECT represented by an 'Intrument Title/Icon'


    It's a bit confusing, cos we have VST INTRUMENTS... and Logic INSTRUMENTS... so what do Emagic mean by 'Instrument' in this context??... Well in the context of the Track headers VIEW MENU, Logic calls the assigned object an: 'INSTRUMENT NAME/ICON' (remember above?) - But that actualy confuses things refering to these selectable/assignable OBJECTS as 'INSTRUMENT NAME' or 'INSTRUMENT ICON', because REALLY, they SHOULD BE called:


    Whatever you assign to a track is an: 'OBJECT' - represented on an ENVIRONMENT LAYER by an ICON...

    In the case of a midi Instrument, it is a 'MIDI INSTRUMENT OBJECT', which has a selectable set of parameters for midi IN & OUT, patch/bank-names etc - In the case of an audio track it is an: 'AUDIO MIXER TRACK OBJECT' with fader, pan, aux sends, eq & fx inserts etc... In the case of an: 'AUDIO INSTRUMENT', it is a mixer slot into which one plugs a selected logic, vsti or dxi instrument... In the case of a selected Mix-Automation Object, it is simply selecting a 'socket' which ALL assigned audio Mixer or sub-group/buss channels route their midi movement data to...
    Yes... Instruments in your studio are represented by a graphic representation of INSTRUMENT OBJECTS on the environment layers - you can then assign them to any track...

    There is more on this in the other LOGIC ENVIRONMENT Articles in the Dancetech ARTICLES section, but basicaly this 'preset' INSTRUMENT/OBJECT has all the info for stuff like patch/bank names, which midi OUT port & IN port to use, etc.... INTRUMENT & all other types of OBJECT live on the environment layers.


    Anyways... To assign the Intrument Object (midi instrument) or Audio Track Object or Audio Instrument Object etc to a Track, simply LEFT click/hold down on any Track header...

    (If you double-click instead, you actualy OPEN the 'Environment Layer' on which the assigned 'Object' is residing for editing purposes)

    Ok, so you LEFT click/hold down on a track header/strip & this menu appears...

    So - audio or midi... You can assign to a Track either:

  • a midi INSTRUMENT object - 'Midi Instr' - (settings for in's, outs, patchnames, controllers etc)
  • an AUDIO object - 'Audio' - Audio-Track, Audio-Instrument (Logic, vsti & dxi Instruments), or Automation (a-playback, b-playback or buss-automation)

    You can also assign other objects not yet available for selection because you didn't get into creating them yet.... for now, let's just concentrate on this basic's of data flow & working layout....

    I think now is the time for a flow chart.....

    here we can see the midi data coming IN via your midi In port (which ever one you are plugged into)

    The data goes to the selected track & from there to it's assigned OBJECT on the Environment Layer.

    The rectangular panel on the left is the TRACK PARAMETER PANEL which shows/hides when you press the 'H' key... this panel shows the assigned OBJECT & it's Midi Channel etc.. quick edit can be made here & Bank/Patch-names/number are selectable here too... it's a quick-access panel showing the Track-assigned OBJECTS parameters.

    The ENVIRONMENT LAYERS are simply 'pages' which can be created as a new blank surface onto which OBJECTS can be placed and connected to each other.

    In the case of 'Midi Instrument Objects', these main 'Instrument Objects' have all the settings for Midi IN & OUT ports etc & patchname lists etc... you can bolt other 'Objects to these main 'Instrument-Objects' by dragging little cables accross like on a patchbay... It's your area for building & editing these OBJECTS which can then be assigned to Tracks.

    In the case of 'Audio Objects, (everything on the audio mixer, fx, vsti's & dxi's & logic Instruments), these are mostly preset & fixed... however, there are a few other audio objects you can initiate - you'd better read the article 'Logic Input Monitoring' for more on that.

    The data passes OUT of the Environment Layer/Object THRU to the Track-assigned 'Object' OUTPUT via the Track-Header where it can be recorded from the signal passing thru...

    well... that's all for now... I think once you setup the track headers differently and see how they relate to the environment layers & their Objects it becomes more apparent what's going on at those track headers for newbies to Logic - you can see the flow better from this page & exactly what is on those track headers might be more obvious now so that the actual track title (like you'd physicaly write on a mixer channel-strip) AND what that track is assigned TO is clearer mebbe??

    The fine detail about the setting up of environment objects etc and how to make them available for selection by tracks is in the other Logic environment articles at Dancetech... enjoy...

    aha!.. here's a zip file with an alternative logic setup in it!


    'LOGIC - Tracks & Objects'

    There are a total:  8  comments posted to this page.

    Name:  Martin
    Activity:  Hobby-ist
    Date:  20-Mar-02

    How do you get vst instruments to work in logic 4.7 platinium. I down loaded
    some free vst instruments but when I install them they don`t show in the program. I can just use emagics own.

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    Name:  Marty Buchanan
    Activity:  Hobby-ist
    Date:  24-Mar-02

    Using LA Pro ISIS (3.6) - need help arming an audio track in audio mixer layer, when I select input the choices are 1-8, but 3-8 are sort of greyed out. They can be selected so that they read on the select button, but I get PC/AV error 31 input not available for recording. Any suggestions?
    Thanks and regards,

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    Name:  groove
    Activity:  Hobby-ist
    Date:  26-Mar-02

    I recorded a song in Logic, using VST instruments and some samples, I want to save my song as a WAV. file to upload it to a website, how can I do it (the file is now saved as an LSO file)

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    Name:  wacy
    Website?:  n/a
    Activity:  part-timer
    Date:  18-May-02

    Anyone know where I can find more info on setting up the Environment objects in Logic Audio 5? I've looked at the pages on this site but if anyone knows where I can find more info, plz let me know.


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    Name:  admin
    Activity:  Professional
    Date:  01-Jul-02

    everyhting in logic is an object you'd have to be more specific about what sort of objects you want to create. There are articles in this site covering various common ones, but not all of course. One thing we havent covered is setting up synth objects tho - with the posrts and patchlist creation or loading etc.

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    Name:  ssentongo sonny
    Activity:  Professional
    Date:  07-Jul-02

    so nice

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    Name:  Jeff
    Activity:  Hobby-ist
    Date:  01-Oct-04

    I've installed a couple of DXi instruments to my PC and cannot open them in Logic 5. how do I configure my setup?? I'm only seeing Logic instrument options.

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    Last added comment

    Name:  Michael Aarons
    Activity:  Professional
    Date:  04-Mar-05

    I am running Logic Pro 6 on a Mac... I do a lot of
    work using the General MIdi (quicktime) instrument,
    and I make ringtones for cellphones.
    I have a Mackie Universal controller mixer which is
    great. My question is when I write Latch or Touch
    fader messages that I create on a GM track on the
    mixer - how do I write that information directly into
    the MIDI code? How can the fader actions be
    programmed directly into the midi messages so
    that when I export it out as a General MIDI file, it
    will be in the code?

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