3 Replies Latest reply: May 27, 2008 5:58 AM by jdredge
RyConn M.D. Level 1 (0 points)
Every time I start a new Logic project There are a whole list of tracks on the sequencer. Some Audio, some Instrument, and then some with specific instruments. All I have knowledge to use is the Audio tracks. Its real simple...I just pick the right input of my audio USB interface on the Channel menu, enable the track for recording, and then I'm good to go.

But I do not understand how to utilize the other kinds of tracks or what they even do. Can you help me come to an understanding with these alternative track options? Thanks a lot!


-RyConn M.D.

Power Mac G4 450MHz, Mac OS X (10.4.11)
  • jdredge Level 3 (515 points)
    The ones that are specific instruments are MIDI tracks. These will store MIDI data and send them to an external MIDI device (or multiple devices). One example would be if you had a MIDI keyboard with built-in speakers--you could record the MIDI data into Logic, which would then send the data back to the keyboard where the appropriate instrument (or "patch") would play back through the keyboard's own speakers.

    The other audio instrument tracks are for software instruments. Click on one of them in the arrange window to bring up the channel strip on the left. Click the button directly under "I/O" to bring up a list of Logic's built-in software instruments. These instruments store MIDI data like the MIDI tracks, but playback will come from the computer, using the sounds of the selected instrument. Aside from Logic's native plugins, you can buy/download a variety of 3rd party plugins to use for this purpose.

    I'd say that unless you have any specific MIDI outboard gear that you use, you can pretty much ignore the MIDI tracks. The audio instrument tracks constitute one of the best features in Logic. On the other hand, if all you want to do is record "real" audio instruments, you can always change your default song settings (by creating a new autoload file) so that you only get audio tracks on startup.
  • RyConn M.D. Level 1 (0 points)
    I can not have asked for any better answer! I am very thankful! But could you please describe in more detail on how to use the software instruments and how they work? All I really know is that pressing Caps Lock brings up a virtual keyboard layout but I'd like to know if I could play these VSTs (i think thats what they're called) with my MIDI in/out keyboard. How else could I utilize these software instruments? And where can I get "plug-ins." What do I refer to them as? So I know how to search for them...
  • jdredge Level 3 (515 points)
    You can record in real time, or use step input, edit, etc. for software instruments the same way you do with MIDI. The difference is that the information for the sounds themselves is stored and played back through your computer. You can indeed use your MIDI keyboard to record, though Logic will not send the signal back to your keyboard during playback. There are several ways to record software instruments, but generally you want to either highlight a track in the arrange and record in real time, or open up a matrix editor and enter draw the notes in (if you've got decent keyboard skills, real time recording is probably best). The caps lock keyboard is primarily there for setups without a MIDI keyboard.

    As far as names go: VST is the name of a particular format of 3rd party plugins. Logic uses a format called Audio Units (AU). There are also RTAS and TDM plugins, but again, only AU plugins will work with Logic. To clarify, Logic's native plugins are not Audio Units, this is just a format for 3rd party plugins. As to what you call them, there are lots of names: software instruments is okay, virtual instruments (VI) is common, soft-synths...

    You can find some free downloads here and there, but if you want really good stuff, you can find a lot of it at major music stores (both online and otherwise). The stuff Logic comes with is a pretty good start, so I wouldn't recommend just going around and picking up anything you find that's free--it will just clutter your computer with stuff you won't use. If, however, you need a particular plugin instrument (or a set of them), try a google search of the instrument name + "virtual instrument," "plugin," etc. There's tons of stuff out there, ranging from free/cheap to REEEEEEEEEAAAAALLLLLLY not cheap. Make sure before you buy anything that it is AU compatible or it will not work in Logic. Also, asking around in forums like this one about what plugins are good is useful.