Getting Started in Logic's Environment Window
Take a moment to look at the studio around you. What do you see? At the very least you must have a MIDI controller (a keyboard or other device that produces MIDI signals), or you will find it difficult to interact with Logic. You may also have other synthesizers, a sampler, and even a few software instruments like Propellerhead Software's Reason or Native Instruments' Absynth. These instruments are your cherished toys, and they are all part of your music production environment.
You can easily look around your studio and see these MIDI devices, but Logic does not have the benefit of eyesfor Logic to "see" your studio, virtual copies of each MIDI device, called Objects, must exist inside a special Logic window called the Environment.
Exploring the Environment Window
Before we open the Environment window, let's take a moment to look at what you'll find.
Dictionary.com defines an object as the purpose, aim, or goal of a specific action or effort. The Environment's goal is to create connections between Logic and your studio's MIDI devices, and each connection is represented by an Object. For example, the Instrument Object connects Logic to a synthesizer, while an Audio Object connects Logic to your computer's hardware audio interface, such as an Emagic EMI 2|6 sound card.
The Environment Toolbox
The toolbox is the cornerstone of many Logic windows, and it's no different in the Environment. The tools in this box are used to select, create, erase, and name Objects.
The Layer Box
The Environment can hold many types of Objects, so to keep them all organized and easy to find, Logic lets you divide the Environment into layers that group similar Objects and instruments together.
The Object Parameter Box
The behavior of each Environment Object is controlled by setting its parameters. These parameters are found in the Object Parameter box, which is a context-sensitive display that updates to show you the unique settings of any selected Object.
The Object Parameter box has two homes. It lives along the left edge of both the Environment and Arrange windows. Don't let these dual locations fool you, because it's the same box in both windows, and changing the parameters in one box changes the parameters in the other.
The Logic manual occasionally calls this the Instrument Parameter box, but the Object Parameter box displays the properties of any selected Environment Objectit doesn't have to be an instrument. For the sake of consistency, this book will always call it the Object Parameter box.
Let's open the Environment window.
If you don't have an empty song open, press Cmd-N to create a song (for more information on creating a song, see Lesson 3, "Understanding Workflow Techniques").
An empty Arrange window appears on your screen.
From the main menu bar, choose Windows > Environment (Cmd-8). The Environment window opens. The Environment window is a very complex place, indeed. In fact, it can contain so many Objects that it has to be organized into layers. To switch between Environment layers, you use the Layer menu.
From the Layer menu, choose Audio. The Audio layer appears. The Audio layer contains a multitude of Audio Objects (Audio Objects are covered in Lesson 12, "Setting Up the Audio Environment"). Indeed, there are more Audio Objects in this layer than you will require for your everyday music making. In the next exercise you will strip the Environment of its default Objects and begin the process of customizing the Environment to match your personal music production studio.
Creating a Plain Vanilla Environment
The most important thing to recognize about the Environment is that it's completely customizable. You can (and should!) alter the Environment to match your work style and make it easier for you to make music. In this exercise you will create a plain vanilla Environment: an empty Environment, devoid of Objects, that's ready for you to customize to suit your particular studio setup.
From the Layer menu, choose the second Instruments layer.
An empty layer fills the Environment.
From the Environment's local menu bar, choose Options > Layer > Delete. The Instruments layer is deleted, and the Audio layer appears onscreen.
You can assign a key command to the Delete Layers function. See Lesson 3 for more information.
Once again, choose Options > Layer > Delete.
The Audio layer has Objects in it, and an Alert dialog appears to warn you of this fact.
In the Alert dialog, click the Delete button.
The Audio layer is deleted.
Delete the Instruments, MIDI Instr., and Click & Ports layers.
The Global Objects and All Objects layers are reserved layers that cannot be deleted. The Environment is now empty and ready for customization. But take a quick look at the Arrange window. All of the window's tracks currently say No Output. Their track assignments are gone! This raises an important point: All Arrange window tracks play through Objects in the Environment. You'll learn a lot more about that as you read through the lesson.
Creating Environment Layers
Now that the Environment is stripped to its bare bones, let's begin building it back up by creating a layer to hold some Objects.
From the Layer menu, choose **Create!** An unnamed Environment layer is created.
Double-click the new layer's name in the Layer menu.
A text box opens.
Type Click & Ports, and press Return. The layer is named Click & Ports and is now available from the Layer menu anytime you need it.
Objects process MIDI and audio signals. Most Environment Objects are channels that allow MIDI and audio signals to enter and exit Logic. However, some Objectsincluding the Arpeggiator, Delay Line, and Channel Splitterare used to process and change signals as they pass through the Environment. Still other Objects, like the Keyboard and Monitor, are helper Objects that graphically display signals as the signals pass through them. Let's create a couple of Objects now.
From the Environment's local menu bar, choose New > MIDI Metronome Click. A MIDI Click Object is created in the Click & Ports layer. This Object is responsible for generating the metronome's click, and the metronome will not work if this Object is not present somewhere in your Environment.
Next choose New > Keyboard. A Keyboard Object is created. The Keyboard is a helper Object that shows you MIDI notes as they are pressed. You'll see just how useful it is a bit later in this lesson. But for now, let's stretch it out so it displays more octaves.
Position the pointer over the small box in the bottom right corner of the Keyboard Object, and drag right to make the Keyboard Object bigger.
Choose New > Monitor. A Monitor Object is created. The Monitor is a helper Object similar to the Keyboard, except it displays the value of any MIDI signal passing through it, and not just notes.
Cabling MIDI Objects Together
Your Environment window currently holds three Objects: a MIDI Click, a Keyboard, and a Monitor. These are all examples of MIDI Objects used to control the flow of MIDI signals. In the top right corner of each Object you'll find a small triangle called the Object's output. This output is used to pass the Object's MIDI signals to other Environment Objects through a cable.
In this exercise, you will cable the MIDI Click Object to the Keyboard, and then the Monitor, creating a MIDI signal path that lets you see the MIDI data being produced by the metronome.
Click and hold the triangle on the right side of the MIDI Click Object, and drag a cable to the Keyboard Object.
An Alert dialog appears. This dialog tells you that the MIDI Click Object's port is setin other words, by default the MIDI Click Object is told to send its signal out of your computer's MIDI output ports. You don't need to send the MIDI Click Object's click signal to your external MIDI devices, so let's remove its Port setting.
On the Alert dialog, click the Remove button.
The MIDI Click Object's Port setting is removed, and the MIDI Click is now cabled to the Keyboard Object.
In the Transport, click the Toggle Metronome button to activate the metronome's clicking sound.
Press the spacebar to start playback.
Dragging a cable between the MIDI Click and the Keyboard connects these two Objects together. A quick look at the Keyboard shows the MIDI Click is now triggering the Keyboard's C#1 key. This is because the MIDI Click Object is set to transmit a signal on only C#1. A quick look at the Object Parameter box verifies this, and indeed, if you so desire, you can change the notes that the MIDI Click Object transmits.
Drag a cable from the Keyboard's output to the Monitor Object. Because the MIDI Click generates note events, it can also be used to trigger synthesizers.
The Monitor Object keeps a list of all MIDI events that enter it. As you've just seen, the MIDI Click is playing the note C#1. These note events are now passing through the Keyboard and into the Monitor Object, which shows a progressing series of C#1 note events.
From the Environment's local menu bar, choose New > Internal > Apple QuickTime. A QuickTime Synth Object appears in the Environment.
Apple's QuickTime contains a built-in General MIDI (GM) synthesizer. The Object you've just created is used to trigger that QuickTime synthesizer. The QuickTime Synth provides a convenient way to start making sounds, but it isn't often used for serious music applications. Its audio output is actually outside the Logic program, so you can't bounce its sound as part of your song. In fact, Logic treats the QuickTime Synth Object like an external synthesizer, which for all intents and purposes, it is!
Drag a cable from the second arrow on the MIDI Click Object and drop it onto the QuickTime Synth Object. The QuickTime Synth taps out a rim shot in time with the metronome's click.
Select the MIDI Click Object.
From the Environment's local menu bar, choose Edit > Clear Cables only (Ctrl-Delete). The "Clear Cables only" command breaks the selected Object's links to other Environment Objects, so all cables leading from the MIDI Click disappear.
You can also delete cables by using the Eraser tool, or by dragging a cable back onto the instrument it came from.
Press the spacebar to stop playback and halt the clicking sound.