Plug-ins are power! These essential tools can turn an OK mix into a chart topper by taking good sounds and making them truly sparkle. Logic Pro comes with 70 high-quality DSP plug-ins, while Logic Express users have access to 37 plug-ins. If Logic's stock plug-ins don't provide exactly the sound you're after, not to worrythere are dozens of third-party plug-in manufacturers that make every type of sound-processing plug-in imaginable. However, keep this in mind: Logic 7 supports only Audio Units plug-ins, the standard audio plug-in format for Mac OS X.
While plug-ins can take a good sound and make it better, they are only marginally successful at making bad sounds good. For this reason, always start your songs with the best possible source sounds.
You insert plug-ins into the Insert slots at the top of the channel strip. By default the channel strip displays only two Insert slots. But you're not limited to twoas you insert plug-ins, new Insert slots appear. Depending on your version of Logic and the speed of your computer, you can insert up to 15 DSP plug-ins on each channel! Let's insert one into the Rhodes channel to see how the process works.
Logic Pro provides 15 inserts per channel, while Logic Express provides 4.
In the Arrange window make sure the Rhodes track is selected.
With the Rhodes track selected, the channel strip displays the Rhodes track's settings.
In the channel strip, click and hold the top Insert slot.
The Inserts menu appears and shows all of Logic's available DSP plug-ins.
From the Inserts menu, choose Stereo > Logic > Modulation > Modulation Delay. The Modulation Delay opens in a plug-in window. Leave this plug-in open for a bit, because you are going to work with it through the next several exercises.
Bypassing a plug-in turns it off so that you no longer hear its effect. Bypassed plug-ins do not drain system resources, and toggling the Bypass button lets you perform a simple A-B test to compare the affected audio against the channel's nonaffected sound, which in turn lets you make sure the plug-in is actually having the effect you want.
Move the SPL to bar 9.
Press the spacebar to start playback.
In the Modulation Delay plug-in window, click the Bypass button. The Modulation Delay stops affecting the Rhodes track. In the channel strip, the Modulation Delay Insert slot is now colored gray, which indicates that it's bypassed.
In the channel strip, hold down the Option key and click the Modulation Delay's Insert slot.
The Modulation Delay is un-bypassed, and it turns back on. Back in the Modulation Delay plug-in window, the Bypass button is no longer activated. Pressing the Option key while clicking an Insert slot toggles the insert's Bypass status. This is a great shortcut to keep in mind, because it allows you to quickly bypass a plug-in without opening the plug-in window.
Using Plug-in Presets
Almost all plug-ins come with presets stored in the Settings menu, which is accessed by clicking the Arrow button below the Bypass button. Presets are named for their intended use. For example, the Modulation Delay has a preset called Slow Panning Chorus that sounds excellent on the Rhodes track. As you might expect, the Slow Panning Chorus preset is the one you are going to choose. From there you can change the plug-in to suit your sound, and then save the preset for future use.
In the Modulation Delay plug-in window, click and hold the Arrow button to open the Settings menu. The Settings menu appears.
Choose the Slow Panning Chorus preset.
Listen to how the Slow Panning Chorus preset affects the Rhodes track.
Key commands come in handy for skipping through plug-in presets. In Lesson 3 you'll learn to assign Next and Previous Plug-in Setting key commands to Option-Cmd-N and Option-Cmd-B.
Adjust the Slow Panning Chorus's sliders until the Rhodes track sounds the way you want it to.
Choose Settings Menu > Save Setting as.
The "Save Setting as" dialog opens, and Logic has automatically selected a destination folder to save your custom preset into. Do not navigate to a new folderLogic has picked the proper folder for this preset. You need only type in a name for your custom preset.
Type a name for your preset setting, and click Save. By saving your custom preset in the folder that Logic suggests, you ensure that it will always be available from the Settings menu.
Click and hold the Modulation Delay's Settings menu.
Your custom plug-in setting is now listed as a preset!
To help you keep your settings organized, the Modulation Delay's default settings have been moved to the Factory menu option below your custom setting. In the Finder you can also organize your custom settings into folders, and the folders will appear as hierarchical menu options in the Settings menu. When you navigate to the folder, the settings inside will appear. The custom plug-in setting is stored in your User > Library > Application Support > Logic > Plug-In Settings > (name of plug-in type folder). Logic needs all custom Plug-In Settings files (or aliases to those files) to be located in this folder, or it will not see them. If you want the plug-in setting to be available to all of the computer's users, store it in the Startup Disk > Library > Application Support > Logic > Plug-In Settings > (name of plug-in type folder).
Opening Multiple Plug-in Windows
Right now, each time you open a plug-in, it opens in its own plug-in window. This makes it easy to, for example, compare settings between two plug-ins, or adjust the parameters of several plug-ins at one time. However, with multiple plug-in windows open, your screen quickly fills up and the Arrange window becomes hard to see. To conserve screen real estate you can tell Logic to open all new plug-ins in the same plug-in window by activating the window's Link button.
In the top left corner of the Modulation Delay plug-in window, click the Link button to turn it on (the Link button is the one with a chain on it). With the Link button activated (it turns violet), each time you open a new plug-in, it replaces the old plug-in in the currently open plug-in window. Deactivating the Link button changes this behavior, and each new plug-in opens in its very own plug-in window.
In the Arrange window channel strip, click and hold the second Insert slot, and choose Stereo > Logic > EQ > Channel EQ. The Channel EQ replaces the Modulation Delay in the plug-in window.
In the top left corner of the plug-in window, click the Link button to disable it.
The Link button turns gray.
In the Arrange window channel strip, double-click the Modulation Delay insert.
The Modulation Delay opens in its very own plug-in window.
Close both plug-in windows.