The Audio window acts as your song's audio library. All of the audio files you record or import into Logic are listed in this window, along with information about the files' sampling rates, bit depths, channel configurations (stereo/mono), sizes, and locations.
The main draw of the Audio window is that it catalogs not only audio files but also any Regions that have been created from particular files. Audio files themselves are displayed as thin horizontal beams, while Regions are a bit taller and show actual waveform overviews of the audio in the files. The difference between audio files and Regions is that audio files represent the actual audio file on your hard disk, while a Region is just a pointer that Logic uses to reference a certain part of an audio file. (In the Arrange window, you edit and arrange Regions, not audio files.) Because Regions act as pointers to the original audio files on your hard drive, and because Logic never actually changes those original audio files, Logic is classified as a nondestructive audio editor.
The Sample Editor, which you will explore a bit later in this lesson, is Logic's only destructive audio editing windowit will change your source files! But other than the Sample Editor, Logic is a completely nondestructive audio editor; happily, no source audio files are ever harmed or injured in the course of audio production.
As you'll come to see in the following exercise, you can edit audio files and Audio Regions right here in the Audio window, either before you add an audio file to the project, or after it's already in the arrangement (in which case the edits you make will ripple into the arrangement, changing any affected Audio Regions). The Audio window is a powerful tool, so let's open it and take a closer look.
The Audio window's Channel Configuration menu displays a single circle for mono files, and two interlocked circles for stereo files.
You can also open the Audio window by pressing Cmd9, but then it will not open in a floating window.
Importing Audio into the Audio Window
In Lesson 1, "Exploring the Workspace," you learned how to import audio files directly into the Arrange window. In that situation, audio files were imported into your project and automatically added to Arrange window tracks. Importing audio files into the Audio window follows a similar process, but in this case the files are not automatically added to the arrangement. Instead, they patiently sit in the Audio window waiting for you to add them when the time is right. Let's import a few audio files now in preparation for beginning our arrangement.
Importing MP3 Files
MP3 files import just as easily as audio files, but with one catch: All MP3 files must be converted to PCM (pulse code modulated) files before Logic can use or edit them.
PCM files are simply uncompressed digital audio. AIFF, WAV, and SDII files are all examples of PCM files.
Logic automatically converts MP3 files to 16bit AIFFs at the same sampling rate as the song you are working on. So let's take a quick digression to see exactly what that sampling rate is, and then import the Beat.mp3 file.
Selecting Audio Files vs. Audio Regions
The Audio window displays audio files along with all Audio Regions associated with each file. Currently, the Audio window just displays thin horizontal beams representing audio files. Directly to the left of each horizontal beam is a disclosure triangle that you can click to view each file's Audio Region(s). By default, one Audio Region is created for each file imported into the song.
As a general rule of thumb, when choosing operations from the Audio window's Audio File menu, you must first select an audio file, and not an Audio Region. Audio Region waveforms can be seen in the display window, but the original audio file can only be selected by using the thin horizontal beam with the disclosure triangle.