In this Logic tutorial Paul Yarrow shows you how to use the power of Logic Pro’s environment to create an X-Y fader multi effects unit much like Korg’s Kaoss pad.
This post was originally published in DJ Magazine’s free online edition DJ Weekly issue 110
“This video explores the programming of faders, transforming data messages and getting various bits of ‘environment’ kit to communicate properly with each other and with the Logic Pro arrangement. You’ll also get to create environment layers and see an example of how using Logic Pro’s screenset’s feature is one of its major strengths over its competitors, giving you the flexibility to create and enter a new level of music production. In this and future Point Blank/Logic Café collaborative Logic Pro tutorials, we’ll be de-mystifying elements of the environment giving you the power to use Logic towards its real potential.
In order to take control of the environment and its layers, it is a good idea to first think of Logic as a kind of machine. The arrangement and mixer are the interfaces you use to control it, however all of the components you see are kept in the environment in their own layers which can all be edited and manipulated. In much the same way as Propellerheads Reason allows you to press tab and go behind the equipment, plugging any bit of rack gear into anything else, Logic Pro’s environment goes that little bit deeper, allowing you to build your own personal rack gear. Imagine being able to build any kind of controller or signal manipulation path you can imagine. Therefore opening the environment in Logic Pro is essentially like taking the case off your favourite bit of outboard gear and taking a look inside.
The daunting side of this is the interface, which can at first appear to be the equivalent of someone throwing a series of transistors, valves and knobs in front of you and saying “here you go, make a compressor”. However with practice and a little getting used to the terminology it really does not take long to learn how to build some quite interesting and personalised bits of kit to add to your arsenal of production tools.
Watch the video and try to think outside the box, use different types of fader and experiment. What can you do with the techniques shown here?”
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Paul: Hi. I’m Paul Yarrow, Point Blank Online. I currently work as a producer and song writer for Box Music, I’m the creator of the control skin for Logic Pro, and I run a website, LogicCafe.com, for Logic Pro users. If you enjoy this tutorial, there’s plenty more content like this at PointBlankOnline.net. You’re watching Logic Tutorials.
In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to control effect plug-ins in Logic Pro by building a Kaoss-style X-Y interface that you can use and record as a boss insert or a master effect in performance. A quick mention about the setup: I’ve got the arrangement in Screen Set 1, and then an audio channel routed through to Boss 1, which will be the effect channel. I need to create a new track here in the arrangement and make sure it’s the AUX channel for Boss 1. On Screen Set 2, I’ve two environment windows open. The top one is the mixer, and I’m going to create a new environment layer on the bottom, and call it ‘Vector’.
You’ve got to decide on what effects you want to use in the X-Y controller. For this demo, I’m going to add a phaser and a delay to Boss Channel 1, but you can literally add whatever effect you like and as many as you like, including third-party audio units.
In the Vector environment layer, go to New and select Fader, Vector. You can re-size this fader by dragging the corner. Go to New, select Monitor, and then cable a vector into the monitor. This one shows the data activity set being sent by the vector. In the top environment window, I’m going to select the mixer and create another monitor in here. If I cable the AUX channel strip to the monitor, it will tell me exactly what’s going on in this AUX strip. If I open the phaser plug-in, and move the feedback fader, the monitor tells me exactly what is going on. You can see at the front here we’ve got the F, represents that fact that it’s a fader that’s moving. You got the channel is 2, you’ve got the controller message which is 3, and then the last bit is the actual numerical data of the value that you’ve moved the fader. From bottom to top it’s 0, to 1 to 7, etc.
The object is for us to make the data created in both of these monitors match. I need to program the Vector fader. Select it and you’ll see various programming options and the Parameters box on the left-hand side. You can see there’s, it says, ‘Style as Vector’, and then ‘Vertical Control’. The channel is 1, that it’s sending on automatically. The control number that it’s sending is Control 7. The horizontal the same, Control Channel 1, and Control 7. For those of you who don’t know, Control 7 is usually a volume control message. I’m going to select Unused Controls Numbers from the dropdown menu, which I’ll set to anything. Vertical can be Control 20, and Horizontal can be 21. If I move the mouse on the Vector, you can see the monitor CC20, and CC21 being sent by the vector, so the vector is now programmed. I’m going to make the vertical access, which is CC20, control the phaser feedback. To do this, I add a transform and a new monitor.
The transformer is cabled between the two monitors so that we can see the input and the output. Rename the transformer Vertical, for reference. If I double-click the transformer, this window with various editable conditions appears. This looks more complicated than it actually is. The top row of conditions should reflect what the vector is sending, which we’d like to change. The bottom set of conditions should reflect what we would like to change those conditions to, which in this case is the phaser feedback control. For direct comparison, the status is the first part on the monitor display, the channel is the second, the databyte 1 is the control number, and the databyte 2 is the value.
Basically, all you do is copy the information from the monitor you’ve created. Starting with the top row: Status=Control, Channel=1, Databyte 1=20, and we leave Databyte 2. Then in the bottom row, we fix the value to Fader. Fix the Channel to 2, and fix Databyte to 3. Again we leave Databyte 2. Final thing to do is to isolate the vertical signal on this path. To do this, we click on Apply Operation and Let Non-Matching Events Pass Through, and we select Apply Operation and Filter Non-Matching events; this will stop the horizontal access data coming through, at all. Now if I click on the vector fader, you’ll see that the messages going from the fader are transformed by comparing the two monitors.
If we navigate to the Click and Ports environment layer, we can plug the output of the vector output monitor into the sequencer input. If we return to the mixer, view phaser again, and click the Vector Fader, we can see that the vertical axis now controls the phaser feedback. That’s the vertical control sorted. To get the horizontal element to work, simply copy the vertical transformer, rename it to ‘Horizontal’, and wire it to the first monitor. Open the horizontal transformer and change the Databyte 1 to 21, as that’s what the vector is sending on the horizontal axis.
Move the fader on the plug-in you’d like to control; here I’m choosing the output mix. Then simply enter the values the phaser fader is sending, which should be in the top monitor. Now both values are controlled by the vector. To create an on/off switch, go to New, Fader. I always use Button 3, but any of the buttons will do. Copy and paste any of the transformers you’ve already made and rename it to ‘Button’.
Cable the button between the monitors and the transformer. With the button selected, rename it to On/Off, and change the control value in the Parameters box, from 7 to 22. That way, the button message does not clash with anything else. Press the Bypass button on the phaser plug-in and take note of the fader values in the monitor. Simply repeat the process we’ve had in the previous transformers by entering the corresponding values. Now when you press the button, the plug-in is bypassed. I want the button to be an on/off rather than a bypass, thus, pressing the button effectively enables the effect. To do this, we go back into the transformer and select Use Map for Databyte 2. Initialize it, and then reverse it. When I press the button, it effectively turns the effect on instead of bypassing it, and that’s your full circuit built.
Make a copy of the circuit you’ve made, as this will act as a template controller for other effects. You can now reprogram your template to control the other plug-ins in the auxiliary channel strip, by editing the conditions in the other corresponding transformers. Here I’ve reprogrammed the template to control the tape delay. If I click and move the mouse inside the vector, you can see that both of the plug-ins are being controlled simultaneously. Remember, you’re not limited to using two plug-ins, you can keep repeating the process for as many plug-ins as you’d like. Recording a performance with the vector is simple: Select the auxiliary channel strip in the Arrange page, and press Record as you would with an instrument.
Have fun with this, and try experimenting with more than two actions per template. You can also try reversing the actions, as we have done with the buttons.
Danny: At PointBlank Online, you’ve got 2 methods of interaction with your tutor. Firstly, you’ve got the weekly Online Mastersclass, which is in real time. Then also, we’ve got feedback on your assignments, and that’s known as DVR.
The Online Masterclass is a 1-hour session you get with your tutor every week. You can ask questions about the lesson content. You get instant feedback, and also, demonstrations on-the-fly, from their computer desktop, with our streaming technology.
DVR stands for direct video response, and the concept is really simple: You upload your Ableton, Logic, or Qbase project file to your tutor; he downloads it, and then pushes Record on the screen-capturing software and evaluates your work, basically giving you one-to-one feedback. You see all of the mouse movements and any parameter changes made by your tutor. It’s kind of like sitting in the studio, over their shoulder, watching what they’re doing whilst they work. We have found the DVR process is truly revolutionized the way that we teach you online, and the results speak for themselves.
Book your place in the course now, by visiting PointBlankOnline.net.