Using Logic Pro X On Mac OS X

Logic Pro is a sequence editor, and audio production application, which can also be used for live-performance. It lets you play a wide variety of quality instrument sounds, with imperceptible latency. It runs on Mac OS X machines having 64-bit architecture.

Logic Pro has a large number of instrument sounds – many of which I like so much I might perform an entire concert using them. My favorite sounds on it, are “Piano Strings”, and “Piano with Pad and Choir”.

And it's easy to make your own sounds by combining groups of instrument sounds, that you play together in unison.

One pleasant surprise in using Logic Pro, is that you can play a different sound for the chords than the melody, which is something we couldn't do in either GarageBand, or MainStage.

It has a fairly high purchase-price (about $200), but is definitely worth getting, and learning to use. I personally like it better than Cubase, which we have up until now been recommending.

Turning-On The Internal MIDI Interfaces

To use the KeyMusician keyboard with Logic Pro, you need the internal MIDI interfaces turned on (if you haven't done it already). You can learn how to do that, by clicking the link below:

Turning-On The MIDI Interfaces

Getting Use Of F11 And F12 For The KMK Application

Even though you've specified for all the function-keys to be used by the applications, Mac OS X still 'hijacks' F11 and F12 for other uses. You can disable those other uses, letting the KMK application use them, by disabling the F11 and F12 uses (un-checking the check-boxes for “Show Desktop” and “Show Dashboard”), as shown in the screen-shot below:




Configuring Logic Pro To Work With The KeyMusician Keyboard

I'm going to show you three ways of setting up groups of instruments (and tracks) in Logic Pro.

The first configuration, is an example of using the new, quality instrument sounds provided, grouped together in a way I've used in a lot of configuration files provided with the KeyMusician Keyboard.

You may prefer other instruments (which you should use, as per your tastes), but what I provide here will show you how to do it.

The second configuration I will show you how to do, will make use of the DLS Music Devices provided by Apple, which provide a General-MIDI instrument set, and allow you to use sound-fonts, such as the FluidR3_GM.sf2 sound-font we provide. It provides 16 tracks, each of which you can access with MIDI channels 1 thru 16.

The third configuration I will show you, is how to set up an entire group of instruments that are all played together (in unison) from what is sent on a MIDI channel. This makes it easy to do what was described in the Play Up To 16 Instruments Simultaneously With jSynth article.

Better yet, in this case, using Logic Pro, you can do it with no perceptible latency, and do good MIDI recording and audio production from it.

But first, let's cover some things you're going to need for all of these configurations (projects).

General Setup You'll Need

You will need to do these changes for each of the projects you create, unless you set up a project template having these changes in the template, and create your projects from that template.

Firse, you need to tell Logic Pro that you intend to use the 16 MIDI channels separately.

To do this, using the Menu, select Logic Pro X...Preferences...Recording, as shown in the screen-shot below:


Click on the “Recording Project Settings” button (the one pointed-to by the tool-tip (yellow) box. This will yield something like the screen-shot below:


Click on the “Auto demix by channel if multitrack recording” check-box (the one pointed-to by the yellow tool-tip box).

Second, it's probably a good idea to change the transport display (in the top center area of the Logic Pro window), so that you can double-click on it to turn off any 'stuck' notes.

Due to special treatment of MIDI channel 1, I ran into cases where one or more notes were left playing, and it would have been good to know how to turn them off without resorting to terminating Logic Pro, and restarting it.

So here's how you do that.

Click the down-arrow to the right of the transport window (above the pop-up menu), shown in the screen-shot below:


In the pop-up menu that appears, select “Custom”, as shown. When you do that, the transport window will change to appear like what is shown in the screen-shot below:


With this transport display, if you encounter a 'stuck' note, you can double-click where the “No Out” is shown to turn-off any 'stuck' notes.

The First Configuration

In this configuration, we'll set up instruments for all of the KMK performance panes (including the Chords and Drums) panes, to be accessed by different MIDI channels.

This lets you use the high-quality EXS24 instruments, in much the same manner as you've done using the Java Sound Synthesizer.

But before going into how to do this, here is a sample of the quality of the music you can get from it. Notice the cases where the chords instrument is not the same as the melody instrument. In these cases, chords were played on the numeric keypad. The entire piece was recorded in a single 'take'. Click the link below to listen to it:

Logic Pro Demo 1

When you create a new project (as this was initially), you start by adding tracks to it. When you add a track (by clicking the “+” button in the track name column), it asks you what kind of track you want to add, as shown in the screen-shot below:


In this case, we're creating a “Software Instrument” track (highlighted in blue), and the “Instrument” drop-box is set to “EXS24 (Sampler)”, which is what we want. This drop-box will be set to whatever you last used.

You could create several tracks at once, by modifying the “Number of tracks” text-field, or create them one at a time, by just clicking the “Create” button (with “1” in the “Number of tracks” text-field).

The first track I created was for the Chords pane, as shown highlighted, in the track names column in the screen-shot below:


The lower-left pane shows the sequence of selection used to select the instrument. The lower-right pane shows the channel-strips used for the instrument sound. The “Region: MIDI Defaults” shows the defaults used, and more importantly, the “Track: Grand Piano and Strings” shows the settings of that particular track. In that, notice that the “MIDI Channel” value is set to 13.

I chose this to avoid the special assumptions made by Logic Pro about MIDI channel 1. It is important that each of these instruments uses only a single MIDI channel.

I chose Grand Piano and Strings for the instrument so that the chords instrument would have both a crisp attack-sound, and also a sustained sound (the Strings).

For the “F2” performance pane, I chose the “Grand Piano and Pad” sound, as shown in the screen-shot below, with track 4 highlighted:


Notice that it reserves track numbers for the other sounds of that instrument sound (shown in the channel-strip).

Notice in the “Track: Grand Piano and Pad” column, the MIDI channel the sounds in the channel strip 'listens to', is set to 2 (to remind me which performance pane (F2) uses it).

For the “F3” performance pane, I chose the “Classic Electric Piano” sound, as shown in the screen-shot below, with track 7 highlighted:


Notice in the “Track: Classic Electric Piano” column, the MIDI Channel used is 3. Also notice that in the track name area highlighted to the right, it also shows channel 3 (“Ch3”) to the right of the instrument name. It does this for instruments having only one instrument in the channel-strip.

For the “F4” performance pane, I chose the “Classical Acoustic Guitar” sound, as shown in the screen-shot below, with track 8 highlighted:


Notice that MIDI channel 4 is used for this track.

For the “F5” performance pane, I chose the “Cellos” sound, as shown in the screen-shot below, with track 9 highlighted:


Notice the MIDI channel used is 5. Also notice the selection sequence in the lower-left pane, used to select the sound. In this case, 3 selections were required.

For the “F6” performance pane, I chose the “English Horn” sound, as shown in the screen-shot below, with track 10 highlighted:


Notice it uses MIDI channel 6, and the selection sequence at the lower-left.

I chose the English Horn sound because it had a beautiful vibrato (an expressive, wavering sound) in its sound, where the Oboe had no vibrato at all.

For the “F7” performance pane, I chose the “Chamber Choir” sound, as shown in the screen-shot below, with track 11 highlighted:


Notice that it uses MIDI channel 7, and also the selection sequence at lower-left.

For the “F8” performance pane, I chose the “Flute Solo” sound, as shown in the screen-shot below, with track 12 highlighted:


Notice it uses MIDI channel 8. I chose “Flute Solo” instead of “Flutes” to get a beautiful vibrato.

For the “F9” performance pane, I chose the “French Horns” sound, as shown in the screen-shot below, with track 13 highlighted:


Notice it uses MIDI channel 9. As I tell you about it now, I wonder if I should have tried the “French Horn Solo” sound instead, for a more expressive sound.

For the “F10” performance pane, I chose the “Modern Strings” sound, as shown in the screen-shot below, with track 14 highlighted:


Notice it uses MIDI channel 11 (rather than “10”, which would correspond to the function-key F10). I did this to conform to the General-MIDI standard, where MIDI channel 10 is reserved for percussion (drums). Since Logic Pro is not General-MIDI compliant, I didn't actually have to do this.

I normally use the “Space Voice”, or “Choir Pad” sound for F10. Although I found similar sounds in the “Synthesizer” category, they were all such “slow voices” (sounds that morph over time), that they were not something that could be used for playing actual music with.

For the “Drums” performance pane, I chose the “Orchestral Kit” drum-kit, as shown in the screen-shot below, with track 15 highlighted:


Notice that it uses MIDI channel 10 (which is compliant with the General-MIDI standard).

This drum-kit only loosely corresponds to the General-MIDI percussion instrument set, so you have to experiment to find which note is which percussion sound. I really love the two gong sounds, and the bass drum sound.

For the “F12” performance pane, I chose the “Trumpets” sound, as shown in the screen-shot below, with track 16 highlighted:


Notice it uses MIDI channel 12.

An interesting thing about the Trumpet sound, is that if you play it on the 'A'-row of your typing keyboard, it sounds somewhat like a Trombone, and if you play it on the 'Z'-row, it sounds somewhat like a Tuba.

This completes the set of instruments, and I have so far used MIDI channels 2 through 13, leaving channels 1, 14, 15, and 16 for other instrument sounds, which different KMK configuration files could use.

At this point in creating your project, it is important to make sure every track (in the track name column) has recording enabled (either a red R on a gray background, or a white R on a red background, as shown in the track names above.

Be aware that every time you add a new instrument, or change the instrument of an existing track, the “Record Enabled” button gets turned off for all but the track you're working on. So you have to click on all of the “R” buttons of the tracks to enable them to 'listen' on their particular MIDI channel.

Of course, you should save your project with a name that will tell you how you intend to use it. I chose “KMK-1” for mine.

The Second Configuration – General-MIDI, Using Sound-Fonts

This configuration provides a complete General-MIDI set of sounds, using MIDI channels 1 through 16, and lets you play them simultaneously by using the different MIDI channels at the same time. It can also use sound-fonts (such as FluidR3_GM.sf2) for its instrument sounds.

It is excellent for playing MIDI files that assume the General-MIDI sound set (such as the KMK exercises).

It lets you do everything you could do using the Java Sound (Gervill) Synthesizer, only with no perceptible latency, and better MIDI recording capability.

Since it sounds the same as what you've been playing using the Java Sound (Gervill) Synthesizer, there is no need to provide a sample audio file.

Here's how you build the 2nd configuration (project).

Before starting, make sure you have any sound-fonts you want to use in the folder where DLS Music Devices expect them.

The FluidR3_GM.sf2 sound-font is installed with the KeyMusician Keyboard. You'll need to copy it to where the DLS Music devices look for them.

Get (copy) the FluidR3_GM.sf2 sound-font file, as shown in the screen-shot below:


Two-finger click on it, and choose to copy it in the pop-up menu that appears.

Then, browse to where the DSL Music devices need it, as shown in the screen-shot below:


The “Library” folder is under the machine's hard-disk. Paste the copied sound-font file into the “Banks” folder, as shown above.

Now we're ready to create the DLS Music Device track.

When you add a new track, specify it as a DLS Music Device, as shown in the screen-shot below:


It's a “Software Instrument” (shown selected in blue), but in the “Instrument” drop-box, specify “DLSMusicDevice” as shown above.

You find the DLSMusicDevice for the “Instrument” drop-box, by browsing for it (after clicking the drop-box) as shown below:


Then the “Instrument” drop-box will have “DLSMusicDevice” in it, as shown below:


Select the “Multi-timbral” check-box, and specify “16” as the number of parts (one for each of the 16 MIDI channels).

You only create one track for this one instrument, which has 16 different sounds, each 'listening' to a different MIDI channel.

Click the “Create” button to create that track.

After doing so, the track is created, using all 16 MIDI channels, as shown in the screen-shot below:


The “Inst 1” window (shown at the upper-right) may (or may not) appear. You can make it appear by double-clicking on the notes icon in the “Library” pane (at the upper-left).

In the “Inst 1” window, you can select the sound-font by clicking the “Sound Bank” drop-box. Every sound-font in the “Library/Sounds/Banks” folder will appear as a choice in the menu that appears.

If all of the “R” buttons (record-enable) buttons are not enabled (red), click on each that isn't enabled to enable it.

Your project should now be ready to use. Be sure to save it with a descriptive name, so you can load it when needed.

Difficulties

Basically, it will just work like the Java Sound Synthesizer, but with low latency, and a little better sound (includes reverb). But there are a few problems.

Using the Cello sound, when notes are released, they seem to end a bit abruptly. This can be mostly overcome by playing in a smoother manner, where the prior note isn't released until the new note starts to sound.

Also, the first time you switch to a not-yet-used instrument sound, the sound will cut-out briefly. You can overcome this, by (before you start playing) clicking on each of the performance pane tabs (of the main KMK window), then clicking on your starting performance pane tab.

For some reason, this doesn't work unless you use a separate MIDI channel for each instrument. Using one channel for the chords, and another for the melody (but changing instruments for each performance pane), doesn't work.

The Third Configuration – A Group Of Instruments, Played Together

This configuration provides a means of playing an entire group of instruments simultaneously, in-unison.

So you can decide if you want to try this, I have included an audio file of my playing the first part of my “Walk In Beauty” composition, using this configuration. You can listen to it by clicking the link below:

Walk In Beauty – Multiple-Instruments Example

So start a new project (File...New), and enter a software instrument track for it. Specify an EXS24 instrument for it, as shown in the screen-shot below:


It remembers the last instrument type used, so it may have “DSLMusicDevice” in it. So click on the drop-box, and choose “EXS24 (Sampler)”.

Then you add a track for each instrument sound you want to play together in unison. Here is the first track:


This one (for the F2 pane) uses the Harp sound. Notice the MIDI channel is set to “All”.

Then add another track by pressing the “+” button, at the top-left of the track names column/pane, as shown in the screen-shot below:


This one (for the F3 pane) uses the String Ensemble sound. Notice the MIDI channel is set to “All”. Notice I've set its volume (in the track names pane) lower than the Harp track, because I don't want it to be as loud as the Harp.

Then add another track by pressing the “+” button, at the top-left of the track names column/pane, as shown in the screen-shot below:


This one (for the F4 pane) uses the Chamber Choir sound. Notice the MIDI channel is set to “All”. Notice I've set its volume (in the track names pane) the same as the Harp track, because I want it to be as loud as the Harp.

Then add another track by pressing the “+” button, at the top-left of the track names column/pane, as shown in the screen-shot below:


This one (for the F5 pane) uses the Full Brass sound. Notice the MIDI channel is set to “All”. Notice I've set its volume (in the track names pane) lower than the Harp track, because I don't want it to be as loud as the Harp.

Then add another track by pressing the “+” button, at the top-left of the track names column/pane, as shown in the screen-shot below:


This one (for the F6 pane) uses the Harpsichord sound (its icon is not accurate). Notice the MIDI channel is set to “All”. Notice I've set its volume (in the track names pane) lower than the Harp track, yet louder than the Full Brass track.

At this point in creating your project, it is important to make sure every track (in the track name column) has recording enabled (either a red R on a gray background, or a white R on a red background, as shown in the track names above.

Be aware that every time you add a new instrument, or change the instrument of an existing track, the “Record Enabled” button gets turned off for all but the track you're working on. So you have to click on all of the “R” buttons of the tracks to enable them to 'listen' on their particular MIDI channel.

Save your project with a name that will remind you what it's for, and we're ready to start using the projects.

Switch to the first configuration's project, by selecting “File...Open Recent” from the menu, and specifying the name of the first configuration's project.

The KMK Configurations

I have supplied some KMK configuration files for you to use.

You can obtain them by right (2-finger) clicking on each of the following three links, and choosing “Save Link As” (or whatever similar your Internet browser offers) in the pop-up menu. Save it in the “KeyMusician‑Keyboard” folder (the one having the dash (“‑”)) of your home folder, which is where the KeyMusician Keyboard will look for them:

LogicPro-1.kmk

FluidR3_GM-MX.kmk

KMK-Multi.kmk

Now, bring up the KeyMusician Keyboard application, and select the appropriate configuration file. They are (in the order shown) for the first, second, and third Logic Pro configuration (projects).

Note: Make sure the “MIDI Output To” drop-box (on the “F1 (Help/Setup)” pane) is set to your IAC driver software MIDI interface, as shown in the screen-shot below:


If your IAC interface name is different from mine (I added a “1” to the first interface name), the configurations I supplied won't find it, and you'll have to specify it yourself. If you had to specify it, click the “Save Config” button to re-save it, so it's fixed next time.

Learn about the KMK configurations, by clicking on the following link:

The KMK Configurations

To play Logic Pro using these configurations, first load the corresponding first, second, or third configuration (project) into Logic Pro, then load the corresponding KMK configuration (of the 3 supplied for download above), into the KeyMusician Keyboard application, using the “Configuration File” drop-box in the “F1 (Help/Setup)” pane.

You should then be able to start playing the instruments of the current Logic Pro configuration (project).

Conclusions

Logic Pro is a powerful sequence-editor and live-performance application for Mac OS X, at a moderately high price. It is intended to be the next step up from GarageBand and MainStage. It also does audio production.

I like it, and will use it in performances. It has a lot of very good sounds included, and is really good for creating your own custom layered sounds. It can also supply a full General-MIDI sound set, working on all 16 MIDI channels, and can make use of sound-fonts.

It is more expensive than Cubase (which we have been recommending heretofore for Mac OS X as the next step up), yet it has better sounds (in my opinion), and may well be worth the extra expense. It can also do more.

The sounds of Logic Pro are quite good, yet I prefer the sounds of DimensionPro (a Windows program), personally, but last time I looked, DimensionPro wasn't available on 64-bit Mac OS X.

Now I have gone through the experimentation needed to figure out to use it well with the KeyMusician Keyboard, it should be an excellent tool for all of you Mac users.

Give it a try!



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