Letters to Mix

MIND YOUR MIDI I am writing in regards to the Outer Limits of Portability article (October 2006) to address a few of Kevin Becka's issues with Logic's
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MIND YOUR MIDI
I am writing in regards to the “Outer Limits of Portability” article (October 2006) to address a few of Kevin Becka's issues with Logic's MIDI handling. While it is not possible to select multiple MIDI tracks, they can be simultaneously armed by shift-clicking the Record-Enable button for each track. If the Record-Enable button isn't visible, then it can be accessed from the View menu. To make this useful, a few other tweaks are necessary.

First, assign each MIDI controller to a separate MIDI channel. This can be done from the controller or, assuming a multiport MIDI interface is being used, in the Logic Environment by cabling each of the input ports on the physical input object to a separate transformer object. Each transformer can then be configured to set all incoming data to a specific MIDI channel. Route the output of each transformer object to the sequencer input object (called “To Recording and Thru” by default).

Next, return to the Arrange window and set each MIDI or instrument track to receive on the appropriate MIDI channel. This setting is made in the second parameters box. Use the channel parameter for MIDI tracks and the MIDI channel parameter for instrument tracks.

Finally, open File > Song Settings > Recording and select “Auto Demix By Channel If Multitrack Recording.” The MIDI data input on each channel will now record to the appropriate tracks. You can then route these tracks to external MIDI devices as usual.

I should note that there are a few visual glitches inherent in this approach. First, Logic will appear to record everything to one track at first, but it will create separate regions for each channel on the appropriate tracks once recording is stopped. This does not affect throughput of MIDI data from each track, so you are still able to route each track to an external MIDI device. Second, Logic will name each MIDI region after the track that was selected during recording. This can be somewhat confusing if you are dealing with several input devices, but the regions will still be placed on the correct tracks and will contain the correct data.
Tony Wallace

Tony,
We actually used the same workaround you mention, but I didn't have the space to explain it all. Your comment that it is not “intuitive” is absolutely right. It would be nice if Apple would address these issues in Logic 8.
— Kevin Becka

MORE ON THE OUTER LIMITS
Thank you for delicately wading in, on tiptoe, to some discussion of design flaws in Apple Logic with regard to audio engineering features and functions. Besides the problems mentioned, a substantial one that I have encountered ever since Logic 6 has to do with how the main window deals with graphic representation of waveforms on an audio track. In some cases, I have found that when in Quick Punch mode, new audio that should overlap old audio is not drawn on the screen, but is instead “underneath” the waveform of the old audio. This makes it exceedingly frustrating to edit, crossfade or otherwise manipulate the new recording at the punch point. It plays back correctly, but doesn't look right.

In addition, any measure that has a pre-programmed change of time signature, such as a single bar of 5/4 inserted in a passage of 4/4, will often result in screen-draw errors in audio. And Logic has yet to implement any sort of audio file time-stamping (at least no one at the company's tech support or on any of the forums has been able to explain to me how to do so, nor is it listed in the user's manual). This makes it much less easy to import mixes created in Logic into Pro Tools and spot them to the right timecode location. (By contrast, Digital Performer automatically time-stamps every SDII file to the timecode on the counter.)

I work as a freelance score-mixing engineer for film and television composers in the L.A. area, and Logic is quite popular. I consider it my professional responsibility to be platform-agnostic and do my best, regardless of the software in use. I find that many excellent composers have a fairly minimal knowledge of advanced audio engineering techniques, and there's no point in explaining to them what's “wrong” with Logic; it only draws blank stares. And trying to convince a composer to change DAW software to something that works more, well, logically has about as much chance as asking someone to change political parties or religion.
Les Brockmann

Les,
Thanks for appreciating our feature on Logic Pro and the new Mac laptops. We encountered more than one visual glitch ourselves, although not the ones you mentioned. Besides the minor irritations, Logic does some things that other platforms don't do that make up for its shortfalls. The nice thing is, it all keeps getting better and better with each release.
— Kevin Becka

COMING IN FIRST PLACE
In David Hewitt's interview (“Mix Interview,” September 2006), he recollects one minor thing incorrectly: I was the recipient of the first Sony PCM-3324 worldwide and the first two in the United States. Sony presented me with a plaque at an AES convention to commemorate that fact. Frank Zappa, Stevie Wonder and Neil Young were clients of mine, and they took delivery of their machines after me in that order as the 3324 slowly became available. It took approximately two years for them to acquire their machines, as the 3324 was virtually hand-built at the time.

David Hewitt and I struck up a relationship where he handled my machine(s) in the New York market, and I also had representation in Nashville, Los Angeles and San Francisco. As the rental/consulting market matured, I became tired of living on the road and built the Digital Services recording studios in Houston, where diverse artists such as ZZ Top, Destiny's Child, Willie Nelson and Placido Domingo continued the long and historic story of the original PCM-3324 we kindly refer to as “Grandpa.”

David is a longtime friend and we see each other from time to time when I am in the New York area.
John Moran
Digital Services, Houston

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