Parameters within Logic Pro can be automated either via MIDI CC or Host ID automation. Generally, Host ID Automation offers more accurate control as MIDI CC only allows for 128 steps and Host ID allows for a multiple of this value.
Host ID Automation
The following steps will demonstrate how to display and edit Host ID automation data for your Native Instruments plug-ins in Logic.
- Insert an instrument into an instrument track within Logic Pro. In this example, we will use MASSIVE. To make MASSIVE's automation lane visible in the arrangement view select Track Automation from the View drop-down menu.
- In the automation lane you can automate not only mixer channel parameters, such as Volume and Pan, but also individual parameters for any plug-in inserted in the track. Click on the automation menu list directly below the name of the instrument track in the arrange window and select any given parameter. In this example, Massive Filter 1_Cut/PRM.1 has been selected.
- Using your mouse, draw in some automation data in the Logic Arrange window and press play.
Note: As soon as you press play, Logic will switch to automation mode 'Read'. See chapter Automation Mode for further information regarding the different modes.
- During playback, you will see MASSIVE's filter cutoff knob move in conjunction with the data changes you have just drawn. By clicking on the triangle at the bottom-left of the instrument track, the next automation lane for the instrument will become visible. Click-and-hold the parameter name to access the available parameter list. In this example, we have chosen FILTER1_RES/PRM3, also known as MASSIVE's Filter 1 Resonance.
- As well as drawing automation data with the mouse in the Arrange window, you can also record automation in realtime. To do this, switch to Logic's Latch automation mode.
- Next, open the plug-in user interface - here MASSIVE - and press play in Logic. Move a dedicated button in the plug-in to record the movements in Logic. Stop playback, switch to automation mode Read and play back the track.
- If you prefer to record your automation data using a hardware knob instead of your mouse, you can assign the dedicated parameter to an external controller first and then record the automation data to Logic's arrangement window. To achieve this, access Logic's Controller Assignments page via the Preferences.
- Click the Learn Mode button. Move the parameter in MASSIVE you wish to control externally with your mouse. You will see the parameter name appear in the Parameter field within the Controller Assignments window.
- Next, move a knob or button on your external device. The Input message field will display the message sent from your controller. Click the Learn Mode button again to disengage the MIDI-learn function and close the window.
- Depending on the automation mode of your instrument track, you should now have control over your instrument via your hardware controller. By default the automation for the instrument track is set to Read mode.
In Logic Pro, there are five different automation modes:
- Off: Off mode will disable the current track automation without deleting it.
- Read: Read mode will automate the current track using the existing automation data. The data cannot be permanently changed by moving the strip controls or via an external controller.
- Touch: Touch mode will play back the automation data in the same manner as Read mode. If any external automation controller is touched, the existing automation data will be replaced by any controller movements for as long as the fader is touched. When the controller is released, the automation parameter will return to its original (recorded) value.
- Latch: Latch mode is similar to Touch mode, except that the current value will replace any existing automation once the controller is released. To stop recording automation, stop playback.
- Write: While in Write mode, any automation data is erased as the playhead progresses. If you move any automation controller the data will be recorded. If you don't, all existing data will be erased as the playhead passes it.
Audio Unit Effect
The process for recording automation of any plug-in effect within Logic is the same as for any plug-in instrument.
MIDI CC (Continuous Controller) Automation
For the next section of the Automation Guide, let's switch instruments to a plug-in better suited for Logic's powerful Hyper Editor: BATTERY 3. Either create a new instrument track or replace the instance of MASSIVE. If you are comfortable with this process, thinking ahead, you may wish to load a multi-output instance of BATTERY 3. Find instructions on how to do this here.
- Use the Logic Pencil Tool to create a new region.
- Once selected, click with the Pencil Tool into an empty space within the BATTERY 3 automation lane.
- Double-click on the region to open Logic's Piano Roll. If you are not already familiar with the Piano Roll, you will quickly recognize the layout as that of a vertical piano. As creating drum grooves via the Piano Roll may not be the most intuitive way to sequence percussion, you should consider using Logic's Hyper Editor instead (bear in mind that the Hyper Editor can be used to automate much more than just drum layouts). You can access the Hyper Editor by clicking the Hyper Editor tab at the bottom of the arrange page.
- Once again, be aware that there are many ways in which to work when using Logic's Hyper Editor. In this example only one way will be covered. For more in-depth information, it is recommended that you consult the Logic Pro Manual to learn the ins-and-outs of the Hyper Editor. Go to the Hyper menu and choose Create Hyper Set. A new template will be created for you to begin constructing your drum sequence. Each lane in the Hyper Editor is called an Event Definition. Go back to the Hyper menu and create a some new Event Definitions.
- In this scenario, each Event Definition will send specific information to BATTERY 3. When selected, you will see the information for each Event Definition displayed within the Inspector sidebar.
- Name the first Event Definition 'Kick'. As BATTERY 3 cells are triggered with note values, set the Status to Note.
- Determine the Channel by clicking the numeric value and dragging up or down.
- Set the Event Definition's pitch by clicking on the note value adjusting the key from the drop-down menu. In this example, set BATTERY 3's A1 cell (top-left) to the same Key Range as sent by your Event Definition, i.e. C3. If you do not know how to do this, please check the BATTERY 3 manual.
- Once again, choose the pencil tool and draw some information into the Event Definition lane. Press play and you should hear your kick playing back in accordance to the settings you have just created. Further, you can create more Event Definitions to trigger more cells, or even control the automation of various parameters within BATTERY 3.
We recommend you consult the Logic manual and read through the section devoted to the Hyper Editor function to obtain in-depth information.