Speed Up Your Workflow with Logic Pro X’s Library

The Library in Logic Pro X does a whole lot more than display presets or patches. Darren Burgos shares 7 tips that'll get you using Logic's Library like a pro.  

Logic’s Library is quickly becoming more than just a way to open pre-made channels/strips for audio and software instrument tracks. With the addition of Track Stacks, Logic’s library now becomes a place to store pre-made setups like drum instrument with multi-outs, stacked multi-instrument sounds, and instant multi-channel inputs for recording instruments. We’ll look at all these uses, plus setting a default software instrument, effect chains, and saving/recalling instrument and effect preset setting.

Understanding the Library

Open the Library with the Y key. You can close it with the Y key too. The key to understanding the Library is interestingly enough, a small blue right-pointing arrow on the left side of Inspector. Press the I key to toggle the inspector (if it’s not currently visible) to see the arrow’s position (it’s right above the pointer in the image below). If you’re on a smaller display, you might need to close the two parameter drop-down menus at the top of the Inspector to see the whole vertical channel. When this arrow is pointing to the very top of the channel strip, the Library is displaying settings or “patches” for the entire strip. Everything on the selected track/channel including the MIDI FX, the instrument or input channel, and all the Logic and third-party AU effects, can be saved as a recallable setting. Each track type like Audio, Instrument, Aux, and Bus, all save to their own separate folders… this way you only see channel strips that pertain to the type of track you’re currently selected on.

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In addition to saving and recalling full strips, each of the individual instruments and effects you add (including third-party ones) can use the library to save and recall preset settings too. When the arrow is pointing to the instrument/MIDI FX or Audio FX, settings appear for them in the Library, and can be saved with the Library’s save button.

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Organizing Library Patches

When you save a Library patch with its save button, it can be recalled as easily as the built-in ones. You can either choose to save the patch/setting in its default location, pick a different location, and even make folders with categories, genres, types, etc. You use the Mac’s built-in Save/Open dialog box to do this as you would with any Mac application. What if this folder starts getting messy though? Go to the Finder and click on your Home folder, or use Shift-Command-H (while in the Finder) to open your Home Folder, then navigate to Audio Music Apps, then to Patches. You’ll see the various types of patches here like instrument and audio tracks. Open any folder and re-organize the patches any way you like.

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Set the Default Software Instrument or Audio Track

When adding a new software instrument or audio track, you can choose to either open the library or not. If you open it without the Library, the channel will be empty. When adding a new software instrument, if you check off the “Open Library” button it’ll open the Library and add the default electric piano sound. What if you don’t want this? You can easily set the default by right-clicking the patch name in the Library, and choosing “Define as Default.” If you’d like to return to the default electric piano, click the small “action” menu (it has a small gear on it) on the bottom left corner of the Library. You can choose “Clear User Default.”

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Drum Instrument Multi-Out Setup Made Easy

When working with drum instruments like Ultrabeat, NI Battery and more, you can save a ready-made multi-out setup, that in a single click (can not only create the tracks) but recall them labeled, and with effects. First add the instrument to the channel strip and make sure to choose the multi-out version. Now in the mixer, press the “+” button on the instrument’s track to create as many individual outs as you think you’ll need. In the example image, I made 7 more outs for a total of 8. Configure the track’s inputs, then select all the tracks in the Mixer by either Shift-clicking or Command-clicking them all. Right-click now while the pointer is over the selected tracks and select “Create Track.” This will add the tracks to the arrange window. You can now make a Track Stack out of them (Shift-Command-D) as usual. Open the Library after creating the Track Stack, and press the Save button. Try creating a folder here to organize these type of patches, then save.

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Save a Sound for Future Use

How many times have you crafted a great sound, but it just doesn’t fit the song well? This is an excellent time to save the sound for future use, or in another project. First, making sure that the Library is pointing to the top of the channel/strip, click on the “save” button at the bottom of the Library. A window will appear allowing you to save everything on the currently selected channel. This allows you to recall it just as you would any other built-in Library patch.

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Save Huge Stacked Instruments

Some of us are well aware that Logic Pro X’s new Track Stacks are great for making huge sounds with multiple instruments that can all be played together on a single channel. If you’re not, it’s easy to set up… load up a few instrument tracks with sounds you think fit well together. Select them all in the workspace, and use (Shift-Command-D) to pack them into a “summing” stack. The top track can now be played triggering all of the sounds together. Make sure you’re selected on the top summing track, then open the Library and press the save button. You can later recall this stack of sounds at any time. Don’t just stop with your instrument selection … add audio FX, and even MIDI FX before you save the Library patch.

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Instantly Create Mixer Tracks for Recording Drums

Record drums regularly with a multi-input audio interface? Using the Library to create 8 (or more/less) channels in a single click with custom inputs is a big timesaver. Before you save the patch you can even name, add EQ, compression, and a limiter to each track. Maybe create a reverb bus that each channel can send to... it’s all up to you. Shift-click or Command-click each track you’ll be adding to the stack in the main Workspace, and from Logic’s “Track” menu select “Create Track Stack.” Name the stack in the track list, then open the Library if it’s not already open and make sure the arrow is pointing to the top of the channel. Click the “Save” button at bottom of the Library, give it a meaningful name and then click save. When you’re ready to record either into a new or existing project simply add a new audio track and from the User Patches choose patch you saved.

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Swap Out Only the Effects or Instrument

Ever want to keep the instrument you’re using but swap out the effects? What about keeping the effects, but swapping the instrument? Make sure the right track is selected, then open the Library. From the action menu in the Library (has a gear on it) select “Enable Patch Merging.” Uncheck everything you don’t want to swap out. You can now change to a different patch to try out different instruments or effect chains!

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Thanks for reading! There’s many more uses for Library patches, feel free to mention the ones you use in the comments.

Darren started making music on computers when he was a teenager in 1987. His first computer was an Amiga, and when he realized the power of computer-based production, his addiction for making electronic music began. Darren switched to Mac in 1994 and started using Logic Pro. He's been involved in many music projects over the years incl... Read More

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