Sunday, October 01, 2006

Gimme More Tracks!

A common question is how to get more audio tracks, so I'm going to walkthrough how this works in Logic.

Firstly, Logic has a hard track limit, set in Logic Pro -> Preferences -> Audio -> Drivers. Whatever value you have set here is the highest *potential* amount of audio tracks you can address at once.

Higher settings use more memory, so it makes sense to set this to a value which gives you plenty of tracks to work with, but not too high. I'm using 48 here, so I could potentially have 48 simultaneous audio tracks playing at once (providing my computer is fast enough to play them!)

Ok, so we've set our upper limit. This value is stored in Logic's preferences, so it's a global setting.

Logic -> Preferences -> Audio -> Drivers = Set our global maximum amount of tracks we can use

Now, although we've set our upper track limit at 48, that doesn't mean we can directly use 48 tracks straight away. For each track we want to use, Logic has to have a corresponding Audio Object in the environment. Logic's default templates have an "Audio" layer which contains all these Audio Objects, and there are different types of Audio Object, but we'll get to that later.

Each Audio Object looks like a mixer channel, and provides a way of adding plugins, changing the volume and pan of that channel, and so on.

Because we need an Audio Track Object for each track we want to use, we must have 48 of them in the environment. If we only had 8 of them (corresponding to tracks 1 to 8), then we would only be able to use 8 tracks, even though we've asked Logic to reserve resources for 48 of them.

Now, assuming that you have less Audio Track Objects in your environment than the upper track limit (because you've probably just increased the limit to give you more tracks), in order to use them, we must create the extra Audio Track Objects.

For every audio track you want to use, you must have a corresponding Audio Track Object in your environment.

We can either do this manually (in the environment, select New -> Audio Object, change the "Cha" setting to "Audio Track 9", "10, "11" etc up to our limit), but there's an easier way to do this quickly.

In the arrange window, select Track -> Create Multiple. What this does is create all the extra Audio Track Objects that we need, and assigns each to a new arrange track.

So, if we have 8 Audio Track Objects in our environment, and can therefore only use 8 independent audio tracks in the arrange, selecting Tracks -> Create Multiple and creating 40 new audio tracks would add Audio Track Objects 9 to 48 to our environment, and assign them to arrange tracks. You can now use all 48 audio tracks.

So to recap - open Logic with your autoload song, go to the Audio Drivers preferences page and give a sensible upper track limit. Then use Tracks -> Create Multiple to create all the necessary Audio Track Objects in your environment. Lastly, give yourself a sensible default number of tracks in your arrange - I usually have the first 16 audio track objects assigned to arrange tracks, safe in the knowledge that you can add extra tracks up to your limit at any time. Save that as your autoload, and you'll always have plenty of tracks available.

And if you need to increase that limit still further, follow the same procedure to set the upper limit higher, and create the necessary Audio Track Objects using the Tracks -> Create Multiple function.


At 3:09 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This same process works for instrument tracks as well, but is there a quick and easy way to create multiple bus/aux tracks?

At 3:52 PM, Blogger Bee Jay said...

When you're in the Create Multiple window, you can choose to create audio tracks, audio instrument tracks, or auxes - so it should work the same with auxes.

For bus objects, you have to do it manually in the environment.

At 10:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bee Jay;

I just wanted to tell you how fantastic your tips are, and I hope you carry on with this.

Keep up the great work !


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