Logic Pro X is a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) from Apple. It is very similar to other DAWs, such as Pro Tools, FL Studio, Ableton and the many other audio programs available. I wanted to talk about Logic Pro X here because it comes with a host of very useful plugins. Yes, there are all of the standard effects like equalization, compression, reverb and delay included in the Logic Pro X plugins arsenal. But in this article we will look at 5 other very useful and creative Logic plugins.
TOP 5 LOGIC PRO X PLUG INS
1. I GOT A FEVER AND THE ONLY CURE IS MORE DISTORTION!
Distortion is a crucial part of modern music mixing and whether we realize it or not it is used extensively. We have elevated this effect that was once only the domain of rock to the level of a plate reverb. Almost any song you hear these days has some type of distortion used in the audio production. Logic Pro X has a wide variety of distortion plugins, but one of my favorites is Amp Designer.
Amp Designer simulates the characteristics of a guitar amplifier and there are many styles and types to choose from. Don’t just think of this plugin just for electric guitar; it is great for vocals, MIDI synth sounds, drums, and loops. Channel your inner rock star and reach for Amp Designer when you want something special on that mix. Try the Britannica Crunch preset for some Kanye West style distortion and don’t forget you can actually move the virtual mic around for even more tones!
2. BASS, HOW LOW CAN IT GO?
The next plugin I want you to try is SubBass. This is a really easy to operate sub harmonic frequency exciter. If your mixes aren’t moving enough air and blowing up people’s trunks then this plugin is for you. Just insert this baby on your 808s, kick drums, bass guitars, or even an entire mix and feel the rumble. One of my favorite presets is Sub Enhancer, which, when used lightly, can be a good mastering effect. Be sure to use the Low frequency control to find the exact range your track will benefit from.
3. I WISH THEY HAD RECORDED DOUBLES…
Another underutilized plugin included with Logic Pro X is Ensemble. This is a great pitch modulation plugin that can create up to 8-chorused voices. Do those background vocals sound too thin or unexciting? Could that lead vocal that could use some more depth and character? The solution is Ensemble. You could use a chorus or flanger to try and thicken these tracks, but Ensemble is much more complex and can be used more subtlety. Next time you have to mix a song and wish the vocals were doubles or that the hook was thicker, open up Ensemble. This plugin, if used in small amounts, will become your go to for vocal (and instrument) thickening. Oh, and try it on an acoustic guitar!
4. HOW ABOUT GIVING ME SOME SPACE?
We all need a little space now and then and I find myself needing Space Designer even more often. This is a great little convolution reverb plugin that is included with the purchase of Logic Pro X. If you don’t know already many mixing and audio post-production engineers use a convolution reverb. It uses impulse responses to recreate modeled spaces. What all of this means is that Space Designer can fairly accurately reproduce the reflections and decay of natural environments (and even electronic ones). When I want to create depth and dimension in a mix, I go for Space Designer. Add this reverb to an Aux track and send any sound you want into it. Three dimension and width are easily achieved with sparing amounts of this effect added to key elements of a mix (think vocals, snare drums, claps, lead synth, etc.). A really fun preset to try out is Long City Street. Also, here is a link to some free impulse responses of the venerable Lexicon 480L that you can add to your Space Designer (http://logic-pro-expert.com/logic-pro-blog/2014/02/20/lexicon-480l-free-impulse-responses-for-space-designer.html)
5. MONO E MONO, WHAT ABOUT STEREO?
The last plugin I want to show you is the fun and easy to use Stereo Spread. This is a very easy to navigate plugin, but there are a few tricks to make it the most effective. First I recommend only “spreading” higher frequencies. If you widen the bass frequencies of a mix you can run into problems during playback on different systems and mastering. Rule of thumb, in general wide stereo bass is bad, but stereo keys, strings, and other mid range sounds are good. Say you are mixing a beat and the organ track is frequency clashing with the background vocals. You want both of these sources to be panned in both left and right speakers. Stereo Spread can help be a solution. Add the Stereo Spread plugin to that organ and listen to spread out across the speakers and out of the way of the background vocals. Try out the preset Light HF Spread and listen to the results. As with all effects, a little goes a long way. If you use too much of this effect or spread out too many frequencies you can add too much phasing to your mix. Used sparingly it can really open up a mix and add some great width to the higher frequencies.
Final Mix down
Hopefully this article has opened your eyes (and ears) to some fun and creative effect plugins that come with Logic Pro X. As with any effect, it is all about the context you use it in and not over doing it. These five plugins are easy to use, add character, and you should be using them in your mixes. If you already have Logic Pro X, then why not experiment and have your mixes stand out against the competition by being more creative and really learning how to use Logic Pro X? Oh, and if you don’t have Logic Pro X, don’t worry; most DAWs like FL Studio, Pro Tools, and Reason come with plugins similar to these, so just apply the principles I went through and you will be on your way to making it in the music industry as an audio engineering professional.
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