When working on a Logic Pro project with a lot of audio tracks, software instruments, or plug-ins, a system overload alert might appear that interrupts playback or recording. System overloads can occur when your Mac doesn't have enough processing power to play back or record audio. Use the techniques in this article to avoid system overloads.
Follow these guidelines when configuring your system for use with Logic Pro:
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Use the meters in the Logic Pro CPU/HD window to monitor system performance while working on a project. To view the CPU/HD window:
The CPU/HD window has two sets of meters:
Audio: Shows the amount of CPU and RAM processing power used by Logic Pro. Each CPU core in your Mac has its own meter. On Mac computers with processors that support Hyper-Threading, two meters are shown for each core.
Disk I/O: Shows the amount of disk bandwidth used by Logic Pro.
Watch the meters as the project plays back, noting when the meters are full. When a meter is full, the CPU or the disk has reached the limit of its processing capability. System overload alerts can appear when any of these meters peak. You can use this information to make adjustments to your project or your system configuration.
Choose Logic Pro > Preferences > Audio, click Devices, then adjust the following preferences:
To avoid latency and system overload alerts, decrease the I/O buffer size when recording, then increase it when mixing. If you're recording audio and not software instruments, you can monitor your audio directly from the source. Choose Logic Pro > Preferences > Audio > General, and deselect Software Monitoring. You can then set the I/O buffer size to 256 samples and leave it there for both recording and mixing.
If your project doesn't include automation, or the automation doesn't need to be sample accurate, you can reduce the CPU load by turning off Sample Accurate Automation.
If your project does include automation, choose the option that includes only the parameters you're automating.
Projects with higher sample rates create larger audio files, which can increase the load on the CPU and disk. Plug-ins also require more CPU power to process audio files at higher sample rates. When choosing the sample rate for your project, balance the considerations of audio quality, the anticipated format of the final product, and the performance of your Mac. If disk activity is causing system overload alerts, try choosing lower sample rates for your projects.
When using CPU-intensive effect plug-ins such as reverbs and delays, you can reduce the load on the CPU by usingsend effects. Send effects let you use a single plug-in to process signals from multiple channels.
Avoid inserting effect plug-ins on individual tracks in a project. If you need to insert reverb plug-ins on individual tracks, try less CPU-intensive reverbs like the SilverVerb and PlatinumVerb.
Use these guidelines when working with software instruments:
You can adjust EXS24 Virtual Memory settings to optimize its performance. In the EXS24 Parameter window, click the Options button, then select Virtual Memory from the pop-up menu.
Adjust the following preferences:
Settings in the EXS24 Virtual Memory window are global—they affect all instances of EXS24 in all projects.
You can also optimize Alchemy for improved performance.
This section explains how to effectively use the main Compressor parameters.
Tip: Click the Meter or Graph button to change the meter. This visual aid can help you to achieve more precise compression.
The most important Compressor parameters are Threshold and Ratio. The Threshold parameter sets the floor level in decibels. Signals that exceed this level are reduced by the amount set as the Ratio.
The Ratio parameter is a percentage of the overall level; the more the signal exceeds the threshold, the more it is reduced. A ratio of 4:1 means that increasing the input by 4 dB results in an increase of the output by 1 dB, if above the threshold.
For example, with the Threshold set at −20 dB and the Ratio set to 4:1, a −16 dB peak in the signal (4 dB louder than the threshold) is reduced by 3 dB, resulting in an output level of −19 dB.
The Attack and Release parameters shape the dynamic response of Compressor. The Attack parameter determines the time it takes after the signal exceeds the threshold level before Compressor starts reducing the signal.
Many sounds, including voices and musical instruments, rely on the initial attack phase to define the core timbre and characteristic of the sound. When compressing these types of sounds, set higher Attack values to make sure that the attack transients of the source signal aren’t lost or altered.
When attempting to maximize the level of an overall mix, it is best to set the Attack parameter to a lower value, because higher values often result in no, or minimal, compression.
The Release parameter determines how quickly the signal is restored to its original level after it falls below the threshold level. Set a higher Release value to smooth out dynamic differences in the signal. Set lower Release values if you want to emphasize dynamic differences.
Important: The results of your settings for the Attack and Release parameters depend not only on the type of source material but on the compression ratio and threshold settings.
The Knee parameter determines whether the signal is slightly, or severely, compressed as it approaches the threshold level.
Setting a Knee value close to 0 (zero) results in no compression of signal levels that fall just below the threshold, while levels at the threshold are compressed by the full Ratio amount. This is known as hard knee compression, which can cause abrupt and often unwanted transitions as the signal reaches the threshold.
Increasing the Knee parameter value increases the amount of compression as the signal approaches the threshold, creating a smoother transition. This is called soft knee compression.
As Compressor reduces levels, the overall volume at its output is typically lower than the input signal. You can adjust the output level with the Make Up knob.
You can also use the Auto Gain parameter to compensate for the level reduction caused by compression (choose either 0 dB or −12 dB).
When the Platinum Digital type is chosen, Compressor can analyze the signal using one of two methods: Peak or root mean square (RMS). While Peak is technically more accurate, RMS provides a better indication of how people perceive the signal loudness.
Note: If you turn on Auto Gain and RMS simultaneously, the signal may become oversaturated. If you hear any distortion, turn off Auto Gain and adjust the Make Up knob until the distortion is inaudible.
Use of a side chain with a compressor is common. The dynamics (level changes) of another channel strip is used as a control source for compression. For example, the dynamics of a drum groove can be used to rhythmically change the compression, and therefore dynamics, of a guitar, synthesizer, or bass part.
The side chain signal is used only as a detector or trigger in this situation. The side chain source is used to control the compressor, but the audio of the side chain signal is not actually routed through the compressor.
In Logic Pro, insert Compressor into a channel strip.
Click the Side Chain button in the Compressor window.
In the plug-in window header, choose the channel strip that carries the signal you want to use as the side chain source from the Side Chain pop-up menu.
Choose the Max or Sum analysis method with the Detection buttons.
Adjust Compressor parameters.
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