This lesson is from Soundfly’s Intro to Making Music in Logic Pro X course. To access the rest of this lesson, plus hundreds more videos and tutorials on production, songwriting, composing, arranging, beat making, and mixing, subscribe here.
Loops and Stock Sounds
The idea that pop giants like Rihanna, Usher, and even a rock/rap giant like Mike Shinoda (Linkin Park) would use free bundled sounds like Apple Loops makes you scratch your head for a second.
Why? Maybe we think the big names and producers sit in big-budget studios laboring over every nuance and sound. Realizing that they’re looking for easy inspiring sounds helps dispel, and in a sense, humanize the playing field. Everyone with GarageBand in 2006 could have just as easily made these hits.
The fact is, there’s a reason why this happens and works so well. When you sit down to compose with a guitar, you’re simply inspired by the sound. You get to focus on writing. You’re not clicking around a bunch of little menus, sifting through endless choices and possibilities. Utilizing the shortcuts to good sounds in Logic can help you focus more on the songwriting.
So let’s go through how to find and make use of the Apple Loops browser in the Logic Pro X software.
Navigating the Apple Loops Browser
Head to the top right corner of your screen and click on the button that looks like a loop on a roller coaster. This button opens up the Apple Loops Browser, a system that organizes and indexes all of your Apple Loops.
We can sort them by categories like instrument, genre, or descriptors. Go ahead and spend a minute or two trying that out now.
You can browse the library in this categorized way, but sometimes it’s helpful to type in exactly what you need. That’s what this handy little search bar is here to help you accomplish. Take a moment to try a couple searches.
Turn the cycle area on, and hit play. As you browse the library, click on the different loops and Logic will play them back in time with the rest of your session. This is a great way to preview different loops until you find something that you like for your project.
+ Read more on Flypaper: “9 Deep Tips for the New Step Sequencer in Logic Pro X.”
Each loop in the library has a set of information attached to it. You’ll see this organized by columns. The name is pretty obvious, the heart symbol is so you can favorite it, and the beats tells you how long the loop is. If you see 4 beats, you know it’s a bar long. If you see 16, it’s 4 bars long.
The last two columns contain some really important info: Tempo and Key.
As we mentioned earlier, tempo, measured in beats per minute, is how fast or slow a piece of music is. Each loop in your library exists at a “native” tempo, or the tempo it was recorded at.
Your session itself has a global tempo setting displayed in the transport. This might be different from the loop you’re trying to preview or use.
One of the coolest features of Apple Loops is that they adjust to conform with the tempo of your session. If the tempo of the loop you’re working with is extremely different from the global tempo of the session, the loop might sound a little funny. These are just artifacts from the processing required to make them playback at a drastically different speed.
All in all, artifacts aside, this is pretty incredible. Try searching through your library and find a loop you like. Go ahead and add it to your project.
Tempo = Genre
Logic’s default session tempo is 120 beats per minute (frequently abbreviated to BPM). When you picked a drummer track in a specific style, Logic adjusted your tempo to match that genre. Tempo and genre go hand-in-hand. You don’t have many rap songs with breakneck tempos because it’d be tough to rhyme over. Similarly, you don’t have many rock tracks that are super slow because it’d kill the driving energy that the genre requires.
Tempo is crucial to your project for so many reasons. For now, you should know that you can change it by double-clicking on it in the transport and entering a new value.
Adjust the tempo of your project now. If you find that you were happier with how things sounded at 120, go ahead and change it back.
One major note regarding tempo and audio: Keep in mind, when you change the tempo of your projects, your Apple Loops and MIDI regions will adjust to the new tempo. Audio regions will not. If you’re planning to record audio into a session, be as certain as you can be about the tempo before starting to track.
Ready to Learn More About Logic Pro?
If you’re new to Logic and learning to use all the software’s features, check out Soundfly’s online course Intro to Making Music in Logic Pro X. Learn to work with software instruments, record and process audio and MIDI, tackle the basics of mixing, and get your feet wet with one of the most affordable and versatile DAWs out there.