Chapter 3. Editing Audio

Lesson Files

Logic 9 Files > Lessons > 03 New Day


Logic 9 Files > Media > Additional Media


This lesson takes approximately 60 minutes to complete.


Create a composite take from multiple takes


Assign Left-click and Command-click tools


Edit regions in the Arrange area


Apply fades and crossfades


Import audio files


Quantize audio regions


Move individual notes inside an audio region using the Flex tool


Edit audio destructively in the Sample Editor


Position audio regions in the Arrange area

Audio engineers have always looked for ways to edit recordings. In the days of magnetic tape, they used razor blades to cut pieces of a recording, and then connected the pieces with special tape. They could create a smooth transition (or crossfade) between two pieces of magnetic tape by cutting them at an angle.

Digital audio workstations revolutionized audio editing the same way that word processors revolutionized text editing. A waveform displayed on the screen gives you a visual representation of the digital audio recordings stored on the hard disk. The ability to read that waveform and manipulate it using Logic’s editing tools is the key to precise and flexible audio editing.

In this lesson, you will develop waveform-reading skills to identify musical notes in the waveform. With the multiple takes you recorded into a take folder in the previous lesson, you will use Quick Swipe Comping to create a single composite take. You’ll also edit audio regions nondestructively in the Arrange area, and import an audio drum loop, quantize it, and use the Flex tool to change its groove. Finally, you’ll apply destructive audio editing in the Sample Editor to reverse a hi-hat sound.

As your ability to read waveforms and use Logic’s editing tools develops, never forget to use your ears and trust them as the final judge of your work.

Comping Takes

In the previous lesson, you recorded several takes of acoustic guitar and packed them into a take folder. Now you will learn how to preview the individual takes and assemble a composite take by choosing sections from different takes, a process called comping.

Comping techniques are useful when you have recorded several takes of the same musical phrase, each with its own good and bad qualities. Maybe in the first take the musician messed up the beginning but got the ending perfectly, and in the following take he nailed the beginning and made a mistake at the end. You can create a comp using the beginning of the second take and the ending of the first take.

You can use the same comping techniques to create a single musical passage out of multiple musical ideas. As they improvise, musicians will often record a few takes and later comp the best ideas of each performance into a new virtual performance.

Previewing the Takes

In this exercise, you’ll comp three different performances of the same acoustic guitar riff, keeping only the best parts of each take. Before you start comping, you need to get familiar with the takes you are going to comp.

  1. Go to Logic 9 Files > Lessons and open 03 New Day.

    Previewing the Takes

    A take folder is present on the Acoustic track (track 6).

  2. Double-click the take folder to open it.

  3. Press Z.

    Previewing the Takes

    The selected take folder and its takes fill the Arrange area. The take folder is still displayed on the Acoustic track (track 6), with a disclosure triangle before its name and a take folder menu at the top right. The individual takes are displayed on lanes below the Acoustic track, with a take symbol before their name.

    You can see that the Bright Acoustic #1 take at the top is selected (it is highlighted and has a black title bar). That’s the one currently playing (the other takes are dimmed to indicate that they are muted).

    Notice the name of the take folder: Acoustic: Bright Acoustic #1. It’s the name of the track and the name of the selected take.

  4. In the Bar ruler, drag a cycle area from bar 5 to bar 9.

    Previewing the Takes
  5. Press the Spacebar.

    Playback starts on bar 5, and you can hear the first take, Bright Acoustic #1. The beginning of that take is a bit messy, but bars 7 and 8 sound very good.

  6. Stop playback.

  7. Click the Bright Acoustic #2 take.

    Previewing the Takes

    The Bright Acoustic #2 take is selected, and the name of the take folder is now Acoustic: Bright Acoustic #2. Notice that this take has a different color, and the color of the selected take is reflected in the take folder.

  8. Press the Spacebar.

    You are now listening to the second take, Bright Acoustic #2. This time, the guitarist really nailed the first bar but missed most of the notes in the rest of the take.

  9. Stop playback.

    More Info

    Logic can continue playing in Cycle mode as you select different takes. In that case, a brief delay will occur as Logic switches playback between takes.

Repeat these steps to listen to the three takes, while watching the waveforms and determining the usable sections of each take. You will use the following sections of each take:

  • Bright Acoustic #1: bars 7 and 8

  • Bright Acoustic #2: bar 5

  • Bright Acoustic #3: bar 6

Comping the Takes

Now you’ll select the best sections of each take to create a single, flawless composite take using a feature called Quick Swipe Comping. You will swipe your mouse across the parts of the takes you want to hear in your comp.

  1. Click the Bright Acoustic #2 take.

    The entire take is selected, and its color and name are displayed in the take folder.

  2. Click Bright Acoustic #3 on the downbeat of bar 6, and drag to the right to select one measure.

    Don’t worry about being very precise in your selection. You will fine-tune the edits later in this lesson, but right now, let’s get it in the ballpark.

    Comping the Takes

    A comp is created, and the name of the take folder is now Acoustic: Comp 1. By examining the colors, you can see that the take folder will play the selected parts of each take: Bright Acoustic #2 from the beginning to bar 6, Bright Acoustic #3 for the duration of bar 6, and Bright Acoustic #2 from bar 7 to the end.

    For the end section, you’ll use the Bright Acoustic #1 take. Once a section has been highlighted in a take, you can click the same section in another take to highlight it instead.

  3. Click the Bright Acoustic #1 take in the bar 7 and 8 section.

    Comping the Takes

    That section of the Bright Acoustic #1 take is now highlighted and will play in the comp. This technique makes it easy to compare the same section in several takes after you’ve determined the locations of your edit points.


    If you’re not happy with your comp and want to start over, Option-click a take to select the entire take.

  4. Listen to your comp.

    You now have a flawless performance for the entire four-bar section. Let’s listen to it closely.

  5. In the Acoustic track header, click the Solo button, and continue listening.

    You may find that some of the edits (the points where you’re switching from one take to another) don’t sound very clean.

  6. Option-Control-drag around the first edit to zoom in on it.

  7. Place your pointer over the beginning of the selection in the Bright Acoustic #3 take, and drag so that the edit is positioned just before the attack of the first note you want to hear in that selection (the note just before bar 6).

  8. Option-Control-click the waveform to zoom out.

  9. Option-Control-drag around the second edit to zoom on it.

  10. Place your pointer over the beginning of the selection in the Bright Acoustic #1 take, and drag so that the edit is positioned before the attack of the first note you want to hear in that section (the note just before bar 7).

  11. Option-Control-click the waveform to zoom out.

  12. Listen to your comp and make sure that it sounds right.

    More Info

    When using Quick Swipe Comping inside a take folder, classic audio editing features (such as cutting, moving, and resizing) are disabled. To edit the takes inside a take folder, you can turn off Quick Swipe Comping by clicking the Take Folder Editing Mode button.

    More Info

    Once you’re happy with your comp, you can commit to it. You will flatten the take folder, replacing it with the audio regions that compose the current comp, Comp 1.

  13. At the top right of the take folder, click the arrow to open the take folder menu.

    More Info
  14. From the take folder menu, choose Flatten.

    More Info

    The take folder is replaced by the current comp, and the selected sections of the takes in the take folder are now replaced by audio regions. Crossfades are displayed at the edit points, and a fade-out is displayed at the end of the last region.

  15. Click the Acoustic track’s solo button to unsolo the track, and listen to the result.

Using the take folder’s Quick Swipe Comping feature, you have created a flawless virtual performance by dragging over the good parts of three different imperfect performances.

Assigning Mouse Tools

Until now, you have worked exclusively with the default tools. You have also used keyboard modifiers such as Option-Control to choose the Zoom tool, and you have used features that change the pointer to tools such as the Resize tool or Loop tool, depending on its position.

When editing audio in the Arrange area, you will need to access more tools.

Two Tool menus are located at the upper right of the Arrange area. The left menu assigns the Left-click tool, and the right menu assigns the Command-click tool, which you access by holding down the Command key while clicking.

Assigning Mouse Tools
  1. Position the pointer over the Arrange area, and hold down Command.

    Assigning Mouse Tools

    The pointer changes to the Command-click tool—the Marquee tool, in this case. Let’s assign the Text tool to the Command-click tool.

  2. From the Command-click Tool menu, choose Text Tool.

    Assigning Mouse Tools

    The Command-click Tool menu now displays the Text tool. The Comp 1 regions are still selected, and you need to deselect them to rename them individually.

  3. Click the background of the Arrange area with the Pointer tool.

    All Comp 1 regions are deselected.

  4. On the Acoustic track, Command-click the first Comp 1 audio region.

    Assigning Mouse Tools

    A text field appears, in which you can rename the region.

  5. Type Beginning and press Return to rename this region.

  6. Rename the second region Middle and the third region End.

    Assigning Mouse Tools

    Instead of moving the pointer back and forth from the tracks to the Tool menus at the top right of the Arrange area, you can press the Esc (Escape) key to open a Tool menu at the current pointer position.

  7. Make sure that the pointer is positioned over the Arrange area, and press Esc.

    A Tool menu appears at the pointer position. This key command will save you a lot of trips to the Tool menus.


    Each area of the Arrange window has its own set of tools. You can change an area’s tools in the Tool menus in its title bar, or by positioning the pointer over that area before pressing Esc.

  8. Choose the Solo tool.


    The Left-click tool switches to the Solo tool.


    Instead of choosing a tool from the menu using the mouse, you can use the keyboard shortcuts listed in the menu. For example, when the Tool menu is open, pressing 7 chooses the Solo tool as the Left-click tool.

  9. Hold down the Solo tool over the Beginning region, just before bar 5.


    The region is outlined in yellow, and Solo mode is temporarily turned on. Playback starts where you clicked, and you can hear the Beginning region play by itself until you release the mouse button.


    When using the Solo tool, to start playback at the beginning of the region, hold down Option and hold down the mouse button over the region.

    Let’s return the Left-click tool to the Pointer tool.

  10. Press Esc twice.

    The Left-click tool switches to the Pointer tool. Now let’s assign the Solo tool to the Command-click tool.

  11. Press Esc.

    The Tool menu appears. You can Command-click a tool to assign it to the Command-click tool.

  12. Press Command as you choose the Solo tool.

    The Solo tool is the Command-click tool. Now you can perform edits with the Pointer tool, and you can Command-click any region to hear it in Solo mode.


    If you have a two-button mouse, you can assign a third tool to the right mouse button by choosing Logic Pro > Preferences > General and clicking the Editing tab. Choose “Is Assignable to a Tool” from the Right Mouse Button pop-up menu. The Right-click Tool menu will appear to the right of the two existing Tool menus.

Editing Audio Regions in the Arrange Area

Editing audio regions in the Arrange area is nondestructive. Regions are merely pointers that identify parts of an audio file. When you cut and resize regions, or add fades and crossfades in the Arrange area, only those pointers are altered. No processing is applied to the original audio files, which remain unaltered on your hard disk. You can always adjust your edits later. As a result, editing in the Arrange area provides a lot of flexibility and room for experimentation.

Adding Fades

When editing audio, you want to avoid abrupt transitions on edit points—the region boundaries and the junctions between regions. You can use nondestructive fades in the Arrange area to create smooth transitions. For this exercise, you’ll temporarily raise the volume of the acoustic guitar to clearly hear your fades.

  1. In the Inspector, Option-click the Acoustic channel strip’s volume fader.

    The volume fader jumps to 0.0 dB.

  2. In the Bar ruler, click the Cycle area to turn off Cycle mode.

  3. On the Acoustic track, select the End region.

  4. Click “Play from Selection” (or press Shift-Enter).

    Listen to the transition from the guitar part to the orchestra strings part in measure 9. The last acoustic guitar note is sustained too long and clashes with the melody of the strings.

  5. Drag the lower right corner of the End region toward the left to shorten it so that it stops around bar 9, just when the strings come in.

    Adding Fades

    As you drag to resize the region, notice that the pointer snaps to certain positions. When you need to edit with more precision, you can temporarily disable snapping by holding down Shift-Control after you start dragging.

  6. Click “Play from Selection” (or press Shift-Enter).

    The transition works better. Let’s try it without the fade out at the conclusion of the End region.

  7. Press Esc and choose the Crossfade tool (or press Esc-0).

    The Left-click tool changes to the Crossfade tool. Using the Crossfade tool, you can Option-click a fade to delete it. You might need to zoom in to use the Crossfade tool.

  8. At the end of the End region, Option-click the fade-out to delete it.

    Adding Fades
  9. Listen to the transition.

    Now the guitar dies abruptly on bar 9. Let’s add a new fade out at the end of the End region.

  10. Drag the Crossfade tool over the region’s boundary.

    Make sure that you drag over the region’s boundary, or nothing will happen. You can create fades only over region boundaries. Here, the green shaded rectangle should cover the end of the region.

    Adding Fades

    A fade-out is created. The length of the drag area determines the length of the fade.

    Adding Fades


    You don’t have to use the Crossfade tool to apply fades. To apply fades using the Pointer tool, Shift-Control-click inside the region and drag over the region’s boundary.

  11. Listen to the fade-out.

    Depending on the sound you’re going for, you may want to adjust the fade’s length and shape. To adjust the length, you can drag the white vertical line to the left of the fade-out with the crossfade tool, or while holding Shift-Control.

  12. With the Crossfade tool, drag the fade’s white vertical line to the left.


    The fade is now a bit longer. To adjust the fade’s curve, you can bring the Crossfade tool to the middle of the fade and drag to the left or right.

  13. Position the Crossfade tool over the fade, and drag toward the right.


    The fade now has a curved shape: The volume starts dropping slowly at the beginning of the fade and drops much faster at the end of the fade, creating a more natural result.

  14. In the Inspector, drag the Acoustic volume fader down to –11.6 dB and listen to your result.

Feel free to continue adjusting the fade’s curve and length until it sounds just right. There are no rules as to what the perfect shape of a fade should be, so experiment and trust your ears.

Cutting and Copying Regions

You will now use the Marquee tool to select a portion of a rhythm acoustic guitar region and make a copy to use later in the song, using the No Overlap Drag mode to make sure that the regions don’t overlap.

  1. On the Rhythm GT track (track 7), select the Rhythm Guitar region.

  2. Click “Play from Selection” (or press Shift-Enter) to listen to that section.

    The guitar plays the same two-bar chord pattern twice: once in bars 15 and 16, and once in bars 17 and 18. However, bars 19 and 20 don’t have any rhythm guitar. You will now select the first two-bar chord pattern in bars 15 and 16, and copy it to bars 19 and 20.

  3. At the upper right of the Arrange area, from the Drag menu, choose No Overlap.

    Cutting and Copying Regions

    When No Overlap is chosen, dragging one region over another automatically trims the region underneath to make space for the new one, which avoids region overlaps.

  4. With your pointer over the Arrange area, press Esc to open the Tool menu, and then Command-click the Marquee tool.

  5. With your pointer over the Arrange area, press Esc twice to reset the Left-click tool to the Pointer tool.

    The Command-click tool is now the Marquee tool, and the Left-click tool is the Pointer tool. This is a very powerful tool combination when editing audio in the Arrange area. You can select a portion of an audio region with the Marquee tool, and move or copy that selection with the Pointer tool.

  6. Zoom in on the Acoustic track for the whole last section (bars 15 to 21).

  7. Command-drag in the Rhythm Guitar region from bar 15 to bar 17 to select that portion of the region.

    Cutting and Copying Regions
  8. Press the Spacebar.

    The playhead jumps to bar 15 and plays the marquee selection. It corresponds exactly to a two-bar pattern of the guitar, what you need to add at the end to complete the rhythm guitar part.


    When a marquee selection is present, playback starts at the beginning and stops at the end of the marquee selection, even if Cycle mode is turned on.

  9. Option-drag the marquee selection to bar 19.


    Option-dragging a marquee selection automatically divides, copies, and pastes the selection to a new location regardless of region boundaries. When the mouse button is released, the original region is automatically restored.

    Here the two-bar guitar pattern is copied and pasted at bar 19. The end of the original region is trimmed at bar 19 so that it does not overlap with the region you just pasted.


    Now that the rhythm guitar part is complete, you can fine-tune the junction between the two regions and add a crossfade to avoid any clicks at that junction.

  10. Zoom in on the junction between the two Rhythm Guitar regions.


    It looks as though the edit point is in the middle of the note’s attack. It would be better if placed a little earlier, in the silence before bar 19.

  11. Position the pointer over the junction on the upper half of the waveform.


    The pointer switches to the Junction pointer. Dragging the Junction pointer horizontally changes the position of the junction between the regions while keeping both regions connected, without any gaps or overlaps.

  12. Drag the Junction pointer to the left.


    When you use the Junction pointer, the help tag can sometimes get in the way, hiding part of the waveforms in the audio regions. To fix this, position the pointer in the upper part of the junction to get the Junction pointer, and drag the Junction pointer down to the lower part of the regions; then drag horizontally to adjust the edit’s position.


    Now the junction of the two regions occurs in the silence.

    It’s usually a good idea to add a short crossfade to an edit point between two regions to avoid any clicky noise. Remember, you can apply a fade with the Pointer tool by holding down Shift-Control.

  13. Shift-Control-drag a green-shaded rectangle over the junction.


    A crossfade is created when the mouse button is released. Let’s change its shape.

  14. Position the pointer in the middle of the crossfade, and Shift-Control-drag toward the right to change the crossfade’s shape.


Now that you know how to apply fades, take a minute to create a fade-in at the beginning of the first Rhythm Guitar region and a fade-out at the end of the last Rhythm Guitar region. If you decide to resize the beginning of the first region to eliminate the noise in the guitar recording during the first bar of count-in, remember to first deselect the second region, or you will be resizing both regions at the same time.

Deleting Unused Audio Files

When recording audio in Logic, storage space appears unlimited at first. When you are not totally happy with a recording, you usually keep it “just in case” and record another take. And another. … You focus on recording the best performance, delaying the process of sorting out the good takes from the bad for the editing stage.

Once in the editing stage, you choose the best takes and comp them, or you edit the regions you need in the Arrange area. The leftover regions sit unused in the Audio Bin and can quickly pile up, crowding your hard disk space and bloating the project folder.

In the next exercise, you will delete unused audio files from your hard disk to reduce the size of the project folder.

  1. In the Toolbar, click the Media button (or press B).

    Deleting Unused Audio Files

    The Bin opens, listing all the audio files that were imported or recorded in the project, even if they are no longer used in the Arrange area. The Info column displays the audio files’ information: sample rate, bit depth, status, and file size. The status icon indicates whether the file is mono or stereo (one or two symbols), and whether it’s an Apple Loops file, a regular audio file, or a compressed audio file. In front of each region, the dark gray bar represents the audio file’s length, and the colored section represents the region.

  2. In the Audio Bin’s local menu bar, choose Edit > Select Unused (or press Shift-U).

    Deleting Unused Audio Files

    All the audio files that are not in use in the Arrange area are selected.

    If you need to make sure that you won’t need the unused files again, you can select them one by one and listen to them by clicking the Speaker button at the lower left of the Audio Bin. If you are sure that you want to delete them all, press Shift-U again to select all the unused audio files and regions.

    You have two choices: You can delete the unused audio files from the Audio Bin but keep them on your hard disk (if you think you might need them later), or you can permanently delete them from the hard disk.

    First, try deleting them from the Audio Bin, but keep them on your hard disk.

  3. From the Audio Bin local menu bar, choose Edit > Delete (or press Delete).

    The selected audio files and regions are deleted from the Audio Bin but not from your hard disk. This will not reduce the size of your project folder, but it will clean up your Audio Bin.

    Since the operation is nondestructive, you can undo it and see the files again.

  4. Press Command-Z.

    All the audio files are once again displayed in the Audio Bin.

    This time, you will delete the files from your hard disk. Be very careful whenever you permanently delete audio files: The operation is destructive, and you will not be able to recover those deleted files.

  5. Choose Audio File > Delete File(s).

    Deleting Unused Audio Files

    After a few seconds, an alert appears. Read it carefully! Make sure that you want to delete the audio files forever before you click Delete.

  6. Click Delete.

    The files are permanently deleted from the Audio Bin and from the hard disk.

    More Info

    In reality, the files are moved to the Trash in the Finder. If you just performed this operation by mistake, you still have a chance to undo it right now. But when you empty the Trash, the files are permanently deleted from the hard disk.

Quantizing an Audio Drum Recording

If you are not happy with the timing of an audio recording, you can quantize it to correct the positions of individual notes. In the following exercises, you will import an audio drum loop to your project, select a Flex mode to have Logic detect the attacks (or transients) or the individual drum hits in the audio file, and quantize the audio region to time-correct the positions of those transients.


In Lesson 4, “Recording MIDI,” you will quantize MIDI regions.

Previewing and Importing Audio Files

In the Media area, the File Browser allows you to search your hard disk for any kind of media files supported by Logic. In this exercise, you’ll use the File Browser to locate, preview, and finally add a drum loop to your project.

  1. In the Media area, click the Browser tab to open the File Browser.

    Previewing and Importing Audio Files

    The Browser is like a mini-Finder window inside Logic. At the top, you can see Back and Forward navigation buttons with which to step through your navigation history. The Path menu displays the current folder and allows you to move up in the Finder hierarchy. Three bookmark buttons provide quick access to the volumes on your computer, your home folder, or the project folder.

  2. Click the Home button to display the contents of your home folder in the search results.

    Previewing and Importing Audio Files

    You can choose the way the search results are displayed by clicking the List and Column buttons. Column view displays columns, allowing you to see the folder hierarchy.

  3. Click the Column button to display the search results in two columns.

    Previewing and Importing Audio Files
  4. Click the Desktop folder to display the contents of your Desktop folder in the right column.

  5. Navigate to Logic 9 Files > Media > Additional Media and select TripHopLoop.aif.

    Previewing and Importing Audio Files

    The file’s information (file type, sample rate, bit depth, format, and length) is displayed at the top of the Browser.


    If you know the name of your file, use the search field at the top of the Browser. You can also click the plus (+) button to the right of the search field to set conditions that will limit your search by date, comments, length, and so on.

  6. At the lower left of the Browser, click the Speaker button (or press the Spacebar).

    The selected file starts playing. You can already tell that it has a very “lazy” groove and will need to be quantized to fit your New Day song.

  7. Drag TripHopLoop.aif to the Arrange area at bar 15, below the last track.


    A new audio track is created at the bottom of the Arrange area, and the TripHopLoop audio region is added to that track at bar 15.

  8. In the Media area, click the Bin tab.

    You can see the TripHopLoop.aif audio file in the Audio Bin.

  9. Listen to the section of the song with the TripHopLoop region.

You can hear that this trip hop drum loop should work fine for that song, but right now it has a feel that is way too laid back and clashes with the drums on track 1.

Quantizing an Audio Region

You will now quantize the TripHopLoop audio region to make it better fit the groove of your song. To quantize an audio region, you first have to choose a Flex mode, which allows Logic to detect the transients in the audio file.

  1. In the Arrange area, click the TripHopLoop track (track 8).

  2. Press Z (“Toggle Zoom to fit Selection or All Content”).

    The selected TripHopLoop audio region fills the Arrange area.

  3. In the Inspector, click the disclosure triangle in front of the track name to open the track parameter box (below the region parameter box).

    Quantizing an Audio Region
  4. Click the Flex Mode parameter and choose Slicing.

    Quantizing an Audio Region

    A quick progress bar appears as Logic analyzes the audio file on the TripHopLoop track. The slicing Flex mode allows you to move slices of audio between transients without performing any kind of time stretching on the audio material.

    You will now quantize the TripHopLoop region, so watch the result in the Arrange area as you perform this next step.

  5. In the Region parameter box, set Quantize to 1/8 – Note.

    Quantizing an Audio Region

    In the Arrange area, the waveform in the TripHopLoop region changes shape as the individual drum hits are aligned to an eighth-note grid.

  6. Click the “Play from Selection” button (or press Shift-Enter).

    You can hear the TripHopLoop lose its laid-back feel. It is now perfectly in time and fits the groove of your song much better.

  7. Stop playback.

Flex audio editing provides a powerful way to time-correct any audio file. Now that you have detected the transients of each note, you are not restricted to automatically lining them up with a grid. You can manually move individual notes where you want them. Enter the Flex tool, which you’ll use in the next exercise.

Manipulating the Waveform with the Flex Tool

Until now, you’ve edited audio by manipulating audio regions in the Arrange area: You know how to move, resize, and copy a region, and even how to select a portion of it with the Marquee tool. However, when the inspiration strikes and you’re ready to experiment with individual notes inside a region, you can use the Flex tool to manipulate the waveform without changing the region’s integrity.

  1. Place your pointer over the Arrange area, and press Esc to open the Tool menu.

  2. At the bottom of the tool menu, click the Flex tool.

  3. Zoom in on the first three or four notes in the TripHopLoop region.

    Manipulating the Waveform with the Flex Tool
  4. Place the Flex tool over the attack of the second note in the waveform (at 15 1 3 1).

    Manipulating the Waveform with the Flex Tool

    Depending on its position on the waveform, the Flex tool can have different actions, indicated by different tool icons, so make sure that the tool is precisely over the note’s attack and looks like the icon in the preceding figure.

  5. Drag the Flex tool to the right to move that hi-hat one sixteenth note later (at 15 1 4 1).

    Manipulating the Waveform with the Flex Tool

    The waveform moves along with your pointer. You are changing the hi-hat note’s position without modifying the rest of the audio region.

  6. Click the “Play from Selection” button (or press Shift-Enter).

    By moving the second hi-hat one sixteenth note later in the groove, you’ve created an interesting syncopation that changes the character of your drum loop. You can play with Command-Z to undo and Command-Shift-Z to redo your flex editing, and compare the groove before and after.

  7. Press Esc twice to return to the Pointer tool.

  8. Zoom out so that you can see the entire end section (from bar 15 to bar 20).

    You can now fill in the rest of the section with your drum loop.

  9. Drag the upper right corner of the TripHopLoop region to the right to loop it twice.

    Manipulating the Waveform with the Flex Tool
  10. Stop playback.

Flex editing is a powerful new feature in Logic 9 that allows a fluid manipulation of individual notes directly on the waveform, without resorting to the cutting and dicing of regions. It lends itself very well to experimenting with note placement, changing the phrasing of a melody, or quickly correcting the timing of a note that was poorly performed. You will dive further into flex editing and its time-stretching modes in Lesson 7, “Manipulating Tempo and Time Stretching.”

Editing Audio Destructively in the Sample Editor

The Sample Editor allows you to perform destructive audio editing. Although performing nondestructive editing on audio regions in the Arrange area keeps the parent audio file intact, processing an audio region in the Sample Editor actually modifies the audio file associated with that region. You will use the Sample Editor to reverse a single hi-hat note, creating a swelling sound that will be a perfect introduction for the last section of your song where you just added a drum loop.

Saving a Selection as a New Audio File

Instead of performing destructive audio editing on the original audio file, you can save the desired selection as a new audio file and work on that file while leaving the original unaltered. In this exercise, you’ll save a single hi-hat note as a new audio file so that you can later edit the hi-hat file destructively without modifying the original trip hop drum loop.

  1. In the Arrange area, double-click the TripHopLoop audio region.

    Saving a Selection as a New Audio File

    The region opens in the Sample Editor and appears in the editing area. You may need to resize your screen or scroll down to see the editing area. Notice that the Sample Editor displays the whole audio file. The region you double-clicked is selected (white waveform over a dark gray background) and displayed as a region marker in the region area below the waveforms. The region marker has the same color and name as the region in the Arrange area or the Audio Bin. Make sure you scroll all the way to the left so that you can see the hi-hat note (the second note on the waveform).

  2. Drag over the waveform to select the second note.

    Saving a Selection as a New Audio File


    If you need to adjust your selection with more precision, you can Option-Control-drag over one of the edges of your selection and Shift-drag that edge precisely where you want it. Then Option-Control—click to zoom out, and repeat for the other edge.

  3. From the Sample Editor’s local menu bar, choose Audio File > Save Selection As.

    The Save Selection As dialog appears.

  4. Name the new audio file Reversed Hat and choose the desktop.


    Leave the “File conversion settings” menu options unchanged, but make sure that “Add resulting files to Bin” is selected.

  5. Click Save (or press Return).

    A new Reversed Hat audio file is created and added to the Audio Bin.

  6. At the bottom of the Sample Editor, click the Sample Editor button to close the Sample Editor.

    At the bottom of the Bin, you should see your new Reversed Hat.aif audio file. In the Arrange area, you may need to zoom out a bit to clearly see where you’re going to add the reversed hat.

  7. From the Audio Bin, drag Reversed Hat.aif to the Arrange area, below the TripHopLoop track, at bar 15.


Reversing a Sample

Now for the fun part of using the editor! You will reverse the waveform on the time axis, meaning that your hi-hat will play backward, starting at the end of its tail and slowly building up into a swooshing sound until it reaches its attack.

  1. In the Arrange area, double-click the Reversed Hat region.

    The Reversed Hat region opens in the Sample Editor.

  2. In the Sample Editor, click the Preview button (or press the Spacebar) to play the Reversed Hat file once.

    Reversing a Sample
  3. From the Sample Editor’s local menu, choose Functions > Reverse.

    Reversing a Sample

    The waveform is reversed.

  4. Click the Preview button (or press the Spacebar).

    You can now hear your reversed hi-hat. It sounds like it’s going to suck you in! That’s the perfect kind of fun sound to add to a production to announce a new section.

  5. In the Arrange area, listen to your song from around bar 14.

    The reversed hi-hat starts on bar 15, which creates an interesting syncopation effect with the TripHopLoop.

To make the reversed sound really shine and pull the listener into the next section of the song, the reversed hat should start toward the end of the break, and its attack should be on the first downbeat of bar 15. Obviously, you could just drag the region in the Arrange area until it sounded right, but there’s a more accurate way to position a region, which you’ll discover in the next exercise.

Positioning an Audio Region in the Arrange Area

Audio regions have an anchor, which is used to position the region in the Arrange area. When you drag a region in the Arrange area, the anchor position is the position displayed in the help tag, and the anchor is used to snap the region to the grid.

By default, the anchor is located at the start point of an audio region. While this makes sense for most audio regions, sometimes the part of the audio region you want to align with the grid is not at the beginning of a region. To line up the attack of a reversed sound with the grid, you need to position the anchor right on the attack (the loudest part, or amplitude peak), near the end of the region.

In this exercise, you will move the anchor to the amplitude peak of the reversed hi-hat. In the Arrange area, the anchor of the Reversed Hat region is on the first downbeat of bar 15, so you will end up with a reversed hi-hat sound that has its amplitude peak on the first downbeat of bar 15.

  1. In the Arrange area, zoom or scroll so that you can clearly see the Reversed Hat region.

    Positioning an Audio Region in the Arrange Area

    Before you move the Reversed Hat region’s anchor, you need to unlock the region’s Arrange position. You want the region to move so that its new anchor position is still on the downbeat of bar 15.

  2. From the Sample Editor’s local menu, deselect Edit > “Lock Arrange Position when moving Anchor.”

    At the lower left of the Sample Editor, you can see the anchor, represented by an orange indicator below the waveform.

  3. Drag the anchor to the maximum amplitude on the waveform, almost at the end of the Reversed Hat region.

    Positioning an Audio Region in the Arrange Area

    In the ruler, the downbeat of bar 15 follows the anchor to end up where you drag it: to the amplitude peak. In the Arrange area, the Reversed Hat region moves so that its anchor stays on bar 15.

    Positioning an Audio Region in the Arrange Area
  4. In the Arrange area, zoom in on the Reversed Hat region.

    Positioning an Audio Region in the Arrange Area

    The anchor’s position is represented by a white vertical line, and you can see it aligned with bar 15. You can try adjusting the anchor’s position in the Sample Editor and see the region’s position change in the Arrange area.

  5. Zoom out and start playback around bar 14.

    Listen to the effect of the reversed hi-hat. It sounds great! Now the reversed hi-hat really draws you into that final section of the song.

To go a little further with this song, try choosing interesting “lo-fi” channel strip settings for the TripHopLoop and Reversed Hat tracks: Some Electric Guitar settings will work great for those drum tracks, or you may want to experiment with settings in the “09 Warped” category.

You now know how to read a waveform, identifying notes and their attacks to perform precise and clean edits. You acquired skills with a number of editing tools—such as the Marquee tool, Crossfade tool, Junction pointer, Flex tool, and take folders—that you will continue using as you edit recordings and arrange projects. You can now increase your workflow by choosing the appropriate Left-click and Command-click tools for the job. As you produce more music in Logic, you will continue sharpening those skills, becoming a proficient audio engineer.

Lesson Review


How do you open a take folder?


Double-click a take folder to open it.


How do you preview the takes?


Click the takes you want to preview. The highlighted take is the take playing; the others are muted.


How do you comp takes?


Open the take folder, and drag over each take to highlight the desired sections. The take folder assembles a comp comprising all the highlighted sections.


How can you see the result of your comp as regions?


From the take folder menu, choose Flatten.


How can you assign the Left-click tool?


From the Left-click Tool menu, choose the desired tool, or press Esc and choose the desired tool.


How can you assign the Command-click tool?


In the Command-click Tool menu, choose the desired tool, or press Esc and Command-click the desired tool.


How do you add a fade-in or fade-out to a region?


Drag the Crossfade tool over the boundaries of a region (or Shift-Control-drag the Pointer tool).


How do you crossfade between two regions?


Drag the Crossfade tool over the junction of the regions (or Shift-Control-drag the Pointer tool).


How can you import an audio file into your project?


You can locate and preview it in the File Browser, then drag it to the Arrange area.


How can you select a portion of an audio region?


Use the Marquee tool.


When you choose Edit > Select Unused in the Audio Bin, which files are selected?


Choosing Edit > Select Unused selects all the audio files and regions that are not currently used in the Arrange area.


What do you need to do before you can quantize an audio region?


You need to first select a Flex mode in the Track Parameter box.


Which tool allows you to move an individual note inside an audio region, without altering the region?


The Flex tool.


What kind of audio editing can you do in the Sample Editor?


Destructive audio editing.


What is the anchor?


The anchor is a point in an audio region used to position the region to the grid in the Arrange area.


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