We explore Logic Pro’s bounce and export options.
Though it may seem that things were simpler in the ‘analogue days’, delivering content for release on vinyl or cassette was fraught with problems. Variables such as differing tape noise‑reduction systems, badly maintained or misaligned master tape machines and equalisation choices in the cutting room could mean disappointment when you finally got to spin your latest opus. It got easier for a while in the early days of digital as all you needed to do was supply a 44.1kHz, 24‑bit file (or CD‑R) to your manufacturing plant and you’d be reasonably sure it would sound the same on CD playback. But with the explosion in the delivery ecosystems for music, you need to be sure that any files that you send to a streaming site, duplication plant or mastering engineer are of the correct format.
Most of the time, you’ll be bouncing out (or rendering) stereo files, and the format for these depends on where your music will end up. Logic’s Bounce and Export features are accessed from the File menu. If you open the Bounce window (shown above), you’ll see that several options are available. You can bounce the whole project or just a selection, in which case you need to make sure the start and end parameters are correctly set — these values are also the same as those for a Cycle region. If you have no external hardware patched in, choose Offline bounce, otherwise you’ll need to wait while the whole track plays as it renders to stereo in real time. The Include Audio Tail option is there to make sure any reverb or echo at the end of the bounce is captured, but sometimes this can extend the song length — so it’s better to make sure that the last bar in the bounce is beyond any residual processing. You can load the bounce back into Logic for further editing if you wish.
The 2nd Cycle Pass option performs a ‘practice’ bounce once before looping back to complete the actual rendering. This can be useful when you want to have any effects from the end of your project, such as a reverb, incorporated into the start of the actual bounce — such as when making loops. The settings for the bounce will depend on the ultimate destination of your rendered audio.
The only rule here is that the output level on the master Track should not go beyond 0dB. While the internal processing in Logic means that it’s unlikely you’ll clip any individual channel, some plug‑ins that emulate vintage processors expect to see a level that is closer to that which the real hardware would accept. It’s perfectly possible to reduce the stereo master fader to avoid your bounce clipping, but it is much better practice to avoid this by properly setting the gain of individual channels. What loudness level your bounce should be depends on the destination of your audio and, perhaps, the ‘market’ at which you are aiming your music. Logic has a few metering tools that will help you set the correct levels, so insert...