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Logic Pro: Housekeeping Tips

Apple Logic Pro X Tips & Techniques By Paul White
Published March 2022

A virtual declutter will massively improve your Logic experience!

As regular readers may know, I usually spend Christmas stripping out unused gear and cables in the studio, but as I moved house a few months back, forcing me to set up the studio from scratch, there’s very little excess kit left to remove. However, that doesn’t mean there isn’t tidying up to be done in the virtual world, and in the case of my Logic Pro universe, there was plenty of room for improvement!

Sample Management

My first port of call was to try to bring some order to my sample library. This serves the successor to EXS24, now called simply Sampler. Sampler content comes in two parts: the individual samples that are used for the patch and the Sampler Instrument file that contains data showing how the samples are mapped and so on.

Any folders you create inside the Sampler Instruments folder will show up in your Sampler instruments list as soon as you put the relevant EXS instrument files in them.Any folders you create inside the Sampler Instruments folder will show up in your Sampler instruments list as soon as you put the relevant EXS instrument files in them.The samples are folders of AIFF files that can go pretty much anywhere, so I keep all mine (other than the factory samples) on an external drive. All the stuff I’ve created myself goes into a Paul’s Samples folder, with sub‑folders inside. If you stick with the default, Logic installs its factory samples into Library / Application Support / Logic, and if your system drive is big enough then you may as well put your own samples here too. Instrument files for the factory sounds are also installed here. As we shall see, user‑created Sampler Instruments go elsewhere.

Although Logic doesn’t really care where the samples live, it is quite particular about where the Sampler Instrument files reside. Fortunately the Instrument files, which are in EXS format, are fairly small so you won’t need to move them from their location on your main drive.

If you’ve ever used Auto Sampler, Logic will create an Auto Sampled folder for the corresponding Sampler Instruments, and that can be located using the file path Users / Name / Music / Audio Music Apps / Sampler Instruments / Auto Sampled.

While there are many ways to go about organising your samples, my approach is to create additional folders to sit alongside the Auto Sampled folder, inside the Sampler Instruments folder, with names such as Pads, Leads, Basses, Drum Loops and so on. If these remain empty they won’t show up in Logic’s Sampler, but as soon as you put EXS instrument files in them, they’ll appear at the bottom of the list in the same section as Auto Sampled and Garage Band.

You can move any Logic Sampler Instrument files you’ve imported or created in Auto Sampler into your own folders. I also tend to move or copy things from the various Sampler Instruments folders found in individual song folders into these new folders, just to make sure I haven’t missed anything.

It is also worth going through the Samples folders in your various song folders, as you may well find lots of duplicates of samples you’ve already copied to your main library (or copies of the factory samples, come to that), and you can save a lot of space by deleting these. As long as you have the samples in your main sample library, there’s no advantage in also storing the same samples within a song folder or project unless you plan to send it on to somebody else who may not have access to the same samples. Having said that, be careful not to delete any samples until you are sure they are also in your main sample library location. For example, somebody may have sent you a song that contains samples that you don’t have in your library. In this case you’ll need to copy over both the Samples folder and the Sampler Instrument file.

If you save any samples created using Logic’s Quick Sampler, the instruments go to a slightly different location: Users / Name / Music / Audio Music Apps / Plug‑In Settings / Quick Sampler. This time the files have a PST file extension.

Space Saver

The other area in which your song files may be carrying excess baggage is in the Audio Files folders. Unless cleared out, these will include fluffed takes and alternate versions that are not needed in the final version. You can claw back a huge amount of space if, after loading a song, you go to Logic’s Media File browser (the button on the top right of the man window), click on the Project tab if it isn’t already active and then, from the Edit menu, choose Select Unused. This will highlight all the files no longer needed for the project, after which you can click on Delete from the same window.

The Clean Up and Consolidate options offer different ways to remove unused files from your Logic Projects.The Clean Up and Consolidate options offer different ways to remove unused files from your Logic Projects.

A more selective way to clean up your song files is to go to the File menu and then select Project Management — if your song is saved as a Project rather than as a Folder, this is the only way to clean it. From here you can choose to Clean Up or Consolidate your song. Clean Up deletes unused media files, and also deletes all the backup versions, saving you even more space. Consolidate, on the other hand, brings up a tick box list of assets that you can opt to keep or omit, so if you already have the samples used in that project in your library and don’t plan to send the song to somebody else to work on, you can safely delete the duplicates (the same applies to Apple Loops). A consolidated file will also save any assets needed for any Track Alternatives you may have created.

As part of your tidy up it is also worth examining your project templates to see if any changes are needed there. For example, you may have acquired some new plug‑ins that you’d like to have set up by default or, like me, you may have removed some hardware synths that Logic still expects to be able to access, so these will need to be evicted from the MIDI Environment.

The ability to set up different templates for different types of project is a great time‑saver, so it is worth optimising these.

Managing Plug‑ins

Another area that can get out of hand is the plug‑in list. Click on the Audio Units section of a plug‑in menu and you’ll see a list of manufacturers, but that doesn’t always help if you can’t quite remember who made that rather weird granular reverse‑delay fuzzbox that you want to try on your vocals. If you have the patience, you can organise things so that all your compressors are in one folder, regardless of manufacturer, all your delays are in another and so on, just as the factory plug‑ins are. You can even add all your third‑party compressors and gates to Logic’s own Dynamic folder if you like, though I prefer to keep my third‑party plug‑ins separate.

Here, I’ve created a new plug‑in category called Favourites, and populated it with my most‑used plug‑ins. Moving it to the bottom of the list means it will appear at the bottom of the menu when I select a plug‑in slot.Here, I’ve created a new plug‑in category called Favourites, and populated it with my most‑used plug‑ins. Moving it to the bottom of the list means it will appear at the bottom of the menu when I select a plug‑in slot.

For my Logic tidy‑up, I settled on creating just one new category called Favourites for the plug‑ins I use the most often. You might be surprised how small that list is! Note that anything you set up here is essentially a Logic Preference, so will always apply when you run Logic on that machine. It isn’t associated with Templates and won’t carry over to another machine as part of a song file.

To create a new category, open the Plug‑in Manager (Logic Pro X / Preferences / Plug‑in Manager) and then click the rather dim plus‑sign button at the top right of the Category section. This adds an untitled folder that you can rename, in my case as Favourites. This new category shows up amongst the existing plug‑in categories in the track Inspector. Next, click the Show All icon at the top left of the Plug‑in Manager window and then drag the name of any plug‑in that you’d like to see added to that category into your newly created folder.

You can add both effects and instruments to the same folder if you want to — in which case, when you select your new category via a channel insert, you’ll only see the effects plug‑ins, whereas if you go to an instrument slot and select your custom category, you’ll only see the instruments. However, if you have a lot of plug‑ins, it might make more sense to create separate folders for the instruments with names such as Analogue, Digital, Sample‑based, Vintage and so on. A less well‑known fact is that you can change the order in which the categories are listed within Plug‑in Manager just by dragging their names to new positions. In my case I put Favourites at the end of the list, so that’s where it appears when I go to insert a new plug‑in.

Trial & Error

This way of viewing plug‑ins according to category also works for organising the plug‑ins from a specific manufacturer, which is especially handy if — as with Universal Audio — every update gives you all of their plug‑ins so that you can try any you don’t own for a demo period. If you just want to see the plug‑ins you actually own, you could separate them into folders called, for example, UA Purchased and UA Demos. As mentioned earlier, you could also go further and break them down by type such as Dynamics, Delays, EQs and so on. You can even put the same plug‑in in more than one category if you want to. To make navigation easier, Plug‑in Manager also allows you to view by manufacturer rather than showing you everything. Note that you can still find all your plug‑ins the old way, too, by viewing the Audio Units menu, where they’ll all appear listed just as before.

While we’re on the subject of demos, this is also a good time to remove trial versions that have expired. Plug‑in Manager also allows you to remove Logic’s own plug‑ins from its own categories (Ctrl‑click and select Remove), though you can still get to the plug‑in via the Logic menu route if you need it — it’s still there. If you come to regret what you’ve done, you can use the Restore to Default Settings button in Plug‑in Manager. You can also hide other third‑party plug‑ins that you feel you’ll never use by unticking the Use box to the right of the plug‑in name within Plug‑in Manager.

Calling Names

Finally, and this is a job I still need to do, make sure the latest versions of any songs are on all the machines that might need to access them. Older versions can be deleted to save space, and in my case, I keep finding old songs that I’ve renamed. New projects always get a working title such as ‘Lentils In The Mist’, but have to be given a more sensible name later, and it is easy to forget what the original name was. That’s where Project Management can once again help, as it includes an option to rename songs — very useful if you can just remember to do it...

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