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Remote Control

Logic Tips & Techniques
By Dot Bustelo

Release yourself from the computer keyboard with Logic Remote for iPad.

Logic Remote is Apple's all-purpose iPad app for controlling many of the primary functions in Logic Pro X. There's a whole new way of performing with Logic Remote's Touch Instruments, covered in the June 2014 Logic workshop (https://sosm.ag/jun14-logic), 'A Touch of Logic', but the practical benefits of driving Logic from Logic Remote rival the creative ones.

The Logic Remote app provides Logic's main transport controls and a straightforward mixer view handy for jumping into the vocal booth to record yourself. It's a no-brainer for singer-songwriters and instrumentalists recording in their own project studios. Even if you always sit near to your computer when piloting Logic, some of the other features are handy for keeping your Logic Pro screen in focus on your Mac, with the Logic Remote serving as a compact second monitor for targeted tasks. Logic Remote offers customisable Key Commands to operate and navigate Logic, and is topped off with a convenient view of Logic Pro Help for easy reference — perfect if in the heat of your production workflow you need to look something up and don't want to lose focus by masking your view of Logic.The Mixer view of Logic Remote.

Logic Remote will only work with your computer if it is, either, on the same Wi-Fi network, or connected to your iPad via Bluetooth. Of course, one of the Apple music apps — Logic, MainStage 3 or GarageBand — has to be up and running on your Mac since Logic Remote is a controller for these apps and can't be operated independently.

Control Bar

When you launch Logic Remote, you'll notice the Control bar along the top of the screen from which you can access whatever you want to get started, whether picking a sound to play from the Sound Library or getting set up to record. The Control Bar features, from left to right:

View Menu

The View button gives you access to the View menu, which contains Touch Instruments, Chord Strips, the Mixer, Logic Remote Key Commands and Smart Help. Smart Help brings the Logic manual into view with an instant focus on the feature you're using, just like the Quick Help in Logic Pro X.

The Library button, directly to the right, reveals a full- or half-screen browser of your sound library from which you can select and play Touch Instruments on Logic Remote. In half-screen mode the Touch Instrument appears beneath the Library so you can audition sounds while browsing. Drag down on the bottom-centre of the Library for the full-screen view to see more choices.

By double-tapping the View button, you can quickly switch between current and previous views — very useful!

Quick Navigation

The View Menu reveals the Touch Instruments, Chord Strips, Mixer, Key Commands and Smart Help for Logic Pro X.When the project is playing, the 'Go To Beginning' button changes to a Stop button. Hit Stop and the button reverts to the 'Go To Beginning' button. In the LCD display, the upper line shows the playhead position in bars and beats. The lower line shows the selected track. The left/right arrows inside the LCD display scroll up and down the track list in Logic to select a different track.

Tap on the LCD to view the bar ruler where you can swipe to locate to different parts of the song. The Cycle area appears as a yellow strip on the top half of the bar ruler, toggled on and off with the Cycle button. Tap the Cycle area, then drag the handles on the edge to adjust length. Tap the LCD display again to hide the bar ruler. The Metronome is enabled with a tap, too.

There are two super helpful buttons at the right end of the Control bar. The one that looks like a wrench is the Settings button for accessing a versatile menu to undo or redo edits, create or duplicate a track, or open Logic Remote Help. The Info button, with the question mark icon, displays coaching tips for whatever is in view. You can practically learn your way around Logic Remote entirely from these coaching tips. You can also tap on certain coaching tips to open them in the Logic Remote Help.

While we're getting to grips with navigation, it's worth mentioning that, once you've selected Touch Instruments from the View menu, you can quickly switch to a different style of Touch Instrument by tapping Smart Controls & Keyboards then selecting the keyboard, fretboard or drum pads at the bottom of the View menu.Tap on a yellow coaching tip to open Logic Remote Help on that topic.

Touch Mixing

With Logic Remote, you can easily explore whether touchscreen mixing is right for you. You can, for example, automate volume on strings and two drum tracks independently but at once with three fingers, which you may decide is pretty cool. You should find the layout straightforward and self-explanatory. The transport controls always remain in view at the top of the screen. Tap the LCD display to see the bar ruler like in Touch Instrument view. The Logic Remote Mixer offers these basic functions:

  • The View button to switch between the main Logic Remote functions.
  • The Library button to access the sound library.
  • Basic transport controls for playback, recording and rewind.
  • The central LCD display providing access to the bar ruler by tapping (scroll or tap to jump to position), and the ability to navigate channel strips with the left/right arrows inside the LCD display.
  • The Cycle and Metronome buttons.
  • The Settings button to access track creation functions and Logic Remote Help.
  • The Info button to access Remote App Coaching Tips.

    Key Commands

    The last essential section of Logic Remote to explore is the Key Commands display, which looks more like a HollywoodCelebrity Squares puzzle than the far more technical Key Commands assignment window in Logic Pro. Swipe to move between pages of Key Commands — the top three rows will change while the bottom row of six remain visible throughout. Don't be deceived by this colourful, 'gamified' interface, these Key Commands are extremely powerful.

    You can replace any of the Key Commands, including the six fixed ones at the bottom, and organise them by colour, which is awesome. A quick perusal of the default Key Commands spanning five pages will introduce you to a lot of features available on Logic Remote you may have missed. For example, did you know you could 'Flatten Take Folder', 'Export Active Take or Comp to New Track', 'Create New Audio Track', 'Move Locators Backwards by Cycle Length', 'Zoom Horizontal In and Out', or 'Cut Section between Locators' right from Logic Remote Key Commands? Tons of advanced navigation and editing functions have been assigned as Logic Remote Key Commands by Apple, with plenty more assignable. In fact, studying the Key Commands is a great technique for advancing your skill level with Logic Pro. This also develops a basic familiarity with Logic terminology. Ironically, to use the Key Commands for their primary purpose of driving fast in Logic, the workflow may take a bit of getting used to. The big, bright squares are friendly enough, but you have to switch to the Key Commands view every time you want to use them. In fact, conceptually they may have been better named 'Action Buttons' since Key Commands generally suggest you don't have to open a menu and are accessible all the time.  

    To assign a Key Command on Logic Remote, do the following:

    Another handy feature is that you can share or import Key Command sets via iTunes app sync'ing. The '.plist' (the Mac version of a preference file) is saved to the iTunes file-sharing section, the same way you transfer GarageBand For iOS songs. If you make an edit to the Key Commands, the '.plist' is created. Connect to iTunes, select the device and it should be in the file-sharing section automatically.Customising your Logic Remote Key Commands.

    Logic Remote is so versatile that there's likely to be at least one feature that really speaks to your way of working, creatively or practically. The ability to control the transport and record away from your computer, open the Logic Pro Help files with Smart Help, play the Touch Instruments, do a little quick mixing and automation, or use the full-screen Key Commands are all powerful features. It's all about having options and freedom when you're making music. 

    Quick Tip

    To create a Skip Cycle, move the Cycle area to the part of the project you want to skip, tap the Cycle area twice, then tap 'Skip Cycle' button that appears. The view switches to an orange-shaded outline of the Cycle area, which is skipped during playback. Click again into the Cycle area and select Cycle to revert to the default cycle mode.

    • Solo or mute tracks.
    • Remove all solos or mutes with the reset buttons on the right.
    • Adjust volume, pan and send levels, with a metering display along the top.
    • Switch between Volume faders, Pan and Volume, or Sends with buttons on the right.
    • View the next or previous bank of eight faders by swiping across the bottom on the track names or tapping in the meter bridge area above tracks.
    • Record arm tracks with the button on top of each channel strip.
    • Select the automation mode next to the Record Arm button.
      • Open the View menu and select Key Commands.
      • Tap an existing key command or empty square with two fingers.
      • Tap the search field in the menu that pops up to enter the function you'd like to create a Key Command for, or just browse and select from the list.
      • Change the colour of a Key Command square by tapping one of the coloured dots at the bottom of the pop-up menu.  
Published July 2014