Sonic LAB: Custom AppleLoops in Logic Pro

Take a drum multi-track, mix and loop      20/04/09

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7:47 mins

I had a recent session where my task was to mix a days worth of drum takes from the multi-tracks and cut them up into usuable AppleLoops. Each AppleLoop was also to be supplied in three mixes: Full, Kick and Snare and Overheads. This was to allow the client to have as much control over the drum loops in addition to the usuall tempo change, transposition that AppleLoops provide and allow them to build a fairly complete drum track just using these custom loops. It was an enjoyable task, but required some thought as to how best go about this, including allowing things to be changed, balances, mixes and the like. Here's what I decided was the best workflow:
  1. import audio tracks from ProTools session into Logic Pro
  2. set up the mixes and balances to taste
  3. bounce each mix – Full, Kick and Snare, overheads to individual stems - placing them on the timeline alongside the original multitracks
  4. identify,name and slice the mixes into regions ready to be AppleLooped
  5. export and tune the loops using AppleLoops Utility
  6. move all the AppleLoops into easy to locate folders
All well and good, here's what I found.
  1. Make sure the ProTools files have been Consolidated so that they all have the same start point.
  2. set up a basic mix template with EQ's and submixes etc to load each drum take into
  3. don't be scared to use extreme EQ and compression setting
  4. sometimes, compressing the channel, a bus and the output is okay
  5. for non stereo linked files, send the L&R a bus and use that for overall level and plug-in processing
  6. get the tempo set so that edits are on bar boundaries
  7. when tuning loops, be aware that the drummer may have been a little out of time – you may need to set a tempo for that bar only and then define the loop using the new tempo
  8. name your regions before you export to AppleLoops Utility
Thoroughly enjoyable task, with plenty of scope for creativity, the dull bit is the looping and file admin after the mixes are created. Doing it this way meant that we could go back to any of the session files, tweak a mix or find another drum loop or fill and rebounce while still having access to the original sessions.

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