The Logic Pros is a new regular series exploring all of the most interesting gadgets and software for making music on your Mac/iOS devices. If there is any gear you would like us to take a closer hands-on look at, let us know in the comments section below or shoot us an email.
Apple’s Logic Remote app for iPad allows for a lot of control over sessions in Logic Pro X on the Mac— its two main functions include controlling the mixer/transport controls, and using it as a midi controller for playing virtual instruments with user interfaces for keyboards, drumpads, and fretboards. But the app’s other feature is a grid of drumpad-like squares that can be used as buttons for key commands.
My goal was to be able to easily flip through amps and pedals as I jam, rather than having to deal with mouse clicks, opening/highlighting the plug-in I want to interact with, etc. So using Logic Remote, I setup a workflow with custom key commands that makes the drumpad-style interface work like a giant foot pedal for flipping through the awesome set of virtual amps and pedals Logic includes. Here’s how I did it:
1. First we create a new audio track in Logic using the input for our guitar.
2. Next, we load up Amp Designer and Pedalboard on our channel strip for our audio track under Audio FX.
3. Now, open Amp Designer by double-clicking it on your channel strip.
4. Create a screenset with Amp Designer highlighted by pressing 1 on your keyboard. Lock it by clicking “lock” in the screenset menu.
5. Close Amp Designer.
6. Open Pedalboard by double-clicking it on your channel strip.
7. Create a screenset by pressing “2” on your keyboard. Lock it.
8. Open the Logic Remote app on your iPad. *** If it’s your first time using Logic Remote, you’ll have to select your Mac to pair— your iPad and Mac have to be on the same WiFi network.
9. Click the menu icon in the upper left corner of Logic Remote and select “Key Commands”
10. Scroll to a blank page and tap the empty squares to create the following 4 custom buttons ***You can use search to quickly find them:
- -Next Plug-in setting
- -Previous plug-in setting
- -Recall screenset 1
- -Recall screenset 2
Tapping the red “Recall screenset 1” button selects Amp designer, while I can cycle through amps using “Next Plug-in setting” (and Previous). Once you’re happy with an amp, you can switch over to Pedalboard using the green “Recall screenset 2” button and cycle through your pedals with the same “Next Plug-in setting” (and Previous) buttons. And you can switch back and forth between amps and pedals using those buttons at any time. Now you have a custom page that you can use to cycle through amps and pedals as you jam. I even throw it on the floor sometimes and use it with my feet like a true pedalboard, hands-free.
You’ll notice I also have a “Recall screenset 3” button. That works the same way as the other two screensets but pulls up the “Tuner” I have loaded on the channel strip instead of Amp Designer or Pedalboard. And the key commands page always has transport controls by default on the bottom and top, so you can easily punch-in and out of recording as you play.
That might be enough to get you started and jamming, but if you want to cycle through Logic’s built-in electric guitar presets you could do that too by selecting one from the library (the small drawer icon second from the upper left corner, pictured below). You’ll just need to add the “Next Patch, Plug-in Setting or EXS instrument” key command button to easily flip through the presets in the same way as Amp Designer and Pedalboard above. Or you can do both and flip between a track with presets and our track with Amp Designer/Pedalboard by tapping and holding the transport bar in Remote to switch tracks.
If we want to drill into the parameters for our Amp/Pedal combo, or preset, a little further, Remote lets us access Logic’s Smart Controls feature too from the menu button in the upper left corner of the app.
For every pedal you load up on your pedal board, you automatically get the kick switch and one main knob control loaded up on that track’s Smart Controls. This can be handy for creating dynamics in your performances, simulating the experience of being able to switch-on foot pedals at the right moment.
Jam and save some amp/pedal combos you discover as channel strip presets. Once you get a few you like, you can load those up on separate channels and use Remote to flip through the channels using the “next” and “previous channel strip” commands, like a virtual pedalboard with your favorite amps and pedals.
There are lots of great apps with pedals and effects for guitar (we’ll be exploring many in the future), but this is a fun way to take advantage of what already comes with Logic Pro.
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