Post Production

Sound Design in Logic Pro X

This Week on MacBreak Studio

This week on MacBreak Studio, I show Steve Martin from Ripple Training how to do some sound design using Logic Pro X.

Picking up from where we left off last week when I built a scary outdoor night scene with a thunderstorm, we bring that finished movie into Logic in order to create all the necessary sound effects.

After muting the temp track that came with the movie, we review the 4 tracks that I’ve built: the “Storm” track is actually a track stack, containing three separate audio files for thunder and rain sounds. These audio files are Apple loops – the same ones in fact that we used last week in FCP X, since they are all available in both applications.

Next is a software instrument track – specifically the incredible Alchemy Synth, which I used with my AKM320 MIDI keyboard to create a spooky haunted sound using one of the presets. The next track is also an Alchemy Synth software instrument track but this time with a different preset to create some mysterious crashing/banging noises.

The last track is a Drummer track but with a cinematic ambient drone preset applied, which turns a normal drum sound into something eerie and disturbing.

Now here where things get really interesting. I want the “hits” to be more prominent in the mix by reducing the sound of the thunder, but only when the hits occur. Now you could do this manually using automation – essentially creating keyframes like you might do in Final Cut Pro X to drop the volume at specific points in time. But a more flexibly way that doesn’t depend on the specific location of sounds in time is to use a method called “sidechaining”.

To create a sidechain, you start with the track that you want to drive the change – here, we want the “hits” track to drive the change in the “storm” track. You then create a send to an open bus. Option click the volume to match the send volume to the track volume. Set the output strip to none. Next I add a compressor to the Storm track, and choose the same bus after clicking the side chain button in the compressor UI. With Auto-gain turned off, I crank the threshold way down so that most of the signal is included, and I crank the ratio way up to really compress the signal. Now every time we here a “hit” sound, the storm sounds are automatically reduced. And if I add more hits or change their location, the storms sounds adjust automatically.

Check it all out above. Logic Pro X is a great tool for editors to use to create sound environments and effects for their videos – check out our new Warp Speed Logic: Scoring Sound to Picture tutorial.


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Mark Spencer is a freelance producer, videographer, editor, trainer and writer based in the Bay Area. He produces Final Cut Pro X-related training and plugins for with his partners at Ripple Training. He is an…

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