November 11, 2010 – When I first started working with Logic, I immediately maxed out its processing power on my laptop within the first 5 minutes. In the time since then, I’ve done full 36 track mixes with effects, and mixed my own complete productions; all of this involved eking out as much processing and hard drive performance as I could from my laptop.
One of the problems with Apple is that upgrading your machine (in terms of processors) just doesn’t happen. As such, most users who spent all their money on their current computer often don’t have the money to upgrade as often as a PC user might(although I’m sure the rich fashionable set do). I’m sure Apple’s Logic team (consisting of legacy Emagic employees) quickly understood the limitations of Apple’s closed hardware model where a user might not be able to upgrade their hardware, and started to program clever little ways for a user to get the performance they need.
One thing they added was the ability to “freeze” tracks. Freezing a track basically tells the DAW to bounce down an a new audio track that’s a recording of the original with all the effects. At this point, the DAW will disable the original track and all the effects, and play the recording which has the effects “printed” on it. All you play is an audio file, thereby saving processing power, and the process is completely reversible.
The other awesome feature that they added was smart disabling of effects. As anyone who has used Space Designer can tell you, Logic effects are processor hungry. Smart bypassing means that when a track isn’t using an effect, Logic will automatically disable it upon playback; this saves your processing power for when you really need it.
Of course, this relies on Logic to make the decision for you. Because I don’t like to leave anything to chance, I automate the bypassing manually. If you press “A” on the arrange page, you will be able to draw in automation curves. I actually prefer drawing in automation to twiddling fake knobs (that’s what she said), so I will do volume automation almost exclusively here.
When you click down the dropdown for the track you want to automate, you will be given a menu that has a few standard options like Volume, however you will want to navigate further to “Main”. In this section, you will see a number of inserts corresponding to the effects you have inserted on the track. Select the insert number of the effect you want to automate the bypass for (the numbers represent effects top to bottom on your track). A coloured line will appear over the track in the Arrange window. Draw in your bypass automation which will be either on or off.
A quick note, smart disabling may give you a false sense of the max processor load since it will disable the effects in parts where you don’t need it, but if you have a chorus that has a lot of effects, bringing them all in at once may cause a core audio overload. You might not have expected this since the verse didn’t experience the same problem when the effects were smart disabled.
Hope this helps!