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Logic X How to organize full-length album when recording / producing?

Discussion in 'Logic Pro X' started by aughii, Jun 27, 2015.

  1. aughii

    aughii New Member


    Been using Logic for about five years, but only on small projects (max 3, 4 songs at a time).
    I'm now doing a full album with 10 + songs. How would it be smart to set it up - as one project (pretty much the same instruments and mics on every track), og should I make one template for the project and have one song on it's own project?

    Hope someone with experience in producing a whole album will respond. Probably there are issues / problems that one easly runs into, that I cannot see trough at this point :)

  3. Markdvc

    Markdvc Administrator Staff Member

    Hi there, welcome to the LUG.

    I would have each song in a separate project. If the projects are similar in their overall structure then it would be advisable to start off with a template you created to cover the basics of a common structure, that may include details such as the number of tracks needed for live, individually recorded drums, guitars, backing vox etc. It may also include sends to effects being used on several songs, or for monitoring purposes etc.

    This clearly requires some experience and familiarity with logic (after 5 years you already have that) and also a rough "master plan" as to what the various songs may have in common.

    The other feature which you can make use of is logic's import function, as well as the ability to save whole channel strips with plugins. These can be great time savers working on album projects.

    HTH, kind regards

    Last edited: Jun 27, 2015
  4. Eli

    Eli Senior member

    Over the past few years I have had three clients working on full album projects at my studio and I tried the "whole album in one project" approach each time. I thought it would be convenient because they would always want to jump around and work on different tunes during each session. And they wanted lots of temp mixes after every few sessions to monitor their work in progress at home.

    But I have to admit, I felt painted into a corner on each one. They became a nightmare to manage as the material progressed. I would do a "save as" each session with the date of the session or each temp mix in the title. Revisiting takes or mixes from specific sessions became difficult to manage. Ideally I would choose the single project per song approach even though it takes more time when it comes to mixing.
  5. Pete Thomas

    Pete Thomas Administrator Staff Member

    If the instrumentation is the same for every track, if they were recorded all with exactly the same mic setup, then it is tempting to think you can make it all one big project. It would seem you only need to do one mix.

    However I agree with Mark and Eli, in practice you would be lucky if that actually works.

    It will take extra time mixing, but not necessarily very much if as Mark says you have a common template and you save custom settings, e.g. you might get to the 5th song and suddenly find a better channel strip configuration for the vocals. You just save that setting and go back and import it into the earlier mixes (if you want)

    Also with full automation, the mixing process is no longer some big session at the very end of the project, you gradually get a mix together as you go through the recording/overdubbing process.

    Unless of course it's a totally live recording - no overdubs. In that case one big project has more chance of working.
  6. Markdvc

    Markdvc Administrator Staff Member

    Thinking about this a little, the biggest problem I encounter when running a single project with several songs which share many common settings, but many other settings which are similar, bt not identical, is automation. I haven't experimented with this in a multi song project, but Logic's new region based automation may very well be better suited to dealing with the inevitable changes in automation values, and indeed parameters, that end up being used between different songs in the same project.

    kind regards

    Last edited: Jun 27, 2015
  7. aughii

    aughii New Member

    Great. It seems like one song per project is the way to go, then.. :)
  8. Orren Merton

    Orren Merton Logic Samurai / Administrator Staff Member

    You got some great advice from some of the best, I would just add a little wrapper on top: remember that when you're done with all the songs on your album, you can always bounce out a stereo audio file from each individual project, and import each into one single project, so that once you're done you have your "Album Master" project.

    When you do this, I'd recommend you put each song on it's own stereo audio track, and then drag it's region out on the timeline to where you want it. This way you can experiment with song order, length of pauses between songs, etc. This is a great way to sequence/listen to the entire album. This is also good if you want to bounce it to a CD (some people still use those ;)).

    I would recommend that if you plan to commercially release your album that you pay for a mastering engineer to master your album, but I think it's good to be able to listen straight through and hear what your album sounds like together before sending it to professional mastering.

  9. broadwood

    broadwood New Member

    If I'm recording a band in a session, doesn't matter how many songs, i'll track all the instruments and takes into one project, keeping common instruments to the same tracks and adding other tracks if needed. Come mix down, i'll perform my first mix and save the logic file within the same project. then do next mix using my first as the basis and save that one etc. I did start to use " alternatives " instead of separate logic files but found myself getting confused.
  10. Eli

    Eli Senior member

    But what about if you are starting a multi song project that will be ongoing. i.e.: multi tracking and overdubbing over several sessions that could be spread over many many months, or even a year.
  11. Peter Ostry

    Peter Ostry Administrator Staff Member

    I think there cannot be a general advice. If a musician or group plays a couple of similar pieces and I don't expect an editing- or overdub-orgy, I do the whole thing in one project. For longer or more complicated projects I have single pieces. After these are edited and have their (probably) individual sound, I go for common levels, stereo image, general filters etc. via experience and analyzer software. Then I prefer to export only audio stems which I collect in one final project.

    Sometimes I need a mixed workflow, for example 6 simple pieces in one project and 2 others in individual projects because they require overdubs or a lot of editing. At the end, the stems land in one project again.
  12. joeman7890

    joeman7890 New Member

    It would work best if multiple logic projects could be opened as tabs that you could switch between.

    For recording everyone playing at once with about 16 mics I usually will track it all in one session. Then for mixing I'll either do "save a copy as" or just "save as" for each song and clean up the project so only the audio and tracks necessary for the song are in the session.
  13. Peter Ostry

    Peter Ostry Administrator Staff Member

    Me too. This way we can get rid of unnecessary parts, long pauses, discussions and wrong takes in one quick editing session while keeping the originals intact.

    Afterwards we can save relatively clean pieces or make a duplicate (copying only used audio regions) if we decide to work in one single project.
  14. broadwood

    broadwood New Member

    @Eli . It shouldn't matter however long a period. You can add songs to the same session for however long. The only problem would be is if you have started to mix and used automation within this session but if you adopt a workflow of using this project just to track and then save the individual songs as a mix project of their own you can't go wrong. I tend to use the single project route for a band to track them and to perform any editing and tuning/melodyning. How i would save individual songs for mixing is to basically save the ENTIRE session as a new project named as the song to be mixed (this ensures all the audio has been copied) and then remove all other audio from the arrange page then in the audio bin select unused audio and delete. You're then left with the audio for that song and can mix. seems a long winded way to do it maybe but it works for me and i can check everything along the way to make sure no wanted audio is removed.
    I've found this a good way to work because if you need to edit or retune a part for your mix you can do the editing in the tracking project and just import it to the mix project.
  15. CSeye

    CSeye Senior member

    Just to add to this, I would bounce as a 24 bit stereo file with no processing on the main output bus and with included space at the beginning and ending of each song for trimming in the new single project. This single project with the imported song files is a perfect set up to do a quick master yourself. Arrange the song sequences, add processors the main output bus for that polished sound, adjust levels of each song file so that the volume level is consistent from song to song.
  16. Eli

    Eli Senior member

    In my experience the main problem with all these workflow ideas is the client not having a clear understanding of the three different stages of production: tracking, editing, mixing. So I have found myself in a situation with multiple songs in one project, many in various stages of either tracking, editing, or mixing; and then the client wanting to revisit various aspects of any or all of them.

    So I start doing my "Save As" thing to begin mixing Song A. Then the week after they continue working on Song B. Then the week after they want to revisit Song A. Then later work on Song C. Then revisit Song A and try constructing different comps from takes done six sessions previously, then jump back to Song B and re-record new parts after an initial mix has been done, then two weeks later want to revisit some other edits/comps from takes done many sessions earlier, etc etc etc. It gets to be a real cluster-f^$k.
  17. michaelo

    michaelo LUG Emeritus

    I have to say that I would never put multiple songs into a project. Always use a new project for each song, no matter how similar. Problems arise when you make mistakes, you may not realise you accidentally deleted something on another song because you had it selected. The best reason though is that it makes the mixer and automation ridiculously complex. It's so confusing running multiple songs into the same mix setup. You can't customise your mixer easily. I never understood the concept of trading off all the flexibility in order to have all the album songs in a single project. Logic is at it's most powerful when you keep all your options live.

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