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When reaching the end of a project chances are the track count is pretty big. That is true especially for people working in audio for film/tv but also for mixers like me. Given you've kept your naming consistent throughout the process there's however a simple way to select the tracks you need without having to look through the entire project holding your CMD/CTRL button down.

When preparing a mix for archiving I always print stems for track groups like vocals, guitars, drums and keys. In my mixing template the groups are therefore already named with _STEM at the end. I recently discovered this script by Lokasenna which lets you select tracks according to their name. You can select one or multiple tracks by typing in the name and the script will select the tracks for you. This means I can easily select all the tracks with the "_STEM" ending and render them with selected tracks or selected tracks via master in the render window.

To make things even quicker the script has an export function that makes a new action according to your preferences. This action can then be used as any action and you can either assign a hotkey or put it in a toolbar. I have mine in a toolbar and I can just pop that button to select all the stems in my project. Pretty neat if you ask me! The script can be downloaded from the github page or via ReaPack.

I've started using Logic for teaching students about music production in the last two years. As I don't use Logic as my main DAW I've countered several problems with it that are easily fixed in different option menus. If you've used logic for some time and have gotten used to the defaults or you're just starting out with Logic Pro, the default settings might be completely wrong for your application. Try the following steps out to see if they fit your workflow or not.

1. The advanced tools or complete features.

I assume this default setting is for users that have upgraded to Logic Pro from Garage band. In the Logic Pro > Preferences > Advanced menu there's a list of features that are not enabled by default. These include quite basic editing functions, region colors, built in file explorer and a lot more. Enable these features to make sure you don't miss out!

2. The LCD screen at the top of Logic's arrange window

The LCD-bar contains some great information as it is such as tempo, key and signature but it can be customized further to be a lot more valuable. The LCD-bar itself has a drop down arrow menu. Chose custom in this list to get more information such as CPU load and a clock. You can even press the CPU bar to get more detailed info on the project's CPU load. If you want to customize the LCD bar further this can be done in the same menu where you can enable features like sample rate and varispeed info as well as disabling the ones you don't need.

3. The cycle bar default behavior

This one has been bugging me a lot until I found the quick fix setting. When you loop a section of audio in Logic to listen back to it a few times, the yellow cycle bar works as expected. When you want to listen to a different section however, this is not the case. If you forget to turn of the cycle function Logic will go back to it even though you're trying to play back from a different section of your song. This is very annoying but can be disabled from the right click menu of the play button. Untick the Play from cycle option in this menu and logic will only loop when the play head is in the cycle bar!

4. Region colors don't follow track colors

Coloring tracks in Logic can be a little tricky since regions and tracks are handled differently. If you're using Logic manly for music you might prefer to have tracks and regions colored the same; so that the drum regions and drum tracks have the same color for instance. This can be fixed in the preferences > display menu setting the regions to as track color. Then when you color a track using the option-c window the regions will follow.

5. The master fader

One default that can easily mess up your gain structure in Logic is the built in master fader. It sits in between you stereo track and you listening level. If you start using it to change the listening volume you may end up with some gain staging issues. For instance if I pull mine down and then forget about it i might reach a point where my listening volume isn't enough and then start mixing way louder than I should be. Personally I like to have one stereo or master track and one control for my listening level. I therefore tend to turn this feature of to not start using it accidentally. I also think this can be really confusing if you're just starting out. It can be turned off using the drop down menu from the LCD Bar once again. If you want to disable it in the mixer as well just click the VCA/Master button in the top right corner of your mixing window.

VCA:s or Voltage Controlled Amplifiers might be viewed at as a thing from the past. The main idea of a VCA, without getting too technical, is to control one or more faders with a single fader. This is not to be confused with a sub group though since there's no actual audio going through a VCA. You're merely controlling the amplitude of a fader with a different fader. VCA:s were a big part of old mixing consoles to be able to control faders from the listening position. VCA:s are still used on digital consoles as well but then often refereed to as DCA:s or Digitally Controlled Amplifiers. In most DAW:s however, they are still refereed to as VCA:s. One might think that there is no real use for VCA:s in the digital world when everything can be controlled with the mouse and you won't have to run from side to side at a big desk. A big mixing project can easily become hard to manage though and having a place to control the overall level of the mix and sub groups like Drums, Guitar and Vocals can come in real handy.

Therefore I tend to set up a couple of VCA:s to have more control near my master bus like this:

They work like a mini mixer to control all my groups individually and if i select all of them I can lower my entire mix going into my master. I usually end up here at the end of a mixing maybe picking up the vocals half a dB or lowering the entire mix before sending it of for mastering.

So how to set this up en Reaper? Note that I use groups for stuff as well. So I have my VOX, DRM, GTR and BASS etc. set up like normal busses or folders as well:

The busses are then added to a VCA follow group that you can get to using SHIFT+G:

The VCAt racks are set to VCA-Leads using the same menu. Note that there's only one type of track in Reaper and you make these do different things depending on the properties. With everything assigned I now control the VCA follows (sub groups) with the VCA Leads.

I want to have it set up like this to maintain gain structure into sub group compressors and limiters.

Don't forget to assign a VCA to your return tracks as well. You don't want to mess up your reverb sends when you lower your entire mix!

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