There is a lot of skill and technique involved in mastering, but it’s possible to make this essential aspect of professional audio recording happen in Logic Pro X. You can use the stock plugins and effects in the software to help you master your recording projects.
I’m Donovan, a lifelong musician with years of experience recording and producing. I’ve spent a lot of time working in Logic Pro X and know many of the features and tools within the app, including those that can help master.
This post will show you how to master in Logic Pro X. I’ll walk you through the basic steps of mastering and provide tips and tricks to help develop and improve your mastering skills.
Let’s dive in.
- Mastering, like producing, involves many different tools and techniques, so there isn’t one right or wrong way to do it.
- The stock plugins and effects built into Logic Pro X give you the tools to master recordings within the app.
- High-end mastering situations often require third-party plugins or external equipment, but there is still a lot you can do right within Logic Pro X.
There isn’t one single way to go about mastering in Logic Pro X or any other audio production software. Much of the mastering process involves skills and techniques that a producer or audio engineer develops over years of work with different projects.
So that means there isn’t an exact step-by-step process to follow when you want to master a song or an album in Logic Pro X. But there are a handful of essential things you need to know about and keep in mind when it’s time to master.
The information below will provide you with these basics and some other vital information to help you start learning how to master. The best way to get better at it is to practice and get more experience with the entire process.
Mixing and Mastering in Logic Pro X
Another thing to remember before you learn how to master or take your recordings to someone else to master for you is that you need good mixes to create a good master. The mastering process won’t be as straightforward or effective if your project isn’t mixed well.
Mixing and mastering sometimes get clumped into the same category, but they are pretty different. Just because you have skills at one of these, doesn’t mean you’ll be good at the other. But they do go hand-in-hand to create high-quality recordings.
A good mix will have each track set at the proper levels, with EQ already in place on anything that needs it. The mix will also have compression and other effects on the tracks and generally be at a point that is near a finished product.
Mastering uses many of these same elements and effects but applies them to the entire project rather than individual elements or tracks. In that sense, mixing is like a micro look at the project and mastering is more like a macro look at it.
How to Master in Logic Pro X
Here are some of the most important elements, effects, and techniques to consider for knowing how to master in Logic Pro X. Most masters will use a little bit of all of the elements described below.
Before you master, you need to bounce your mix in Logic Pro X. And before you bounce the track, you want to ensure enough headroom in the mix to avoid peaking. Peaking causes distortion, which is bad news in a mastered track.
You can take a quick listen to your project while viewing the waveform of the tracks to check for any peaking. If the waveforms reach the top of the track, this will result in distortion that you want to eliminate by turning the track’s overall volume down.
You also want to keep the sample rate the same as your project when you bounce it. This will almost always be at 44.1kHz, but just be sure to double-check when you bounce the track.
Compression is one of the most critical aspects of mastering in Logic Pro X. This element helps to put everything together and will make each instrument or vocal or any other aspect of the song work together rather than stand out from one another.
The stock compressors in Logic Pro X can be used to help you master tracks. You can add the compressor effect to your mastering channel by following the steps below.
1. With your mastering project open, press X to show the mixer view.
2. Click on the Audio FX channel strip.
3. Select Dynamics.
4. Select Compressor.
5. Choose Stereo or Dual Mono.
6. The compressor will be installed on the track, and you can make any further adjustments wanted or needed in the compressor window.
The Platinum Digital and Vintage VCA are Logic’s main built-in compressors. The digital compression will give you more of a modern sound while the vintage option adds more old-school depth and character.
EQ is another important element for every mastering situation, but it doesn’t come into play as much here as it does during mixing. You don’t want to make drastic changes to the EQ during mastering.
If anything needs a lot of EQing, the track should be sent back to be mixed. Keep all of your EQ changes on the small side during mastering. But remember that even minor changes can significantly affect how things sound.
If you want to add extra character to your master to make it sound like a tape recording, consider using the Vintage EQ plug-ins available in Logic Pro X. These are all based on analog EQ effects and are worth checking out.
When EQing your master track, you don’t want to boost or cut anything by more than about 2db. This will keep your EQ curve pretty consistent, which makes all the sounds in your mix work with each other rather than stand out.
Using a Reference
Another good tip for mastering in Logic Pro X is to use a reference track. This is another song that has already been mastered that you like the sound of and want to replicate with your master.
It can be a famous song or a song you’ve made but listen to the track a few times to get an idea of how it sounds fully mastered. Then you can reference that as you work on your current project to try and emulate it.
Quick Mastering in Logic
The mastering process can be pretty in-depth and time-consuming. But if you are just looking for a quick mastering of a project, go through all the tips above and just touch on them rather than explore them in depth.
If you stick to compression, EQ, and maybe one other effect like a limiter, you’ll be able to make a quick master that you can listen to. I always think more time is better than less during mastering, but sometimes you will be in a hurry.
Here are a few quick answers to some of the most commonly asked questions relating to how to master in Logic Pro X.
Can you master in Logic Pro X?
Yes, you can master in Logic Pro X. The app has many built-in effects that can help you with mastering. Effects such as compression, EQ, and limiters are all effective for use during mastering.
How do I start mastering in Logic?
The best way to start mastering in Logic is to develop a good mix. Learning how to mix your tracks properly and professionally will give you the skills and experience to then master them when it’s time.
How long will it take to master in Logic Pro X?
Mastering in Logic Pro X can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days, depending on the project’s scope. More involved projects will need extra attention which will add time. Quick mastering can be done in an hour or less.
Knowing how to master in Logic Pro X can give you the ability to see a recording project through from beginning to end. But it’s always good to have extra sets of ears on your music, which is why I sometimes like to have other people master my tracks.
There isn’t one specific way to master in Logic Pro or other programs, but there are certain elements to keep in mind. The basics mentioned in this post will get you started, and the sky is the limit from there.
Do you have any mastering tips in Logic Pro X that you find helpful? Let me know in the comments below.