Logic Pro X is one of the best DAWs for music creation and production. It’s an extremely capable tool that provides you with everything you need to make music professionally in any way you can dream up.
With all this power at your fingertips, getting started with Logic Pro X can be challenging if you don’t have any experience. This guide was written with beginners in mind and will direct you through all the first steps to using the app.
I’m Donovan, a lifelong musician with an endless passion for the studio. I write, record, and produce as often as possible, and I have used Logic Pro X for years. I know the ins and outs of the app very well through first-hand experience.
This post will serve as an in-depth guide to Logic Pro X for beginners. I’ll highlight all the basic information you need to know to get started and show you how to utilize this DAW to unlock your creative potential.
Let’s get after it.
- Chapter 1: Are You Ready for Logic Pro X?
- Chapter 2: Logic Pro X at a Glance
- Chapter 3: Setting Up a Recording Session
- Chapter 4: Advanced Recording Techniques
- Chapter 5: Using Software Instruments/MIDI
- Chapter 6: Editing
- Chapter 7: Mixing
- Chapter 8: Shortcuts and Tips
- Chapter 9: External Equipment and Expanding
- Chapter 10: Troubleshooting
- Final Thoughts
Chapter 1: Are You Ready for Logic Pro X?
Before diving into any more details related to using Logic Pro X, you should take a minute and ask yourself if you are even ready to use it. While it’s an excellent DAW, it can be overwhelming if you are completely new to audio production.
First, Logic Pro X is not free, and you’ll need to purchase the app and install it on your Mac before you can access it. You can take advantage of a 90-day free trial period, but you’ll need to pay the full price after that.
To help you figure out if Logic Pro X is worth it or if you are even ready for it, you should think about a few questions:
Do you plan on recording music often and want to set up a home recording studio?
Are you willing to spend a lot of time working with Logic Pro X to learn how to use it?
Do you have at least a basic understanding of audio production and how to record music?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, you are ready for Logic Pro X. If you answered no to any of them, you are better off starting with a less complex DAW before you spend the money on Logic.
These questions are just general guidelines and not rules. If you really want to dive into Logic Pro X without much experience, you can. There are a lot of resources out there to help you learn how to use it correctly.
Just know that if you buy the app and don’t have the time or energy to explore it, you might be disappointed with your purchase. This isn’t an attempt to talk you out of it. You should just be realistic with your needs.
If you have goals of learning to record your own music or want to set up a sweet home studio, Logic Pro X is an outstanding DAW. It’s one of the most powerful options available and also one of the most affordable for a pro-level recording tool.
Everyone reading this will be at a different place with their audio production skills, and there are different levels of being a beginner. But make sure you ask yourself if you are really ready for a fully-functional DAW before diving in completely.
Chapter 2: Logic Pro X at a Glance
The next step to learning to use Logic Pro X is to familiarize yourself with what the app looks like on your Mac. As with many Apple apps, it’s relatively easy to figure out, thanks to a friendly user interface and easy-to-access design.
Logic Pro X is only available for Mac, so you’ll need one to install the app. There is no version for Windows or iOS, and it’s strictly a Mac-based platform. There isn’t a mobile version, so you can’t run it on an iPhone or iPad.
Once Logic Pro X is installed, you open it like any other app. The first window you’ll see is the Project Window, which allows you to choose between various templates or projects. You can also open any projects you’ve already started and saved here.
The Logic Pro X templates are a great place to start if you’ve never used the app before and have limited audio production experience. You can choose between a handful of templates, including Hip-Hop, Electronic, Songwriter, and Multi-Track.
On the left-hand side of this window, you’ll also see the New Project option, which you can click on to open a new blank recording project without any template settings. This is the option to choose if you want to start from scratch.
Once you select the type of project you want to use, Logic will open in full, and you’ll see the main project window. This is where you’ll do all your recording, editing, mixing, and any other aspect of an audio project.
The Quick Help tool is very useful and will help you learn more about the basic functions and features within Logic Pro X. You can access this by selecting the question mark icon on the top-left of the project window.
When you have the Quick Help tool selected, you can hover the cursor over any part of the project window, and a pop-up will appear to give you information on what that tool does. This is an excellent way to teach yourself the basic functions of Logic Pro X.
The best way to learn how to use Logic Pro X is through hands-on experience, so take the time to utilize the help features and learn about each element of the project window. This will allow you to start recording much faster than attempting it without assistance.
Chapter 3: Setting Up a Recording Session
Setting up a basic recording session is one of the first things you need to learn when using Logic Pro X. This is how you start virtually any project within the DAW and will enable you to make any type of recording, large or small.
Logic will guide you through the basic steps of setting up a project when you launch the app. Again, you can utilize the project templates here to help streamline the recording setup process, and that’s always a good step for beginners.
Once you have a project window open, that’s where the real fun begins. There are countless ways to set up a recording session, and the sky is the limit for everything you can do within Logic in terms of editing and tweaking your tracks once you have them down.
One cool thing about Logic Pro X is that you don’t technically need any instruments or microphones to start recording. You can utilize the software instruments in the app to make music right in the box – more on that in another chapter.
If you want to record using an external microphone or instrument, there are a few more steps, but it’s still relatively easy to set up. You’ll just need to select an input source or audio interface when you get your project started.
You can connect microphones or instruments to Logic pretty quickly, and you’ll just need the proper equipment to make this happen. Learning to record a guitar and a microphone is a good start if you want a basic studio session set up quickly.
Some key things to keep in mind when setting up a recording session include how many tracks you want, your input sources for each of these, and how you will monitor the tracks during recording. These basic elements are crucial but easy to dial in.
And if you don’t want to record music in a traditional sense, Logic Pro X allows you to easily create samples and other electronic music where you won’t need external equipment. The setup process is very similar and even easier with this type of recording.
Getting your first recording session set up can take a few attempts, so don’t worry if you get stuck or need some extra time. Every session gives you more experience, which will eventually help you become a better producer and musician.
Chapter 4: Advanced Recording Techniques
Logic Pro X is designed to be a professional-level audio production tool, and there is an immense amount of capabilities accessible with the app. Basic recording is easy to master, but learning more complex techniques can take years of steady practice.
Don’t let that deter you from exploring more advanced recording techniques and features as a beginner. Audio production is an inherently creative discipline, and innovations and insight often appear through trial and error.
Sitting in on a recording session with someone more experienced with Logic Pro X than you are is a great way to learn advanced techniques. I highly recommend doing this if you know other musicians or producers who are open to mentoring you.
If you can’t do that, there are many helpful resources out there to show you more involved aspects of Logic Pro X. Spending time exploring these can be more productive than frustrating yourself with Logic.
We’ll look at some of the more advanced recording techniques in the chapters on editing and mixing below, but knowing some of the commonly used tactics is beneficial. Utilizing EQ and plugins like reverb will add depth to your recordings with little effort.
You can make a track sound much richer by playing around with the EQ and reverb, which alter the frequencies of a recording. Spend time with the built-in reverb plugins within Logic Pro X to get accustomed to how the sound can be changed.
Plugins are another easy way to achieve a wider variety of sounds and add texture to your recorded tracks. Logic has plenty of plugins to explore, but you can also purchase third-party plugins if you want even more possibilities.
Recording techniques also involve the physical space you are recording in. You should learn about acoustics and microphone placement as you are learning Logic Pro X. This will help you become a better producer and engineer, ultimately improving your skills in the DAW.
And while there are very complex techniques that can take a long time to master, other tricks are super easy and can improve the quality of your recordings. Knowing how to change the tempo of a project and how to bounce tracks are essential.
Chapter 5: Using Software Instruments/MIDI
Another great feature of Logic Pro X is all the software instruments that come with the app. There are hundreds of instruments and sounds to explore here, and they can all add a lot to your projects or function as the foundation for them.
The software instruments in Logic Pro X come included when your purchase the app, but you’ll need to ensure you download all of them if you want access. You can download them all at once or individually as you need or want to use each one.
These software instruments function just like real instruments as far as a recording project goes. But you don’t need to connect a physical instrument to your computer or know how to play one to record it. That opens up a lot of possibilities for beginners.
You can record and practice with these software instruments by setting up a track with whatever instrument you want to play or record. Then you can use the keyboard as a controller or the keyboard window.
An even better way to record software instruments is to use a MIDI keyboard or controller. Connecting a MIDI keyboard to your Mac is simple, and I highly recommend getting one because of how much it can assist all of your projects.
And don’t be worried if you don’t know how to play the keyboards or piano. You don’t need that much skill to utilize a MIDI keyboard to control software instruments. If you already have skills, great, but you can get by without them and learn as you go.
There are many different MIDI controllers, and this is a recommended piece of equipment for any Logic Pro X-based studio. They are relatively affordable and increase your abilities immensely, making them a solid investment.
But it’s also worth noting that you can even use pre-existing MIDI files to write chord progressions and melodies. If you struggle to write from scratch or even if you’re a seasoned professional, writing with existing MIDI can be a powerful way to get results. Hyperbits did a good job compiling some of the best free midi packs on the internet right here, so you can grab over 1,938 free MIDI files.
Another great way to utilize the software instruments in Logic Pro X is by taking advantage of all the amp designers in the app. You can connect a guitar and choose between many amp sounds, which is a fun way to practice or explore different tones.
Using the software instruments, you can also make beats in Logic Pro X. There are several drum machines and sounds that you can explore. The Hip Hop project template will get you started with beat-making, but you can also do it on your own.
Chapter 6: Editing
Once you have recorded all of the tracks you want in an audio project, the work has just started. From there, it’s time to start editing, which is another skill set altogether. Editing is a critical aspect of the production process, so something you should also learn.
On a basic level, audio editing involves altering the waveforms of your recorded tracks. Simply adjusting the volume of a track is considered editing, but things can get complex in a hurry when looking at the big picture of a project.
Editing is a comprehensive task that is time-consuming but super important. It’s a significant aspect of what audio engineers do. Not every musician knows or understands how to edit recorded music, but learning how to do this can set you up for success.
When you start the editing process, be sure to save a raw version of your project so you can go back to the original tracks if you need to start over. Editing can be destructive, meaning you change the recorded track, and it can’t be changed back.
Editing can include simple tasks such as fading or clipping a track. Learning how to fade in Logic Pro X is a good place to start when you are learning to edit. The process will teach you how to access a track and make basic edits.
You can also use features in Logic such as the autotune or de-esser to clean up recordings and make them sound better. This is another critical aspect of the editing process, and it can be painstaking work that requires lots of repetition and precision.
Editing can be very complex and involves much more than simply adjusting the volume. Logic Pro X has many powerful editing tools that you can take advantage of to boost how well your tracks sound and better prepare them for the next step of mixing.
Features like Flex Pitch are good to know about and understand how to use. This is one example of a built-in editing tool within Logic that can help your recordings shine by tightening up out-of-tune notes. But it’s only one of many tools within the app.
Editing might seem like a lot of hard work – because it is. It doesn’t always seem as creative or enjoyable as the recording process. But it’s just as essential and is a critical step toward getting your audio projects dialed in and sounding great.
Chapter 7: Mixing
After you get your Logic Pro X projects recorded and edited, it’s time to start mixing. There are many elements of mixing in audio production, but at a basic level, it’s all about balancing different aspects to achieve the sound you want.
Think of mixing like following a recipe – a little bit of this and a dash of that. Every good cook has secret recipes and ingredients, just like every good producer and engineer has unique mixing tactics and tools.
Learning how to mix vocals is a good place to start. You’ll want to have at least two vocal tracks recorded to really work on mixing technique, but you can also explore mixing at a basic level with a single vocal track.
There isn’t one right or wrong way to mix vocals, as it’s often a blend of personal preference and intended outcome. But there are a few strategies and elements typical of nearly every mix, so knowing those can help steer things in the right direction.
Utilizing plugins is a critical aspect of mixing. These are various effects that change how a track sounds, and you can use them to shape things in many different ways. Logic Pro X has a ton of built-in plugins for you to explore.
You’ll also want to know things such as how to get rid of background noise when you are mixing. This will clear up unwanted noise and help your recorded tracks shine. Logic has a plugin called the Denoiser designed explicitly for this purpose.
There are many other plugins you can use to your advantage during mixing. EQ and reverb are good places to start, as these are simple effects used in just about every type of mixing situation. Using these will also help you understand how to work with plugins in general.
Knowing how to group tracks and freeze tracks are other tactics you can use to your advantage in Logic. These functions will help you make changes to multiple tracks at once or highlight specific sections when you need precise control.
Once you have completed your mix, it’s time to bounce your tracks. This is the process of putting all the edits and changes you made onto a stereo mix that you can share with others. It’s simple but another critical skill you need to know.
Remember that mixing and editing take time. This applies to learning how to do these skills in the first place and the process of mixing in general. You’ll learn a lot doing it, but it’s not the most glamorous aspect of audio production.
Chapter 8: Shortcuts and Tips
If you spend time with other producers or engineers, you will often hear the term “workflow” come up. This is essentially how you set up Logic Pro X to help you work efficiently and effectively. Workflow is personalized, and everyone has a different approach.
One of the best ways to improve your workflow in Logic Pro X is by learning the many keyboard shortcuts within the app. Knowing even a few of these can help you work much faster, and knowing most of them is recommended if you want to become a pro.
Some of the easiest and most useful keyboard shortcuts include the spacebar to start and stop playback and control z, which is the undo command. I use these nearly every time I’m working with Logic, and they both save me a ton of time.
There are keyboard shortcuts for nearly every function of Logic Pro X. You might only be able to memorize some of them, but learning the actions you do most frequently is a good goal for a beginner. Even if you only remember a handful, your workflow will improve dramatically.
If you don’t want to learn shortcuts and key commands, there are plenty of ways to boost your skills within Logic Pro X. The first is to spend as much time as possible working in the app.
There is no substitute for experience, and the more time you spend working in Logic, the better you will become at using it. Even if you experience issues and can’t figure something out, working through those problems will make you a better producer.
As I touched on in an earlier chapter, the Quick Help feature can be a huge lifeline. Just turn on the tool and hold your cursor over a part of your project – chances are you’ll get some information that will help you out quickly.
You can also explore help with Logic directly from Apple, and there are many tutorials and online support you can access through the app. Simply click on the Help tab at the top of the project window to see your options.
There are also many courses and programs available that can help you learn Logic Pro X. If you do well in a class-like setting, one of these might be able to help you out. You can also explore forums and videos online to deal with specific issues you might be having.
Chapter 9: External Equipment and Expanding
Logic Pro X is packed with functions and features to help you make and create all kinds of music projects without needing anything else. But you can also pair it with all sorts of recording and musical equipment for even greater functionality.
Before exploring all of the external equipment and expansion options, it’s good to remember that all this extra gear can get expensive in a hurry. Unless you have unlimited resources, making a budget to help figure out what equipment you really need is a good idea.
Getting an audio interface is one of the most important pieces of equipment to use with Logic Pro X. You need one of these to connect any instruments or microphones to your Mac, and interfaces will improve the sound quality of your recordings.
There are many different options with audio interfaces. Make sure you get one compatible with macOS, and then choose based on your specific needs or preferences in the studio. Picking the number of inputs you need is a good starting point.
A control surface is another recommended piece of equipment. These will allow you to control various elements of Logic Pro X with the controller rather than your keyboard and mouse. They will also help you play and record software instruments.
Once you have an audio interface and control surface, you should start thinking about microphones and instruments. Depending on how expansive of a recording studio you want to set up, you’ll want to match these purchases based on that.
Accumulating studio equipment is a lifelong pursuit. You aren’t going to get everything you want immediately, and you might find new items you never knew existed. It’s always fun to get upgrades but make sure you have your basics covered.
A simple setup needs only an audio interface, surface controller, and microphone. To record a full band, you’ll need multiple microphones and all the necessary cords to connect everything. And there are plenty of points in the middle ground.
You can spend an endless amount of money and time getting equipment for Logic. While this opens up more possibilities in your recordings, keeping things simple is fine for beginners or anyone on a budget.
Chapter 10: Troubleshooting
No matter your experience with Logic Pro X, you will run into problems at some point. Some of these might be because you don’t have the required skills, and others because of technical issues with your Mac or Logic.
Knowing how to troubleshoot some common issues in Logic Pro X is a good thing for everyone to learn. You might not always be able to fix the problem on your own, but at least you can get pointed in the right direction to get help.
If you ever run into weird glitches or other issues when working in Logic, sometimes a simple reset of the app and/or your Mac is all that’s needed. Just be sure to save your current project before closing out of anything.
For problems that are a bit more challenging to figure out, you might be due for an update. Updates to Logic Pro X happen occasionally, and it’s always good to use the app’s most recent version to avoid any issues. And also, keep macOS up to date on your Mac.
A benefit of using Logic Pro over other DAWs is that you can transfer the app to another Mac if you want or need to. This means you don’t need to purchase Logic again just because you use a new Mac computer.
If you are thinking about using Logic Pro X on a Windows-based system, you’re out of luck. There is no Windows version of Logic, so don’t spend any time looking for one. But there are several alternatives for Windows that are worth exploring.
If you encounter other larger issues that a reset or update won’t fix, there are many online resources you can access for help. Some of these are available within the Help menu of Logic, and a quick online search can direct you to others.
When using any type of complex app or software, issues are going to appear. If you are working a very large recording project, you might encounter a system overload, and knowing what to do in that situation can save you some time and frustration.
Now that you’ve read through this guide to using Logic Pro X, you should be ready to rock with your first project. Remember that there is always a learning curve with new tools, so take your time and try to absorb as much as possible.
Learning through experience has been one of my most effective tactics in my audio production career. If you can sit in with another musician or producer using Logic, take full advantage of that!
Do you have other tips, tricks, suggestions, or advice for beginners on using Logic Pro X? How did you first learn to use the app? Let me know in the comments below.