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Lesson 5. Working with Software Instruments > Understanding the User Interface

Understanding the User Interface

Most of Logic's software instruments share common user interface principles that represent how sound is generated and shaped. With synthesizers it is especially important to trace the signal flow to locate controls that affect a particular aspect of the sound. Let's look at two instruments in Logic's synthesizer family and compare their interfaces.

Close the Digital Stepper window.

The ES2 interface should remain.

Select the Inst 5 track.

In the channel strip area, click-hold the input field and choose Stereo > Logic > ES1.

Position the ES2 and ES1 so that both are visible.


If you are working with a machine with a small amount of screen real estate, you can toggle between the instrument windows by clicking on the top portion of each window.

Take a look at the ES2's interface. Let's follow the signal flow within this instrument. On the top left side you can see the three oscillators that are an integral part of how it generates sound.

Oscillator section

Surrounding each oscillator are controls (for tuning and oscillator mix) that directly affect the oscillators.

Moving to the right, we see the Filter section, where the raw sound's frequency is shaped.

Filter section

At the far right is the output section for the ES2, with amplifier controls (Volume) and effects sections (Distortion, Chorus, Flanger, and Phaser).

Output section

Below the main part of the graphical interface lies the Modulation section, where you can manipulate any of the ES2's controls via any other parameter and real-time input.

Modulation section

Now look at the ES1's interface. On the far left are the oscillators, along with controls that directly affect them (octave selection and the mix between the primary oscillator and the sub-oscillator).

Oscillator section

To the right of the Oscillator section is the Filter section, including the Key sliders for controlling the amount of cutoff frequency that is modulated by the keyboard pitch.

Filter section

Following to the right is the Output section.

Output section

Last is the Modulation section at the bottom.

Modulation section

Both of the interfaces you just looked at are nearly identical, with differences in controls that pertain to their unique sound-generation processes. In general, a signal flows from left to right in all of the Logic synthesizers, with sections that closely parallel the two you just examined.

Close the ES2 and ES1 windows.

Select the Inst 2 track (EXS24).

Double-click EXS24 in the input field to display the interface.

Note that the EXS24, even though it is a sampler, shares many interface characteristics with the ES2 and ES1 synthesizers. It has filter, output, and modulation sections in similar places (the modulation matrix is identical to that of the ES2).

Close the song by choosing File > Close.

An alert appears asking if you wish to save the song before closing.

As this song doesn't actually contain any song data, it is not necessary to save it.

Click Don't Save.



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