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Logic 9 Logic has no Write, just two Latches!

Discussion in 'Logic 9' started by spicemix, Dec 24, 2009.

  1. spicemix

    spicemix New Member

    I'm crossposting from GS seeing as youzeguys probably know more about Logic than the general pop.

    I just got a Euphonix MC Control and am transitioning from Pro Tools to Logic. I have a simple, obvious workflow for writing automation scene by scene. I can't figure out how to do this in Logic 9.0.2 on 10.5.8 Mac Pro:

    1) Make markers for verse, chorus, bridge
    2) Make cycle to loop verse
    3) Suspend automation
    4) Arrange fader values to taste while cycling over verse
    5) Write current fader positions to automation on all channels across the entire verse
    6) Repeat for chorus, bridge, etc.

    This is what the "Write" automation mode was meant to do. "Latch" and "Touch" are realtime automation modes for rides. "Write" is the simplest of these forms, and is meant for setting up initial values and writing new values across a section of a song coming out of suspend. Incredibly, the simplest automation mode, despite warning dialogs &c, is completely broken in 9.0.2!!!!

    In 9.0.2, "Write" doesn't write anything, until you change a value. That's LATCH in most automation systems. "Write" is supposed to mean "take current state of controllers and print it to the automation data." Dead simple. Doesn't work.

    First of all, if there's no automation data on a track in 9.0.2 (the line is black rather than yellow), Write writes nothing. Zilch. This they may think they are doing you a favor with, saving you from writing unwanted automation. Some favor! It would be as if "record" wouldn't record audio on a track where there was no audio already present. The combination of "Write" mode and play means "record automation from the current controller state." Period! No reading what's already there, and no skipping writing if there's nothing there.

    And there doesn't seem to be any means of writing the current state either. Write to End and Write to right locator don't seem to work when stopped (and I had some trouble getting write to end to work at all).

    I can't get my workflow above to work in 9.0.2 on two different machines. It's a total non-starter. I tried on simple sessions. You go into write mode and it doesn't write anything until you make a change while playing, and when there is prior automation, the first thing it does is READ the prior automation when going from "Off" to "Write", snapping your faders back to where they were. Buggered! How would you do this workflow, and what use is a Euphonix controller without being able to do it?

    (And btw, change the automation preference to "Write changes to Write" and watch the bizarre behavior as you write from cycle to cycle...like a harmonic resonance between prior and new states... )

    Thanks in advance for your assistance. :thmbup:
  3. JuanTahnahmahrah

    JuanTahnahmahrah Senior member

    Under the Logic main menu Preferences pull-down, and under "controller surfaces" ----there is a "controller assignments" selection. Under "expert view" there is a "learn mode" button. You tried that?

    Under the Logic Pro main menu (pull-downs), click "preferences" then "automation" -- you can assign "write" mode to something else, either "off" "read" "latch" "touch" or, if you want, "write" [!] Sounds like you checked out this toggle... You can also select which parameter you want "write" to affect: "volume" "pan" "send" "plug-in" "mute" "solo" ...ditto

    And in the Arrange local menu, click "view" and then click "automation" There are selections there to toggle the stuff you might want to automate on and off so that you don't gunk up the arrange window with superfluous "nothings." If the button is gray and says "off" -- assume you are familiar with this... In "read" mode it is green, in the other modes it will turn orange. "Write" mode opens a pop-up warning, advising you that you are going to lose any pre-existing automation. Sounds like you may have already experimented with a lot of this, though, because you can also access it from the mixer or the channel strip in the arrange window.
  4. Eli

    Eli Senior member

    Hi spicemix,

    I'm not sure where you got your definition of how write mode is supposed to work, but this is NOT the way it is implemented or intended for use in Logic. Write mode is a realtime method of creating automation. It also erases all subsequent automation on the track.

    What you are looking for is a kind of snapshot automation. And that is a whole different story. There's no simple "one click" way to do this in Logic. Which, I agree, is an unfortunate omission.
  5. spicemix

    spicemix New Member

    Thank you for your replies. I would like snapshot automation features but that is something different...I am used to not having them from PTLE. I just want a working "Write."

    Let's try to wrap our minds around just how broken Logic's "Write" mode is compared to any other automation system out there.

    Let's take an audio analogy, and say we were re-recording a synth part from the EXS24 into an audio track. You go into Replace mode and hit record. Imagine if as you were recording, Logic wouldn't actually replace anything until your new part made a sound! You go back to play your new track and you hear your old part until your new part starts playing. You'd promptly report that as a bug and wonder if you could use this DAW.

    But wait it gets worse! Way worse! Imagine as you were replacing that synth part, you decided to change the settings on the EXS24 to a new set of settings and then replace the old part with the new. The moment you press record, all of your settings on the EXS24 suddenly jump back to the settings you had when you recorded the old part! You try everything you can think of to stop Logic from resetting your settings, but there's no way to stop it! :brkwl: After working for maybe an hour perfecting those settings, only to have them wiped out the moment you go to re-record the part, you might take your copy of Logic and chuck it out the window! :angryfire:

    This is the degree to which Logic's "Write" automation is broken. It won't write anything until you change a controller. And the moment you start writing, it reads the controller settings you previously recorded, wiping out all your new settings. I don't know of any automation system as broken as that.

    It seems the only difference between Logic's two "Latch" modes (one of which they call "Write") is "Write" writes more parameters than the one you changed. That's odd, I don't know why you would use such a version of Latch, if you're going to wait until something's changed before writing new automation data, why change more than the parameter you touched? Apple can go ahead and eliminate the current bizarre "Write" mode...I doubt anyone would rationally want that behavior.

    "Write" as it is intended is the simplest thing possible, just "record automation from the controller state onto the current playback position, replacing anything that's there for all enabled parameters, from the moment playback is started until it is stopped." There is no interpretation of "Write" mode that makes any more sense than that.

    And there's no simpler or more beneficial automation workflow than the one I've described above for mixing popular music. It works for the #1 mixer in the world, Chris Lord-Alge, and it should work for the rest of us too. It's as if I'm the first professional mixer trying to mix in Logic and finding it can't do the most basic and essential task an automation system was designed for.
  6. Eli

    Eli Senior member

    Hi spicemix,

    I agree that this would, could, and should be a great workflow. But Logic's Write mode just isn't built that way. Can you show me anywhere in Logic's documentation that it says Write mode is designed to work this way?
  7. spicemix

    spicemix New Member

    I'm not sure I understand the request...is there anything in the documentation stating that any of the known bugs in Logic are intentional? I'd hope not! :tongue:

    But now that you ask, there seems to be just that:


    But existing track automation data isn't just erased, it's read and re-written!

    The sparse documentation merely describes "Write" as if it was an "Erase" mode. It neither erases nor writes correctly...

    Here, they tell you you'll never want to use write anyway. I guess that's because no one at Apple understands what "Write" mode is for! It's the most obvious mode to have when you are working with a controller. Think of the controller as a MIDI keyboard and write as recording your performance, as in the EXS24 analogy above.


    I agree no one would ever want to use that odd Latch/Erase mode they call "Write!" :eeek:

    This is an easy change for them to make. There is so little documentation on what that mode does that they could just clarify it as "In write mode, the current state of all write-enabled controllers (including Logic's own faders and knobs) is written to the track automation data from the moment play begins until it is stopped. Any prior automation data is ignored and replaced." That is how every other automation system works to my knowledge.

    They do have useful key commands for "set all tracks to write" and "set all tracks to off" which gets around the lack of the general "suspend automation" feature that Pro Tools and others offer. Pro Tools puts all the global automation enables in its own little floating window, in Logic, you have to use a Preferences panel for some of them, and key commands for others. But I could work it if they just gave me a normal "Write" functionality. I have no workaround.
  8. JuanTahnahmahrah

    JuanTahnahmahrah Senior member

    Does the Euphonix controller work well with ProTools LE?
  9. tomharrer

    tomharrer New Member

    Does the Euphonix have a a send all fader values command?
  10. spicemix

    spicemix New Member

    I don't think it does, but it might. I don't think that will help much though, maybe a bit.

    There is nothing wrong with the Euphonix per se, you can see all these problems yourself just with the mouse and Logic's own faders.

    But I have made progress on a workaround. Mr. Krantzberg helped me indirectly, from his Qwik Trix video on groove3. One of those videos is called "The Back Door" and it was going through the Back Door and doing something unexpected that solved the most annoying part of this omission.

    To go through the Back Door, you need to enable a key command for "Show Automation Event List" which Mr. Krantzberg uses cmd-ctrl-e. Once this special Automation event list window is open, you open a new Arrange window, via cmd-1. This is a special Arrange window for Automation only, with special regions for Automation only. He describes how you can move copy and paste those regions to move the automation around.

    This made me wonder. I had tried to somehow defeat the automation while saving it by moving it into the regions (as Hyperdraw Region Based Automation) and then muting the regions, which worked, but required that I make placeholder regions to hold the automation moves if there was no region present. That was too much hassle. With these new automation-only regions exposed through the Back Door, what would happen if I muted them?

    Fascinatingly, muting the Automation regions puts Logic into a novel state: Automation becomes write-only. You still see the automation data in the automation lanes just fine, and you can edit it. You can write/latch/touch to it. It just stops being read and resetting all your fader positions.

    This is what I needed in order to make use of the Euphonix controller for setting up scenes during cycle and then entering them. It still requires mouse work to write the automation to the whole segment...which is incredibly irritating. But at least I have some way of working according to the most normal automation workflow. Here is the complete workflow I have so far:

    1. Create a group for all tracks you wish to automate, called "all" or something.
    2. Set Latch mode for the All group, or Write if you want to do multiple params at once
    3. Step on group clutch to disable all groups, or at least disable that one "all" group (PT's group handling is way superior btw)
    4. Cycle around your initial song segment (the intro or 1st verse etc.)
    5. Set your faders to taste
    6. Enable the All group
    7. Click on a fader or move a fader up and down to write your initial automation points
    8. Do so again earlier in the segment as it is cycling.
    9. Drag the two automation points to the beginning and end of your segment anchoring those points for the entire segment (you may have to do this for every parameter you automate :()
    10. Go through "the Back door" via Show automation Event list and open new arrange window
    11. Select all the automation regions (cmd A) and mute (m).
    12. Set your new cycle points and repeat steps 3-9 for each song segment
    13. Unmute the automation regions in the automation arrange window

    That gets me more or less where I want to be: with a new set of levels for each segment, set by cycling the segment and adjusting faders freely.

    Incredible how impossible this is made vs. the simple, standard, time-old suspend-and-write workflow. Whoever designed Logic's automation system, and whoever signed off on it, apparently never saw anyone mix with a controller before. :rolleyes:

    Along the way I watched the Pro Tools automation video on groove3. If you want to see how a state of the art automation system is used, take a gander at that. :eeek: In those videos the narrator is constantly mentioning the suspend-and-write workflow I am asking for as "what he did for years" that he no longer recommends as it's crude and clumsy compared to PTHD's Preview automation mode. PTHD also has specific buttons to extend automation settings rather than having to drag with the mouse as my step 9 above requires. And of course Snapshot automation.

    Compared to PTHD 8, Logic 9 isn't even on the map on automation...and compared to ANY even primitive automation system, the fact there is no real Write mode makes the most basic automation workflow effectively impossible.

    I have no idea why Euphonix hitched their wagon to Logic without getting Apple to at least enable suspend-and-write. That is an established company with decades of expertise on the subject you would think would sit and explain the basics of automation to the Logic team. I hope they provide a fast change to fix Write mode in a dot release for Logic 9 and implement a modern automation workflow for v. 10.

    Thanks for your help and any continuing ideas, and thank you Mr. Krantzberg for revealing "The Back Door."
  11. Eli

    Eli Senior member

    Hi Peter,

    You're welcome! Glad I could indirecty be of some help. It sounds like quite an ingenious little workaround/workflow you've put together :D
  12. JuanTahnahmahrah

    JuanTahnahmahrah Senior member

    Thanks for posting that explanation of your workflow. Will try out the "backdoor" routine, sounds very interesting. Do you set markers for the verse/chorus/bridge sections you are automating -- to help set up your cycle regions?
  13. spicemix

    spicemix New Member

    Yes of course, as in the original workflow. You can drag a marker to the cycle area to loop around it (anyone know an easier way of doing that?). You can use the finger tool on the marker list to select a range of markers.
  14. spicemix

    spicemix New Member

    I'm sorry to see that 9.1 doesn't have a working Write Automation mode either. Happy about the other developments of course!

    To make it easier for the Logic programmers, I've cooked up some pseudocode for them to use:

    IF (!track.isAutomationOff [COLOR="SeaGreen"]&& !track.isWriteEnabled[/COLOR]) {
      FOREACH(automatableControl) {
    [COLOR="SeaGreen"]IF (track.isWriteEnabled) {
      FOREACH(automatableControl) {
    The new bits are in green. Otherwise everything is fine. That's about an hour to program, an hour to update the manual, and a whole bunch of testing.

    And for that hour? Everyone trying to mix on Logic will go like this:

  15. al

    al New Member

    Is there any news about this BIG PROBLEM, it got me thinking of going back to PT, but i love apple and logic but it is practically impossible to mix on logic for video with this problem... I need to make changes on spots and there is NO WAY TO DO THIS with the write mode READING all previews positions .... and i'm not talking about just volume and pan changes, I need to make multiple EQ changes from one moment to another, in a blink of an eye.. and with this WRITE MODE of logic reading everything and waiting for one to touch the fader or knob.. its impossible.. Is there any solution by now?

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