An overview of using control surfaces in Logic Pro
Control surfaces are hardware devices that typically feature controls such as faders, rotary knobs, buttons, and displays. Control surfaces allow you to select parameters for editing, or select tracks, channel strips, or channel strip banks for playback and recording. Some offer a Jog Wheel to move the playhead precisely, transport buttons to control project playback, and other controls.
More sophisticated control surfaces can feature motorized faders, rotary encoders, LED rings, and programmable displays. The additional feedback these provide makes them easier to use without looking at your computer screen or relying on mouse interaction.
Logic Pro provides dedicated support profiles (plug-ins) for a number of hardware control surfaces, enabling control of transport, mixing, recording, automation, and other tasks.
Many USB MIDI keyboard controllers can also act as control surfaces. In addition to a musical keyboard, these devices can include drum pads (used for note entry or as buttons to execute Logic Pro commands), faders, rotary controls, transport controls, and assignable buttons that can be mapped to Logic Pro commands. Logic Pro provides Lua scripting support, rather than a dedicated profile, for dozens of keyboard (and desktop) controllers from various manufacturers. USB MIDI keyboards can be automatically mapped to Smart Controls and other Logic Pro functions, or you can create and modify your own assignments.
The Logic Pro X User Guide contains a section that shows you how to set up your control surface device to work with Logic Pro.
Note: A number of devices such as Nektar Panorama, Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol, and other units, provide a manufacturer-supplied plug-in. Refer to the device manufacturer’s documentation for setup information.
All Logic Pro Mixer controls, such as level and pan, can be adjusted onscreen with your mouse and computer keyboard. This is not an ideal method for precise real-time control. You can enhance your creative flow and can achieve greater flexibility and precision by connecting a hardware control surface to your computer.
Control surfaces or MIDI keyboard controllers are ideal for creating dynamic live performances using a portable Mac and an audio interface. In the studio, you can record control surface automation for mixer and plug-in parameters (even when Logic Pro is not in record mode). Track automation appears in the Tracks area and in the Piano Roll Editor.
Moving a fader on the control surface prompts the corresponding fader in the Logic Pro Mixer to move, and rotary knobs (or other controls) can be used to control EQ or other parameters, with the corresponding parameters updating instantly in Logic Pro.
Because communication between Logic Pro and your control surface is bidirectional, adjustments to parameter values onscreen are immediately reflected by the corresponding control on the control surface. Visual feedback on the control surface is determined by the facilities of the device itself, such as LCD screens, LED indicators, or motorized faders.
When you use a supported control surface with Logic Pro, some controls are pre-mapped to common functions. You can map unassigned controls to other Logic Pro commands and functions.
The Logic Pro X User Guide contains a section that shows you how to assign controllers on your control surface device to Logic Pro functions.
For devices supported by Lua scripts, you can also remap controls in this way, or you can use the Smart Controls mapping options. See the Use Smart Controls section of the Logic Pro X User Guide.
The following sections explain how to use specific control surfaces with Logic Pro.