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How to Create Unusual Effects with Logic Pro 9's Pedalboard Routing

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Logic Pro 9 introduced the Pedalboard, a plugin that emulates not just the myriad of effects pedals available for guitarists, but the way in which they are chained together by both live and studio musicians to create a pedalboard. Here’s how to use Pedalboard to create something a bit more unusual with the help of effect unit routing.

Step 1

Fire up Logic Pro and create a new blank project (if you want to follow along with an existing project, that’s fine too). Go to Track > New… or use the keyboard shortcut Alt+Cmd+N to bring up the new track window. The default settings are fine — your standard mono audio track.

Step 2

Your next job is to put some clean guitar on the audio track. You can whip out your guitar and record something now, use a clip from an old project, or just use a loop. I’m personally going to find some relatively clean from Apple’s library that will do the trick. It’s not totally clean but near enough as it really gets.

Click and drag on the bar meter to create a loopable area around your guitar clip so you can continuously audition the clip as you make changes to the effects.

Now you can add a Pedalboard effect unit to the track’s inserts. You do this by clicking and holding on one of the blank lozenges under the label Inserts in the channel strip inspector, and selecting the device from the Amps and Pedals menu. This is the blank effect device:

Step 3

If you haven’t already, open up the pedalboard. It’s a good idea to have a play around with it if you’ve never used it before — try the presets, try creating your own boards from the pedal library, and experiment. When you’re done just click and hold on the plugin menu and select Reset Setting.

We want to create a Splitter first, but before we can do that, Logic requires us to have another device on the board. Select the Distortion option from the menu of effect devices and drag a Grinder over to the board.

Tweak the settings and play around until you find something that sounds good to you.

Step 4

Go to the device menu and change from Distortion units to Utility units. You need to create a Splitter — click and drag it over to the board, but make sure that the Splitter goes before the distortion unit. It should be the first device in your line up, for the purposes of this tutorial.

You will also need a Mixer unit, but Logic will automatically create one of these when you create the Splitter. They do not work without one another.

The Splitter takes the source audio — which in this case is the raw audio from our track, but if you place the splitter further along in the pedalboard it will come from the device preceding it — and divides it in two. The Mixer allows you to take those signals, after they’ve been effected each by individual devices, and recombine them. The Mixer allows you to dictate the mix of the two signals and the pan of each.

Step 5

Navigate to the set of Delay devices and throw in the Blue Echo unit after the distortion device, but before the mixer.

You can switch off the Grinder using the big button at the bottom in order to focus on the sound produced by the delay device and get it right. With time, repeats, mix, tone cut and sync settings, it’s got a fair bit to play with for an emulation of a simple pedal.

Step 6

Above the pedals themselves you’ll no doubt have noticed a strip containing boxes and lines like some sort of diagram or flow chart. This is where the routing takes place.

By clicking on the box for either device within the brackets defined by the splitter and mixer devices, you will flip it over to the other signal. In this example I’ve kept the distortion device on signal A and then clicked on the delay to move it up to signal B.

Check the Mixer that was automatically created when the splitter was placed. Dial signal A to about 10 o’clock and signal B to about 2 o’clock. If one sound is overpowering, adjust the mix in favor of the other using the fader — as the labels indicate, moving the fader upwards will increase the prominence of signal B and moving it down will increase the level of signal A.

Step 7

If you want any effect devices to effect the whole signal, throw it on after the Mixer — unless you want the effect to show up in both split signals, in which case you should throw it before the Splitter. To demonstrate, I’ve added Pedalboard’s simple compressor device.

The end result is an interesting mix of the one guitar that has a clean, delayed aspect slightly to the right and a distorted sound coming from the left.

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