Inside the Decibel and Why It Matters

‘[Inside the Decibel and Why It Matters](’

Inside the Decibel and Why It Matters

by Nick Messitte, iZotope Contributor May 26, 2020

So much of what we do is quantified in decibels—e.g. “Bring up that vocal a dB or so.” If we notch out a frequency, we talk about that cut in terms of decibels: a 2 dB cut at 650 Hz, for example.

A History of Reverb in Music Production

A History of Reverb in Music Production:

Because the reverb must be captured in the recording process, studios invested in custom-built recording rooms to achieve the sound that they were after. Famous spaces like the main recording room in Columbia Records’ 30th Street Studio, renowned for their reverberant signatures, were utilized as the reverb source for some of the most famous projects in music (the legendary 1959 Kind of Blue album from Miles Davis was recorded at 30th Street).

I truly loved this room. Got to sit in (listening) to recording session with brass and a few strings. Good to have had a pro for a teacher/mentor – Don Butterfield. He believed in the experience of playing live with multiple players. Intonation? Always of paramount importance.

Don Butterfield – Wikipedia:

The Grove Dictionary of Music calls Butterfield’s playing style, “uncommonly florid, a skill that made him of value as a jazz musician… He was one of the first modern jazz players who, rather than simply marking out the bass line, rediscovered the possibility of bringing to the instrument a facility akin to that of a trumpeter.”

If you want to hear some very interesting music try Clark Terry’s album “Top and Bottom Brass”. Outstanding.

Minor scale – Wikipedia

Minor scale – Wikipedia:

In music theory, the term minor scale refers to three scale patterns – the natural minor scale (or Aeolian mode), the harmonic minor scale, and the melodic minor scale (ascending or descending)[1] – rather than just one as with the major scale.

I was listening to a podcast yesterday. There were two speakers, both claim to have been classically-trained with degrees in music theory and/or music performance.

Neither of them could “speak” the difference between the “minor” scales

  • natural
  • harmonic – seventh degree raised semitone – leading tone
  • melodic – raised sixth and seventh degree ascending, not raised descending

You’ll know it when you hear it.

Roman numeral analysis – Wikipedia

Roman numeral analysis – Wikipedia:

In music, Roman numeral analysis uses Roman numerals to represent chords. The Roman numerals (I, II, III, IV, …) denote scale degrees (first, second, third, fourth, …); used to represent a chord, they denote the root note on which the chord is built. For instance, III denotes the third degree of a scale or the chord built on it. Generally, uppercase Roman numerals (such as I, IV, V) represent major chords while lowercase Roman numerals (such as i, iv, v) represent minor chords (see Major and Minor below for alternative notations); elsewhere, upper-case Roman numerals are used for all chords.[2] In Western classical music in the 2000s, Roman numeral analysis is used by music students and music theorists to analyze the harmony of a song or piece.

A great place to find notation conventions. NNS gives me such grief…

Apply Quantization Permanently ⌃Q – Logic Pro X keyboard command of the day

Logic Pro X keyboard command of the day. #LogicProX @StudioIntern1

  Apply Quantization Permanently    ⌃Q

 MIDI quantization. The holy grail and the pit of tar. When properly used we can get accurate scores and more realistic “performances”.

The Region inspector allows for changing quantization non-destructively. The changes made here do not alter the events permanently, much like changing the gain of an audio region.

MIDI region parameters – Logic Pro X:

Apply MIDI region parameters permanently
You can apply the MIDI region parameter settings of all selected MIDI regions and folders with the Functions > MIDI Region Parameters > Apply All Parameters Permanently command.

This means that all settings are actually written as data, and playback parameters revert to normal values. The audible result remains the same. The Loop parameter and advanced quantization parameters (Q-Velocity, Q-Length, Q-Flam, Q-Range, and Q-Strength) are not affected. However, use this carefully as you lose the ability change your mind about MIDI region edits.



I fondly recall the fine control of MIDI from Opcode Vision and Studio Vision. Emagic Notator (then Logic) showed up on the scene right around the time of my full commitment to Opcode software and tools. When Gibson bought Opcode I thought the Mac was doomed as the computer for musicians.

My memory could be faulty, but I’m pretty sure Dave Oppenheim from Opcode got hired by Apple in the late 1990s. The whole Core Audio and Core MIDI worlds inside macOS and iOS are so much like OMS.

Apple Logic Pro X | September 2013

Apple Logic Pro X |:

Logic Pro X was released on July 16th, almost four years to the day after Logic Pro 9 — the longest that users have had to wait for a major new version in the product’s 21-year history. Apple switched Logic Pro from boxed product to download nearly two years ago, so it’s no surprise that Pro X is available only through the App Store. And whereas Logic Studio had previously sold for $499 and included additional applications such as Main Stage, Soundtrack Pro and WaveBurner, Apple unbundled Logic Studio when it moved to the App Store, making Logic Pro available for just $199 and Main Stage for $29.99, and discontinuing Soundtrack Pro and WaveBurner altogether.

And we have arrived.

I purchased MainStage 2 in early 2012. It was a wonderful introduction to the sounds and tools inside Logic. I spent a lot of time simply using my keyboard and playing with the various instruments. Outstanding.

Scarlett 18i6 showed up in March 2013.

In August 2013 I splurged on a copy of Logic. Time to rebuild the studio…

Scarlett crapped out in early 2016. Good thing for me 😉 That’s when I wound up using my XR18 as my audio interface.

Logic Remote! I can haz control surfaces.

Apple Logic Pro 9 | Sound on Sound – October 2009

Apple Logic Pro 9 | Sound on Sound – October 2009

A new release of Logic is always cause for excitement. For myself, part of this reaction can perhaps be attributed to nostalgia: I’ve been using the application since version 1.7 in 1993, with fond memories of each subsequent upgrade. Since then it’s undergone many changes, not least the buyout of parent company Emagic by Apple; and like its version 8 predecessor, Logic Pro 9 ships as part of a bundle with Main Stage, the application designed to facilitate the use of Logic’s instruments and effects in a live rig, and Soundtrack Pro, a separate program designed for those working with audio for media post-production. This review will, for the most part, concentrate on Logic Pro 9, and we’ll look at the remaining parts of the bundle in a future issue.

We are so close.

I think I want to visit the EXS24 sampler some more.

The new Convert Regions to New Sampler Track command enables drum loops to be sliced, converted into an EXS24 instrument, and triggered by a new MIDI region. Here you can see the audio region on the upper track has been converted so that it can be triggered by the MIDI region on the lower track.

Apple Logic Pro 8 | November 2007

Apple Logic Pro 8 |:

For the last two years, the anticipation of a new version of Logic has caused quite a frenzy amongst existing users. Any mention of Logic 8 was usually followed by rumours of almost mythical proportions, sightings of the Loch Ness monster, planes returning from the Bermuda Triangle, Paul White declining Hob Nobs… But after much speculation, Apple released Logic Pro 8 on September 12th — nearly three years to the day after the release of Logic Pro 7, and just over five years since their acquisition of Emagic. However, before musicians could even start discussing the new features, Apple instigated three fairly significant and surprising product changes for this new version of Logic.

I keep forgetting that some windows can be “pulled” from the Arrange window by dragging them out. I keep wanting to do this with the Marker list. I will try to remember.

What’s New In Logic v7.2 | April 2006

What’s New In Logic v7.2 |:

Although the new version of Logic is billed just as a Universal Binary crossgrade, it does more than simply allow the sequencer to run on the new Intel-based Macs.

Here’s the first appearance of the Logic that I run on an Intel Mac.

Apple Logic Pro 7 [Preview] | November 2004

Apple Logic Pro 7 [Preview] |:

When Apple bought Emagic two years ago, the question on everyone’s lips was ‘What will they do with Logic?’ Now they’ve unveiled perhaps the most radical overhaul the sequencer has ever seen, with improvements ranging from new instruments and effects to a networking system that could eliminate CPU restrictions completely.

Things are starting to look more like my Logic.

Emagic Logic v5 & Logic Control | April 2002

Emagic Logic v5 & Logic Control |:

Emagic’s long‑awaited Logic v5 is the culmination of more than a year’s intensive R&D. It heralds the introduction of a new automation system, required for their Logic Control moving‑fader control surface, along with a raft of new plug‑ins and a generous smattering of smaller but important improvements throughout the program. With the exception of some plug‑ins and third‑party hardware support, the majority of improvements apply right across the ‘professional’ Logic range. This now comprises Logic Audio (replacing Logic Silver), Logic Gold and Logic Platinum. The top‑of‑the range Platinum reviewed here is still required in order to work with Digidesign Pro Tools hardware, and now includes three bundled virtual instruments.

And just 90 days later…

It’s surprising to me how much the “studio experience” changes when I use my clone (X-Touch) of the Logic Control. Seventeen year old hardware, software slowly migrating to the inside of the box.

Apple’s Emagic Takeover |

Apple’s Emagic Takeover |:

On the first of July 2002, the music technology industry awoke to the news that Apple Computer had bought out Emagic. While this was unexpected, perhaps the more surprising news was that Emagic’s Windows product line will be discontinued at the end of September this year — a move that has upset a large number of users, and caused a huge outpouring of anti-Emagic feeling from formerly contented PC users. However, the effects of Apple’s acquisition will have wider implications for everyone using computer-based music productions systems, not just those who use Logic for Windows. So why would Apple want Emagic? Why would Emagic want Apple? And, at the end of the day, what does it mean for musicians?

The “first” story.

Even though I am a huge Apple fan, this whole drama was no where near my environment. I was lost in the world of databases and other nonsense.

Apple & Emagic |

Apple & Emagic |:

Four years ago this month, on July 1st 2002, Apple announced that they had purchased Emagic, which was a pretty surprising announcement for most in the audio and music worlds. We covered the story in detail in September 2002’s SOS ( and concluded that “with Apple behind them, Emagic are potentially better placed than ever to deliver products for musicians which are optimised for a specific platform. Only time will tell, however, whether this potential will be realised.” In the four years that have passed since we wrote that comment, has this potential been realised? How have the other companies fared that Apple acquired during the same period? And do their fortunes have any implications for Mac-based musicians?

To be clear, in the 20th century I was an Opcode “fan”. All the editors/librarians needed – CZ101, K1m, K5m, JV880,TX81Z, TX1P – and of course, Vision and Studio Vision. All that sat on top of OMS.

I stopped MIDI music, mostly, when my tools didn’t move to Mac OS X. When I “came back” I had the bad taste to buy an MBOX with ProTools LE (version 7). Never did much with it.

Found MainStage. Wow. Just the thing to “make noise” with the computer. With all of the instruments hiding inside I decided that it really was to to go all-in for software instruments in the box. Logic Pro X was my jump in.

I need the history. I need to connect my multiple phases of music, computers, and music with computers. Sure does go a lot easier on the embouchure.

Mixing Live Recordings In Logic | SOS 2005-12

Mixing Live Recordings In Logic |:

Whenever I record live gigs of any complexity, I try to use my Alesis HD24 hard disk recorder, then transfer the files into Logic for editing and mixing. This is simply a personal preference, as hardware always feels more solid at the crucial recording stage, where you simply can’t afford to have an ‘Unexpectedly Quit’ incident during a one-off performance. Invariably this means having long files to deal with, and if you’re importing these via Firewire rather than playing them across in real time, there’s no simple way to shorten the files prior to import. However, if you can stop and start the recorder between songs and switch to a new song file, it can help break the performance up into more manageable chunks — it all depends on how much time you get between songs.

I have run in to a number of commands in Logic Pro X that just don’t seem “right”. Why is this here? What does it really do? Huh?

I thought it might be a good idea to do some research into older versions of Logic to see if anything might be of value, or help me make sense of things.

Sound on Sound Magazine publishes a Logic “technique” article every month. Searching their archives unearthed articles dating back to 2005 and Logic Pro version 7.

Limits on the length of a Song file expressed in bars and beats? Set the tempo really slow to fit things in? Whoa, dudes.

The images clearly show (to me) the environment window. Time to go look for the product announcements for versions of Logic going back to version 7. That should be far enough.

Oh, yeah, I basically set up my live recordings as Paul White describes in his article, and of course Logic doesn’t have a song limit based on bars and beats…