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5 Non-Destructive Ways to Use Logic’s Sample Editor
Rounik Sethi on Tue, June 22nd 4 comments
In Logic 9 you can make fine adjustments (at sample level) to audio regions within the Arrange area or the Sample Editor. Many people overlook the Sample Editor, partly because most of it's editing

In Logic 9 you can make fine adjustments (at sample level) to audio regions within the Arrange area or the Sample Editor. Many people overlook the Sample Editor, partly because most of it's editing functions are Destructive. That means functions such as applying reverse or fades in the Sample Editor will write those edits to the original audio file permanently. There are times when this is not desirable!

For example, one of my first paid jobs using Logic 5 or 6 involved recording a voice over artist. After the recording session I settled into my comfy studio arm chair and excitedly proceeded to silence and adjust the gain of selections of the original audio file in (gulp) Logic's Sample Editor.

I was happy as larry about the whole process... that is, until I revisited the project the next morning and realised I had been over zealous in my editing! Back in that version of Logic, there was no option to ask Logic to undo Sample Editor functions after the project had been closed... The next 12 hours was spent wishing I had backed up the original audio file and carefully trying to add some room noise with plenty of track automation in the Arrange to cover up my initial naive edits from the previous day!

Having said all that, the Sample Editor and I are friends again. I don't shy away from it - on the contrary - it has many excellent tools... but it's always important to save copies of your original file first. So here are five excellent ways to use Logic's Sample Editor non-destructively!

Tip 1 - Transient Editing Mode

You can open Logic's Sample Editor by double-clicking on an Audio Region in the Arrange area.

If you have ever used the Flex Time functions in Logic to stretch or warp audio, you may have wondered how and where Logic decides on the Transient Markers. Well, clicking on the 'Transient Editing Mode' button in the Sample Editor toolbar or choosing Audio File > Detect Transients will allow you to see more closely the calculated Transients. These are represented by the thin vertical white lines.

You can increase or decrease the number of transients detected by clicking on the minus and plus buttons in the Toolbar.

Furthermore, moving the position of a transient marker is as easy as dragging it to the desired position. Double click on a transient marker to manually delete it and you can create a transient marker using the pencil tool.

Once you have set up the transient markers as desired, you can engage flex time and warp or split the region by the transient markers in the Arrange area.

Tip 2 - Saving and Backing up the Original Audio File

It's actually incredibly easy to save and backup your audio file in the Sample Editor itself.

You can choose to backup or save the file as... from the local menu Audio File > Create Backup or Audio File > Save a copy as...

By default the later command will save the file to Project folder / Audio Files /
At the same time you can convert the file's Sample rate, bit depth, file format and stereo conversion if you wish. The handy option 'Add resulting files to Bin' is enabled by default.

Tip 3 - Anchors

The anchor, as it's name suggests, anchors or aligns the region to Logic's grid. By default the anchor point of an audio region is at the beginning of the region. Thus, when you move an audio region in the Arrange area, the Help Tag start point references where the anchor is placed... which is the beginning of the region.

However, there are times when you may wish to align the anchor to the second transient of the region while still keeping the audio content before it audible. This way when you move the region in the Arrange area that second transient will snap to the grid position and not the beginning of the region.

Try this out. Open an audio region in the Sample editor and drag the little orange house icon at the bottom (the anchor point) to the right.

As you can see from the picture the orange anchor point has moved the reference point for the region. The region itself is unchanged, but it has been moved so the anchor point decides where it will sit in Logic's grid.

This is particularly useful when spotting sound fx to video... or whenever you want a hit/transient to be directly on the beat or bar.

Tip 4 - Selecting Sections

Often, I find myself wanting to create loops, reverse or apply some other edits to a section of an audio file and not the entire audio file. In the Arrange area this can be easily achieved using Track Automation and/or in conjunction with the Marquee tool.

In the Sample Editor you can simply drag over an area in the main waveform window to select that part. Click on the Cycle button and click on the Prelisten button to hear the selected area over and over.

Creating accurate selection areas would involve zooming in to almost sample level and adjusting the selection area which can be tricky and feel like a clumsy way. There are some hidden away selection commands which are ideally suited to create a selection area based on the transients.

Explore the local menu Edit > Set... >
Here you'll find commands to set the selection start and/or end to the previous/next transient and also to set the Region Anchor to the previous or next transient.

Take note of the shortcut key commands, it can make creating selection areas in the Sample Editor easier and less prone to error!

Tip 5 - Creating and Editing Regions

Now you have mastered selecting areas within the Sample Editor, what can we do with these non-destructively...? Well, there's two main ways you can update the region to reflect your Sample Editor selection.

With an area selected choose Edit > Selection to Region

The Region start and end point and the anchor point will be adjusted according to the selection and the region in the Arrange area will be updated to reflect this.

Remember this is non-destructive, so you can always drag the region boundaries out to reference more of the original audio file.

If you prefer not to set the current region to the selection, but you would like to create a new region from the selection to be used elsewhere in the Arrange choose:
Edit > Create New Region

Again, the anchor point and region boundaries in the Sample Editor fit to the selected area. The region in the Arrange stays as it was... However, if you look at the name of the region in the Sample Editor it will have a number as a suffix. Open the Audio Bin in the Media area and you'll find a new region has been created with this number. You can now drag it to the Arrange area and continue your non-destructive music making!

Note: Although these tips are based on non-destructive edits, now you know how to save selections, back-up and save the original audio file as a copy, you can safely explore the Sample Editor's Function and Factory menu, most of which are destructive functions. Safe audio editing!

If you need further help on this or any other Logic or Mac software issue visit us at

Interested in learning more about Logic and even how to use the Sample Editor within the EXS24 Sampler Instrument Editor? These tutorials will help you to become proficient whether you are starting out or looking for advanced tips, tricks and techniques! We'd love to hear from your. Let us know what you think by writing a comment below!

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Comments (4)

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  • coFane
    Great tutorial as always! Very informative. 2 questions for ya Rounik... 1) why is the Soundtrack Pro audio editor in many ways so much more powerful than Logic's? It's always been odd to me 2) In the new mastering in cubase tutorial, in Video #5 he does a "statistical analysis of a mastered audio file. It tells what the RMS db is in the file and many other cool things. Is there an equivalant in Logic? I was thinking it might be in the sample editor somewhere? Thanks as always!
    • 9 years ago
    • By: coFane
  • Rounik Admin
    Thanks Eric! 1) STP can perform many cool editing functions that Logic's Sample Editor just isn't able to. For example, you are able to apply an effect from any of Logic's plug-ins directly to a selected portion of an audio file... and undo this at any point. Lots more too, like the noise reduction features. 2) Good question. I've never needed a tool like this... I tend to use the metering plugins to give me similar kinds of info... There are free 3rd party plugins available too... I think FreeG is a good one by Sonalksis which gives Peak and RMS readouts. Hope that helps! Rounik
    • 9 years ago
    • By: Rounik Admin
  • logicluvva
    I love this substance-style of presentation and it is conveyed in the perfect way. Give this man more money !
    • 8 years ago
    • By: logicluvva
  • Rounik Admin
    Thanks logicluvva, Glad you found this article useful! :)
    • 8 years ago
    • By: Rounik Admin
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