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Tab to Transient in Logic Pro
Mike Watkinson on Tue, April 19th 3 comments
The Tab to Transient selection feature in Pro Tools is an easy way to navigate and edit audio. Logic Pro has similar functionality too! Mike Wakinson shows you how to navigate transients effortlessly.

One of Pro Tools' most useful edit selection features has to be 'Tab to transient'. When enabled you can move the edit cursor from transient to transient by pressing the Tab key. Hold the Option key down to move backwards; hold down the Shift key to create and extend your selection. It's great for the fast and intuitive selection and editing of transient-based material. But how can you do this in Logic Pro?

Let's take a look...

In the Arrange Area

Here you can make the equivalent of an edit insertion by clicking (rather than swiping/dragging) with the Marquee tool. Having the Marquee tool set as your Command-click tool always speeds this up. Unless you have customized them, the default key commands for  'Select Previous Region/Events, or Set Marquee End (or Point/Other Side) to Previous Transient' and 'Select Previous Region/Events, or Set Marquee End (or Point/Other Side) to Next Transient' are the left and right arrow keys. In short, pressing the left and right arrow keys will make the Marquee insertion jump forward or backward from transient to transient.

Note that these commands are not to be confused with 'Forward by transient' and 'Rewind by transient' which relate to the playhead position.


With the Shift key held down the arrow keys move the selection start backward and forward. The arrow keys by themselves move the selection end backward and forward. Confusingly perhaps, a selection can also be made by moving the selection start ahead of the selection end. Best practice to avoid confusion (and to link behavior clearly with the Sample editor - see below) is to click the marquee insertion ahead of the intended first transient, then Shift-Left Arrow the selection start backwards to that point, and then Right Arrow (no Shift key) the selection end forward. As an alternative, you can simply make a Marquee selection to begin, then adjust as above.

Transient based selection in Logic's Arrange area.

which is Better?

Die-hard Pro Tools users will be aware that the main limitation of Tab to transient selection is that the right hand edge of a selection cannot be moved backwards if you overshoot the mark (although this can be easily overcome by nudging it backwards instead), so the fact that Logic's Marquee selection can have its right-hand edge adjusted in both directions gives it the upper hand.


Another criticism of Tab to transient in Pro Tools is the inability to adjust the sensitivity with which Pro Tools analyzes transients. Although it works well enough in most cases, Logic Pro goes one better by allowing the user to control the number of detected transients. Opening the Beat mapping track in Global Tracks reveals a '+' and '-' buttons that allow the user to increase or decrease the amount of detected transients displayed. Clicking back on the waveform with the Marquee tool then using the arrow keys once more reveals that they now follow a refined set of transients.

The default keyboard shortcut for increasing and decreasing the number of transients markers are Command = and Command -. This way there is no need to access the Beat Mapping track, although it can provide a useful visual guide!

Increasing or decreasing transients sensitivity detection

In the sample Editor

The same transient markers can also be viewed in Logic Pro's Sample Editor window. Clicking the Transient Editing Mode button in the toolbar reveals the transients, and clicking the '+' and '-' buttons next to it has the same effect as clicking their counterparts in the Beat mapping track.

Transient Adjustment in the Sample Editor

Clicking in the waveform with the Pointer tool creates an 'edit insertion' that becomes a selection with the use of the arrow keys. Again, press the right and left arrow keys with the Shift key to adjust the selection start, without the shift key it adjusts the selection end (these are the default keyboard commands for 'Set Selection Start/End to Next/Previous Transient'). The only difference to the behavior in the Arrange area is that moving the selection start ahead of the selection end doesn't result in a selection. A subtle point perhaps, but worth remembering to avoid confusion!

Want to become a Logic Pro Expert? Check out these Logic tutorial-videos.

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Comments (3)

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  • Dekuruy
    Thanks, Mike. I especially like that you're giving the key commands for these great tips. Question: If you edit transients via the Sample Editor, are those edits non-destructive, as they are in the Arrange?
    • 10 years ago
    • By: Dekuruy
  • thirdspace
    If I understand your question, carrying out actions in the Sample Editor's Process menu on a selection (whether or not this is created using transient-based selection) is termed 'destructive editing' as it makes alterations to the audio file that you are listening to, as opposed to performing alterations in real-time. However, this is undo-able. Note that the number of undo steps in the sample editor is different to those in the rest of the application, and is set in Preferences>Audio, then select the Sample Editor tab. Hope that clarifies it - let us know if not!
    • 10 years ago
    • By: thirdspace
  • Dekuruy
    Got it. Thanks, Mike, for your clear answer.
    • 10 years ago
    • By: Dekuruy
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