Write track automation with external controllers

Logic Pro provides support for a number of dedicated control surfaces that make writing and editing track automation fast, efficient, and easy. Depending on the facilities available, you can simultaneously write automation for several channels, or multiple plug-in parameters. Any MIDI controller—such as the modulation wheel, or a front panel slider or knob on your MIDI keyboard—can be used to write automation. You can use one such controller for all automation writing duties, or you can assign individual controllers (if available on your MIDI keyboard) to different parameters.

The Automation Quick Access feature makes track automation extremely fast and simple if you only have one hardware MIDI controller available—one fader on your MIDI keyboard, or just the modulation wheel, for example. You can use this single hardware controller to automate the currently active automation parameter of the selected track in the main window.

Set up Automation Quick Access

  1. Choose Logic Pro > Preferences, or press Command-Comma (,), then choose Automation.

    In the Automation pane, Automation Quick Access is turned off by default.

    Figure. Automation preferences.
  2. Click the On button in the Automation Quick Access section.

    A dialog prompts you to assign a controller.

  3. Click the Assign button and slowly move the hardware controller that you want to use for Automation Quick Access. Make sure that it’s moved through its entire range.

  4. Confirm your selection by clicking the Done button below the Off/On buttons in the Automation Quick Access section.

    The Done button changes into a Learn Message button. Clicking the Learn Message button allows you to assign a new controller for Automation Quick Access. Clicking the Edit button opens the Controller Assignments window, where you can assign the controller manually. See the Logic Pro Control Surfaces Support manual for more information. Once set up, you will have hardware control over the active automation parameter on the current track.

Tip: If you choose the modulation wheel for Automation Quick Access, you might want to switch between using it for Automation Quick Access and normal modulation wheel duties—as MIDI controller 1. This is quickly done using the Toggle Automation Quick Access key command (or pressing Control-Option-Command-A).