Creating a mixtape is an important part of DJing. It’s a piece of your passion that will show people what your skills and taste in music are like. DJ mixes can also be used for promotion, as you can use them in your portfolio and upload them on social media.
Regardless of what you’ll be using your DJ mixes for, you’ll need to use software such as Ableton Live, Studio One, and so on to do it. In this article, I’m gonna explain to you how to create a DJ mix in Logic Pro X, one of my favorite DAWs out there.
What Is Logic Pro?
Logic Pro is one of the most popular digital audio workstations (DAW) owned by Apple, so it’s intended for Macworld’s use. It is the successor of Emagic, developed by Germany’s C-Lab, which Apple acquired in 2002.
Logic Pro is a very popular software application, but not as popular as Ableton Live, I’d say. Still, it’s a very cool and user-friendly platform that has unique features and is suitable for mixing or music production.
Logic Pro X, which is in our focus today, is the 10th version of Logic Pro. In other words, Logic Pro 10.0 equals Pro X. It costs $200 to buy it for life, but also offers a free trial version of 90 days, which I advise you to take advantage of.
Software Overview (Features)
Logic Pro X is a smart choice for a DAW that will facilitate the creation of mashups, DJ mixes, or even songs for you. It has gathered a large community of followers and enthusiasts as the mashups or mixtapes you could make with it are really cool.
In this chapter, I will mostly focus on the features that Logic Pro owns, as I believe that this is something that you as a reader may want to know. So, here are my favorite ones.
Sampling in Logic is made quite easy and fast. With the Quick Sampler, all you have to do is to drag and drop files that you can find in the Logic Pro app anyway. You could also record directly from a mic, guitar, or any other instrument, from a turntable, or even from the channels in Logic Pro.
This feature allows you to take a sample and turn it into a playable instrument. As part of the feature, there is the Slice Mode which you can use to chop your sample into multiple pieces. This is great for cutting vocals or drum loops.
The Live Loops feature is a very cool way to arrange real-time music by adding samples, loops, or recorded performances. You can upload these files into the cells and just go with the flow without worrying about the arrangement.
Making music is much easier once you find the loops that go well together. People usually experiment with loops on the side and then move the result into the track area to finish the composition of a song.
Logic Pro X also has other features that are quite cool such as the Flex Time, Logic Remote, and so on. However, I will not spend any more time on them, since we’ll cover more of it in the following chapter.
How To Make A DJ Mashup/Mix In Logic Pro?
Just like with Ableton Live or other software, there are several ways you can approach the making of a mixtape. The thing I like most about Logic Pro X is the Smart Tempo option, and this chapter is mostly going to revolve around that feature.
First thing first, you have to create a new file that will be your new DJ mix. You do this by clicking File, then New. After that, you will get a popup window where you will choose one audio track as your base. There are methods with more audio tracks, but I’ll stick to this one.
The next thing you have to do is to choose two songs that you will mix together. On the right-hand side, below the media browser, you’ll go to the Projects tab, which will give you a dropdown menu after you click on it.
In the menu, hit Add Audio Files, and choose the two files you want to mix.
Usually, people take one song to serve as the instrumental, and another one for the vocals. This isn’t set in stone, though. You can of course make a mashup by using the bassline from one song and the other instruments from the other.
Every song has a different structure, therefore a different tempo or BPM (beats per minute). To have a good mix, you have to adjust the speed of the tracks, and here’s where the smart tempo feature plays a huge role.
Before you take your first track and drag ‘n’ drop it to the working surface, you can go and adjust the Project Tempo, which is located right above the audio file. Click on the BPM figure, whatever the number may be, and wait for the popup window to emerge.
Then, select Smart Tempo Project Settings, where under Tempo Mode, you’ll click on Adapt Project Tempo. This is the way I do it because it will adapt the BPMs according to one example figure.
Moreover, under Set Imported Audio Files, select On Align Bars and Beats. Next to it, you’ll get the chance to tick a box that says Trim Start of New Regions. This is a useful tool because it will trim any empty spaces that you have at the beginning of the mashup.
Dropping The First Track
First, you’re going to drag and drop your leading song, i.e. the one whose intro you want to use. Once you drop it, Pro X will start analyzing it and will give you the BPM for that track. After analyzing, it will give you an optional window that says Edit Downbeat or Tempo.
Feel free to ignore this if you’re not in the mood to work on that now. For the sake of this article, we’re just going to focus on mixing these two tracks together.
Once you’ve had your track analyzed, make sure to get rid of any unnecessary parts before the first beat. You’ll notice how the waveforms stretch starting from the first drum kick, so delete everything you see before the first beat.
If you take a segment of the track and turn it into a loop, it’s always good to extend it by eight bars. This is good for intro purposes, and plus if you mix house or techno music, that’s usually when interesting moments start.
Depending on how much you want to use from the song will determine how many “regions” you will create. Once you have an audio region, you can repeat it as many times as you wish.
For example, you have one region which is just one loop including a couple of drum kicks, and it goes on for one bar. You can multiply it as many times as you want. As I said earlier, always make it go for eight, sixteen, or even thirty-two bars.
Dropping The Second Track
Now is the time to drop the other song that you’re going to put in the mashup. Sometimes this audio can be a vocal (acapella) or a line of an instrument, and other times it’s a whole audio track. However, your task is to combine it perfectly with the song already waiting.
Moreover, it’s almost never the same BPM as the master track, except when both tracks are in the same time signature. But when you combine vocals and instrumentals, I doubt you’ll ever have two files with the same BPMs.
However, with Pro X this is not a problem. Thanks to the smart feature, you’re now just going to go back to the Project Tempo, click on it and select Keep. This way whichever new audio track you load, it will adjust to the previous speed.
Now, it is your task to put the beginning of your new track in the right position. Ideally, it should drop on the first beat of the previous track. Again, do some manual work and move it back and forth to see where it fits best.
Time And Pitch Machine
Logic Pro offers other features that can be used to manipulate the song’s structure for your DJ mix. For that purpose, it has a time and pitch machine engine which I will now show you how to activate.
This method is also known as time-stretching, and the idea is to change a track’s speed without changing the pitch, or the other way around. To activate it, you have to double-click on the audio and select File.
To speed up or slow down a track, make sure that everything is selected. You do this by clicking Edit, followed by Select All. Next, you click on Functions, as a dropdown menu will appear, and you should select Time and Pitch Machine.
Once the window opens, you have to adjust the Mode to Free, not Classic. This will guarantee that the pitch will not be changed regardless of how much you change the speed up and down. Under Algorithm, you should select Universal.
The rest is easy. In the BPM slot, write down the number you want. That’s it. After you save the changes, you’ll notice how the track is now faster or slower, but the pitch will remain the same. However, you still need to change the project speed, according to the new amendments.
I hope that the article was clear enough for you and that you are now able to make a DJ mix in Pro X. We covered the most important aspects of the digital audio workstation and I think these tips were enough for you to make a mixtape.
If you have experience in some other software like Ableton, it will be even easier. However, let’s go once more through what was said so that you walk away with a refresher.
First of all, remember that Pro X is a paid service that will cost you some $200. However, there’s also a free trial and I provided you with a link above in the text. The thing with it is some of the effects and features that make mixing easier.
In this software application, you have the ability to manipulate the BPM rate, adjust the pitch, stretch the audio, and so on. It’s an excellent tool for music producers, but also for DJs who want to make their own mixtape.
To repeat all the steps, go back to the text. If you have more questions, the internet is full of tutorials and courses on the topic. You can get an answer to every question you have – take advantage of that!
Can You DJ In Logic Pro X?
Just like with Ableton Live, there you can mix with Pro X. However, this software is mostly intended for music production, so for DJ mixing purposes, I would recommend that you stick to Serato or Traktor.
How Do I Record A Mix In Logic?
First, you have to select the song you want to record by clicking the “R” on the audio track. Once it turns red, it’s ready. Then hit the “R” on your keyboard and track the recording process.
Select where you want to store the recording.