Writing Track Automation with External Controllers

Logic Pro provides support for a number of dedicated control surfaces that make writing and editing track automation data fast, efficient, and easy. Depending on the facilities available, you can simultaneously write automation data for several channels, or multiple plug-in parameters. Full details on all supported devices can be found in the Logic Pro Control Surfaces Support manual.

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 data. You can use one such controller for all automation writing duties (see Using Automation Quick Access), or can assign individual controllers (if available on your MIDI keyboard) to different parameters (see the Logic Pro Control Surfaces Support manual).

Using Automation Quick Access

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 maybe just the modulation wheel). You can use this single hardware controller to access (and automate) the currently active automation parameter of the selected track in the Arrange window.

To set up Automation Quick Access
  1. Open Automation preferences, by doing one of the following:

    • Choose Logic Pro > Preferences > Automation (or use the Open Automation Preferences key command, default assignment:  Option-A).

    • Click the Preferences button in the Arrange toolbar, and choose Automation from the menu.

  2. Turn on Automation Quick Access, by clicking the On button in the Automation Quick Access section.

    Figure. Automation Quick Access section in Automation preferences pane.

    A dialog prompts you to assign a controller.

    Tip: You can quickly turn on the Automation Quick Access setting via the local Track > Track Automation menu (or use the Toggle Automation Quick Access key command, default assignment:  Control-Option-Command-A).

  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 turns 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 arrange track.

Enabling and Disabling Automation Quick Access

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 most efficiently done with the Toggle Automation Quick Access key command (default assignment:  Control-Option-Command-A).