Most people pay little attention to Logic’s metronome options—the click is pretty much set up out of the box, so you can just choose a count-in length and start recording. And as long as you stick to basic Time Signatures (Meters) like 4/4, there’s really no need to fuss with it. But there are times when the default click setup may not be suitable, and for those cases Logic provides a number of customizations—it’s worth taking a few minutes to get to know what’s available.
As everyone knows, there are two metronome-related buttons in the Control bar.
The 1234 button turns the count-in on and off, and lets you make several settings related to the count-in. The button with the metronome icon turns the click on or off, and provides access to the Metronome settings, the main topic for this article.
With a right-click on the 1234 count-in button, you can choose count-in length (in bars), or set the number of beats for just the count-in.
This last setting is intended to be used if you’re beginning a recording or a punch at a Meter change—instead of the count-in counting in the previous meter, you can set it to count a number of beats that matches the meter at the recording/punch point instead. This works fine, but it does override the number-of-bars count-in setting, and any accented clicks apparently will follow the accent pattern of the actual meter in the bar(s) the count-in is in, even if that accent pattern doesn’t match that of the upcoming changing meter at the punch point (if the meter at the punch point has more beats-per-bar than the previous count-in bars this can be mildly distracting if you’re not expecting it).
The Metronome button lets you turn the click on and off independently for Record and Playback, by toggling it when Logic is in either mode. Of course, you can also make those settings in the right-click popup menu.
Here you can also set the click to sound only during the count-in, ceding to a musical drum part or rhythm part when recording begins. This is also where you can access the Metronome settings in the Project Settings, which allow you to customize the click itself.
In this dialog, you can basically do two things—change the click instrument, and customize the click pattern in terms of dynamics and accents.
By default, Logic uses a built-in Instrument called the Klopfgeist (poltergeist or tapping ghost, in German), hidden away in a solo-safed high-numbered Instrument track.
But the main feature of this dialog is the ability to customize the click’s dynamics and accents via the Bar/Group/Beat settings.
Here you can dial up both pitch and level independently for accented and un-accented clicks, and also determine the accent pattern. Note—Advanced Settings must be on in Logic’s Preferences to have the full set of controls here.
Naturally, Bar refers to the downbeat, and Beat refers to the other beats in each bear/measure. By default, logic sets Bar—the downbeat—to a slightly higher pitch and a slightly louder volume, which is normal for the downbeat in any metronome click. You can tweak this to provide a more distinctive or more heavily-accented downbeat, if desired.
Let’s take 12/8 as an example—a common meter for blues arrangements. If you select this with the Group option off, you’ll get a series of 12 uniform clicks per bar, with only the downbeat accented.
So if I wanted my 12/8 bars to have a slow three feel—three groups of four clicks—I’d click on the Time Signature in the Control bar and select “Custom”.
To create a custom grouping, you can enter the number of clicks per section, with or without + signs: so, for this example I could enter either 444 or 4+4+4, and the result would be accented clicks on the 1, 5, and 9—three groups of four clicks each.
If you use the Score display, it’s important to realize that while different custom groupings don’t show in the main window—7/4 and 7/4 (4+3) both show as 7/4—compound meters do show in the score, so if you’d recorded to that customized 7/4, with the 4+3 accents, that will display as a compound meter in the score: 4+3/4;
You’d want to switch the main Time Signature back to simple 7/4 when you’re done recording to see a basic 7/4 time signature in the score.
There’s one more line in the Metronome Settings dialog, that I’ve skipped over so far—Division.
It’s off by default, but if you enable it, Logic will also provide clicks at the division value—that’s the same division setting you see in the Control bar Tempo section. The default is 16th notes, and with Division enabled in the Metronome settings dialog, you’l not only get clicks on the beats (accented and un-accented), but also on these subdivisions as well.
So there’s a lot of flexibility in Logic’s metronome. The defaults do a perfectly good job of providing a click for typical sessions, but when a little more customization is needed, it’s nice to know that it is possible to dial up exactly the click you want—or need.
Learn everything you need to know about making music with Logic Pro X: https://ask.audio/academy?nleloc=category/audio/application/logic