You’ve made it! You’ve finished your LPX project and you’re ready to put this puppy to bed.
Whether you’re shipping off stems to a mix engineer or the final bounce to the band, one question remains:
What’s the best way to clean up and archive your LPX project?
Let me tell you – I never thought I’d ever actually have clients ask me to dig up sessions from years ago.
But lo and behold – they do! They really do!
And without a solid archiving strategy, I’d have to say I’d be both embarrassed and grumpy.
Thankfully us Logic users have been blessed with streamlined systems for archiving. Throw in some smart habits and you should be safe for years to come!
Why It’s Important to Archive Your Projects
Archiving is really all about protecting your work from the unforeseeable future.
Who knows what the future may bring? Let me share 3 possibilities:
- Someone steals your computer (and you didn’t back up your work)
- Your hard-drive dies (and you didn’t back up your work)
- You accidentally delete some crucial audio files (and you didn’t back up your work)
Those aren’t just suggestions though. All 3 have happened to me.
I don’t mean to be a downer! But when it comes to your projects, it’s better to plan for the worst than not at all.
So the best procedure is to be over-protective rather than under.
Step One: Back Up Your Work!
If your important files aren’t backed up in at least 3 places, it’s like your files weren’t backed up at all.
It’s been said so many times now that it’s almost cliché. But don’t let that fool you.
Backing up your Logic projects onto an external hard-drive is great! But if you keep your external and Macbook in the same backpack, it won’t do you much good if that backpack gets stolen.
The goal is to back-up your projects in 3 separate locations to minimize your losses. Ideally those locations would be:
- 2 physical, but separate, drives
- 1 cloud-based drive
I have plenty of hard-drives. And I use Dropbox to backup any projects I’m currently working on.
My mastering engineer archives his sessions onto physical DVDs.
Pick your poison, as none are fool-proof. But more copies are always better than less.
Step 2: Export Your Tracks
Track and stem exporting are important safeguards against disaster. The goal is to have 2 folders worth of files:
- Your final tracks exported with plugin processing
- Your final tracks exported without plugin processing
Why? Well, here are some more ideas for you to ponder:
- Your Logic project becomes corrupted and inaccessible
- You sell some of your 3rd party plugin licenses that were important to a session
- A Logic update changes some key performance functions of your software instruments
By exporting your tracks you give yourself a “get out of jail free” card.
Of course, you could always try importing the session data of a corrupted project.
But let’s say this time you can’t. So now you have to rebuild the session from scratch. At least you’ll have a choice:
- Do you want audio files without any mix processing? Or,
- Do you want audio files that have already been mixed?
Dropping 100 pre-mixed tracks into a new project is far less aggravating.
Plus, you won’t have to re-edit your tracks if all your Flex Pitch and Time edits are committed.
How to Export Your Tracks
Exporting your tracks is quite simple. And you don’t have to bounce out each track one at a time:
- Command-click each track you’d like to Export
- Go to File > Export > “X” Track As Audio Files…
(The “X” will actually be the number of tracks you have selected.)
And from there you have a couple Export options to choose from. I’d choose the following:
- Range: Trim Silence at File End – exports every track from the same starting point, cuts any silence at the end of the track
- Save Format: Wav – tends to be the most universal file format
- Bit Depth: 24 – saves your files with huge dynamic range
- Normalize: Overload Protection Only – protects your files from clipping in case they exceed 0 dB
To export with plugin processing, just leave the following checkboxes unchecked:
And when exporting without plugin processing, click those checkboxes to turn off your plugins and automation.
Exporting Send Effects and Track Stacks require a couple extra steps. Check out this video for how to Export your Send Effects.
Step 3: Cleaning and Consolidating
Projects can get messy. Hopefully you’ve done your best to stay organized throughout your project.
(Even those of us who are obsessive about organization can forget the finer details.)
So Logic provides some Project Management options to protect us from small catastrophes.
Let’s take a look at 2 in particular:
Cleanup deletes files you don’t need anymore.
Remember the 100 guitar takes you tracked but didn’t end up using?
Those are still saved in your Project.
And remember all those times you bounced in place, but the bounce came out wrong? You deleted those from the Arrange page…
But Logic didn’t delete them from your project.
That’s why your Project is 15 gigabytes now.
It makes sense though. If Logic went ahead and deleted those files that would be WAY worse!
So Cleanup finds all the files your project isn’t actually using and gets rid of them. It also removes all those Project Alternatives you don’t need anymore as well.
But before you jump to Cleaning up your Project, consider…
Consolidate does the exact opposite of Cleanup. Instead of removing files, Consolidate collects them.
Logic is very diligent about collecting and saving files to your Project. But sometimes you might forget to check a box here or there:
And then Logic might not save some important files to your current Project.
What this means is Logic won’t copy files to the actual Project. Instead, Logic just refers to those files wherever the heck they’re located originally.
- If an uncopied Audio File is on hard-drive 1
- And your project is on hard-drive 2
You’re gonna have problems if hard-drive 1 isn’t plugged in when you open hard-drive 2’s Project.
Consolidate finds those Audio Files and copies them to your project. This ensures all your Files are always accessible to your Projects.
So I always do the following:
- Consolidate first
- Cleanup second
The way I think about it is you want Logic to locate all the important files before you start deleting files.
Step 4: Backup Your Work.
Hah! But I’m being quite serious. After:
- Exporting your Audio Files
- Consolidating your Project files
- Cleaning up your Unused files
You’re gonna want to save that session to your 3 backup locations.
Trust me – of all the steps I’ve outlined, backing up your work is by far the most important.
Cleaning up and archiving your Logic Projects is no small matter. Data is transient. The world is an unpredictable place.
Follow these steps, and the future you won’t want to go back through time to smack you upside the head:
- Backup your work to 3 separate locations
- Export your final tracks both with processing and without
- Consolidate and Cleanup your Projects
- Backup your work to 3 separate locations
Lance Peach says
Thanks for this. Logic Pro rules for sure.
Dennis Hastings says
I backed up my logic pro x files by just manually copying them to another drive. But they all turned into Logic Pro plugin files. How did that happen? I lost a lot of work.