Working with Logic and Pro-Tools simultaneously

Hi everyone, i’m an old Logic TDM user, i’ve worked with Logic TDM for about 15 years and obviously i was not very happy when Avid/Apple have decided to drop the TDM Feature for Logic, but also i was not happy about the limitation of that, as the ESB had only 8 mono outputs to route into the TDM mixer, and in addition TDM was very unstable, many TDM plug-in caused logic to crash or had graphical issue.

The reasons and the Hardware

For this reason, even before the announcement that logic TDM feature will be dropped, i’ve changed my workflow and i’ve started using Logic in core audio + Pro-Tools HD synced, using apple’s “Spaces”, desktop 1 i have logic, desktop 2 i have pro-tools.
I binded the desktops to my 3rd and 4th mouse buttons in order to switch quickly between them.

i’ve got a MOTU 2408mk3 that has 3 ADATS, and i’ve got an old ADAT BRIDGE 24 from Ebay that i’ve connected as legacy to my digidesign 96 interface, in this way i have 3 adats going from and to Logic/pro-tools, basically i have 24 mono outputs to route into pro-tools that is much better than the 8 available with the ESB.
I’ve got also another 2408(mk1) from a friend of mine and i have connected another 8 analog outputs to my 96i in order to have another extra 8 analog channels to send, just in case i’m running out of the adats (happened very few times honestly).

I have also the ability to route back into Logic but is a feature that i use very rarely, also because you have to manage a double roundtrip latency going to and back in, but it’s possible to do it just in case you need that, with Logic TDM that was impossible to do.

Hardware Speakng i use Pro-Tools master clock and i have got more Word Clock cables, the 2408 then is slave clock from the pro-tools interfaces.

For this reason you have to open Pro-Tools before Logic in order to set up the clock source. if you open Logic before Pro-Tools you’ll get a very bad audio playback in logic, the sound will be distorted and out of sync.

Another nice feature using this method is about the Mac internal stereo out, i’ve changed it from internal to my MOTU, so i have all the audio going into pro-tools without using any cable from the internal output, so for example i can preview any external application (like Metasynth for example, or Audacity or even Itunes or Quicktime) directly into pro-tools and to my speakers, this is crucial for me because i have an equalization on my speaker’s out in order to linearize the output and compensate for my (bad) studio resonances, it’s a selfmade method using a sine wave in Reaktor + a linear microphone, very similar to the method used by IKMultimedia Arc system, but much more precise, also i’ve made it 10 years ago, way before ARC was released (but this is another story i will discuss another time if you are interested).

Sync Logic and Pro-Tools throu MTC

As i have both programs on the same machine i’m going to use the internal IAC bus as midi device to send the MTC signal from logic to Pro-Tools, i use logic as master for 2 reasons: the first reason is that it’s my main workflow and also i have 2 logic controls so i have logic transport right on my hand, the second reason is that latency between logic and pro-tools it’s constant overtime during playback, while if you use Pro-Tools master and logic slave the latency changes slightly overtime, and this is something i don’t want to happen.

Here are the settings for Logic
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Make sure that bar 1 1 1 1 is set to 0:00:00:00 as smpte time.

Settings for Pro-Tools
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As you can see ai’ve set a sample offset of -500 samples, as in logic my buffer is 512samples, i suggest to set that offset to a value a bit smaller than your current buffer size in logic, so if you use 256 for example i would put that at -240

Now just enable the online button and make sure you have the same bpm for both daws
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Now Pro-Tools should be synched with logic and you can control it from the logic transport.

The problem

now just for testing choose an audio track, load it in both Logic and Pro-tools and press play.
You will notice that there’s a flanger effect because tracks are not synched perfectly, now stop and press play again, you will notice that the flanger effect has changed, this means that the sync between the 2 daws changes everytime you press play, this is a logic problem cause i’ve experienced the same issue using midi clock and synching logic with a PC laptop running Bidule. The good news is that it doesn’t change overtime, as you can hear the flanger effect is equal during the same playback.
Until you use Pro-Tools just as a mixer or to make some simple automations is not a big problem, we are talking about some hundreds of samples and you will not notice it if you are using it just for some automations, but if you need to make some advanced automations that requires to be perfectly in sync with logic, or for example if you want to use some pro-tools instruments or audio tracks it can be a problem.
On most of my projects i leave it as is, but sometimes i needed sample accuracy and here’s a way to obtain it:

Getting sample accurate sync with Logic and Pro-Tools

In order to get sample accuracy you need the following:
-1 mono digital out from logic to pro-tools
-1 stereo digital out from pro-tools to logic
-Plogue Bidule plug-in version 75euro+VAT
-NI Reaktor 5 … reaktor-5/ 379Euro alone or 499 the Komplete 8
-Voxengo Latency Delay FREE plug-in

Now the configuration will be a little tricky for the first time, but once you have done it you do not have to do it again, you just save the logic and pro-tools projects as autoloads and then you will start from those projects in the future.

In order to make it work you have to enable delay compensation on both daws, for logic is required while for pro-tools is optional, i mean, if you enable it in pro-tools this method will recognize also that compensation and will keep the sample accuracy.

The method works in this way, logic send a clock signal every beat throu an audio file that is a simple square that goes to +1 at every beat, pro-tools have the same clock on an audio track, then both clocks will be sent again into logic, the stereo input will go into bidule plug-in in logic and will be analyzed by Reaktor (inside bidule) that will calculate the latency, then reaktor will send midi signals to all voxengo latency delay plug-ins in order to delay compensate that latency and keep the sync.
Basically you need 1 voxengo latency delay to be inserted on every logic channel, and using the “controller assignment page” Bidule will send the amout of delay compensation to each plug-in in order to keep the sync using its internal virtual midi.

So, download the zip below that has all the required files.

[UPDATED FOR LOGIC X] Bidule AU midi out seems it’s not woking anymore¬† (i have ML and logic X now) so i made some little changes to the zip and to the guide too in order to make it works in logic X

Now start a new project in logic and add a mono audio track, take the “clock shot.wav” file and put it on every beat, for convenience i’m using audio 255 as audio256 is used to preview audio when you are in the edit window.
In order to assign audio 255 in Logic X you have to open the old fashion “midi environment” window, copy the “prelisten” audio channel and assign it to “audio 255″ using the drop down menuin the inspector on the left. After that make it mono and set the output to the one you want to sacrifice for getting the sync (in my case is adat 3, adat1-2 is used to preview apple loops for example, and also i have the mac out that comes in input 1-2 in pro-tools), and leave the volume at 0db.

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You can now close the environment window.
Now on the arrange you can re-assign your audio track to audio 255, load the “clock shot.wav” file you have found on the zip and put it on every beat for 4 measures.

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do not merge the audio shots to a bigger file because if you have to change bpm you have to do it again, pack as a folder instead and loop it.
On the mixer create an aux track
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And make it visible in arrange too

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Now add both channels to “hide track” so you will be able to remove it from the arrange (and the mixer) as you really don’t need to see it anymore once you have set it up.
Set the aux input to the one you want to sacrifice for the sync, in my case is adat in 1-2 and remove the output.
Remember also to enable the solo bypass (the diagonal red bar on the solo button) as you want this channel to always send the audio to pro-tools also when you are in solo somewhere else.
You should have something like this:
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Now in Pro-Tools make a new project and create a mono aux input and use the same channel going from logic as input (in my case adat3)
As output it has to go to the right channel of the stereo output you want to sacrifice to get the sync,in my case i’m going to use pro-tools adat out 1-2, so i will set the output to adat2.

Now create a new mono audio track and use the same clock shot.wav on every beat like you have just did in logic, group and repeat, i repeated it up to 10 minutes as i’ve never made a track longer than 10 minutes so it should be enough at least for me.
Leave the volume at 0db and set the output to the left channel you have chosed to use, in my case is Adat 1, you will have something like this, the audio track, the audio input from logic, and the output.
Remember to Solo Bypass both channels as you want those channel to send the clock even when you are soloing something else, use command click on the solo button to enable solo bypass (it becomes greyed out).
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you can now hide those tracks aswell in pro-tools as you will never need to see those again
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You have done everything in pro-tools.

Now back to Logic, open bidule as effect on the aux we have created previously and load the patch in the zip i have provided, then open reaktor in bidule and load the patch i’ve provided too.
you don’t need to set the output as this channel is used only to calculate the latency and to send the values to voxengo plug-ins
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If you try now pressing play it should already works and you will see the current latency, stop and play and you will see that the latency value in reaktor changes, that latency value is the value you have to assign to voxengo latency delay in order to reach sample accuracy, you can do it manually but if you have several channels it become a pain, so now we will set up logic in order to automate the process and it will set up the values in latency delay automatically.

As you can see from the bidule layout Reaktor’s midi out is going into IAC bus.
So now let’s put a voxengo latency delay on an audio track, you can load the same audio track also in pro-tools so you can hear the results.
what we are going to do is to link the values in reaktor to the sample values in voxengo, i’ve chosen some rarely used midi ccs, 123,122,121 and 120, as you can see from Reaktor the 123 will go on the x1000, 122 on the x100 and so on..
In order to reach this we have to use the controller assignment page in Logic, you can find it under logic pro X/control surfaces/controller assignment.
Enable expert view and make a new zone and call it “latency delay” or whatever you want to name it.
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now turn on the assign button in Reaktor.
now press the learn button on the bottom right of the controller assignment page, move the x1000 SAMPLE knob on voxengo and then press the x1000 button in reaktor, turn on the button then turn off, if everything goes fine if you do it again the knob on latency delay should move too. Turn off learn mode.
Now repeat the same procedure for the other 3 knobs, remember to turn off learn everytime you have made a new assignment.
Once you have done turn off the Assign button in Reaktor.
You should have something like this

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Now you have nearly finished, just select every new assignment you have done and change it like the one below, basically you have to change the channel strip value and put it as “index” and value 1, do it for all 4 assigments.
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Doing this you have said to logic to change the value of the latency delay on the first channel of your arrange, what you have to do now is just to copy paste the 4 assignments you have made for the desired number of track you are planning to use in your project, just paste and change the index to 2, then paste again and change index to 3 and so on..
this is an example for the first 4 tracks of your arrange:
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If you have not voxengo instanciated on your track it simply does nothing, once you insert it it will recognize and will automate it accordingly.
do some tests and see if it’s working, you have finished.
if you try press play now the tracks will not flange anymore, they will be perfectly in sync with an approximation of +-1 sample.

try inserting some plugs that has latency on both pro-tools and logic, you will see that the sync will be kept, at least until you go over the maximum allowed latency in pro-tools, on pt 8 and 9 it’s 4096 sample (that’s so stupid why there should be a limitation? we will never know)

Alternate Method (Without Bidule)

If you do not have Bidule you can use Reaktor Stand-Alone in order to do the job, just make sure that the input 1-2 in reaktor stand-alone is set  to the right channel (the stereo out that comes from pro-tools) and set the midi output to IAC Bus.
In this case you do not have to create the aux channel in Logic but you have to keep Reaktor opened.
I have not tested this solution yet, but it should works, i’ll test it next time i need that.

Alternate Method (If you want to use just plug-ins)

I’m using the above method very rarely now because i use pro-tools only to run some TDM plug-ins i like, if you want to just run some pro-tools plug-in and nothing else (and you don’t need to automate them) i strongly suggest to use the logic built in I/O plug-in, it works great and it takes care of latencies too, very easy to use and quick.

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Final notes

Lastly, go into Enviroiment and click & ports, disconnect the “sum” output from the sequencer in, else you will record the IAC Bus cc used to automate the plug-ins when you record any midi track, so connect to the sequencer in only the midi input you need, in my case i’ve connected only the midi in from my amt8*2 interface and the Network Session.
Also i use a BCF2000 in babyhui mode in order to have a controller also in pro-tools (mainly to have the faders for my multiple speaker’s out), you have to remove also that from the connection else the babyhui will send random notes to logic.

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A couple of Notes:

1 – if voxengo doesn’t receive all the signals correctly, for example 1 knob is not moving, just move it with your mouse once, then it will work forever.
2 – the controller assignments are saved into logic preferences and not into logic project. I have had in the past some problems of preferences corrupted when i had to many latency delay assignments, so for safety just make a backup of your logic cs preferences before doing this, if your logic quits unexpectedly when you open it just replace the preferences with your backup and you will be ok.
I suggest to make a backup before doing this and also make another backup once you have setted up everything.
the files are in your home library/preferences/
3 – the wav file is 16bit format, if you plan to work in pro-tools at 24bit you have to convert it to 24bit for pro-tools, pro-tools doesn’t accept multiple bit depths on the same project.

important notes about Pro-Tools versions and compatibility
-if yoy plan to get an old ADAT Bridge 24 please note that support for that card has been dropped with Pro-Tools 9 so you will be stucked with Pro-Tools 8.x
-Pro-Tools 8.1.1 is bugged and it drops the sync connection, latest working Pro-Tools 8 version that syncs properly is 8.1cs2

That’s all and hope this helps all logic tdm users that doesn’t want to drop Pro-Tools TDM yet.
If you have any question just ask.
and sorry for my english i did my best !!

edit 25/10/2012: added notes about Pro-Tools compatibility and bugs

edit 27/03/2014: changes for Logic X + new zip file

Download required files for sample accurate sync:
Sync Tools (new) - 16.1 kB

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7 Responses to Working with Logic and Pro-Tools simultaneously

  1. Dennis says:

    I’m a very interested by this thread you post, because I have the same problems of synchronization between logic and Pro Tools on 2 different machine. Unfortunately the images you post are disappeared and i can not set properly both DAW. Can you please send me a link with the images again… it should be very very helpful.
    Thanks a lot,


    • Riccardo Ferri says:

      the pics was hosted on a domain that i do not own anymore and unfortunately i do not have any backup, i will make new ones

      • Dennis says:

        Thank you very much for the quick response, I’ll wait the images to fix my problem.


        • Riccardo Ferri says:

          I’ve just updated the guide in order to use it with logic x, also i’ve made a little change to the bidule layout as Bidule MIDI out seems it’ not working anymore, download the new zip in case you want to make sample accurate sync.

          • Dennis says:

            Thank you very much! I really appreciate that! Saturnday I will try to test if all works properly and i will give you a feedback :)


  2. Dennis says:

    I’ve tested your method and i really really enjoyed it, booth two DAWS works togheter in an acceptable way, if i send the master out of Pro Tools into AUX input in logic and add Voxengo also here… But the problem is that i still have some little phase problems also if my ears doesn’t really notice that, but my analizer do and my fear is that this problems may could fool me and make me do some mixing errors:(. Do you believe that this problem are caused because my mac is not as powerful as yours? and if i try this method with 2 machines?


    • Riccardo Ferri says:

      Sorry for late reply, the nice thing about this method is that sync is sample accurate (+-1 sample to be honest) so basically every phase problem you have on a particular part of your track will be the same on every listen, so you can easily fix it, without sample accuracy it may sound good on the first listen and totally out of phase on the following one, this is the main reason i’ve created this, to have both daws plays identical on every listen.

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