Hi. My name is Jan Zurcher.
I’m a singer-songwriter living in a
small town called Friday Harbor, San
Juan Island, Washington
This lesson is for Week 3 of the
Introduction to Music Production
Course at Coursera.org. The topic I
have chosen to look at this week is…
Channel Strips are found on mixing boards. Here is a screen shot of the Mixer in Logic Express 9.0.
The first Channel Strip is highlighted. This represents one track. It is a vertical strip because the
signal flow runs from top to bottom (with a few exceptions).
There is a Channel Strip for each track. The strips are arranged from left to right across the mixer.
Right now, the Mixer is showing 18 different Channel Strips.
This presentation will look at a single Channel Strip and provides a description of each component of
the Channel Strip, how it is used and how it fits into the signal flow.
Here is what a single Channel Strip looks like in Logic
It is similar in layout to what you would see on an
Not all Digital Audio Workstations (DAWs) will have a
mixer with channel strips but many of them do.
In my DAW, for each track created – whether vocal,
instrumental, software instrument or midi, a Channel
Strip is created.
In order to keep them all straight, it’s important to
give each track a name. That track name will also
show up as the name of the Channel Strip.
Here you see the Channel Strip for the Lead Vocal
track. The number indicates where the track appears
in the Arranger window of the DAW. In this case, it is
At the top of the Channel Strip is a button labeled
“Setting”. This button gives you easy access to numerous
If you click that button, you can select from pre-built
settings related to spaces, electric and acoustic guitars,
vocals and so on. So, instead of deciding on your own
equalization, inserts, sends and other settings, you can
use one already built into the DAW.
The next screen shows the types of choices you have.
Here you see the Electric Guitar choice expanded out to the final options.
The rightmost Channel Strip shows the
inserts that are added automatically when
you chose Electric Guitar Complete Rigs
Blues Pawnshop Blues.
Notice the differences on this Channel
Strip compared to the original one before
the Setting selection was made (shown on
You can see that equalization was added
plus 5 things are now listed under the
While Pre-sets are a great convenience,
you should also know how to make your
Below the Settings button is a field that
contains the letters “EQ”.
It is here that you can select the equalization
for the track. The equalization you chose will
be applied to the entire signal. It is the first
thing through which the signal flows.
You can either set the equalization
“manually” or by using preset equalization
To access the equalizer, double click on the
letters EQ (or anywhere in the field).
This opens up the Channel EQ window as
shown on the next slide…
You can adjust the
frequencies in the
Channel EQ window by
clicking on the green
line and dragging the
line to the shape you
You can also select
from a series of pre-
built EQ curves by
clicking on the down
arrow to the right of
the word “#default”.
This opens up a set of
choices as shown on
the next slide…
Here you can see
your set of choices
And, here you can see the
equalization curve for the
Male Lead Vocal choice.
The next section of the Channel Strip contains
Inserts in a DAW are the equivalent of running
your signal from your analog mixing board
into an external effect and then back into the
In terms of signal flow, when you use an
insert, 100% of the signal flows through the
Inserts often include such things as equalizers
or dynamic effects such as compressors – the
types of things that you would want to apply
to the entire signal.
In Logic Express 9.0, although you initially
see only two slots in the Inserts section of
the Channel Strip, you can add up to 15
inserts. More slots are added as you fill
the existing slots.
The signal flows through each insert in
the order in which it appears in the
Channel Strip, so you need to think about
how that will affect your signal and
arrange inserts in an appropriate
The next section of the Channel Strip deals
with things called “Sends”.
Sends are often used when you want to
apply the same effect to a number of
different signals (or tracks) at the same
Sends is one place where the principal of
top to bottom signal flow is not maintained.
This is because sends may be either before
or after the Channel Strip volume level
fader (that is, pre-fader, post-fader or post-
Pre-fader sends are used mainly to
monitor the signal in headphones or
on-stage monitors. This lets you
control the mix and volume in monitors
differently than you might control the
mix and volume of the signal sent to
your output track or house speakers (in
a live performance situation).
Sends are typically used in conjunction
with Auxiliary Channel Strips and
Sends using Auxiliary Channel Strips
and busses are a good way to handle
intensive computational tasks such as
applying reverb because through this
method you can apply a single effect to
multiple tracks at the same time.
Next is the I/O (Input and Output) section
of the Channel Strip.
With these buttons, you control which
input comes into the strip and where the
In this example, the signal comes from
Input 1 and the output is being sent to the
Stereo Out Channel Strip (which is the
default when a Channel Strip is created for
each new track.)
You can set the input to be any input on
your audio interface. You can also set the
output to stereo, mono or to a bus.
Next on the Channel Strip is a button
that allows you to group tracks
Although this does not directly
impact signal flow, once tracks are
grouped, you can control the
parameters on all of the grouped
tracks at the same time – including
mute, volume and so on.
The final section of the
Channel Strip is used to
control the volume and pan of
the signal as well as the type
of automation used for these
parameters on the track.
This button controls the way
that automation works when
you use it.
While there is not time within
this short presentation to
explain automation, just
remember that this is where
you chose to set automation to
Read, Write, Touch or Latch
This knob is used to control the
pan – that is, how much of the
signal is output to the right or left
Pan in Logic Express is measured
in numbers that range for 0
(equally to left and right) through
to 63 – 100% to either the right or
This slider is called the
Volume Fader. It is used to
set the volume or level of
the signal coming through
Moving it upwards increases
the volume; downwards
decreases the volume.
In Logic Express 9.0, the
volume of each Channel Strip
defaults to a 0.0 setting as
It can be adjusted upward to a
reading of 6.0 (very loud and
distorted) and downward to a
setting of -infinity (that is,
cannot be heard).
To the left of the Volume
Fader is a small window
called the Level Meter.
This shows you the level of
the signal during playback
The level is displayed in the
level meter as a series of
small lines that change
colour as the volume
approaches a high level
where distortion is likely
Just above the Level Meter is a
small window that shows you the
peak volume on the track.
You can use this to help decide
how much to reduce the volume
to keep it out of an inappropriate
Finally, there are a series of small
buttons that let you:
• Mute (M) the track so that it
cannot be heard;
• Solo (S) the track – signal from
other tracks cannot be heard;
• Change the Input/Output (O) of
the track to toggle between
Input 1 and Input 1-2 (mono and
• Input Monitoring (I) - allows you
to hear the audio on tracks that
are not armed for recording:
• Record enable (R) - arms the
track for recording
That completes our tour of a Channel Strip in Logic
Basically, the input enters the Channel Strip at the
top, flows through any Equalization and Inserts you
Sends may interrupt that flow to send the signal
(or part of it) through an auxiliary track.
With the I/O section, you can control whether the
signal is mono or stereo and where the output is
In the lower section of the strip, you control the
Pan (or balance) from left to right and the Volume
Level of the signal.