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Track Limit in Logic Pro X (multi timbral vs single instance of Kontakt)

Mr. Ha

Active Member
Hey guys!

I recently bought a new iMac with a lot of RAM so I decided to make a new template, adding loads of things I hadn't been able to add before due to a slow computer with too little RAM.

I always used a multi timbral setup (16 kontakt instances). It was always a bit of a pain because of how I couldn't just mix while I was writing and make small volume adjustments in the left instrument column. With separate instances this was possible.

So now I have started making a big orchestral template with single instances and it all worked great till I got up to 266 tracks where I got a warning message saying that 266 tracks is the limit. I hadn't known this before because I had always used a multi timbral setup so now I'm not sure what to do. I love the separate instance setup but I need more tracks than 266 (because I use one track per articulation and not key switches).

Is there a way to get more tracks than 266 without having to go the multi timbral route?

Thanks in advance for any advice!
 

samphony

Senior Member
One way of working would be!

Prepare a template with the busses and stems and fx and a couple of instruments you always use. For all other tracks keep it modular and load them on a as needed basis. Create all sorts of combinations and either save the tracks as patches or as separate projects and use the logic project import feature.
 

Dewdman42

Senior Member
Its actually 256 instrument channels is the limit and yes that is the limit. You can have more then 256 tracks, actually you can have thousands of tracks...but you can only have 256 channel objects that are hosting instrument plugins. Actually 255, because one is used up by the metronome.

So one way to work around this, you can have multiple tracks in LPX that send data to a single channel object hosting kontakt. So you could put 16 articulations into a single instance of kontakt, each on its own midi channel. Then create a multi-instrument object in the environment and cable it to to the channel object that is hosting kontakt. Then you can create 16 tracks that go to that multi-instrument object and have your articulations on separate tracks, even though feeding into a single instance of kontakt. yes that is multi-timbral operation...but why not?
 

charlieclouser

Senior Member
To expand / correct what Dewdman42 said - you don't need to actually manually cable anything in the Environment window - just take a look at the screenshot below and do the following:

Create MultiTimbral.png

- Use the little "+" button at the upper left above the Tracks list in the Main Window to bring up the "Create New Tracks" dialog.

- In the dialog, select "Software Instrument", enable the "MultiTimbral" checkbox, and enter the desired number of MIDI channels you want for that instance, up to 16.

This will create a set of Instrument Objects in the Environment that all "point to" the same Instance of a Software Instrument, each Object on a different MIDI channel - but the entire set only uses one of your available 255 Software Instrument slots. Since every one of those 255 slots is actually multitimbral (up to 16 MIDI channels per slot), the total number of discrete, single-MIDI-channel Software Instrument sounds you can access at any one time in a Logic project is:

4,080

Even though you'll see up to 16 Objects in your Environment, any changes you make to the controls on any one of those visible Audio Objects will be applied to all of them - they're all pointing to the same, single Instrument slot and audio path. So adjusting the channel volume fader, sends, adding processing plugins - these will apply to all of the MIDI channels within that set. Think of it like a 16-channel "rack", or like an old Korg workstation keyboard that can have 16 separate sounds, but comes into your audio mixer via a single stereo pair. You'll have to use the individual volume settings for each Kontakt Instrument (or use MIDI Volume, aka CC#7) to adjust relative volumes between the sounds in the multi - the actual on-screen fader on the channel strip will adjust the master volume of all 16 slots simultaneously (which is actually kind of helpful as a way to mix that whole "sub group" relative to everything else).

I use this method to address VEPro instances in 16-channel-wide "racks", and the same method works just fine for Kontakt, Omnisphere, or whatever other software instrument you use that is multitimbral. This is a great way to group sounds which can comfortably share the same audio routing, plugin chains, etc. In fact, it's a lot quicker and easier than using Track Stacks or Auxes or whatever, and might save on instances of plugins. You could put all of your "low strings - shorts" in one 16-channel Kontakt instance, have the next be "low strings - longs" etc. etc all the way to 4,080.

Of course, you may run up against Logic's dreaded "single core" issue, where all of the instruments within any one of these multitimbral instances will need to fit on the single, last, "live" core of your CPU. So there's that little foible to look out for. If this gives you problems, it can often be reduced or eliminated by using the same approach to address a bunch of 16-channel wide VEPro Server instances, even on the same computer. Now that VEPro has the "tabbed" user interface for multiple server instances, I find this much more convenient that fiddling with the "Event Input" plugin in an effort to get around Logic's limit of 16 MIDI channels per plugin instance. I just run a new Server instance for each batch of 16 MIDI channels, and each one appears as a color-coded tab in a single VEPro window. If you do this, you can put individual instances of Kontakt in each of the 16 slots in each VEPro instance, and then you can put individual audio plugin effects on each one, and control their relative volumes using the faders on the VEPro mixer - although they'll still return to Logic via a single, summed audio path - unless you start messing with multiple return paths, Aux Objects in Logic, etc. = more headaches. It works, but I avoid it due to hassle. Plus I think you're limited to 256 Aux objects, so you'll start running out of those sooner or later.

When Logic and VSL both get around to fully implementing the AUv3 spec, we'll have true multi-port MIDI per plugin instance, so we'll all be rebuilding our templates when that rolls out. Hopefully around then we'll see a Logic update that raises the maximum number of available Instrument slots as well.

Another helpful tip you may or may not know already - when you want to rename all 16 of those Objects in the Environment Window, you can speed things up by selecting all 16 of them, then Command-Clicking on the first one, and entering a name like "Strings-1". If multiple Objects are selected, and a new name is entered, and the last character in the new name is a number, Logic will helpfully increment the number for each of the selected Objects. The result will be that the 16 Environment Objects will be named "Strings-1", "Strings-2", etc. (unfortunately, leading zeros are not created, and are in fact ignored if you attempt to enter them, but no biggie)

This also works when you want to rename a bunch of audio or MIDI Regions in the Main Window, or just about anywhere else in the program where you can select and rename multiple things at once.
 
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Dewdman42

Senior Member
There are actually three ways to use multi timbral instruments with multiple tracks. I wrote a lengthy summary about them on another forum I’ll try to post it here later. There are pros and cons to each approach.

My understanding, by the way, is that LPX has already added support for AU3 in some way but VSL has not yet. I actually don’t know of a good AU3 plugin to test it with. And even though LPX allegedly added AU3 support its not clear to me that the UI is ready to support multiple midi ports, but maybe.
 

charlieclouser

Senior Member
Yeah I haven't seen any plugins that explicitly state AU3 compatibility yet. It's more than three years since Doug Wyatt introduced the spec at WWDC 2015, so... I'm getting a little impatient!
 

JEPA

Senior Member
just an idea, how would it be additional MIDI tracks routing to external slave DAW (say Reaper hosting another 256 Virtual Instruments tracks), routing audio back to Logic Pro X through JACK or Rewire? just thinking...
 

charlieclouser

Senior Member
I actually prefer to NOT use Aux Objects to gain access to individual audio pathways for each of the instruments within a multitimbral software instrument instance, mainly because I build out my template in advance and I use up at least 64 Aux Objects as stem sub-masters and per-stem effects sends+returns. So, even with 256 Aux Objects (and busses) available, I'm already starting to run short if I want to use an Aux for every single "sound". I also kind of like having all of the 16 elements within a multi share the same audio path, whether it's a single Kontakt instance or an instance of VEPro server. This lets me use that functionality in a similar manner to how some folks use Auxes or Summing Stacks to sub-mix audio before it hits the downstream matrix of stem sub-masters.

Of course, I could compromise and use individual outs for some of the instruments that need separate processing, like drums, and leave others (like strings) grouped into single-audio-out-per-16-instruments mode - but I also hate when Logic creates Aux Objects on the fly, but that can be avoided by building out the template fully, with all of the decisions about which instruments get separate-out-Aux Objects and visual arrangement of the Environment window made beforehand. That way I can keep things visually arranged so that I'm not scrolling around looking for where audio is coming from. I'm sort of a holdover from the very old days, before the Mixer that appears at the bottom of the Main Window even existed - back when the Environment was the only place you could see and operate the controls of your Audio Objects.

But horses for courses. I have an easier time dealing with zillions of tracks if the audio pathways are kept simple, so that's a good reason for me to avoid all the hassle of separate audio pathways for each and every sound within each and every multi.
 
Isn’t another route to use Vepro6 and build there your template with the tracks you want, and pre-mix there together what you need in terms of sections and/or groupings that will lead to summing/busses. FX and panning can also be done if so needed.
Then use those ( with the limit of 255 tracks) in Logic?

EDIT: duuhh....that has already been said.

Move along.....move along, nothing to see here.... these are not the droids you are looking for.....
 
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Dewdman42

Senior Member
There are tremendous advantages to VEP, but you still basically have the same situation of needing to feed multiple tracks through a multi-timbral funnel. I don't think VEP solves anything for the OP here to avoid that.

I would also encourage the OP to explore Articulation ID and the articulation set feature of LPX to avoid having to use manually created key switches..this can reduce the need for as many tracks.
 

Alex Fraser

Senior Member
I would also encourage the OP to explore Articulation ID and the articulation set feature of LPX to avoid having to use manually created key switches..this can reduce the need for as many tracks.
Yep, that's a great idea. It suddenly makes all those "all articulations in one" kontakt patches massively usable.
Also, you could use a multi timbral Kontakt with a single instrument track, using the articulation maps to route and channelise your midi to wherever it needs to be within the entire Kontakt multi timbral setup. It's clever stuff.
 

LowweeK

Loïc D
but I also hate when Logic creates Aux Objects on the fly, but that can be avoided by building out the template fully, with all of the decisions about which instruments get separate-out-Aux Objects and visual arrangement of the Environment window made beforehand. That way I can keep things visually arranged so that I'm not scrolling around looking for where audio is coming from.
I'm of course less organized than you (being hobbyist), but I hate this too.
The fuzzy logic behind the track distribution in LPX mixer view drives me mad (That + button shown on multitimbral "core" track that adds Auxes all the way down the mixer).
Not to say that I don't see the same list of tracks on my Mackie Control, and I spend so much time scrolling from fader banks to spot the track I want to edit.
This is really something I miss from Cubase that's so lean & logic in comparison.

If you have any clue on how to organize tracks in the Mixer view, I buy it.
(and yes, I've been reading the manual & watching tutorials & experimenting).
 

Alex Fraser

Senior Member
I'm of course less organized than you (being hobbyist), but I hate this too.
The fuzzy logic behind the track distribution in LPX mixer view drives me mad (That + button shown on multitimbral "core" track that adds Auxes all the way down the mixer).
Not to say that I don't see the same list of tracks on my Mackie Control, and I spend so much time scrolling from fader banks to spot the track I want to edit.
This is really something I miss from Cubase that's so lean & logic in comparison.

If you have any clue on how to organize tracks in the Mixer view, I buy it.
(and yes, I've been reading the manual & watching tutorials & experimenting).
Yep, it can be maddening.
Couple of thing to try - apologies if you already have.

First up, make sure the mixer is in "tracks" view as makes things a little more logical.

Right click on an aux track in the mixer and select "Create Track." This places the aux track in the arrange window - but now you can move it's location in the mixer.

The other thing to try is summing track stacks. By bundling an instrument track and it's associated aux tracks into a stack bundle, you can bring some order to the chaos.
 
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