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MIDI triggering in Apple Logic Pro X

In this guide, you will learn how to use MIDI notes in Logic Pro X to retrigger LFOs in ShaperBox (VolumeShaper, TimeShaper, PanShaper, FilterShaper Core, WidthShaper), PanCake, MidiShaper and FilterShaper 3.

Using this technique, the LFO will play from the beginning each time a MIDI note is received. You can therefore trigger the LFO in any pattern you like – for example, sidechain your bassline to a non-4/4 kick drum pattern.


Method A: MIDI-controlled AU Plugin

This method is available for ShaperBox (VolumeShaper 5, TimeShaper, PanShaper 2, FilterShaper Core, WidthShaper), VolumeShaper 4 and PanShaper 1. We recommend it since it gives the most accurate timing and is easier to set up.


1. Insert a new Software Instrument track

Add a new track (⌥⌘N) and choose Software Instrument



2. Add the Cableguys plugin

On the Software Instrument track, replace the instrument (E-Piano by default) with the Cableguys plugin, found in the sub-menu AU MIDI-controlled Effects.



3. Configure the Cableguys plugin

Open the Cableguys plugin and select a MIDI Triggered or MIDI 1-Shot triggering mode.



4. Route the audio signal

In the top-right of the plugin window, you can choose an audio track as the Side Chain input – select the track you want to process here.



5. Create a MIDI pattern

On the instrument track, create a MIDI clip, then add MIDI notes in the rhythm that you want to trigger the Cableguys plugin.

Any note will work, except when ShaperBox's Wave-switching MIDI Trigger option is enabled, in which case only C notes will trigger a Wave reset.



6. Mute the source track's direct output

Mute the original source track (or set its Volume to 0, or Output to "No Output") so that you do not hear the dry and wet signals simultaneously.



Method B: IAC Virtual MIDI port

This method is available for all Cableguys effects plugins, including FilterShaper 3, MidiShaper and PanCake.

Virtual MIDI ports allow you to send MIDI between applications in macOS. You can even send MIDI back into the same application, as we’ll do here to trigger audio plugins via MIDI in Logic.


1. Activate the IAC driver

Open the Audio MIDI Setup application – find it in your Applications/Utilities folder, or by doing a Spotlight search (⌘-Space) for "audio midi setup".

In the Window menu, select Show MIDI Window, double-click the IAC Driver and make sure 'Device is online' is checked.


2. Configure the Cableguys plugin

Select a MIDI Triggered or MIDI 1-Shot triggering mode in the Cableguys plugin.



3. Select the virtual MIDI port input

Click the cog/wheel icon to open the MIDI setup page. Set the Input to the virtual MIDI port you are using (e.g., "IAC Driver Bus 1").



4. Create a MIDI trigger track

Add a new track (⌥⌘N) and choose External MIDI, disabling the 'Use External Instrument plugin' option, and with Output set to the IAC driver port (e.g., "IAC Driver Bus 1").

Make sure the track is not record enabled.



5. Create a MIDI pattern

On the External MIDI Instrument track, create a MIDI clip, and add some MIDI notes in the rhythm that you want to trigger the Cableguys plugin.

Any note will work – except when ShaperBox's Wave-switching MIDI Trigger option is enabled, in which case only C notes will trigger a Wave reset.



6. Bouncing a song

Because the IAC virtual MIDI port routes MIDI outside of and back into Logic, you must select Realtime bouncing. For more info, see Apple's related support page.



Advanced: MIDI Blocking

When using the IAC method, your MIDI trigger signal is not just being sent to the Cableguys plugin – it’s being picked up by all other record/monitor-enabled MIDI tracks. This is not good if you want to record or jam with your MIDI keyboard, or other external MIDI device!

The solution is to block the MIDI channel, preventing the MIDI trigger signal being received by other instruments and effects. This can be achieved using Logic’s Environment.

1. Select a MIDI channel

Choose a MIDI channel to use for the MIDI triggering – any will work, but you should pick one that is not used by any external MIDI controller, otherwise the controller will be blocked too.

We will use channel 16 for this example.

Open the Cableguys plugin and click the small wheel/cog by the MIDI trigger selector. Set your chosen MIDI channel in the dropdown menu.

Set the Output of your External MIDI track to the same MIDI channel.



2. Add a Transformer in the Environment

Open the Environment in Logic (⌘0). Click on Layer in the upper left corner and select 'Click & ports'.

Click New and select Transformer from the menu. Drag the Transformer module to place it just left of the 'Input notes' keyboard.



3. Connect the Transformer

Drag from the small triangle where it says Sum (on the Physical Input) to the Transformer – the Transformer turns white when the connection is made, so release the mouse button. Do the same to connect the Transformer’s output (small triangle) to Input Notes.



4. Block the MIDI channel inside Transformer

Double click on the Transformer and set Mode to Filter Matching Events.

Set Status to '=' and Note.

Set Channel to '=' and the MIDI channel number you chose in Step 1 (eg, 16).

Now all MIDI notes on your chosen MIDI channel will be blocked before they reach Logic's tracks.