Connecting Control Surfaces

Logic Express supports a variety of control surfaces that connect to your computer using FireWire, USB, and other connection protocols. Be sure to check the type of connection that your device features, and that it is supported by your computer. Before connecting the device, read the installation instructions included with it, and install the latest version of any appropriate firmware or driver software, if needed. For more information, refer to the documentation that came with the device.

Connecting FireWire and USB Control Surfaces

If your control surface has a FireWire or USB port, you can connect it directly to your computer, using a cable with the appropriate connectors. FireWire and USB devices transmit and receive data through a single cable, if the device supports bidirectional communication. The following diagram illustrates a typical setup using a FireWire or USB cable:

Figure. Image showing FireWire and USB connections between a control surface and computer.

It is recommended that you connect FireWire and USB devices directly to your computer, rather than through a hub. Daisy-chaining devices can result in errors and other problems, due to the amount of data transmitted in real time.

Connecting Control Surfaces via Networking Ports

A handful of devices are connected via the network (LAN) ports of your Mac computer, using a single, standard (CAT5) networking cable. Most devices connected in this way also incorporate audio I/O and digital audio converters, plus built-in MIDI ports, making the addition of these peripherals a simple, single cable (and driver) installation.

As with FireWire and USB, it is recommended that such devices are directly connected to the computer, rather than through a network hub or switch.

Connecting MIDI Control Surfaces

If your control surface has MIDI input and output ports, you can connect it to a MIDI interface, and connect the MIDI interface to your computer. MIDI interfaces are typically connected to your computer via the USB or FireWire connection protocols. MIDI uses separate ports for input and output, and you must connect both the MIDI input and output to use the device with Logic Express. The following diagram illustrates a typical setup using MIDI input and output:

Figure. Image showing MIDI interface connection of a control surface to a computer.

It is recommended that you do not daisy-chain other MIDI devices via MIDI through to the MIDI In or Out ports used by control surfaces. Daisy-chaining can result in errors and other problems, due to the amount of data transmitted in real time.

Optional Footswitches and Pedals

Some control surfaces allow you to connect footswitches or pedals as additional controllers. If your control surface features suitable connectors, you can connect optional footswitches to remotely control playback and other functions. This frees your hands for other controls, and can also be helpful when using guitars or other instruments that require two-handed playing.

Powering Up

Once everything is connected, press the power switch on your control surface. Once powered, the displays (such as an LCD, if your device has one) or LEDs are lit. Some LCDs display a welcome message, which includes the firmware version number. On most control surfaces with motorized faders, each fader will slide to its top position, then back to its bottom or center position. This self-diagnostic power-on procedure indicates that your units are functioning correctly.

Generally, you can turn on your computer (and MIDI interface, if applicable) either before or after you turn on the control surface, and open Logic Express either before or after the control surface is powered up. Some devices, however, may require the computer to be turned on before or after the device has initialized. Check the device documentation, and manufacturer website.