What are Untagged Loops?

What are Untagged Loops?

What are Untagged Loops? 1024 546 Crē•8 Music Academy

The popularity of working with loops and one-shots in a digital audio workstation has never been higher.  Modern record producers spend hours, even days, searching for loops and sounds to use that properly convey their emotion to a listener.  This process is the result of a rise in digital, subscription-based or one-time purchase loop and sound services. Sites like Splice, Zenhiser, Sample Magic, Sounds.com, reFX Vengeance and Big Fish Audio have become sources that aid in a music producer’s craft.  After a producer has obtained a batch of sounds or loops to incorporate into a production, the first step in putting them to work is to load them into the DAW.  

For producers who use Logic Pro X, an option to incorporate these sounds and loops is to use the Untagged Loops feature.  To be clear, Untagged Loops are not Apple Loops, nor is this process the same as creating Apple Loops.  Untagged Loops do not have the tags, and embedded information of Apple Loops, so they do not possess the same functionality, time and pitch stretching capabilities.

So what are Untagged Loops?  These are loops, files and sounds that serve as an additional library, alongside Apple Loops, that can be time and pitch stretched to match the Logic project’s bpm and key (albeit over a smaller distance than encoded Apple Loops).  The big advantages of creating an Untagged Loops library are having quick access to inspiring sounds and the ability to use any audio file in this fashion (including original recordings).

Get Organized

After a batch of inspiring sounds have been collected, make sure to stay organized.  This will further enhance your ability to think creatively, as opposed to stopping and searching for files.  Create instrument-specific folders, then narrow it down further by attributes.

For example, you may have a folder hierarchy that looks a bit like this:

Logic Pro X Apple Untagged Loops tutorial snare files

These folders (or individual files) can be added into the Untagged Loops tab and then incorporated into your workflow.

Adding Untagged Loops

After you have obtained a batch of loops that are going to fit well with your personal creativity, there are three ways to add them to a Logic Pro X session.

Method One: Add a Folder

Inside of Logic Pro X, use the All Files Browser.  Right-click a folder and select “Add to Untagged Loops Library” from the shortcut menu.  When using this method, remember that only folders can be added (if you want to add an individual loop and prevent a frustrating experience, scroll down to method two).

Logic Pro X Apple Untagged Loops tutorial All media files
Logic Pro X Apple Untagged Loops tutorial VPop BPM naming

Right-click or Control + Click on the folder and select “Add to Untagged Loops”.

Logic Pro X Apple Untagged Loops tutorial All files add window

Logic will recognize the procedure and verify that these loops with be time-stretched to match the bpm of the project.

Logic Pro X Apple Untagged Loops tutorial Add to loops window

The Untagged Loops tab will appear and the files will now be accessible from the Loops browser.

Logic Pro X Apple Untagged Loops tutorial VPop file

Method Two: Add a File

In the Finder, copy a loop or folder containing loops to Music > Audio Music Apps > Untagged Loops (be aware that this Untagged Loops folder only appears once a file is added to the Untagged Loops browser).

First, navigate one Finder window to the Untagged Loops Browser and another Finder window to the loop(s) to be added;

Logic Pro X Apple Untagged Loops tutorial music files
Logic Pro X Apple Untagged Loops tutorial Audio wave file

Next, make sure to Command + C to copy the loop, then Command + V to paste it into the Untagged Loops folder.  This is best practice and will guarantee that the only copy of the file doesn’t permanently move to the Untagged Loops folder and vacate its original location.

Logic Pro X Apple Untagged Loops tutorial music files

The individual loop now appears next to the previously added folder in the Untagged Loops tab.

Logic Pro X Apple Untagged Loops tutorial files in folder

Method Three: Drag and Drop

Drag a loop or folder containing loops into the Untagged Loops tab of the Loop Browser.  Note: The Untagged Loops tab will not be visible until loops have been added using one of the previous two methods.  Also, be aware that this will permanently move the file to the Untagged Loops folder and vacate its original location.

Logic Pro X Apple Untagged Loops tutorial multiple windows

The loop now appears in the Untagged Loops tab. If you are still having trouble with these three steps, consider finding a music production mentor who can help make the experience less frustrating.

Logic Pro X Apple Untagged Loops tutorial Window files

Workflow

Auditioning at Project Tempo

In order to audition the loop at the project’s tempo, right-click in the Untagged Loops tab and select Preview > At Project Tempo from the shortcut menu.

Logic Pro X Apple Untagged Loops tutorial preview tempo project

Click on the file or on the play button at the bottom of the Loop Browser to audition.  Adjust the volume slider accordingly.

Logic Pro X Apple Untagged Loops tutorial timeline beatwave

Adding to Tracks in the Workspace

After auditioning the loop at the project’s bpm, create an audio track to host the new loop being added to the workspace.  Important: In the region inspector, make sure that Flex & Follow is turned on!

Logic Pro X Apple Untagged Loops tutorial Audio window default
Logic Pro X Apple Untagged Loops tutorial Audio window

Next, drap the loop from the Untagged Loops browser to the audio track.

Logic Pro X Apple Untagged Loops tutorial files positioning wave

Logic will prompt an option to view the loop in Smart Editor.  This is not necessary unless you desire to adjust which transients are landing on a particular bar or beat. As a note of inspiration, anyone with training, practice, and drive can create professional sound on a moderate budget. Understanding the tools of our trade is the first step in that process!

Logic Pro X Apple Untagged Loops tutorial edit downbeat show

The loop is now active on the audio track in the workspace.

Logic Pro X Apple Untagged Loops tutorial song beatwave

Removing Loops and Folders

To remove a folder, right-click and select “Remove from Untagged Loops”.

Logic Pro X Apple Untagged Loops tutorial remove from box

To remove an individual loop, navigate to Music > Audio Music Apps > Untagged Loops.  Delete the loop to be removed.

Logic Pro X Apple Untagged Loops tutorial app files

Refresh the Loops browser by closing it and opening it again.  The individual loop has been removed.

Logic Pro X Apple Untagged Loops tutorial files

A Note About Artifacts

Artifacts are the audible result of overstretching audio (time and/or pitch).  These artifacts are present in any DAW, plug-in or piece of software that performs these functions.  The difference between the algorithms of each program dictates how far the file can be stretched before artifacting. This is where Apple Loops are superior to all: they are specially encoded to stretch further than any other sort of audio file or signal.  That being acknowledged, The Untagged Loops option is a more organized, efficient approach to incorporating loops, sounds and samples into your production, as opposed to drag-and-dropping audio files into the workspace and then Option + dragging the region to the downbeat of a bar.

Building a library of Untagged Loops is an efficient way to increase speed and accuracy.  Less time waiting and guessing always leads to productive and creative decision-making, which is the backbone of professional record production.

Authors

Doug Fenske – Director of Education
Alex Flores – Campus Manager

Crē•8 Music Academy provides four music production courses through a unique partnership with Westlake Recording Studios (Rihanna, The Weeknd, Michael Jackson, Adele).

Contact Us

Activate your musical instincts and learn to use Untagged Loops, Flex Pitch, and Tracks Stacks in our ACTIV•8 music production course at Crē•8 Music Academy. Click here or fill out the form below to start a conversation with one of our highly trained admissions representatives and find out how we can help YOU take your music to the next level.

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