How to split a Stereo track into two mono tracks in Logic Pro X
It happens more often than one might think.
Sometimes you just want to have more control over the two different channels of a stereo track, other times you really need the content of just one side of it, or perhaps you recorded a stereo channel of a mixer setting up elements hard left and right so that you could then have that little freedom of processing in post.
Whatever the reason, in Logic Pro X you will need to follow a couple of steps to split your stereo file into two separate L and R tracks.
1 - Select the stereo region (or track) you want to convert
Make sure it is a stereo track, checking the symbol shown on the region: two adjacent circles means stereo, while a single circle means mono. If you zoom on a stereo region, you can also see that there are two separate waveforms shown, one above the other (these are the left and right channels of the file). A mono region will show just a single waveform (see picture on point 7).
2 - Convert to New Audio File
Right click (ctrl + Click) on the region, select Convert > Convert to new Audio File(s)
3 - Set the Stereo Conversion on the options menu to 'Interleaved to Split'
On the options menu that will pop up as soon as you have selected Convert to New Audio File, select 'Interleaved to Split' on Stereo Conversion. This will split the stereo track to two separate mono files. You can set the other settings as needed, but for the sake of this demonstration, we will keep the original file format, and add no dither on the process.
Select a folder where you will save your new audio files (make sure you'll find those files easily). I called my new files 'Mono Track' but you can name them anyway you see fit.
4 - Rename the files created
Once the stereo file has been converted to split monos, find them in the folder you saved them to, and rename them simply deleting the dot ('.') before the 'L' and 'R'. This is a naming format Logic Pro uses to recognise split stereo files and merge them in a single track once imported. Removing the dots will make it look to the DAW as individual mono files instead.
On the example below I added 'Split1' and 'Split2' as well, however, that's not necessary for this trick to work.
5 - Drag the renamed files in your project
After renaming the files you can re-import them into your project either creating new tracks using existing tracks, depending on your needs.
6 - Hard Pan Left and Right (if needed)
Double check that your brand new files are mono tracks: they should show a single circle on the region's name (see picture below).
To match the level of the original stereo track, you will need to turn both the faders of the mono tracks down -3dB (or, if you prefer, the region's gain level, turning it down within the region's parameter box in the upper left corner if Logic's inspector menu).
You can now hard pan left and right your brand new mono tracks if the original stereo image is required.
7 - Done!
That's it! You have successfully split a stereo track in its two mono components.
As you can see from the picture above, the waveform shown on the first track's region 'Stereo Track', is actually made of two waveforms, Left and Right (or channel 1 and 2, if you want), which have been split into two separate mono regions, which now show only a single waveform.
Share below your thoughts and ideas!
There are often different ways to achieve the same result within Logic Pro (or in any DAW) so if you have found an easier/better/alternative way to split a stereo track into two separate mono files, comment below!
For instance, if you don't actually need two separate regions but still would like to process the two channels of a stereo track using the same processing but with different settings, why not work in dual mono instead?
With the next article I will explain how to do this and what dual mono actually means.