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Logic Pro X review

Logic Pro X review
Our Ross gives his verdict on Logic Pro X, Apple's own music production software

 

Alongside computers, my big passion is creating music. I make a style of music called electronic dance music (EDM), and one of the most important tools at my disposal is Apple's Logic Pro. And now the latest version has finally arrived! I know I'm not alone in looking forward to this release, and I'm pleased to say that it’s a real revolution.

I wanted to share some of my thoughts on the latest version, but as a comprehensive list of new features, updates and improvements would take all day, here's a roundup of some of my favourite features. Enjoy!

 New GUI

Track Stacks

What are Track Stacks? Well, this is not a new feature, but the new ways to access it make it worth a mention. This is just a way to send multiple tracks to the same bus, but importantly this can now be achieved from the "Arrange" window meaning that you select several tracks, right click the track and click “Create Track Stack".

 Trackstacks example

When you do this you will be presented with two options, Folder Stack and Summing Stack;

 3 folder or summing

Folder mode simply allows basic control. With Summing mode you get full access to all bus features such as FX and automation.

The advantage of Stacks is that you can create these without going into and out of the mixer. Once created you can then collapse numerous tracks into one and midi track parts are viewed as regions. This means that you could collapse an entire drum mix into one track and then move your variations around in seconds without even leaving the arrange page. If you wanted to just unpack, a tricky selection/rearrange task has been reduced to a few clicks.

The full impact of how I can implement this is interesting, and I'm looking forward to seeing if this changes the way I interact with Logic altogether.

Flex Pitch

The real game-changer everyone is talking about is “Flex Pitch”. Logic can now provide auto tune right from inside the arrange page, where you can sharpen and flatten each note. In-depth control is done from within the track view.

 Flex - track view

Other functions include all the normal auto tune capabilities plus the ability to actually change the volume of audio from right within this window.

 Flex Options

Smart Controls

Smart controls are new to Logic. Effectively whenever you add instruments or effects smart controls are automatically assigned for the major controls. This means that you can manipulate controls more quickly and easily rather than having multiple windows open. You can also assign these manually as I have below, meaning if you keep tweaking a particular control you can get to that quickly, or even better you can assign the same dial to multiple controls meaning you can sweep both a filter and a reverb amount.

 Smart Controls

Drummer tracks

Drummer tracks is a new feature in Logic X where you can select one of 15 drummers from a variety of genres (rock, alternative, songwriter and R&B; whatever best suits your song). Each drummer has a custom kit, and can perform "over a million unique groove and fill combinations". Simple controls let allow you to tailor the drummer to your needs.

If you are more interested in EDM (electronic dance music) there are no Dubstep or Electro kits although there is a disco kit. If you select this it will produce an automatic verse, chorus, intro or bridge based on the instruments or audio that’s playing. Once you have this, change the kit to an Ultrabeat kit and you will have something suitable for your EDM.

 

Drummer tracks - Ultrabeat

A few things to bear in mind

There are, as always, a few developers coming late to the party who have not yet ported their applications to 64-bit, which means that if your Mac is running 32-bit you won't be able to use it. You can check this by looking at the processor name. You can still run Logic 9 on 10.8.4, but you can't open a Logic X project with 9 (so going back isn’t going to happen once the file is converted). This is good as old projects will still be working in 9 (32bit plugs load in an audio bridge) and new fully 64-bit projects can be created in 10.

I for one think the fact logic 9 has been 64-bit for some time means I will move away from plug-ins (in the list below) as it suggests that these developers are either no longer providing support or have just moved on to other things. Sylenth1 will be a big loss to most producers of EDM but with developments like this there are many synths that can produce a similar sound.

Below is a list of plug-ins that are currently not supported in 64-bit.

For an up to date list of 64-bit plug-ins you can visit the Logic Pro Help forum.

32-bit only plug-ins

  • Arturia
  • Analog Factory
  • Brass 2
  • IK Multimedia
  • Philharmonik
  • SampleTank
  • Lennar Digital
  • Sylenth1
  • Luxonix
  • Purity

The final note

For the price of less than some of the plug-ins above, it is frankly astounding what Apple pack into Logic for such a great price (Logic Pro X is available from the Mac App Store for £139.99). I couldn’t be happier or more impressed with the update and think that Apple have taken a great step at keeping Logic Pro the best Digital Audio Workstation available (and let's not start a Logic X vs. Ableton Live debate).

 

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