Our in-depth Logic Pro X Review continues..
A logical development of Flex Time is the new Melodyne-like pitch correction system. Again, Flex Pitch isn’t a groundbreaking new feature, but the elegance in its implementation is breathtakingly smooth and intuitive. Arguably our favourite workflow addition, though, was the new Track Stacks feature. As you’d expect, Track Stacks allow you to merge and manage selective groups of channel faders and tracks, which is a real asset for large orchestral sessions. What makes it exceptional, though, is that the Track Stack can be saved off as a Patch (which is Logic’s new term for the old Channel Strip Settings feature), making it an extremely powerful way of building up a project from ‘modular’ collection of channel strips.
Arguably one overdue feature of Logic Pro X is support for a dedicated iPad controller, especially given the amount of third-party solutions on the market. As you’d expect integration is seamless, assuming both the iPad and Logic are on the same network, and you get immediate tactile control over the mixer, virtual instruments, key commands, basic song navigation and a range of GarageBand-like performance tools. Although you don’t get to see the virtual instruments in full, a new Smart Controls feature makes sense once you’ve fired-up Logic Remote. The Smart Controls work like large Macro knobs, making important performance controls and effects settings far more hands-on.
Among a professional user base, there’s a distinct crossover between Logic and Pro Tools, with Pro Tools still having the edge when it comes to big commercial studios. Pro Tools though, has had a somewhat difficult transition phase, ditching its old audio engine in favour of a new, 64-bit AAX architecture. Arguably, this now means Pro Tools users finally have access to what Logic Pro has had for years – namely true, 64-bit Memory access for RAM-hungry virtual instruments, and of course, the freedom to use a variety of different audio interfaces.
Assuming you’re running Mountain Lion, the transition to Logic Pro X is relatively straightforward. The new install keeps the old version of Logic on your hard drive, so you can potential run a parallel system as you make the upgrade. Projects created on previous versions of Logic will need to be re-saved to the new file format introduced in Logic Pro X, which is performed the first time you open the project.
A New Logic
Understanding the fullness of what Apple have achieved with Logic Pro X is something that takes time to appreciate and fully understand. In truth, Apple have seemingly created the Holy Grail of software updates – refreshing the entirety of the user experience and making the system more approachable, while at its heart, retaining all the core functionality and workflow that made Logic Pro such a great DAW to work with. The fact that the ‘Advanced Features’ can be switched on and off is arguably the greatest indicator of this strategy – helping create a GarageBand-friendly version of Logic Pro with just a button push! However, delve beneath the surface, and Logic’s configurability and sonic flexibility immediately makes itself apparent.
Despite the praise, the release of Logic Pro X isn’t without its caveats and strategic observations to be made. Users of older 32-bit plug-ins that haven’t updated to 64-bit versions might get a shock, although the release of Logic Pro X will undoubtedly focus the minds of plug-in developers still dragging their heels! We were also surprised to see some of the older parts of the application – notably the EXS24 – not receiving any facelifts or upgrades in the process, which is a shame given that the EXS24 is still an important and powerful part of Logic. If you haven’t already noticed it, WaveBurner has also seemingly been wiped from existence, although given the presence of iTunes, you can see why Red Book CDs aren’t high on Apple’s list of priorities!
Strategically, of course, it’s clear that Apple really seem to be sharpening Logic as a musician’s tool, arguably making Logic Pro X an appealing solution to songwriters and guitarists, as well as the producers and engineers that joined the fold back in the Emagic days. While some would like to see Logic giving Pro Tools more of a run for its money, Apple have, rather wisely we might add, seen that music production doesn’t just revolve around big music studios using all-powerful DAWs. Equally, Logic Pro X isn’t a system that panders to the market of electronic music – a section of the music making community that certainly kick-started the idea of computer-based music, but is increasingly just a part of spectrum of people producing music in a virtual domain.
After so much speculation, therefore, it’s pleasing to see the care and attention to detail Apple have lavished on Logic Pro X. Arguably it’s the best £139 a Mac-owning musician can spend, with few others DAWs matching the usability and sheer sonic dexterity that Logic Pro X offers.
+Clearer, more intuitive interface
+New Instruments and effects
– No support for 32-bit plug-ins
– Interface can get cramped on smaller screens
– EXS24 long overdue a refresh
Logic Pro X brings the usual collection of new instruments and effects, but it’s the redesigned GUI that will have the most profound effect on both new and existing users.
Minimum system requirements
OS X 10.8.4 or later, 4GB Ram, 64-bit Audio Units
Drummer and Drum Kit Designer
Bass Amp Designer
Arpeggiator and MIDI plug-ins
New Pedalboard Stompboxes