Logic Pro X: The Future is Wow

Master Logic Pro trainer and celebrated musician, Steve H, explains what makes this (r)evolutionary upgrade to Logic the best yet in this alternative review of Apple's flagship DAW.  
Flex Pitch is one of the major new features in Logic Pro X.

Flex Pitch: One of the major new features in Logic Pro X.


Change can be traumatic, especially when that involves your DAW! It’s an extraordinary difficult task for any software company to update their flagship software because it directly affects people’s lives and livelihoods. Thousands of users who depend upon that software... who live, eat and breathe that software... who use it every day to put food on the table are anticipating and worried about change.  Geez... I don’t know how all those engineers, product designers and marketing gurus can even sleep at night! So, should they be worried? Should you? Am I? Read on!


The Evolution of Logic Pro X

There are lots of questions that Apple (and the Logic team in Germany) had to ask and answer in developing Logic Pro X: What features and functionality do you keep? How do you introduce new ones? Do you take a revolutionary approach, breaking all ties to the past? Or, do you take the evolutionary, Darwinian way, gently nudging Logic Pro’s DNA into a brave new world? And, in the case of Logic, how do you make the most powerful, creative, feature-rich and most widely used DAW on the planet even better without upsetting some users!? Perhaps this is the most pressing question of all!!

So let’s take a ride on the time machine (pun intended). I’ve been using Logic professionally for almost 2 decades. I’ve witnessed many Logic versions (some endured with great DAW hardship, like when I had to purchase Space Designer separately for many hundreds of dollars only to discover it was included in the next rev!) What I’m trying to put across here is that the professional me has watched Logic grow up and transform –not unlike some primordial life form– for a long, long time. I’ve been both a Logic flag waver and its biggest critic. So, I’ve a pretty good view from here, and this is what I see.

There's lots to like in the new Logic Pro X… whether you think of it as evolutionary or revolutionary is up to you!

There's lots to like in the new Logic Pro X… whether you think of it as evolutionary or revolutionary is up to you!


The magic of Logic Pro

The simple answer is: I really like Logic Pro X and it’s definitely not in a fanboy kind of way. I like it because it’s both revolutionary and evolutionary. How is that even possible? There are tons of big and little redesigns, advancements and features that are both extraordinary and subtle, yet, I found that I could sit down and begin using it with an extreme level of comfort from when I first boot it up. 

The redesigned Mixer and channel strips in Logic Pro X.

The redesigned Mixer and channel strips in Logic Pro X.


That’s the (e)magic of Logic Pro X. It’s got a new darker look and window arrangement, the menus have been rearranged and it comes with a whole new loop and sound library. It’s filled with technologies like Flex Pitch, MIDI FX, Track Stacks, Smart Controls and audio “region” editing in the Audio Editor (awesome). Even the channel strips and mixer are redesigned! Logic Pro X also comes with a free iPad app called Logic Remote that can be downloaded from the App Store. It’s a multi-touch, intelligent second screen and performance tool designed exclusively for Logic Pro X. But with all these changes –and that’s just the short list– you’ll find it’s an easy and luxurious transition into a powerful, new world of music exploration.


Steve H's Verdict

Confession time: I’ve been banging on Logic X for about a month now and I started to feel a little guilty. It’s like I’ve fallen in love with Logic 9’s younger sister and there’s no turning back! In fact, I haven’t opened or even missed Logic 9 at all. Is that wrong?

Oh, sure, change is difficult for some people and there will be cranks out there who won’t like Logic X for one reason or another. I say embrace the change because Logic Pro X is an incredibly powerful, innovative and inspiring music production workstation that will enhance the way you realize, produce and perform your music for many years to come. 

Viva la evolution/revolution!

Web: http://www.apple.com/logic-pro/

"Twice Emmy-nominated Steve Horelick is a Logic Pro Master and industry-leading audio producer. You might know him from TV's "Reading Rainbow" ... he scored every episode of that program." Read More

Discussion

BenB
I totally agree. FCP X is the same way, except released about a year too early. I'm glad they took their time and did it right, rather than rush it out the door half baked. I've only been banging on it for two days, and I'm blown away with how easily and how fast I can get through my audio work. And I've been using Logic since 9, cause the earlier versions where simply too complex to really learn properly. But this one, yes, fully pro, fully the future, full tilt boogie!
MrGalaxy
Thanks Steve for your excellent tutorials on Logic Pro X! As always they inform and entertain!!! Looking forward to seeing what Igor will be up to in the ensuing new tutorials you put together as you teach us more about the new version! You ROCK!!!!!
Chris Polus
I personally am not as enthusiastic about this update as my fav tutor Steve. I waited for so long for a new version, and Apple never said anything if there was one to come or this was it. While other DAWs had 2 or 3 major versions come and go, Logic still was at 9, while Mac OS advanced. No auto save, Logic would often freeze and it got so unreliable in the latest versions of Mac OS X, even with a fresh install, that I could not work on a session without having it freeze, crash, or do something bad. It really made my workday harder than it should. Maybe it was bad luck regarding my machine, software, OS constellation. I don't know. It had gotten to the point where it was nearly unusable for me. And not knowing if Apple would release a new Logic this year or in 4 years or never, as they don't like to communicate these things, I just moved on and went to another DAW.

Compared to Logic this was a new, modern world. Many really great features that are only now finally in Logic, Studio One had for a year. Audio region editing, patches, auto save, modern looking plugins that look coherent as if made by one company with one voice.

Logics inactive channel strip elements are so poor on contrast that with my vision (that's a little impaired) I really need to get close to the monitor to be able to read what's the MIDI FX, what's the instrument and what the audio FX. It's hard to see, very low on contrast.

I get that, for pro users, backwards compatibility is really a very good thing. But Logic's built-in plugins could have used a major UI overhaul. Plugins that got accumulated from the Emagic days (from the silver, gold and platinum packages) are still there and now we still have platinum and silver reverbs, plugins that give me eye cancer like Ultrabeat and the ES synths from last century. The interface was modernized, but the existing plugins look like made by 10 different companies over a period of 20 years. No UI consistency.
Apple as a company moves away from real world skeuomorphic design in OS X and iOS, yet all new Logic plugins go the exact opposite direction.
Many things have different names now, MIDI Draw and Step Editor for example. But they are mostly the old hard to use editors in a new fancy dress. From a usability perspective I find these still very hard to use, clunky and unintuitive. That's just my personal opinion of course.
I read something about a totally redesigned browser and that all was now unified on the left side. But loop browsers are still on the right, and now we have another, additional browser for patches and plugin settings on the left. Browsers are all over the place now.
To my eyes, having now worked with another DAW to broaden the horizon, this feels like a make-up makeover. Which is an OK thing. Lots of little tweaks to the workflow. And there are great things like the Drummer and the MIDI FX.
But, after such a long time of development, I had hoped for a little more changes under the hood. Final Cut Pro X came out too early, agreed. But they created a new architectural foundation, made changes under the hood so they could innovate for the next 10 years they said. Modern architecture to build great things upon. With the old environment in Logic and all the old plugins still around it looks to me as if the inner mechanics of Logic were not even touched for compatibility's sake. So what took so long? The interface makeover? Or programming the Drummer's intelligence?
Having been on the other side of the fence using another DAW for some months now it looks to me Logic caught up to functionality other DAWs had for years. But it's still relying on 15 year old architecture. Not a stellar position to continue development in my opinion.

I love to see that Logic is not dead, though. And I hope they'll now bring updates and upgrades more frequently and don't let us wait 4 years without any info regarding the future.

All this of course just reflects my personal opinion of how I use or used Logic and the things I personally was and am not happy with.
Steve H. Publisher
Hi Chris,

Thanks for the thoughtful reply. Let’s talk about it a bit. I, too, have some minor vision issues. For me however, having the “inactive” elements pushed to background makes finding the bright blue and green active elements even easier. At first, I too was having problems. But once I got used to the new channel strip arrangements (and because they more accurately represent signal flow) I’m find navigation a whole lot easier.

Regarding plugin look and feel: I thought for sure that they ALL would look like Bass Amp Designer with its sexy graphics and emotional appeal. But then I realized that Logic’s workhorse plugins would be totally distracting, and difficult to see and use if the graphics were souped up! Besides, there’s a comfort level in tweaking the familiar parameters in familiar locations! And, for those of us who need a little vision aid.. this kind of design plugs can be easily expanded to any size! Besides, with Smart Controls you can now create your own GUIs!!

Goodbye Hyper! Hello MIDI! You really miss the terms Hyperdarw and the Hyper Editor? I don’t. I’m sure that we all agree with you that the Step Editor need a major facelift and usability-lift... rather than only a name change!

The redesigned, better organized Library on the left, to me, is a major enhancement. Arguably, it’s the one of most important areas when creating tracks and should be where you can find it, without lumping it together with all the other media/notes and other browsers on the right.

My biggest disappointment was the EXS-24. I expected a huge redesign. But then I though about deeply about Samplers: They’re so 20th century. I now believe that the future is about creative, intelligent and highly programable focussed tools, like Drummer, that give you the illusion of collaborating with great artists in the studio. I can only hope that future brings more of these kinds of artificially intelligent creative tools for guitars, basses, horn sections, strings etc. Besides, who needs another sampler when there’s Kontakt. Oh, actually, I do. I need a Sampler just like the EXS-24 that does exactly what a sampler built into a DAW needs to do without gulping up CPU. Try using 20 instances of our favorite NI product! They compliment each other!

Then there’s Drummer, Flex Pitch, Track Stacks, MIDI FX and thousands of enhancements that are, already, making my life easier (and more fun). Oh, and let’s not forget Logic Pro X’s new Autosave function. It has saved my butt several times while making these courses! Remember, this is a dot-zero release. There’s a lot of room for growth here!
Is Logic perfect? Absolutely not. Do I expect perfection? NO, it has ALWAYS been Logic’s imperfections that I’ve loved the most. (I’m weird that way!) Is it a inspiring to use and create music with?

Absolutely.
Chris Polus
Hehe, thanks for your reply Steve :)

Don't get me wrong. Many of the new functions are REAL life savers (Autosave) and make it very efficient and fun to work with (MIDI FX, Track Stacks, Smart Controls).

Oh man, just thinking of the old folders. Brrr! Put something into a folder and the old tracks remained empty outside the folder. One needed to clean the arrangement view over and over - I'm sure something that your assistant Igor was tasked with to do for you. There was no summing. To mute something one had to go into the folder and individually mute or solo tracks. It was an in-out-in-out experience. Track Stacks for that matter are soooo great! A super-huge improvement, I agree!

But something Studio One for example had for a long time. Logic only feels like it finally caught up. Autosave is not exactly a very modern invention, either. Something Logic should have gotten a looong time ago in my opinion :)

I just realize that I sound a little bitter. "If you like your other friend better then why you don't just leave?" OK, OK. Why I'm here is because I care. I like Logic a lot and would like it to stay my DAW of choice. I have a ton of projects in Logic and I would like to keep using it.

To your other points. No, I don't miss the name "Hyper Editor" one bit. As you stated, I hoped it would be more of a usability-lift rather than only a name change.

I still think samplers are a great tools for sound design! I would have liked a usability overhaul and facelift on EXS24 so I don't have to go to other samplers. What's the point of having a built-in sampler if the advice is to use Kontakt.

As much as you like Logic's quirks and imperfections, I hate them. I'm somebody who absolutely has to have a clean table to start working. Everything properly arranged :) And I like these properties in a software, too. Consistency in the GUI and workflow. Hehe, it's just a different personal way of working best and being most productive in our individual sound and music lair.

My worry is that there was more facelift going on and less "making Logic ready for the next 10 years of modern software development and upgrades". Logic is the old barn where your grandpa accumulated all sorts of different looking and strange tools over the past 50 years ;) Judging from the reviews I read I'm not in the majority to feel this way. Fair enough.

Again, thanks for your comment Steve. A lot of wisdom in there.
Lung
I wish they improved the EXS24. So much for the Redmatica acquisition, for now. I do like the update overall though.
MrGalaxy
I like the update too but agree the EXS24 and all the compressors etc should also get revamped to be consistent with all the other DAWs in performance and specifically in context to Logic's own GUI facelift! But I have to say, Apple kept their promises over Final Cut Pro X and have updated it sufficiently enough to make it what it seemed in the first place and I guess Apple will add new stuff for Logic in the future too!!! Here's hoping!!!

Micheil Reid.
defkam
I agree with Chris. Happy to have a new version, but not thrill by it. It's more a kind of "integration" release with includes the improvements of the other Apple audio software reached in the meantime : GarageBand, GarageBand for Ipad, Mainstage.... with some features inspired from Ableton as the Stack tracks...

Flex pitch is nice, but when you know melodyne, you don't jump to roomcell

It's clear it is a good thing to stay familiar with Logic 9 and not to have been thrown into a kind of Final Cut Pro X maelstrom, but a bit of more magic would have been appreciated.
Tom
Hi Steve,

I wish I had teachers like you in school. I would have been a different person. I guess, teaching is an art! not every one can teach!!

Thank you for Logic X learning videos, I've learnt so much in the last three weeks than the 4 odd years that I had Logic sitting on my desktop.

You are a brilliant teacher and I admire your patience and sense of humor.

Thanks Steve and God bless!
Steve H. Publisher
Hi Tom,

Thanks so much for your kind words. It means a lot to me that the training that I create has helped you and others around the world. Teaching is something that I like to do more than just about anything else. That's why several years ago I decided to become the publisher for macProVideo.com. It wasn't an easy decision. As I had a very successful career composing music for TV and film.

There are more important things in life than just success. And teaching has always brought me a lot of satisfaction. That's why it's so important to me to hear this kind of feedback from people like you. Good luck with your music and your life. All the best,
Steve
Chris Polus
I bought some tutorials because I knew Steve did them. And if I didn't know most of what I personally need for Logic already (I own most macProVideo Logic 9 courses) and if I hadn't years of experience, I'd consider buying the courses just for the entertainment!

So I'd like to chime in and say I really enjoyed your courses. It's a big part of what macProVideo is about for me. It's not just "deliver the info". You do it with great pleasure, passion and entertainment. And this is definitely something that comes across to the viewer and sets your courses apart from everything I've seen.

Thanks Steve!
Steve H. Publisher
Hi Chris,

(Let me finish blushing!)

It feels great to be making courses again! Especially in light of the wonderful responses I'm receiving! Thanks for that!!

So what should I do next....?

Steve
Chris Polus
I just thought of something I would love to have as course from you, Steve :)

I don't know if you're the right person for this but courses on MPV are very diverse, from Photoshop to Motion to different DAWs, so why not!

I'd really like to have a "Sound Designer" course from MPV! I'd be all over it! I'm not talking about a musical sound designer course: How to use compressor and how to dial in crazy settings into a synthesizer. Nope. I'm really talking about designing sound as ambience. How to make robotic sounds, robots, ice cracking, deep rumble, earthquakes, how to creatively design big gun shots from several perspectives of a recording, how to layer sounds for huge crashes, how to abuse a highway recording to create the voice of a giant reptile bird, canon explosions, how to use filters to make a sound bigger, plugins and synthesizers, create prehistoric or future sonic ambiences. How to make things sound larger in a believable manner not by only pitch shifting it down. How to use reverb plugins properly create believable rooms, halls, caves, sound coming from behind closed doors.

That would really be something I'd buy in an instant!

I know a lot is dependent from the source material, but there are many basics that one can cover to start a thinking process and know how to continue exploring the space. Something that gets us started.

I found this course: http://www.macprovideo.com/tutorial/live-402-killer-sound-design

But this only says sound design when in fact it's more for audio engineers and music producer techniques, not "Sound Designer" in the classical movie sound sense of the word. But I'd really like that.

Do you know anybody who'd do such a course? You? ^^

Chris

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