For post-production, movie and online game composers, and home-studio musicians alike, Logic Professional X ($199.99) continues to set the bar for pro-level audio editing at a cut price value. The newest model 10.four accommodates an unusually massive variety of helpful upgrades, and the replace is as soon as once more free to present Professional X homeowners. The package deal places much more stress on its well-established digital audio workstation, or DAW, opponents, a few of which have moved to subscription-based pricing that make them costlier to purchase and keep over the long run. Except you want Avid Pro Tools for compatibility with different studios, or just since you’re extra aware of it, Logic Professional stays our favourite mainstream DAW incomes an ideal rating and an Editors’ Alternative award.
Setup, Set up, and Interface
To get began with Logic Professional X 10.four, you will want a latest Mac operating OS X v10.12 (Sierra) or later, with not less than 4GB RAM and 6GB of free area for the bottom program. To put in the whole lot, together with the entire packaged synths, devices, loops, and results, you will want 63GB free. As all the time, Logic Professional X would not require or software program copy safety; so long as you are logged into the Apple Retailer together with your account, you’ll be able to obtain, set up, and run it seamlessly.
For this evaluate, I examined Logic Professional X 10.four on two machines: a Contact Bar-equipped 2017 MacBook Professional 15-inch with a 256GB SSD and 16GB RAM operating macOS Sierra 10.12.6, and a 2012 Mac Mini additionally with an (older) quad-core i7 processor and the identical specs and macOS model. I examined this system with each a Focusrite Scarlett 18i8 audio interface and a PreSonus AudioBox USB, and as anticipated, I bumped into no issues.
Regardless of its immense energy, Logic stays a easy program to start out utilizing, as a result of the principle display screen can embody the whole lot you want from begin to end—relying on the way you populate it, in fact. Fundamental tracks can be found in a number of varieties: audio, for recording stay devices; MIDI, for recording MIDI knowledge from a keyboard, digital drum set, or different enter gadget; and instrument, which mix the 2 to be used with digital synthesizers and different plug-in devices.
The primary view would not see a lot change in 10.four. The transport is situated on the prime of the display screen and away from any keyboards, mixing surfaces, or different issues you could have sitting on the backside of the monitor and blocking a part of the view. The Library accommodates all obtainable media content material; it is on the left and simply collapsible. The highest proper portion of the display screen accommodates the organize window, which is the place you do most of your composing and enhancing. Every monitor within the organize window has quantity and pan controls.
Beneath that may be a multi-mode window that may show the mixer, a piano roll, a rating editor, or a pattern editor. To the left, a monitor inspector window reveals the mixer channel strip for the person monitor, plus the monitor’s output bus—be it the grasp stereo or 5.1 encompass bus, or an aux. The fitting facet pops up a lot of home windows that cowl the tempo and time signature of your venture, in addition to the present MIDI monitor’s occasion record, which when mixed with the piano roll or rating editor, makes it easy to edit your tracks. The rating editor nonetheless is not fairly as succesful as Finale, however it actually does the job for songwriters or orchestral arranging in a pinch.
Logic Professional 10.four helps the Contact Bar on the most recent MacBook Pro fashions launched again in October 2016 (and refreshed in the course of 2017). Logic Professional 10.four can present a timeline view with acceptable area colours, monitor controls, or Sensible Controls on a track-by-track and even plug-in foundation (equivalent to compressor or EQ controls, or electrical piano distortion). Faucet on a knob, and you’ll slide a fader proper or left to alter its worth, which is smart given the thinness of the Contact Bar; you would not wish to attempt to truly tweak a knob that small in a round method.
As well as, the Contact Bar helps a whole lot of keyboard shortcuts, together with personalized units, and you should use the Contact Bar to carry out with small drum pads, piano keyboard scales, and even map MIDI steady controllers to a slider for third-party plug-ins that use the mod wheel for expression, like Garritan Private Orchestra or Spectrasonics Omnisphere. The Contact Bar, together with Logic Distant on an iPad, additional reduces the necessity for an costly transport and mixing controller that additionally takes up area in your desk.
Recording and Digital Devices
For years, Logic has delivered a seamless surroundings for recording stay audio tracks, and that continues with the newest model. As earlier than, you’ll be able to report audio at as much as 24-bit, 192kHz decision. The large information in 10.four is Smart Tempo, which auto-detects tempo info from no matter materials you need—a guitar riff, a rhythmic synth loop, a stay drummer—and units up a tempo map (a measure-and-beat grid) round it. This allows you to create a venture round a selected really feel, and permits for issues like a drummer dashing a tiny bit within the choruses for extra vitality. It means you’ll be able to stick the whole lot on successive tracks to a grid with out a metronomic really feel.
Sensible Tempo is somewhat fiddly to get it working; it’s important to set the venture to maintain or adapt tempo, after which additionally set how recordings and import behave. And naturally, Sensible Tempo works with audio, not MIDI or digital devices. But it surely labored effectively in testing; my spouse clapped in a syncopated rhythm in Adapt mode, and Logic completely mapped out the grid traces and tempo map measure by measure. I used to be then in a position to alter the tempo up and down in particular person measures just by grabbing the road and shifting the mouse, which was much like how Logic’s common automation lanes work. I then imported in some clav loops and watched as Logic Professional adjusted the rhythms to comply with the tempo map from the clapping precisely. It is a critical boon for stay recordings of bands or singer-songwriters that wish to get concepts down shortly after which additionally use them to type the premise of the ultimate venture, versus having to do all of it once more later to a metronome.
Apple amped up Logic Professional X’s built-in sound set significantly in 10.four. Heading up the record of additives are Studio Strings and Studio Horns, each of which provide high quality management of particular person gamers and sound glorious in a combination context. Apple has created a brand new articulation system for legato, staccato, bowing, pizz, and other forms of taking part in that not solely works right here, but in addition with third-party digital devices from Native Devices, EastWest, and extra. The brand new strings and horns sound genuine, crisp, and clear, if extra on the rapid close-miked facet than in capturing any room atmosphere the best way EastWest libraries work. So you will want so as to add a reverb from inside Logic. (Apple gives a guide to the articulations that allows you to arrange keyswitches on an 88-key keyboard, and you can even manage the articulations for various devices and third-party libraries; there are separate ones for the horns as effectively.)
That stated, even with all of this achieved for you and a few good patches arrange within the Library, it will sound like “Common MIDI 101” except you are taking full benefit of the articulations and program the tracks in the fitting ranges. That is clearly true for third-party libraries too, though some supply extra rapid gratification than others. Studio Strings and Studio Horns are on the “spend a while with it to get it sounding pure” facet. That stated, they’re free with Logic, and hopefully Apple will ultimately flesh out the remainder of the orchestra with articulations for woodwinds, brass, and percussion.
The star of the present stays Alchemy, a full-blown additive, spectral, and granular synthesizer initially from Camel Audio. I had been that means to purchase a duplicate of that synth for years to start with; it used to value a number of hundred . Apple redesigned the interface, reworked the filters for a fatter analog-type sound, and added assist for importing EXS24 devices; in 10.four, Apple has included a stellar-sounding Visions library with 150 cinematic presets. A separate classic keyboard and organ assortment contains such niceties as B3-style drawbars, a vastly configurable Leslie simulator, and a suitcase-style electrical piano, together with a new-for-10.four Mellotron library. There are additionally loads of guitar and bass amp simulators and results included as effectively.
EXS24 continues to be the workhorse sampler it has been for over a decade, and supplies the core workstation-style pattern set, together with drum kits and pianos. Logic’s venerable E-series plug-ins (equivalent to ES1, ES2, ES P, the EVP88 electrical piano and so forth) present loads of synthesizer and keyboard sounds, though many of those sound a bit skinny when stacked towards immediately’s prime plug-ins. That does not matter, since you additionally get Retro Synth, which supplies fat-sounding imitations of subtractive, FM, and wavetable-based based mostly classic synths, and you’ll even drag any waveform into the wavetable module; the plug-in will routinely search for pitched info and remodel it right into a playable digital instrument. You’ll be able to stack as much as eight voices—and also you thought your Roland JUNO-106’s Unison mode sounded thick!
I’ve all the time been a fan of third-party drum plug-ins like Superior Drummer and EZdrummer, however it’s robust to argue with the one constructed into Logic Professional X. Drummer is an artificially clever session participant—one among 30, every with totally different types, personalities, and drum kits for a particular groove. You’ll be able to alter the frequency of fills, whether or not they’re utilizing the toms or hi-hats extra in a given part, and even the frequency of ghost notes and whether or not they’re dashing the beat (a la Stewart Copeland) or stress-free the groove (a la John Bonham). Drummer can comply with different tracks for inspiration; for instance, the bass participant can set the groove for a efficiency, and Drummer will take cues from the bass monitor to determine the place to lock within the kick drum.
You do not have to make use of Drummer for auto-generated grooves, although; when you’re like me, you will wish to program your individual grooves. And for that, it sounds nice. The Producer Kits embody excellent-sounding, multi-channel mixes achieved by legendary engineer Bob Clearmountain—full with EQ, compression, and extra processing and routing—and you’ll see the entire settings to be taught what he did with the inventory Logic plug-ins. Drummer also can do digital music; you’ll be able to dial up any variety of types and kits, from home and retro to hip hop and electro pop. The interface modifications, when acceptable, to one thing that fashions a drum machine or Akai MPC-style unit. That stated, most of the acoustic drum kits sound considerably related, with low tom tuning, extremely compressed cymbals, and deeper sounds; in 10.four Apple thoughtfully added a super-sweet-sounding jazz equipment known as SpeakEasy, full with darkish, washy cymbals, and two new drummers for jazz and roots-style taking part in.
Total, there are actually virtually 2,900 instrument and impact patches, together with slightly below 1,00zero sampled devices, plus 7,200 downloadable loops. A lot of the devices are contained in a neat Library drawer that pack the instrument plug-in and separate results already arrange, which makes laying down new tracks a cinch. Third-party plug-in assist stays sturdy, and you’ll set up your favourite plug-ins into folders. In testing, as standard, I had no issues opening up and utilizing main plug-ins I personal like Spectrasonics Environment and a sequence of East West Play-compatible orchestral and world-instrument libraries.
Mixing and Results
Apple spent loads of time catering to its higher-end prospects over the previous a number of updates. The primary combine console gives massive faders, pan and different monitor controls, and as many inserts and sends as you want—as soon as once more, with a flatter, cleaner, macOS-Sierra-style look. There are welcome analog-style VCA faders obtainable. Instrument tracks maintain the whole lot neat and tidy, although most sequencers now supply some type of that, in lieu of messy audio + MIDI monitor combos. On the prime of every channel strip, the built-in console EQ actually simply pops up the EQ plug-in, which gives eight bands, plus configurable Q settings and customizable low-pass and high-pass filters. It gives sufficient musicality for rounding out the high-end of an electrical bass or tightening up the growth of a loosely tuned kick drum.
The 64-bit summing engine sounds nice. There are actually 256 busses obtainable as a substitute of 192, and there is a true stereo panning choice that allows you to alter the person left and proper ranges as a substitute of simply attenuating both left or proper sign. New for 10.four is a revamped Undo system that covers the mixer—lastly—and likewise works on a worldwide or per-plug-in foundation, so you will not lose monitor of your edits even over an extended time period.
A number of new results arrive in model 10.four as effectively. ChromaVerb is a stupendous plug-in that delivers algorithmic reverb packages together with a colourful visible part, letting you see and form the reverb tail. ChromaVerb gives a number of sweet-sounding patches, together with Collins Gate (they’re taking part in my 80s track!) and a slew of helpful vocal reverbs and ambiences for various monitoring conditions.
The brand new Phat FX and Step FX each add heat, punch, and presence to your drum, bass, and synth tracks together with rhythmic components; these plug-ins are derived from work with the Apple-owned Camel Audio. Lastly, a brand new Tube EQ plug-in does for the equalizer what Logic’s superior compressor did for, effectively, compressors. Tube EQ accommodates a number of fashions that mirror well-known Neve, API, and Pultec , and every provides a particular character to the sound that you could’t get from the standard parametric EQ.
As earlier than, you’ll be able to write automation to areas, which makes it a lot easier to maneuver round and organize your venture with out destroying recorded fader and knob actions. There are Relative and Trim modes for adjusting present automation knowledge; you should use them to journey a fader and clean out an edit. Area Acquire is comparable Clip Acquire, one among my favourite options in Professional Instruments; it makes it simple to shortly alter a area that for no matter motive is recorded at a special degree, with out having to resort to inserting a plug-in or a harmful edit. Fades are generated in actual time, somewhat than saved as separate audio recordsdata together with your venture, which drastically simplifies file administration. You may also lastly apply fades to a number of areas concurrently—a single change that may make sound design or monitor enhancing a lot quicker.
Flex Pitch and Flex Time make fast work of tuning vocals and fixing errors in recorded audio tracks. Flex Pitch particularly is a good freebie when you’re used to working with a completely separate app (like Melodyne) or needing to finances for one. I’ve used it extensively by this level, and with cautious edits, I discover it to be as clear as you might presumably need, and I like not having to export and re-import tuned vocals every time.
Logic’s foremost Compressor continues to shine, with its Platinum (clear strong state) and Opto (tube-like) modes, which behave in a different way and supply precisely the type of heat and crunch you’d count on from precise classic . There is a attractive paneled interface for every of the modes, together with a dBx 160 emulation known as Traditional VCA. In all, there are over four,100 presets obtainable throughout the varied 101 bundled plug-ins, plus 1,060 sampled convolution reverb areas in Area Designer. Now you can side-chain a software program instrument in addition to a compressor. It is robust to think about a mixing scenario these instruments cannot cowl. And whereas you can even grasp within the field, in testing I discovered mastering tracks with the very good Izotope Ozone 8 Advanced labored precisely and as reliably as earlier than.
Nonetheless the Logical Alternative
There are a whole lot of different options I merely haven’t got the room to debate right here, a lot of which have been with this system for years. With the newest replace, Apple retains Logic Professional on the forefront of the DAW market. Any quibbles with this system—and a few are to be anticipated, given the sheer breadth and depth of what Logic Professional gives—pale as compared with its virtues. And as is increasingly more the case as of late, you do not want a desktop machine for skilled work. Add Logic Professional X 10.four, a USB MIDI keyboard, and a pair of headphones to a MacBook Air or MacBook Professional—plus an audio interface just like the splendidly designed (and really Logic-friendly) Apogee Duet, and a few microphones when you’re recording stay devices—and you have a conveyable music studio that was merely not possible on this scale even just some years in the past, not to mention utilizing the identical software program the professionals use regularly.
The competitors is effectively established and fierce, however a lot of it prices extra. Avid Professional Instruments, MOTU Digital Performer, and Steinberg Cubase—what was thought of the opposite 4 main established DAWs years in the past which are nonetheless round immediately—all stay a whole lot of costlier than Logic, and require both copy safety, subscription charges for assist, or some mixture of these. Maybe probably the most compelling higher-end DAW is Ableton Stay, which instructions a rabid following for its distinctive composition and stay performance-oriented UI. On the decrease finish, Logic does see some stronger competitors from PreSonus Studio One, the utilitarian-but-bargain-priced Cockos Reaper, and long-standing electronic-dance-music favorites FL Studio and Cause.
Logic has been round for a number of many years now, and by this level it is received some critical movie star cred; Adele’s Hiya was recorded in Logic Professional, together with the rating of the Academy Award-winning La La Land. Many business studios within the US stay dedicated to Avid’s Professional Instruments. But it surely’s getting harder and harder to justify the prices, given how succesful Logic Professional X has turn into, particularly when coupled with high-end Apogee . The necessity for outboard processing gear (as you’d discover with Professional Instruments HDX) is mainly gone aside from absolutely the largest of initiatives. And now Professional Instruments has a month-to-month subscription charge. No matter your opinion of Apple merchandise and their pricing, it is robust to argue with the worth right here. There is no denying the corporate packs in a pair grand value of plug-ins with Logic, simple. And it is a stellar recording, enhancing, mixing, and post-production surroundings.
PCMag awards Logic Professional X a uncommon five-star ranking—not as a result of it is good, however somewhat it is an excellent product and an incredible worth at simply $199.99. In case you have a Mac and have not selected a correct songwriting, recording, or mixing program but, or when you’re aching to improve from an earlier model of Logic and even GarageBand (venture recordsdata from which, by the way, nonetheless open seamlessly in Logic), Logic Professional X 10.four is your finest wager.