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 modifying at a cut price value. The newest model 10.four comprises an unusually giant variety of helpful upgrades, and the replace is as soon as once more free to present Professional X house owners. The bundle 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. Until you want Avid Professional Instruments for compatibility with different studios, or just since you’re extra acquainted with 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 current Mac operating OS X v10.12 (Sierra) or later, with no less than 4GB RAM and 6GB of free house for the bottom program. To put in all the things, 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 along with your account, you’ll be able to obtain, set up, and run it seamlessly.
For this assessment, 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 begin utilizing, as a result of the primary display can embody all the things you want from begin to end—relying on the way you populate it, after all. Primary tracks can be found in a number of varieties: audio, for recording reside devices; MIDI, for recording MIDI knowledge from a keyboard, digital drum set, or different enter system; and instrument, which mix the 2 to be used with digital synthesizers and different plug-in devices.
The principle view would not see a lot change in 10.four. The transport is positioned on the high of the display and away from any keyboards, mixing surfaces, or different issues you’ll have sitting on the backside of the monitor and blocking a part of the view. The Library comprises all accessible media content material; it is on the left and simply collapsible. The highest proper portion of the display comprises the prepare window, which is the place you do most of your composing and modifying. Every monitor within the prepare window has quantity and pan controls.
Under 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 aspect pops up quite a lot of home windows that cowl the tempo and time signature of your challenge, 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 definitely does the job for songwriters or orchestral arranging in a pinch.
Logic Professional 10.four helps the Contact Bar on the most recent MacBook Professional fashions launched again in October 2016 (and refreshed in the course of 2017). Logic Professional 10.four can present a timeline view with applicable area colours, monitor controls, or Sensible Controls on a track-by-track and even plug-in foundation (similar to compressor or EQ controls, or electrical piano distortion). Faucet on a knob, and you may slide a fader proper or left to vary its worth, which is sensible given the thinness of the Contact Bar; you would not wish to attempt to really tweak a knob that small in a round method.
As well as, the Contact Bar helps lots of of keyboard shortcuts, together with personalized units, and you need to 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 house in your desk.
Recording and Digital Devices
For years, Logic has delivered a seamless setting for recording reside 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 Sensible Tempo, which auto-detects tempo data from no matter materials you need—a guitar riff, a rhythmic synth loop, a reside drummer—and units up a tempo map (a measure-and-beat grid) round it. This allows you to create a challenge round a selected really feel, and permits for issues like a drummer speeding a tiny bit within the choruses for extra vitality. It means you’ll be able to stick all the things on successive tracks to a grid with no metronomic really feel.
Sensible Tempo is slightly fiddly to get it working; it’s a must to set the challenge 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. However it labored properly 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 modify 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 reside recordings of bands or singer-songwriters that wish to get concepts down rapidly after which additionally use them to type the premise of the ultimate challenge, 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 supply effective management of particular person gamers and sound wonderful in a combination context. Apple has created a brand new articulation system for legato, staccato, bowing, pizz, and different kinds 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 aspect than in capturing any room atmosphere the way in which EastWest libraries work. So you will want so as to add a reverb from inside Logic. (Apple gives a information to the articulations that permits you to arrange keyswitches on an 88-key keyboard, and you may as well handle the articulations for various devices and third-party libraries; there are separate ones for the horns as properly.)
That mentioned, even with all of this performed 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 correct ranges. That is clearly true for third-party libraries too, though some provide extra rapid gratification than others. Studio Strings and Studio Horns are on the “spend a while with it to get it sounding pure” aspect. That mentioned, 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 which means to purchase a duplicate of that synth for years to start with; it used to value a number of hundred dollars. Apple redesigned the interface, reworked the filters for a fatter analog-type sound, and added help 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 consists of 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 properly.
EXS24 continues to be the workhorse sampler it has been for over a decade, and gives the core workstation-style pattern set, together with drum kits and pianos. Logic’s venerable E-series plug-ins (similar 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 right this moment’s high plug-ins. That does not matter, since you additionally get Retro Synth, which gives fat-sounding imitations of subtractive, FM, and wavetable-based primarily based classic synths, and you may even drag any waveform into the wavetable module; the plug-in will mechanically search for pitched data and rework it right into a playable digital instrument. You may 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 powerful to argue with the one constructed into Logic Professional X. Drummer is an artificially clever session participant—one among 30, every with completely different kinds, personalities, and drum kits for a particular groove. You may modify 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 speeding the beat (a la Stewart Copeland) or enjoyable 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 performed by legendary engineer Bob Clearmountain—full with EQ, compression, and extra processing and routing—and you may see the entire settings to study what he did with the inventory Logic plug-ins. Drummer can even do digital music; you’ll be able to dial up any variety of kinds and kits, from home and retro to hip hop and electro pop. The interface modifications, when applicable, to one thing that fashions a drum machine or Akai MPC-style unit. That mentioned, lots of the acoustic drum kits sound considerably comparable, with low tom tuning, extremely compressed cymbals, and deeper sounds; in 10.four Apple thoughtfully added a super-sweet-sounding jazz package referred to as SpeakEasy, full with darkish, washy cymbals, and two new drummers for jazz and roots-style taking part in.
General, there are actually nearly 2,900 instrument and impact patches, together with just below 1,000 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 help stays strong, and you may set up your favourite plug-ins into folders. In testing, as ordinary, I had no issues opening up and utilizing main plug-ins I personal like Spectrasonics Ambiance 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 clients over the previous a number of updates. The principle combine console gives giant 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 accessible. Instrument tracks hold all the things neat and tidy, although most sequencers now provide some type of that, in lieu of messy audio + MIDI monitor combos. On the high 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 accessible as a substitute of 192, and there is a true stereo panning choice that permits you to modify 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 frame.
A number of new results arrive in model 10.four as properly. ChromaVerb is a good looking plug-in that delivers algorithmic reverb applications 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 music!) 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, properly, compressors. Tube EQ comprises a number of fashions that mirror well-known Neve, API, and Pultec , and every provides a particular character to the sound that you would be able to’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 prepare your challenge with out destroying recorded fader and knob actions. There are Relative and Trim modes for adjusting present automation knowledge; you need to use them to experience a fader and easy out an edit. Area Acquire is analogous Clip Acquire, one among my favourite options in Professional Instruments; it makes it straightforward to rapidly modify a area that for no matter cause is recorded at a distinct stage, 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 information along with your challenge, which enormously simplifies file administration. You can even lastly apply fades to a number of areas concurrently—a single change that may make sound design or monitor modifying 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 superb freebie when you’re used to working with a completely separate app (like Melodyne) or needing to funds for one. I’ve used it extensively by this level, and with cautious edits, I discover it to be as clear as you possibly can presumably need, and I really like not having to export and re-import tuned vocals every time.
Logic’s major Compressor continues to shine, with its Platinum (clear stable state) and Opto (tube-like) modes, which behave otherwise and supply precisely the type of heat and crunch you’d anticipate from precise classic . There is a beautiful paneled interface for every of the modes, together with a dBx 160 emulation referred to as Traditional VCA. In all, there are over four,100 presets accessible throughout the assorted 101 bundled plug-ins, plus 1,060 sampled convolution reverb areas in House Designer. Now you can side-chain a software program instrument in addition to a compressor. It is powerful to think about a mixing scenario these instruments cannot cowl. And whereas you may as well grasp within the field, in testing I discovered mastering tracks with the very good Izotope Ozone eight Superior labored precisely and as reliably as earlier than.
Nonetheless the Logical Alternative
There are lots of 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 reside devices—and you have a conveyable music studio that was merely not possible on this scale even only a few years in the past, not to mention utilizing the identical software program the professionals use regularly.
The competitors is properly established and fierce, however a lot of it prices extra. Avid Professional Instruments, MOTU Digital Performer, and Steinberg Cubase—what was thought-about the opposite 4 main established DAWs years in the past which are nonetheless round right this moment—all stay lots of of dollars costlier than Logic, and require both copy safety, subscription charges for help, 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 reside 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 Purpose.
Logic has been round for a number of a long time now, and by this level it is received some critical superstar cred; Adele’s Whats up was recorded in Logic Professional, together with the rating of the Academy Award-winning La La Land. Many industrial studios within the US stay dedicated to Avid’s Professional Instruments. However it’s getting more durable and more durable to justify the prices, given how succesful Logic Professional X has change into, particularly when coupled with high-end Apogee . The necessity for outboard processing gear (as you’d discover with Professional Instruments HDX) is principally 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 powerful to argue with the worth right here. There is no denying the corporate packs in a pair grand value of plug-ins with Logic, straightforward. And it is a stellar recording, modifying, mixing, and post-production setting.
PCMag awards Logic Professional X a uncommon five-star score—not as a result of it is good, however somewhat it is an impressive 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 (challenge information from which, by the way, nonetheless open seamlessly in Logic), Logic Professional X 10.four is your greatest wager.