Apple Logic Pro 8
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Apple Logic Pro 8

Logic Pro 8, General Sequencer from Apple in the Logic series.

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Logic 8 Pro: The Test

The All-in-One Logic
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While certain sequencer editors are steadily increasing their prices, Apple has taken the other route and is now offering Logic for under 500€. Would it be wise to spend more?

While certain sequencer editors are steadily increasing their prices, Apple has taken the other route and is now offering Logic for under 500€. Would it be wise to spend more?

In the world of audio, when a software release goes from a whole number to another (i.e 6.0 to 7.0), this usually means a big update and sometimes a complete overhaul. If it comes along after a long transitional period, you’d probably expect serious changes, numerous fixes and the granting of users’ wishes. That’s why the long awaited version 8 of Logic (three years after Logic 7!) is supposed to be a real revolution.

We weren’t expecting the complete suite, and since we can’t review everything that’s in the boxed set, we’ll focus on Logic Pro 8 without pretending to cover everything and concentrate on the graphic overhaul, workflow and new features.

Full package

Following Final Cut's example, Logic Pro 8 is now part of a complete suite, dedicated to audio & MIDI production, from the recording process to CD or DVD mastering and burning. This is a pleasant surprise. The second surprise is the price, 499€, which is beyond belief...

For such a low price, you get several applications (a marketing trick) and lots of sound content and utilities. As far as applications go, you’ll find Logic Pro 8 and Soundtrack Pro 2, the latter coming from the Final Cut suite. Then there’s a new one, MainStage, specifically designed for live performances, which will need its own review. You’ll also get WaveBurner again, this time the 1.5 version. Another Apple gift is Compressor, a powerful encoding tool, allowing for advanced handling of audio and video formats. And the icing on the cake is Quicktime Pro, which offers a lot of additional functions. But where’s SoundDiver?

Test Machine

Mac PPC G5 2 x 2 GHz
OS 10.4.10
4 Gb of Ram
ATI Radeon 9600 Pro
RME HDSP PCI + Multiface
MBox2 Mini
2 internal SATA HD & 5 external HD FW800
TC PoCo PCImkII & FireWire
UAD-1

Content-wise, you get 39 GB of loops, samples and presets; this is a real luxury! You’ll find detailed information here. The marketing trick mentioned above refers to the names of the Studio Instruments and Studio Effects. The heading and presentation give the impression that they could be separate packages, when they are actually the very same factory instruments and effects that have been included since version 6, with just a few enhancements and new plugs.

In addition to the Apple Loops Utility, there’s a new one, designed to create your own impulse responses (from mono to 7.1, there are 22 formats available) to use them in Space Designer, Logic’s own convolution reverb. A MacBook, a good audio interface with multiple I/O, the appropriate set of microphones, and you’re ready to capture any ambience or any acoustic environment. Imagine you’re on a movie set: with your laptop you can immediately record the various ambiences, and two clicks are all you need to use them in your future sound editing: one click and they are de-convolved, another and they are transformed into a Space Designer file and preset. Bravo!

Another nice gift from Apple is the huge paper manual, more than 1500 pages...

Logic 8 d'Apple

This article has been written on the 11th of november 2007. Some bugs listed in this review have been fixed by Apple through the recent update of the software. Get more informations on www.apple.com/logicstudio/download/.


Graphic overhaul

La fenêtre principale à l'ouverture du logiciel

If you've been careful with all routine maintenance (permission, repair, Unix scripts, updated drivers and OS), and if you apply them on a regular basis, then the installation should be no hassle. If you encounter any problems, there’s a lot of specialized forums on the net. When it’s complete, just take the precaution of launching the Apple Software Update: there might be some Pro Apps, ProKits or other mandatory updates.

If you already have some Jam Packs, you can replace them with the new versions in .caf (Core Audio Format), which, having basically the same audio quality (Apple Lossless encoding) need much less disk space: for example, the Jam Pack Remix Tools loops need 2,35 GB in .aif and 1 GB in .caf. In order to install over existing Jam Packs, you’ll need to trash them, as well as their Receipts, if you don’t have them installed on different hard disks. If this is the case, you’ll need software like Pacifist, to extract different files from the Apple DVD. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, just follow the standard procedure. When in doubt, don’t do anything... Please note that .caf and/or Apple Lossless aren’t compatible with all audio software, so check with every soft you have before trashing AIFF versions.

Both versions of Logic coexist on your hard drive without any problems and you’ll find that your presets, files and various settings are present. The importing of LP7 projects needs no comment. The first big change is the interface: Logic was the only Apple application with an interface that didn’t comply with the Apple « look ». Now Logic 8 looks like true Apple software. Almost everything is directly accessible in a single window: dark-gray on light-gray, bright colors, transparencies, shadowing and reflections, it looks quite nice. The plugins have also benefited from this graphic redesign.

Aux or Bus ?

In previous Logic versions, there were Bus and Aux, whose functions and names were a bit confusing to some users. Now in Logic 8 you’ll only find Aux: the name “bus” now meaning “signal path”. ReWire I/Os, effect returns, everything is now called “Aux” and is automatically created (if you create a Send on a track, the return Aux is added in the mixer). This also means that you’re now able to use an Aux as an Input, to bounce internally or apply effects. In order to maintain compatibility with projects made with previous versions, the Bus objects still exist in the Environment. As for multi instrument I/Os, it’s very simple: when you open a multi, two buttons (+ and -) appear on the left of the mixer, they open or close the related Aux channels.

The main window has been divided into six parts. On the top is the toolbar, which is customizable. On the bottom, there are the transport functions, a control display and some customizable command buttons. You can’t hide either bar, but transport bar settings are project related.

Le ReWire sous Logic 8

In the middle is the Arrange window. This page can now be divided into two horizontal sections: the upper, Arrange area, always displays the tracks and regions, the lower , Editing area, alternately shows the Mixer, the Sample Editor, the Piano Roll, the Score or the Hyper Editor. To access these sub-windows, you can either click on the Tabs on the lower left or double-click on one of the object regions in the Arrange window: a click on an audio region and you open the Sample Editor, on a MIDI part, the Piano Roll, on a track, the Mixer, etc.

Le ReWire sous Logic 8

Regarding the latter, you can now choose to display all the available tracks, only the tracks used in your project, or only a selected track and its related busses, output and Master. This allows you to easily check all settings and sends of a track at a glance, without having to scroll along the entire mixer.


Fast browsing

La navigation a été revue

To the left of the Arrange window, the Inspector (which can be hidden) always displays two channel tracks: the selected track and one of its related tracks (bus, master). On the right is the Media area, selected by the List or Media buttons. They have their own Tab selector: so Lists give access to the various events (MIDI, regions...), markers, tempo and signature. Each tab has its own pull-down menu. Thanks to Apple, at last we get a clever grouping of various menus: when you need something, it’s immediately under your fingertips. The Event tab has an event filter which can also be used in Create mode (adding notes, program changes, meta events, etc.), which saves a considerable amount of time.

Pratiques, les Channel Strip Settings de Logic 8

In terms of media, there’s an Audio Bin, with a complete display of audio regions and their edits. Say goodbye to the austere Audio Window. Loops is a browser for the Apple Loops, which are indexed when installing. If Logic doesn’t see them, all you have to do is drag’n’drop your folder(s) into the Browser. Fast and easy. Browser is a classic... browser, allowing you to access any storage space of your computer, which seems to use Spotlight.

But the most interesting Tab is Library. Since version 7.0, Logic has allowed you to program, save and load Channel Strip Settings, that is to say, complete settings (plugs, sends, pan, etc.) of audio, instruments, bus and master tracks. It’s a very fast and efficient working method, all the more so since you can create your own library and use Program Changes to load your Settings.

Use the shorcuts!

To get the most out of Logic, you’ll need a mouse with a mousewheel and at least two buttons. As in other Apple software, the right click (or ctrl+click) opens contextual menus. In previous versions, this shortcut was traditionally assigned to the Toolbox and this can still be done in LP8, but you’d better keep it for the menus, which offer speed and ease.

You’ll also have to master the shortcut keys, which are completely assignable and can control almost all Logic functions. And if you add a control surface...

Apple has really enhanced this feature: in LP8, when you select a track (of any kind), the available presets appear in the browser. Just a click, and it loads extremely fast. If you look at the channel, you’ll see that the Settings slot is now named after the preset and is surrounded by a white halo. If you click on one of the loaded plugs or a slot (inserts, sends, I/O, etc.), the white halo moves onto it and the browser immediately displays its folders/presets. No more need to display the plug interface if you’re comfortable with this idea...

And there are other workflow enhancements: you can navigate with your keyboard arrows amongst the folders and you can load presets, also the combination keys/mousewheel allows you to zoom, move, scroll, etc. There are however a few bugs: you can de-zoom all the tracks with mousewheel+Alt, except for those which are at maximal zoom (Individual Track Zoom: 50).


Simplicity

If you have always appreciated Logic’s Environment (as I do) and its power, you need not worry: it is still there, and I need not dwell on it in this review. But Logic beginners, or users who don’t like to use its Environment, will not have to deal with it anymore. Apple has tried to offer a look and feel as simple as the those found in its other software. First, Logic searches for audio and MIDI interfaces, then launches various assistants, one of them proposing Templates, which are customized projects said to fulfill various tasks such as Mastering, orchestration, TDM, multi-track recording, etc.

Un assistant vous prend en main au démarrage du logiciel

When you open an empty project, Logic displays a new window in the style of Pro Tools (New Tracks): there you’ll specify the number, type (audio, software instrument or external MIDI), format (mono, stereo), I/O (automatically incremented), activation of Input monitoring and Record monitoring (very handy if you need to quickly launch a multi-track audio recording). Another handy feature: when you drag’n’drop an audio region into the Arrange window, an audio track is immediately created, same for a MIDI file which creates an Audio Instrument track (with Grand Piano preset by default). If you drag’n’drop an Apple Loop into an audio track, it will be played as an audio file. And it will play the correct MIDI instrument if you drag’n’drop it onto an Instrument track. Of course, each corresponding track is immediately added into the Mixer.

Two (+) buttons in the Arrange window allow you to add tracks, the first displaying the New Track window, the other copying the selected track into the Arrange window. No more objects to create, no more cables to patch, everything becomes simpler, faster even for pro users. Of course, for the latter, everything is still totally programmable. You can create objects, reassign them, build and import patches and remote protocols, set MIDI filtering, synthesis, etc. Logic is still a powerful modular DAW...

I must confess I was very skeptical about the new mono-window organization, but I’ve changed my mind after a few weeks of working with LP8. My workflow was entirely based on Logic’s Screenset ability. I have to say that it’s even faster and easier with this new mono-window... One has to give Apple credit for creating new ergonomic features while keeping all the power of the Environment, Screensets and other classic features. On the other hand, the Screensets no longer keep treeview Folder pages in memory: very annoying when you’re used to working with groups (choirs, drums...) or by sections when doing orchestration, film music, etc.


Full surround

Logic 8 gère le surround mieux que jamais

But the overhaul isn’t just graphic and task-based. First, surround-wise: the whole audio path is now fully surround. Sends, Busses, plugs, master, automation, Bounce, vu-meters, etc. everything has been redesigned to read and produce multi-channel audio, from quadraphonic to 7.1 (SDDS), with direct burning on DVD-Audio or exporting to convert files into AC-3, thanks to Compressor. The plugs are now in True Surround (Space Designer, Delay Designer...) or multi-mono, and offer all you need (LFE and delay management, internal premix, etc.). There’s also a compressor and complete metering tools. As for synths, es2 and Sculpture offer basic parameters (angle and balance). Since I don’t have a multi-channel speaker system, I won’t go into further details about this surround section, even if Logic includes a Down Mixer plug, which allows you to reduce a 5.1 mix to quadraphonic, LCRS or stereo. Logic also offers a new Binaural mode, with a beautiful graphic panner, working in two or three dimensions.

Delay Designer et ses 26 lignes de retard


Much more interesting is the new Delay Designer which allows you to create sophisticated delay lines, since each tap (up to 26!) can have individual settings on pan, volume (with Mute), pitch (coarse and fine), frequency and resonance of a multimode (HP, LP, BP) and multi-slope (6 and 12 dB) filter. Tap function, quantification, synchro, Feedback, two cursors Wet et Dry: you have everything to make creative modulated delays, even melodies.


In its look and feel, Delay Designer is perfect, since you can zoom, select and edit several Taps at a time, draw curves with mouse, and all functions are automatable. This plug has nothing to envy to delays made by Soundtoys, PSP and other editors.


Mega Ultrabeat

Ultrabeat, tout pour faire des rythmes sous Logic 8

Ultrabeat, in its first version, was already a powerful tool, covering all aspects of electronic drums, and to a lesser extent acoustic drums. LP8 offers a more powerful updated version. First, let’s see the whole sound production path: 2 oscillators with variable waveforms (continuously or not), FM (osc 2 to osc 1), sample import or modeling (osc 2 only), noise generator and a new sidechain (only on osc 1, an ideal way to create a kick part from a bass line for instance). Everything goes into a multimode filter (LP, HP, BP, BR) and multislope (2nd and 4th order) with a lot of routing options, then into a distortion generator and a Ring Mod. Modulation-wise, there are two LFOs and four envelopes, which can act directly or by freely assignable MIDI controllers. The final section before the output includes a two-band EQ and a modulated Panner. Sounds can be grouped together (up to 8 Groups), for auto-muting notes for instance (hihat closed and open, etc.).

Almost all the editing processes can be done graphically, most notably the envelopes. Quite powerful, isn’t it? All the more so when you consider that this is available per voice(!). Since Ultrabeat offers 24 voices, there’s no doubt it’s one of the most powerful drum synths around. The 25th voice is in fact a 3 octave polyphonic synth, benefiting from all the synthesis elements. That is to say, Ultrabeat mapping is compatible with GM standard.

A great updated feature is the ability to import exs24 programs, which allows you to use something other than the proprietary format (.ubs). Just drag’n’drop an .exs file into the Ultrabeat Mixer and it’s done. The original mapping is respected within a 24 zone limit. On the other hand, I can’t find any information about numbers of layers. But kits don’t appear to be less detailed when imported in Ultrabeat (this being said for what it’s worth).

The previous version had a 32-step Step Sequencer, with quantization, pattern saving, MIDI note pattern triggering and drag’n’drop into the Arrange window. Apple has significantly improved it, first by adding a piano roll window where you can input data, with some functions accessible by pull-down menus. Another great update is the ability to record/program sequences to modulate synthesis parameters in the Step Sequencer (mode Step on the Edit button): thus almost all functions can be automated on the sequencer grid. Then you can drag’n’drop the corresponding MIDI file. If you add to that the numerous factory kits and sounds, the multi-output ability (8 stereo, 8 mono), it’s (again) a total success. And as with all Logic plug-ins, Ultrabeat is particularly optimized and isn’t a CPU hog. In terms of sound quality and functionalities, Ultrabeat could easily be sold as a separate plug at half the price of the whole suite.

Le ReWire sous Logic 8

Let’s take a quick look at the exs24: its instrument editor has been totally revamped, with drag’n’drop and other practical features. But I still recommend that you use Keymap (the powerful editor created by Redmatica) instead. First because it’s an incredible editor, with a lot of features that are not in exs’ own editor. Also to avoid this kind of message (see screen capture) 9 years after the release of MacOSX and the handling of 255 characters names... But we must keep in mind that exs24 has its own memory handling now, which lets you go beyond the 4 GB limit of shared RAM with Logic.


Editing I

You’ll find, in various places on the internet, a lot of discussion about audio editing and handling in Logic. A lot of ink has been spilt over these two points. But this review isn’t the place to continue the "best sequencer" debate. That’s what forums are made for...

Some new features have been implemented in regards to audio handling, some of them being significant. First and foremost, time stretching can be done directly in the Arrange window, just like you’re used to doing with MIDI stretch: Alt-drag the end of an audio region to the desired length/value. It’s still not the perfect solution: there are too many intermediary stages to validate, you have to wait for time processing, and it definitely doesn’t have the flexibility and speed of Live (we’re waiting to see what Pro Tools 7.4 brings). Various algorithms are of average quality yet efficient, but you’ll gain by using Radius, the iZotope plug/extension that's available in Time Machine after its installation, or a dedicated plug such as Melodyne. Another solution is to transform the audio file into an Apple Loop with the Apple Loops Utility, which can be done very quickly, thanks to the quick and precise transient detection algorithm, even if the application itself is not as powerful as ReCycle!. Then you’ll be able to time stretch the audio in a ± 30% range and transpose it up a third without too many artifacts.

Editing is now done with sample accuracy in the Arrange window if you use a high zoom level. Manipulating audio regions is made easier by the pull-down menus and icons of the Tool Bar. There are now two tools directly assignable to the mouse (up to three with a two button mouse). Tools are now selected in two Tool menus located on the right of the Snap and Drag buttons.

Le Sample Editor sous Logic 8

Every necessary feature is there, from repeating Regions to erasing a whole section (with automatic snapping, including automation and tempo changes) on a Locator, Grid, Marker or SPL basis. In general, great enhancements have been made to the automation which doesn’t add random nodes here and there anymore, when you copy, cut, paste a Region. Logic now creates nodes at the beginning and at the end of a Region where there were none before the editing. Stability and precision: users have been expecting these for a long time.

If you need complete editing, then open the Sample Editor, in which you’ll find all the usual audio editing features (normalization, inversion, find silence, cut, etc.). This is also the home of the Factory, which includes time stretch and pitch shift functions. And the clever and powerful Audio To Midi Groove Template, Groove Machine and Quantize Engine. One nice feature, which avoids some issues of previous versions (muted tracks, effects on the audio path, etc.): when you monitor a file in the Editor, the signal is automatically routed to track 256, reserved exclusively for pre-listening.


Editing II

Because Logic is included in a suite, you can also open an audio file in Soundtrack once it is specified as the external editor in Preferences (and with a shortcut key). Another good point: Soundtrack memorizes your editing screenset. In Soundtrack you have, of course, all the editing capabilities of Logic (and more) and above all you can finally apply effects in a destructive way (all the AudioUnits in your Mac, plus some proprietary plugs). You can also apply scripts, as Soundtrack handles them without any problem, even saving them directly (when will we have the same thing in Logic?). After editing, you just have to save the file. If you overwrite the existing one, Logic will automatically take the modifications into account. Bravo! Another huge advantage: even if you’ve already saved the file, as long as Soundtrack is open, you can cancel all the edits and recover the original file...

Unless you absolutely need Factory’s features, you’d be better off doing your editing tasks in Soundtrack. And this could explain Apple’s reasoning: why improve Logic’s editor while you already have an app like Soundtrack? As it works perfectly, one can only agree. All the more so as you can work in Logic while having Soundtrack in the background, ready for dedicated jobs.

Soundtrack, le pendant de Logic 8

On the other hand, some would prefer to have one, and only one, software, in the style of Pro Tools. After a few weeks working with Logic8, Apple’s choice seems to be the right one, even if the user doesn’t really have an alternative. Finally, it’s the same as it’s always been: you have to evolve with the tools. But there are some problems: the shortcut keys, which aren’t the same in Logic and Soundtrack. They’re not assignable in the latter, so you’ll have to juggle between the two softs, unless you’re ready to abandon years of practice and habit with your favorite DAW. Also, Soundtrack can’t import XML files created by Logic, while Final Cut can...

One key thing to know: if you play a bounce made with LP7 alongside the same bounce made in LP8 but in phase opposition, they cancel each other out. The only exceptions are when you use different pan laws or some “analogish” plugins. So, a priori, there’s no reason for LP8 to sound better than its predecessor.


Comping and Takes

The PDC (Plug-in Delay Compensation) is another cause for displeasure. Its handling isn’t the most efficient: if you want to mix, you have to activate it, then deactivate it if you want to record a MIDI part, then re-activate it to check if everything’s OK, etc. When you’re using third party DSP cards, you have to balance the power of external calculation and the extra load on the CPU to compensate latency. If you don’t have a powerful Mac (minimum G5), forget it.

There’s no visible change in the PDC concept in version 8, but there’s a great new feature: the Low Latency mode. You set the maximum latency you’re ready to deal with, and when the mode is activated (in the transport bar or with a shortcut), Logic temporarily deactivates all the plugs that generate a latency higher than the chosen setting. Well done Apple, it works fine, but it’s not yet a fully working PDC! Be careful when using this mode, particularly the output level, because the first plugs to be bypassed are the reverbs and above all the dynamic processors (limiters, compressors, etc.).

Le ReWire sous Logic 8

Another great feature included in LP8 is Takes/Comping. Even though the Takes concept isn’t really new, it is perfectly integrated into Logic. When you record a track in Loop mode, Logic adds a virtual region (Take) each time it goes back to the beginning of the loop area. Clicking on the small triangle on the left of the Region displays all the takes, the last one being active. Another triangle on the right opens a menu displaying the Take names and various functionalities. If you highlight the name of a track, it becomes active, an easy way to quickly listen to different performances.

Le ReWire sous Logic 8

Up till now, nothing new. The real novelty is what Apple calls Comping: you select different areas of the various takes, and Logic will only play these parts, smoothly “jumping” from one Take to another. You can make as many Comping selections as you want from a single recording. Then, once your track sounds the way you want it to, you just have to select Flatten in the menu and Logic will compile the track, automatically creating transparent cross-fades. Flatten And Merge will create a bounce and re-import it into the Arrange window, instead of the original Comping (without erasing it). I can’t see anything faster or easier among the competitors.

It’s also available for MIDI recordings: just select Create Take Folders in Settings>Recording. Just one word comes to mind: bravo!


In conclusion Part I

Le ReWire sous Logic 8

There are many other aspects we can’t detail here, such as video, Nodes, ReWire, sharing via Bonjour or .Mac, Apogee interface integration (beware of the bug with control surfaces, Apple has already published a workaround), TDM handling (Mac PPC with PT 7.1.1, you have to wait for the 7.4 update on Mac Intel), OMF, XML, etc. import-export, the unknown Leopard (while its control panel is implemented in Logic, Apogee Ensemble is not yet compatible!), etc.

This update was one of the most awaited. Forums and magazines have seen lots of speculation, discussions, arguments, quibbles and various ranting, such as the famous “Pro Tools killer” rumor. All kinds of rumors have been circulating about the launch of Logic... So, what do we get in the end with this major update? A complete suite that’s stable and efficient, pro software and utilities, and very good audio samples, that can easily compete with other sound libraries. And at an unbeatable price (just check Nuendo 4’s price...).

The Logic 8-Soundtrack duo is powerful and can do almost everything you’d expect from a DAW. Of course, it implies some changes in your working habits if you’re a long time Logic user. However, as I’ve said before, you must evolve with your tools. On the other hand, a newcomer will immediately be at the controls of a powerful and sleek audio environment. There’s also Mainstage’s case: for a fraction of the price of a Receptor, you can buy a MacMini, a FireWire interface and you’ll have a powerful virtual instrument host, without any installation and compatibility problems. I’m sure you will see this kind of setup on stage very soon... As far as Logic is concerned: the new look and feel are a success and it’s a passionate user of Screensets who’s saying this. The GUI is user-friendly, intuitive as well as the new plug-in look. The ideal setup: two displays, one for the main window, the other for the plugs, instruments and various windows.

Of course, there’s a price to pay: projects that run perfectly in Logic 7 on my dual G5 now have graphic and refreshing problems (handling or resizing windows, vu-meters display, etc.). But it seems that other G5s with more powerful graphic cards don’t have these issues. However, even if the GUI is important, sometimes it seems that developers forget that the primary purpose of a DAW is to deal with sound, which doesn’t mean you have to have a graphic card worthy of 3D or game dedicated computers.

Here are some comparison elements: we did a huge review of Mac computer performances a few years ago, and were able to play projects with 70 mono audio tracks and 144 plugs (Wave Arts plugs, half Masterverb, half Trackplug) on a G5 (OS 10.3, 2,5 GB RAM, Logic 6.4.2, buffer set to 512). Under MacOS 10.4.10 (4 GB RAM, Logic 7.2.3): even if transport instructions weren’t immediate, display, SPL and zoom were fluent. We had to add 14 more plugs to see the first signs of graphics slowing down (up to 158 plugs!).

So what about Logic 8? If you just have a look at CPU and Disk I/O monitoring, it looks better. On the other hand, graphic-wise, it’s disastrous. If you try to resize the Arrange window, you’ll sometimes see white screens, opening the mixer could result in missing information (the lower half of all tracks), vu-meters are disjointed, opening or closing the Inspector, the Browser or a screenset can take 2 to 5 seconds, etc.


In conclusion Part II

Waveburner

Let’s say something about WaveBurner: even if users have some complaints, the 1.5 update adds stability. WaveBurner is a powerful burning sotfware (Red Book standard), which is quite easy to use with internal audio as well as with the RME. It could be perfect if it allowed DDP export or regionalized SDII. But it has an annoying problem: each time you quit Waveburner, the DVD tray opens...

A few wishes for the next update: improvement in graphic handling for the PPC (maybe a solution in Leopard?), complete and simplified PDC, Script management, an equivalent of Beat Detective, a new and automated stretch process, correction of Screenset and Folder issues, support of long names(!), a more practical Freeze function including multi-out instrument ability, destructive effect processing in Arrange (on a per Region basis) and Sample Editor and a few others. It has to be said that if some users complain about recurring Core Audio Overload, it seems quite impossible to determine the reason for this, since it occurs on very different configurations. This could be related to the plug-in buffer issue... I have to say I don’t have this problem, because most of the time I freeze virtual instruments other than Logic’s and I don’t mix 50 track projects and their plugs with a 64 samples buffer.

In short, there are the usual shortcomings you’ll always find on a new version, but in a reasonable proportion. All the more so as the stability is exemplary for such an update: we all remember the disastrous 7.0, which was the worst Logic version... Might we assume that Apple has reviewed its software from scratch and that it is now the prelude to numerous improvements and new features, such as the remote by touch-sensitive displays, in view of the number of patenting recently made by Gerhard Lengeling, creator of the original Logic? Let’s keep an eye on the next generation of Apple screens .

However, we can also take into consideration that with Logic Studio we have one of the best native audio solutions, in terms of conception and integration. If you can deal with the few bugs and shortcomings, and even if some are old now, using Logic Suite on a laptop is a unique occasion to lug a nearly complete virtual studio around. Even if you don’t add an audio interface to make recordings, you have a complete solution to compose, with almost all instruments, plugs and sounds (be careful with the HD requests). Another solution is to use Logic on a 4 or 8-core MacPro, then you have a high-powered workstation: if you have never seen a huge project with lots of tracks, plugs and instruments read by such a configuration, and see the CPU meters barely increasing, then you can’t imagine the power that there’s inside there. This pair, Logic and MacPro, doesn’t have any native rival. And maybe even any DSP rival, but only the future will tell. And maybe sooner than expected, since there are rumors that a new MacPro is coming out very soon.

[+]Complete Suite “software + audio content”
[+]Integration and interaction between applications and utilities
[+]Price
[+]Graphic overhaul, hence incomparable ergonomics
[+]Stability
[+]Takes and Comping
[+]Full Surround
[+]Ultrabeat and exs24 editor updates
[+]exs24 independent memory access
[+]Low Latency Mode
[+]Nodes available for some third party plug-ins
[+]Plugin and instrument optimization
[+]External MIDI instrument handling
[+]New menu hierarchy
[+]Numerous pull-down menus
[+]Complete nomadic solution
[+]High-powered when used with a 4 or 8-core MacPro

[-]Needs a powerful graphic card on PPC
[-]Audio Stretch
[-]No destructive effects processing
[-]PDC
[-]Freeze
[-]Screensets have lost some functions
[-]Some features lost
[-]No matching shortcuts between LP8 and STP
[-]XML Logic files can’t be opened by STP
[-]Some graphic and mouse bugs
[-]Logic’s still not scriptable
[-]No import of 32bit files
[-]Where’s SoundDiver?
[-]WaveBurner and DVD burner tray...
[-]What about the Core Audio Overload?
[-]What future for Logic on PPC?

This article has been written on the 11th of november 2007. Some bugs listed in this review have been fixed by Apple through the recent update of the software. Get more informations on www.apple.com/logicstudio/download/.


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