Review of Logic Pro 7
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Review of Logic Pro 7

with notes on 7.1 and 7.2

page 9


As soon
as Apple announced the release of Logic Pro 7, it was clear this would be a major event in Logic's history. And now, after playing with it for a while I can tell you, it IS! The last upgrade from Logic 6.3 to Pro 6 added many audio instruments and effects that were previously available as add-ons. With this upgrade from Pro 6 to Pro 7, Logic once again breaks ground in terms of new features.  Read the documentation to get the full understanding of them.

 

 

While Logic remains the second most expensive software package (Nuendo takes the crown here), you have to balance the decision with the fact that Logic gives you more than any other sequencer package.  You get more plugins, audio instruments (soft synths) and mastering processors than the competition.  You don't have to go with extras plug ins unless you want to.

Logic Pro 7 is now supported fully at Apple's website. There is even an Apple-hosted Logic 7 discussion forum.   Notice the word "Emagic" is gone.  Logic Pro 7 is part of Apple's Pro line with Final Cut Pro HD, Motion, DVD studio Pro and Shake.  Pro 7 is an application designed for OS X; it does not run in OS9 at all.

You might be asking what Logic Pro 7 adds that Pro6 does not have.  Take a look at the sidebar to the left.  I didn't include everything announced, just the important ones.   This a major upgrade.

 

Apple Loops and GarageBand

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Logic Pro 8 is here in Apple's new
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The price
s half of what Logic Pro 7 was, but has everything that version 7 had, plus numerous workflow and graphic improvements, huge sample and loop libraries, and even a full version of Sound Track Pro.

 

Official Apple
Discussion Forum

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The most far reaching, perhaps, is the integration of Apple Loops, which promises to bring to Logic a similar functionality enjoyed by Sonar, Ableton Live and Acid users.  Note that Cubase SX III is also touting a similar feature.  Yet the Apple Loops format adds a twist.  In addition to the common audio loop you can use Apple loops based on audio instruments, complete with effects settings.  That could mean you could get better sounding time stretching, with fewer artifacts, given your source instrument was of sufficient quality. Those making beats may find this opens up a whole new domain of loop construction possibilities.  Read more for the whole picture, including screenshots of the Apple Loops Utility and Loops Browser. 
 

Three New Instruments in 7.0

Sculpture
A synthesizer plugin based on component modeling.

Ultrabeat
A drum machine instrument

EFM1
An FM synth audio instrument
 

Some of the New Effect Plug-ins (7.0)

Guitar Amp Pro
Simulates a guitar amp

Linear Phase EQ
Manipulate EQ curves without corrupting phase.

Match EQ
Match acoustically two signals to transfer frequency spectrum.

Pitch Correction
Correct improper intonation on vocals or force to monotone.

Ringshifter
Add metallic sheen to any loop or sample for haunting effects.

Vocal Transformer

Multimeter
 

Some of the new Features (7.0)

Distributed Audio
Allows the connection of several Macs to distribute processing power

Apple Loops Integration
Lets you use Apple Loops and import Acid Loops

Recall Channel Strips
Save all channel settings and parameters for future projects.

Global Tracks
Control tempo, signature and more, all graphically.

Shuffle Editing in Arrange
Restrain movement to prevent regions from overlapping.

EXS24 Editing Improvements
Drag and drop audio and edit zones graphically.

Song Templates
Create different templates for the type of work you do.

Caps Lock Keyboard
Lets you play and record MIDI using your computer keyboard
 

The Virtual Domain Expands

With the inclusion of the three new audio instruments, Sculpture, UltraBeat and the EFM1, Logic covers more ground than before.  Even with Logic 6 we were well beyond the point where external synths and samplers were necessary to make music of high quality.  Now we are even further into the virtual domain adding drum machine capabilities, a modeling synth with new possibilities for sound generation, and FM synthesis.  Naturally all audio instruments require CPU resources, but with Freeze Tracks (introduced in the Logic 6 series) and now with distributed audio processing, there is the promise of building huge, dense and super-fast songs all in an expanded virtual domain.
 

Effects Plugins

After hearing the amp simulations in GarageBand, I was hoping they would find their way into Logic.  It looks like we are about to get the real deal here.  I am particularly enthused about the new Pitch Correction plugin, hoping it works as well or better than AutoTune, which requires a VSTi to AU shell to work in Logic Pro6.  I like the screenshots of the Multimeter, which looks like it is capable of advanced analysis of the audio outputs.  Linear Phase EQ, Vocal Transformer, Match EQ, and Ringshifter look like great additions to the plugin line up. Logic will have a total of 70 plugins in Pro 7. For a useful list of all the Logic features, instruments, and plugins, check the product description a zZounds. 

 

Other Features of 7.0

I particularly love the possibilities of recallable channel strips, that let you save all the settings of a mixer channel as a preset.  How many times have we tweaked a bass track a certain way and wanted to recall it in a later song?  I am imagining a building a huge directory of these.  The song templates is another cool idea, something Cakewalk has had forever. Logic has long needed Global track features, that let you specify the root key, tempo, transposition, time signature and change them.  I find transposition particularly interesting.  According to the documentation on Apple's site, your Apple Loops will follow changes in transposition on this global track. Acid has that feature, and it works great with loops in that application. 
 

Audio Units Compatibility

Logic 7 includes an Audio Units Validation Tool, which checks your existing audio unit plugins to make sure they pass Apple's requirements.  The idea here is to make Logic more robust by preventing plugins that do not pass Apple's coding requirements from crashing the application.  While in the short term, some plugins might not load, as plugin makers update their products we will hopefully have much more stable plugins which means a more stable Logic.  I applaud the move, as I can' count the times a bad plugin has crashed my sequencers. 

 

Notes on 7.1
 

Logic 7.1 arrived right around when OS X went to Tiger from Panther. I can say without hesitation that Logic is much better in Tiger in terms of graphics. To me this is the best feature of 7.1 is how well it works with Tiger! With Tiger, the windows are less sluggish when you have many objects on the screen, the mouse clicks are more snappy, and 7.1 exploits these new capabilities.  Get Tiger and 7.1 for the full treat.    I'm just going to touch on the ones I think are great.

Follow Tempo Function.  By using this function your audio recordings can actually follow the tempo of the song.  Need to change the BPM to make the song more uptermpo?  The audio tracks will follow.  This is much better than the old way of using the time and pitch machine to stretch and shrink things.
 

Apple Loop Creation.  You can now create Apple Loops right from the arrange screen in Logic.  So when you have a great sequence that you think will be useful in other songs, save it as an apple loop and it will show up in your loop browser. 

Plug-in Delay Compensation.  It's here at last.  Good news for those running the UAD-1 plugins.  It also can be set to the old behavior so you don't mess the timing up of previously tweaked songs.

Plug and Play audio interfaces.  If you have Tiger you probably saw how it is possible to define an aggregate device in the audio/midi setup.  This allows you to use multiple audio interfaces.  In Logic 7.1 you can plug them in while the song is running.  Great stuff.  Logic finally lets you use more than one audio interface like it did under windows and does it much more elegantly now.

Hidden Menu Bars.  You can now hide the local menu bar and scroll bars on your windows, giving you more screen real estate.  You can still scroll the windows with a mouse with a scroll wheel and by moving the mouse against the edge of the window. 

Hand Tool in the Mixer.  You can now move plugins around within the mixer strip without going to the audio configuration window.  A small feature, but one I use every song. 

Improved Jam Pack Management.  Just in time as my library is getting large.

 

 

  Logic Pro screen real estate at 1920x1200 resolution.  Notice how scroll bars and menu bars can be hidden in version 7.1

 

Notes on 7.2
 

The 7.2 version is a paid upgrade that turns Logic into a "Universal" application in Mac-Speak.  That is, it allows you to run it natively on both the Power PC Macs and the new Macs with the Intel Duo processor.  You can read about all the features at the Apple site.  There are 3 new GarageBand 3 plugins, 32 channels support for audio instruments, improved Rewire and Control surface support, AAC playback and a new sound effects library.

Logic 7.2 also gives software support for the new Apogee Ensemble audio interface and has Pro Tools HD7 DAE support for high end Pro Tools users.  It also has support for the Serato Time& Pitch plugin, available separately.

 

Summing Up
 

The new features bring Logic up to speed with other sequencers in areas where Logic had fallen behind, namely tempo driven time stretch of audio loops, delay compensation and adding more computers and audio interfaces.  It is looking like Logic may actually surpass the competition in these areas.  In the realm of plugins and audio instruments, Logic has been miles ahead of the competition and now that lead is even farther ahead. Of course no sequencer is ever "complete" as technology continues to march on, but my sense is that as Logic 7 delivers on these features, it's going to quench logicians thirsts for improved music technologies for some time to come.

 

 

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