Apple's music production software shifts up a gear with the arrival of Logic Pro Studio 9, the new digital audio workstation and sequencing program at the heart of the Logic Studio 9 package.
There are lots of great new features in this version and delicious new tools to play with, but Logic 9 has also had a bit of a makeover in the looks department, while changes to the program put speed, simplicity and ease-of-use to the forefront. It's clear Apple don't want your creative process hindered by time-consuming laborious production elements.
Apple Logic Pro 9 is a lot faster than previous versions, which is always a plus point. Not only is track processing and other functions quicker, but it can handle large audio sessions without the computer and program tripping up and crashing — the Holy Grail for producers. This is even more apparent when running the new software on MacBook Pro laptops.
Flex Time is Apple's collection of tools designed to manipulate audio beyond the time and space continuum. Flex Time is a time-stretching tool that works in a variety of ways — slicing, rhythmic, monophonic, polyphonic, tempophone and speed — with all but the last designed to help adjust the timing of the audio without affecting the pitch. When used to the extreme this feature can really alter the sound in such a creative way, but be careful — sometimes it just sounds weird and shit.
Flex Time is a little piece of magic. When Flex mode is engaged on a track, Logic analyses the audio and creates a set of markers, a bit like in Ableton Live. By using the Flex tool, adjustments can then be made to the timing in between the markers. Stretching on one side of the cursor squashes the audio, while stretching it on the other side makes the audio expand — simple. This is all indicated with a cool little coloured visual aid. When stretched the section turns orange, while the compressed part goes green.
Using the rhythmic mode on drum loops, we found Flex Time to be extremely impressive. The slicing mode uses exactly the same tools as the other modes, but audio is simply moved, not actually stretched.
Audio quantize is a new option that appears once a Flex mode is selected. In addition to typical quantize options, groove templates derived from other tracks can be applied — great for creating mash-up style tracks.
The Flex Time system offers one last bit of sorcery — a new varispeed option. This will allow changes to the speed/pitch or just the speed (time-stretching) of the whole track, and it works beautifully.
Further improvements make Logic 9 a joy to use. One of these new features is the speed fade. Protools users will be familiar with this little feature. When applying a fade-in or fade-out to a piece of audio, it can be adjusted to sound like a turntable-style start/stop effect.
The ability to merge audio files using the glue tool still exists but the new 'bounce-in-place' option is far better. With this, you can quickly bounce a region or track to a new audio file on a separate track. This feature includes options such as rendering plug-ins and automation, as well as normalising and adding effect to the rendered file.
Logic's very own reverb plug-in Space Designer gets some new 'warped effects' impulse responses, including drone tones, moving spaces, textures, drum transformers, ghost rhythms and impulses. A very creative sound manipulation tool, this can be used sparingly or crazy results can be achieved if caution is thrown to the wind!
The new drum replacer application is a great tool. Once again, Protools users will be familiar with this with the various drum replacing plug-ins offered to them in the past. Logic's version is just as slick. After selecting the drum performance, if you notice that the kick is a bit shit and doesn't suit the track, simply highlight the kick track and select the drum replacer option. Once again, Logic will analyse the audio and offer various replacement options.
Select 'kick' from the drum types on offer then set the markers. A new track will open with the new Midi information and a new EXS24 sample instrument, which will then offer a choice of new kicks to replace the old one — instant fix! This is especially useful when dealing with drummers without any rhythm!
Two new major inclusions in Logic 9 will really appeal to the guitar sector of the market, but are also very useful additions for anyone looking to be a little creative with their production techniques. While not giving away any of our little production secrets, be advised that these two features can really enhance your productions no end.
Amp Designer and Pedalboard are two new software plug-ins that users of Native Instruments' Guitar Rig or IK's AmpliTube will instantly be familiar with. Amp Designer offers a host of amps, cabinets and three microphone options allowing users to mix and match all the individual elements to create unlimited tonal possibilities. With over 200 presets categorised by amp type and style, there are more than enough options to satisfy even the most demanding amongst us.
Pedalboard is the second of the new guitar flavoured effects, commonly known in the trade as stomp boxes. At your disposal is a pool of 30 realistic stomp boxes, offering various types of effects, ranging from distortions, delays, modulations and filters, that can be chained together to make one hell of a monster sound, or the modules can be split and mixed for even more complex audio set-ups.
Logic Pro Studio 9 isn't just a sequencer. It is actually a whole heap of packages intended to make music creation or performance a whole lot easier. Other software included is MainStage and WaveBurner.
MainStage is a program that Logic refers to as a 'playback instrument' that aids with live performance. It takes the specified audio files from your Logic session and basically becomes your backing band. No more Oasis-style fisticuffs and arguments about who is going to play the lead solo.
WaveBurner is a CD compilation, mastering and burning application for use once a project is finished, but most people farm this out to professional mastering studios.
For new users, the real attraction is that Logic Pro 9 includes everything needed to make dancefloor busting club tracks. It may not look that different to the last version of Logic, but delve deeper and you'll find that Logic Pro 9 boasts many tasty new features.
|Ease of Use||4.0|
|Value for Money||4.0|
|Hype||Industry standard production software. New plug-ins are just so good!|
Only for Apple Mac computers.
Logic Pro 9 is a very powerful package that gives instant gratification when producing tracks. Easy to use, it's not too intimidating for beginners.
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