Apple’s Logic 6 Review: The Background, Feature & Application 2021


Manufacturer: Apple
Price: Pro & Express

The Background

Here’s the thing with Logic. At first, it’s confusing. But for all its complexity and plethora of seemingly redundant functions and executions, the program is deep, and in the end, serves the user by giving them the greatest flexibility over how to use it. The program’s operations and ways of viewing the whole digital audio process are very musically oriented, and for lack of a better word, logical.

The manual exists in written and computer versions in the form of a Logic Audio help file (which with a search engine comes very handy). It goes into great depth about many nuances of the program but lacks a step-by-step “here’s how to work the program” section. Seriously, if you get Logic Audio, save yourself the headache and buy a book on how to use it – you’ll get underway much faster. I recommend “Making Music With Emagic Logic Audio” by Stephen Bennett or “Apple Pro Training Series: Logic Audio 6.”

The main tracking area is the Arrange page, which is both comprehensive and straightforward. When you select a track, the left-most side of the window becomes parameter boxes and toolboxes, as well as a channel strip. This is an awesome setup that allows you to control many functions right there, saving you from switching back and forth to different windows to simply adjust a plug-in or volume setting. You can edit audio in the Arrange window, with resolutions down to the single sample. You can choose what other editors will pop up upon double-clicking both the midi and audio tracks in the preferences. In fig 1 I have the transport bar (basic stop, start, rec, buttons) within the Arrange page, but you can just as easily get rid of those and have the transport bar floating wherever you so desire. Automation is well designed and sample-accurate (as sample-accurate automation can be burdensome on your computer, you can switch it partially or completely off if you like.)

Logic Audio provides shortcuts to everything you need and allows customization of all those shortcuts. There are key commands for every function in Logic Audio and more, as there are functions that only are available as key commands. There are companies making color-coded key command keyboards (www.logickeyboard.com), which are worth checking out, too. I think with some proprietary audio interfaces from magic, we could see Logic Audio is a major rival to Pro-Tools, seeing as how magic is now part of Apple.

Logic’s method of setting up and controlling MIDI devices is handled by the Environment. At first glance, many tend to fear it, but there is one thing you need to realize about the Environment, it is as simple as you want it to be, or as complicated and powerful as you need it to be. You won’t find anything like it in other recording programs. The program comes with a few MIDI Instrument templates (banks and patches) that you can copy into your MIDI instrument layer of your Environment to help get you up and running, but you can create your own Environment objects, or download a template someone else may have created, if your synth is not included in the list, check out http://www.swiftkick.com for this. Emagic also makes its own Editor/Librarian program called SoundDiver, it gives you the ability to edit every parameter, and catalog and store your patches. SoundDiver comes with templates for approximately 500 additional devices.

The Features

Some of the stock plug-ins are terrific, and some are less than impressive. The reverbs I found to be fairly cold and steely sounding, but I’ve never had the opportunity to evaluate Space Designer- included free of charge in Logic Pro 6. Based on what the press has been saying about Sound Designer, one would have to assume it sounds very good. The delays and eqq are excellent. The newly implemented Channel EQ is awesome. It comes with an FFT analyzer that you can run in real-time and watch the eq of your track or mix. Then you can go and fix them with the super-precise parametric eq. Many of the plugs have two faces, one that’s more “graphical” and one that’s “sliders”.

There are many wonderful features for working with audio in Logic Audio 6. The time-stretching has great sound quality and is simple to use. (see fig 9) There is also Automatic Tempo matching. Say, for instance, you’ve got a live drum loop that was recorded without a click that you want to synch up. Using Automatic Tempo Adjustment, Logic Audio will detect and adjust the sequence’s tempo to fit the loop. Not only that, but Logic Audio can turn audio into written notation (!). The audio and midi scrubbing is smooth. And the program has the ability to support 44.1 and 48khz sample rates at the same time. Sweet.

Here’s another tasty morsel from the candy jar of features: say you have a live recording of a string quartet, and in the middle of a passage, someone accidentally hit their instrument with their bow, resulting in a nasty click. You can look at it in the Sample Editor, zoom in using the magnifying glass and see the click graphically as a jagged wave as opposed to a nice smooth one. Switch to the pencil tool, and you can actually draw in new information over the old, making a smooth line where the jagged one once was. (see fig 11) You may not be able to completely erase the click with this method, but this trick can really iron out some unwanted sounds. It totally blew me away when I first used it.

The Score Editor is one of the most comprehensive notation editors that come with a sequencer program that I’ve seen. It has predefined score styles, in which every aspect is adjustable – i.e. staff size, voice number in each staff, clef, transposition, split point, and more. You can explode. You can edit with the notation without affecting the actual midi data (this can get confusing though, and it’s probably best to just make a copy of the project to do all your hard quantization there). With the powerful features of the Score Editor, Logic Audio becomes a real good option for composers who need to get midi files to notation that is actually readable and somewhat correct but don’t need the muscle of Finale or Sibelius.

The Project Manager makes it really easy to quickly apply your favorite plug-in settings from other songs, grabbing an audio file from another song or a drum loop stored in a folder of loops, etc. You can also save all files associated with a song into a project folder, which makes burning a copy of your song file onto cd quite easy. You can import any folder on your hard drive to the Project Manager, thus making the whole of your audio and associated files categorized and easily accessible.

You can bounce internal synth midi tracks like an audio bounce. Wonderful idea! I find this feature extremely useful, especially in today’s world where the growing trend is toward software synths. 

Logic Audio is TDM compatible, so you can use it with Digidesign audio hardware. However, some claim that the OMF import/export feature is currently only working with mac OS9 (against magic’s advertising), leaving those who strive towards the dream setup of Logic Audio 6 on OSX on a G5 still waiting. Emagic does say they are aware of the problem and are working on it, so cross your fingers and watch for an update.

The programmers have wisely devised many fail-safes for us forgetful musicians. The program is always saving, in large ways and small. There is an autosave function that saves every 5 minutes or whatever time increment you set it to. You can store up to 100 undo’s in the undo history, and if you played your midi instrument along to the existing song and weren’t recording, you can make the last pass into a real track if you decide it was good and you missed it.

Conclusion

Logic Audio is fast and responsive, has a clean graphical interface, is very customizable, and last but not least has a seemingly dedicated development team. In the past couple of years, Logic Audio has progressed by leaps and bounds in terms of features and functionality, many features I know people were specifically asking for (which says to me that magic listens to their customer’s gripes and requests). And now that Apple owns them, it means that momentum is going to continue, if not increase. Emagic is now bound to Apple’s 30-day announcement policy (Apple guarantees that if a product is announced as being available, it WILL be available in 30 days), which is nice for those who have waited frustratingly on other software companies and their empty promises of delivering a new version and new software by specific dates. The program isn’t perfect, there are bugs just like any other system. But the fact that Apple and Emagic are hands in hand means (hopefully)- stability (haven’t crashed once yet), ease of use, great functions, and potentially the most cutting edge music-making audio program for the Macintosh platform.

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