Logic Pro X – Day 1
Well, hello folks. Its been a while since we’ve gotten down and nerdy, but hey… a perfect opportunity has arisen for us to get our geek on. That’s right, today marks the release day for Logic Pro X – 4 years in the making even. Is it worth it? I don’t know and I’m actually not going to answer that question. Let’s face it, if you are a Logic person you are going to upgrade – the work flows are still there and there’s tons of cool new features. With that being said, there are a million websites talking about those big shiny new features but no body’s really getting into the details. That’s what I’m going to do with you folks today. Now do I have all the details? Fuck no I don’t… hell I’ve spent two hours with the thing. But today we’re going to talk about a couple of fun things you may, or may not care about:
- Installation Process
- Loading Existing Logic 9 Sessions
- Some of the features no body’s mentioned yet
- Control Surfaces (including Logic Remote)
- Growing Pains
Let’s face it folks, our world has changed. But only a little (ok, maybe a lot… depends on your perspective 😉 ). There’s probably a billion blog posts just waiting to happen. I might even write two or three of em. But you get what you get. With that. Let’s get started… shall we?
Logic Pro X – Installation and Upgrade
Logic Pro X is an app store download only. There are no CDs or floppy disks to mess with. If you are a recent adopter of Logic 9 this is all very familiar to you. I managed to get Logic 9 when it was still on disks though (does that make me old? No, but owning Logic when emagic still made it does!). It all starts at $199, but could get a little more expensive depending on your situation.
First things first:
Logic Pro X requires Mac OS X 10.8.4
Basically this is the latest friggen version of Mac OS X. I didn’t have it but I had the version before it (10.7.something). Sure, its a 20 dollar upgrade if you’re fairly recent, but kiss good-bye an hour of fart around time while you download and subsequently upgrade. If you are running an even older version of OS X, well.. uh, you may have much more to deal with than just a lowly hour of your time (Waves plugins are notorious for requiring a paid ‘upgrade’ for mac osx version). Oh, and don’t forget to backup first!
Phew, ok, so now we’ve got the latest Mac OS X. Sure there’s some stuff to discover on your fresh OS but fuck that, we’ve got Logic X to play with. Well, not yet, we’ve got to get it. Load up the the app store to buy it. The installation goes sorta like this:
- A 600 or so MB download for the installer
- The installer then downloads for another 2GB or so
- After the installer runs you can launch the app. The app can download the rest of the sample library while you mess with it (cool right?)
Apple claims up to 35GB of extra goodies with Logic X. They aren’t lying, but depending on your intended use you may not want it all. For example, if you don’t care about Zack, Lloyd, and all the other virtual drummers you can shave a good 15GB off your download. Up to you, but I program my drums using apps like BFD2 and Battery.. I guess I’ll pass on the the Zack-attack. Curious about the drum thing? Try this.
So here’s something cool:
Logic X installed next to Logic 9
Yep, you still have Logic 9 sitting there, waiting for your abuse. This is awesome. Why? Because in-case some shit goes terribly wrong in Logic X your project isn’t totally screwed. And hey, something’s going to go wrong. (Who the fuck adopts professional software on the first day anyway? Are you retarded or something?).
Load Logic X. Dick around, notice that everything is moved but many things are the same. Now Logic X ships with some new keyboard shortcuts but the installer will prompt you to retain your old Logic 9 ones. I chose to do this, I hate change. So that might help ease the adoption process ever so slightly for you.
Loading Logic 9 projects in Logic X
Well, this process was pretty straight forward. Launch Logic X and load one of your existing songs. It should come right up. Now you might be aware that Logic X is 64bit only so any 32bit plugins you have will send you a warning and display a cute little symbol indicating they won’t run. Remember how you can still run Logic 9? Told you it was important.
When you first load your Logic 9 sessions in Logic X, you will be asked to save a new file. Feel free to name this whatever, including the same damn thing as your Logic 9 session. This is totally safe (I tried it). Logic X has a new file format for the session. When you establish the new session the old session will remain present in the directory. You can quit Logic X and load the Logic 9 session whenever you want.
I loaded two sessions to play with this and went back and forth quite a bit. One session was quite simple and the other was a song I’ve almost finished. The complicated one involves fades, automation, flex time, dsp based plugins, and lots of busing. For the most part everything worked ok in the plugin world. Here’s a list of working plugs for the curious:
- PSP Vintage Warmer
- UAD plugins (namely my Studer A800)
- Rob Papen Blue, RP-Delay
- U-He Ace
- Vahalla Room/UberMod
- Waves RComp, RVerv (V8 or 9, I can’t remember)
- Sinevibes Dynamo
- CamelPhat and CamelSpace
There are probably some more. But yea, they all worked just fine; this includes the legacy apple plugs.
For the most part the pain is just being bombarded with all of the new UI features turned on. You can turn them off, but you’ll have to turn them off for every session (and there’s a lot, you’ll want to reduce the cruft). Moving forward you can of course update your templates but what’s done is done. I suppose you can finish your active tracks in Logic 9 too. Its your world after all.
Issues and General Wierdness Loading Sessions
Although I didn’t have too many issues loading up a Logic 9 session I did come across a couple things I figured I’d point out:
- Not all of my region fades came over correctly. I got weird audio hiccups from them. For the two or three I looked at, if I adjusted them a little they seemed to behave better. If you are like me and use a lot of fades there may be some work porting your session forward.
- Session files are bigger. Not that it really matters, but I noticed and need ammo for this blog.
With that being said, a little migration guide:
- Get your ‘in progress’ tracks working in 64bit mode (this usually involves saving presets in your 32bit versions and loading them in your 64bit versions)
- Get your track sounding right in Logic X (remember those fades?)
- Clean-up the various UI settings for each track
- Save and rejoice.
Of course there’s an alternative:
Finish what you started in Logic 9. Start new stuff in Logic X.
Just throwing it out there.
Various Features and Changes
You’ve all heard about Zack the drummer and Flex pitch, but there’s got to be more right? Right, there is. And one thing I want to elaborate on is the UI. Its different, very different – but they didn’t bother to write a list. Here are a few things I came across.
- Channel strips now have a ‘gain reduction’ portion. If you stick Logic’s compressor on a channel, you can see it working below the EQ
- Channel strips now have extra sections: midi plugins, stupid icons, track numbers, upper track headers.
- Channel strips have a cute thing to the left that will label the unlabeled (you can turn this off, its stupid).
- If you mouse-over your plugins you’ll notice they change. You get a power button, the name and a little double arrow. The double arrow is how you select a different plugin. Clicking on the center will allow you to drag the plugin around (you don’t need modifier keys anymroe).
- Your modifier keys for plugins will work but will no longer change the mouse cursor (I suppose this is because you no longer have to use them).
- Mono/stereo mode for audio tracks is now settable next to the input (it used to be in the lower left portion of the channel strip).
- Mono/stereo mode buttons are completely missing from multi-out instruments (I’m going to rant on this in a bit).
And with that, some pictures before I continue:
This one is particularly cool and may seem familiar to those who’ve used pro-tools. Automation lanes!
There’s actually another weird thing with automation. You must enable automation on a track before you can draw in automation. This is weird if you come from 9. In 9 you just hit ‘show automation’ and all the tracks are available for drawing. In Logic X you still have to do this but there’s an extra step. Well, sort of. Whatever track you have selected will enable automation when you show automation. All the other tracks that haven’t had any automation just stay as normal. This means you can edit automation on one track while moving regions around in another. What you want is this little button here (it only shows up when you ‘show automation’):
It, in fact, looks example the same as the show/hide automation button. That one’s just at the top (although I like to use keyboard shortcut “a”).
This is a small one but may trip up some folks. In Logic 9 you can drag your mouse in the top portion of the arrange window (oh yea, its called the main window now) and one of two things will happen depending on the direction you drag your mouse. If you drag left to right it would turn on looping and loop the selected portion. If you dragged right to left it would completely skip the selected portion. In Logic X you can drag either way and the same thing happens, looping. Btw, I’m talking about this thing:
This isn’t really a new feature actually and I sort of mentioned this above but multi-out plugins, uh, somethings off here and I hope they fix it. If you are like me and you use software like battery or bfd2 you might be into splitting the drum elements up and mixing them in logic (versus mixing them in the app). Multi-out is still supported but its weird. You used to get to choose, for each aux channel, whether it was stereo or mono. This would then allow you to pick from the relevant outs from the plugin. So far in Logic X, when you make an aux for a multi-out plug you get what you get. If you use a combo of stereo/mono in a plug then you basically keep making aux tracks until you get the type you want (so if you start mono, you make a bunch until they start showing up in stereo). This is stupid.
I should note: Normal aux tracks don’t function this way. Just aux tracks associated with multi-out plugins. Yes, minor, unless you’re me.
I thought it was worth mentioning but I have a control surface and it still works. The Mackie MCU Pro. I played with a number of the features and they worked as in Logic. Phew.
More importantly, I also tried out the new iPad Logic Remote app (you can download this from the app store). Its surprisingly simple to use and didn’t have too much latency. Just load Logic X and load the app on the iPad. Logic X can even be playing while you do this. The app will detect Logic X and prompt you to connect. That’s it. You can actually do quite a bit from it too. I see its most useful application being to hit that record button when you are away from the keyboard playing with synths or trying to sing in your own vocal booth..
Its a new app, its not quite there. I’ve already mentioned a couple things that are weird or didn’t quite work right. On top of what may result from upgrading your OS you may be in for a lot of change. At least you can keep Logic 9. This will help tremendously for those who would like to adopt at their own pace. But its just the beginning and we’re going to find all kinds of fun stuff as we explore the app and its new features. I’m looking forward to getting into Flex Pitch at some point but it will probably be a bit (hell, I’ve got music to write too).
All things considered, it worked decently well. And with that, I’m out for the night.
Hope you folks found something interesting in this article. I’ll post more as I learn more, but only the stuff that no-body else is writing about. Track stacks? You don’t need me for that do you?