Logic Pro 10.1 review
Logic Pro X, when it arrived in July 2013 packed a significant design overhaul, new operational functions and, most importantly, new musical tools into Apple’s own pro-audio DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). You can read more about Logic Pro X in our original review, which is on the second page of this article. Now Apple has updated Logic Pro X, version 10.1 which is free to existing users (£149 to anyone else), brings new features that we will discuss below.
Logic Pro 10.1: Drummer
Electronic Drummer in Logic Pro
In the previous incarnation of Logic, Apple introduced the Drummer feature, which is an incredibly easy way to create beats, fills and rolls for a track. Simply adjusting the placement of a couple of controls subtly changes the feel of a groove, and selecting from the various different virtual drummers brings noticeable characteristics to the performance. Now Apple has expanded the styles from the more traditional Rock, Alt, R&B, and Songwriter to include Electronic and Hip Hop. These aren’t just token efforts either, bringing with them an additional eight drummers (there are actually ten new ones over all in 10.1) that specialise in styles such as Techno, Dubstep, and House. In use these new players are actually very good, creating authentic beats with very little effort.
It should be stated that these aren’t merely loops. Instead Apple has written some clever code that analyses the song and plays along accordingly. You can even select a certain track that the drummer will follow closely to tighten the overall feel.
Drum Machine Designer
Drum Machine Designer is another addition that follows the idea of the Drum Kit Designer from Logic 10, enabling you to replace or hone any part of the virtual machine to tailor the tones to your pallette. There are also new features for playing these creations too, with Note Repeat making it easy to hold down a note for fast repeated patterns - great for rapid kick creation - and Spot Erase allowing the quick removal of notes as well.
iPad integration is also enhanced, with the updated Logic Remote app allowing you to play the Drum Machine, and other virtual instruments, in real time on your device, as well as navigating menus and settings. You can see the advantage of Apple’s holistic approach here, as the iPad is a more natural surface on which to play drum pads, adjust sliders, and so forth, rather than the standard keyboard. It also means you can sit back in your chair while playing with sounds, rather than staying slumped at your desk, for which your back will thank you.
Logic Pro 10.1: Editing
Time Handles in Logic Pro
It’s not all handclaps and synth bass though, as Logic 10.1 sees some impressive upgrades to the editing suite. One of our favourites is the Brush Tool. To use it you select the key scale of the song, or section, and then simply drag the brush across the piano roll, moving up or down to create instant runs and melodies. Logic omits any notes not in the specified scale, meaning everything sounds like it’s meant to be there. You won’t really use it for the main part of a song, but as additional colour in a composition it’s great fun. The piano roll also has the option to display Drum Names now, rather than allocated notes on a piano, making editing a lot easier. Time Handles allows you to highlight a MIDI section and then drag the contents to either lengthen or shorten the pattern - great for quickly creating half or double time segments - and Smart Quantize can now tidy up any errant timing in your playing, without destroying any intended playing choices.
A couple of the other main features include Region Automation, which as the name suggests allows you to create automation on certain sections of songs, and can be taken with it if you duplicate or cut and paste that section to another part of the song; while another important change is Real-time Fades, which renders the edit as you apply them, rather than creating a separate file, meaning you can hear it in real-time and also makes them compatible with Flex-pitch. Editors will also appreciate the news that the new plug-in manager now gives you the ability to create folders for your favourite effects, EQ, and audio units, all of which are included in the main menu with Apple’s included plug-ins. There also various refinements to the menu layouts, an upgraded compressor, and several other subtle, but interesting additions.
Logic Pro 10.1: Verdict
For a free upgrade this really is an excellent package, and takes the already hugely impressive Logic platform to another level. A professional package, and a home studio price. Brilliant.
On the second page you can read our Apple Logic Pro X review from July 2013 by Jono Buchanan.