Logic Express 9 review

Logic Express 9 takes Apple’s home-recording software to new levels by beefing up the audio editing features and adding loads of funky stuff for guitarists. While pros may count off the extras in Logic Studio (thousands more sounds and effects, Mainstage for live performing, Pro Tools support), for the home user there’s simply no competition. Logic Express 9 gives home-recording enthusiasts everything they need to record live instruments, vocals and MIDI tracks, then mix and master them to CD.

Even with the streamlined interface introduced in version 8, Express 9 is still a bit daunting if you’re stepping up from GarageBand. But if you’ve used recording software before you’ll get going soon enough. There are useful templates for various kinds of projects (Songwriter, Rock, Electronic and so on), which come complete with instruments and effects already set up. You can create and save your own as well. GarageBand users will find their existing songs load straight into Express 9.

Audio editing has had much of its clunkiness removed, so you can change playback speed without messing up the pitch, quantise a track so it’s nailed to the beat, or gently shift audio by nudging it with the mouse instead of cutting and pasting. Express 9 is cleverer at importing audio too – individual samples pick up the tempo of the current project and it’s possible to import selected tracks from another song, rather than the whole thing.

Guitarists are the greatest beneficiaries, courtesy of 25 amp/speaker simulations and 30 stompboxes. These let users create everything from subtle tones and shades through to screaming, ring-modulated, wah-wah infused monsters. Guitar nerds may nit-pick the accuracy of some of these but for the rest of us it’s a varied toolbox for all kinds of musical styles. And that’s Express 9’s strength – inexpensive enough to appeal to beginners, powerful enough to keep them going for years.

OUR VERDICT

Express 9 is first-class home-recording software for all types of musicians, especially guitarists. It offers streamlined audio editing, plenty of loops and instruments, stacks of virtual amps/speakers and pedals for guitarists, and it reads GarageBand files. Time spent digging into the interface will be well rewarded. Only the pros need more.

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