Logic Express 8

Apple has unveiled a new version of Logic Express to go along with its new Logic Studio. It’s a pretty capable program for the price, with the new, overhauled production interface, full-blown audio and MIDI editing and even notation, video playback and video scoring features, the new take management and comping features, mixing, and automation. It’s unfortunate, but I have to compare to Ableton’s recently-announced Live LE, which painfully cripples basic clip automation features and the ability to freely add effects plug-ins, audio inputs, and MIDI outputs.

So, what is missing in Logic Express? For starters, you don’t get the bundled applications in Logic Studio. In the case of Soundtrack Pro, that may not matter — like the new Logic Studio, Logic Express includes internal, sample-accurate audio editing and video scoring features in-house. But I suspect the MainStage live performance features will be reason alone for some to upgrade to the full version. There’s also no surround, though this is still a largely stereo world so that makes sense.

More importantly, you miss out on some of Logic’s deep range of instruments and effects. The difference is that Apple is including some of the stars:

  • EXS24 sampler

  • ES2 synth
  • EFM1 FM synth
  • Ultrabeat drum machine
  • Guitar Amp Pro amp modeler

The previous version I believe had only Guitar Amp (not Pro) and the EFM1 and ES2. The new version to keep the ES2 and adds Ultrabeat and the fairly powerful EXS24, which once was a standalone sampler product, even if it looks a little thin compared to the current versions of Kontakt, Dimension Pro, and others. (As noted in comments, not quite clear what EXS24 instruments are there; I’ll ask.)

The effects suite is a little more basic, and I hope they’ve included clear instructions for the confusing UltraBeat instrument, but this still gives you a rich set of stuff to play with right in the box, on top of what you get with GarageBand. And you could always round out the set later with an add-on, third-party plug-in.

This makes for what has to be the richest “entry-level” DAW for US$199 available yet. The equivalent versions of SONAR, Cubase, Live, and others tend to be more limited. I still think most will jump for the full Studio, but Logic Express appears thoughtfully assembled for those on a budget.

Logic Express 8

  • http://www.jonathanleonard.com Jonathan Adams Leona

    If anyone is interested in grabbing this hot update, I have been told that the new version and updates will be available in U.S. Dealers this weekend.

    Can't wait to dig into all the new features and especially Mainstage!

    Rockin!

    -jonathan

  • jeff

    Main stage? That's only in the Logic Studio version, which is actually in stores today. I wasjust down at the local Apple store checking it out.

  • EJ

    I think I'll be jumping for Express. I just combed the feature lists and all of the core functionality is in Express except for Surround and Pro Tools/Euphonix integration.

  • goodbaum

    I'm dissapointed that Express still has to make due with Garageband vsts rather than the more sampled pro instruments (especially the pianos).

  • hkitago

    I wish I can set up the audio in and out separately like Ableton Live.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @EJ: Core functionality, yes. But I think a lot of the value is in those extra instruments, effects, and MainStage, if that's important to you.

    @goodbaum: Lost you there. Express *does* have the EXS24 and thus compatibility with other EXS24 instruments. And even GarageBand's instruments are based on EXS24 samples, albeit a smaller selection of them. With Express, you get additional editing of them, as well.

  • Mike

    Newbie question: I just got a MacBook and am playing with GarageBand. If I wanted to spend $200, would I be better off buying Express or buying two Jam Packs, if I'm looking for a good spread of software instruments?

    Bonus question: I'm interested in programmatically manipulating MIDI data outside of these programs. It sounds like GarageBand can import but not export MIDI files. Can Express do both?

    Thanks!

  • http://www.guitarhelper.net Brian Murphy

    Hi!

    EFM1 is still there.

    New Express has the EXS24 but not the instruments?

    I didn't find any indication of this on their website.

    Logic studio comes with 1300 EXS sampled instruments.

    Studio has a much bigger sound library.

    Brian
    http://www.guitarhelper.net

  • BirdFLU

    Mike,

    Your $200 should go to Express. Express can import adn export MIDI files.

  • http://www.vizzie.com vizzie

    One limitation of the previous Logic Express was a 12-track recording limit… you could have more than 12 tracks in a project, but you could only address the first 12 audio inputs your audio interface… I wonder if this limit has been lifted in Express 8? No where in the new product data does it mention a track recording limitation. anyone know for sure?

  • digg

    Is there an upgrade path from Logix Express 8 to Logic Studio 8?

    I may start off with Logic Express 8, and see if it suits my needs, but then upgrade to Studio 8 if Express isn't sufficient.

    I can't seem to find any mentions of an upgrade path from Express 8 to Studio 8 – perhaps it's too early since they were just released? ;)

  • Tom

    New is also the fact that the amazing EVOC20 vocoder is now part of Logic Express.

  • http://createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Tom: Thanks for the tip! Yeah, that's especially good news as NI (evidently) discontinues their excellent vocoder Vokator, which is a sad development, indeed. Looking into that to see what's happened. Into every life, a little vocoding must shine.

  • E.J.

    digg – the upgrade price from Express to Studio is the difference in price between the two – $300. In other words, there's no penalty for starting with Express and graduating to Studio if you're happy with the core application – I think it looks like a great option. Word from some Apple employee friends of mine is that Express sold out instantly.

  • http://blog.roneysmith.com Roney

    Logic Express 8.0 is definitely worth the $99 upgrade if you already have LE 7.2 or if you do not have Logic Pro.

    I suggest that the 4 previous Jam Packs are purchased regardless if you plan to upgrade or not.

    I bought the Jam Packs prior to getting the upgrade. I do not yet have the Vocals Jam Pack, but have used the others a ton.

    The Logic Studio upgrade from LE8 will be worth it eventually since the 4 Jam Packs have already been bought.

    I did a small review on the LE upgrade online as well.

  • http://www.uk-djs.net James

    Express all the way…

    JT

    DJ agency

    Electro DJ

    Electronic Society

  • AA

    The ES2 wasn't in Express 7-there was only the ES1.

  • Rainguitar

    Express is the way to go if…

    1. You don't need surround sound.

    2. Are unlikely to try and use Logic live

    3. Already have the Jam Packs you want

    4. Don't need sculpture or vintage instruments

    5. Arn't doing sound tracks

    6. Already have an external synth with most of the sounds you want

    7. Have cpu and ram limitations

  • tails

    rainguitar: why is LE in your opinion not suited for doing soundtracks?