It’s been four years since we saw a significant update to Apple’s flagship music production suite. But the wait today is over. Logic Pro X is here, along with MainStage 3 and a new, free companion iPad app called Logic Remote.

First, if for some reason you’re a loyal Logic user who has been dreading this upgrade, you can officially relax. As I suspected in 2011, this isn’t the sort of radical departure from previous versions of Logic some had feared. With the exception of the long-discontinued WaveBurner and Soundtrack Pro, you’ll be hard pressed to find any “legacy” feature of Logic not in the latest release. The Environment is still there, if you want it – though you’re also free to ignore it. Even old Jam Pack presets still work, and are available as an optional download. In fact, apart from Windows compatibility, you’d be able to easily upgrade from a release of Logic from many years ago. (There’s complete backwards session compatibility.)

But let’s talk instead about what is new. Logic in this release continues a beautiful interface modernization. It adds new tools of interest to songwriters and instrumentalists that make it easier to add more human-sounding drum patterns. There’s a new drum kit instrument, bass amp, pedals, and keys. There’s a deep collection of new MIDI effects. Audio editing now includes monophonic pitch editing.

And one prediction was right: the rise of the iPad has had an impact on Logic. But it comes in a controller app that you can use as an instrumental input device, mix and parameter controller, and even mobile help device.

There’s also one caveat: this release drops the 32-bit bridge for compatibility with plug-ins not yet updated to 64-bit support.

It also requires Mountain Lion.

CDM was given early access to Logic Pro X and Logic Remote, so I’ve been locked in the studio testing everything I can. This is pre-release software and therefore a preview, not a review, but I can give you some fairly exhaustive details.

Refined Interface and Mixing

Clever hotspots make it easier to manipulate effect inserts.

Clever hotspots make it easier to manipulate effect inserts.

Track Stacks offer powerful tools for creating everything from instrumental multis and stacks to grouped tracks for drum recordings.

Track Stacks offer powerful tools for creating everything from instrumental multis and stacks to grouped tracks for drum recordings.

Quick Help is something we've seen in Ableton Live, but it's a welcome addition to Logic.

Quick Help is something we’ve seen in Ableton Live, but it’s a welcome addition to Logic.

Apple's updated Library is easier to navigate. It also now includes a variety of presets that take advantage of features like Track Groups, and the Smart Control layouts for desktop and iPad.

Apple’s updated Library is easier to navigate. It also now includes a variety of presets that take advantage of features like Track Groups, and the Smart Control layouts for desktop and iPad.

The first thing you’ll notice about Logic is a greatly-refined interface. In terms of actual functionality and layout, it actually probably represents a smaller set of changes than the leap from Logic 7 to Logic 8. But there’s a level of detail that makes it feel like a bigger step forward in polish. (I had to refer back to Logic Pro 9 just to be sure.) As in 9, the main working window is a set of collapsible panes. But the software looks visually more appealing than ever, which apart from being aesthetically pleasing means it’s generally easier to work on long sessions. And small changes make it feel more organized. The transport bar is now at the top, Library and project panes are now in more intuitive locations, and it’s easier to toggle the toolbar.

Once you get into mixing, these changes make working feel more fluid. Some of these changes are overdue. At last you can move inserts by dragging without a modifier. A clever overlay likewise makes it easy to bypass inserts or open up their settings just by clicking. Gain reduction meters make metering easier. And there are changes like this, which I will copy verbatim from pre-release text from Apple. I think this speaks for itself — it’s the way it should have been done in the first place (and the way some other DAWs had already worked):

All components on a channel strip now reflect their position in the signal flow. The position of the meters and the send knobs also change to communicate their respective pre- or post- setting.

You can also drag tracks up and down in the arrangement, although a bug in the build I tested meant the transparent overlay didn’t always appear in the right spot. (Hopefully that’s fixed in the build released today in the App Store.)

There are also two new features that help organize work. In terms of tracks, a new grouping feature called Track Stacks makes it possible to group multiple tracks together, then control panning, mixing, and processing routings for the whole group – without mucking about with bussing. Grouping is nothing new in itself, but Apple’s implementation is especially nice, and there’s a preset system for storing your favorite patches.

For newcomers, many of Apple’s own presets make use of Track Stacks to encapsulate fairly sophisticated routings and call them up quickly. That can help people get started with production quickly – and they’re always editable later, if you like.

Perhaps the most useful addition is a small one: Quick Help displays interactive help for features throughout Logic. It works – well, exactly the way the same feature does in Ableton Live. But that’s one I’m glad to see copied.

There’s also a feature called Smart Controls, basically a set of macro knobs that can be assigned to any parameters you want. These are already mapped out of the box to Apple’s massive set of presets, but you can also use them with your own plug-in collection. They even map parameters by default, so simple third-party plug-ins will work without modification. For those who do want to delve deeper, you choose from a set of preset layouts (and fancy textured backgrounds), then choose Learn to assign the controls you want. An inspector lets you modify scaling and the like.

Smart Controls group together parameters from effects and instruments - and also map to the iPad app. As you'll see, they even automatically pick up some third-party parameters. But you also can create and save your own custom mappings.

Smart Controls group together parameters from effects and instruments – and also map to the iPad app. As you’ll see, they even automatically pick up some third-party parameters. But you also can create and save your own custom mappings.

This all becomes more powerful because the iPad remote control app lets you touch these parameters. Other apps have had similar macro controls, but having a selection of different layouts (rather than just eight knobs in a row, or a 4×2 array), plus iPad access gives Apple’s implementation a huge edge.

So – let’s talk about that iPad app.

Logic Remote for iPad

Mixing and transport control is often much easier in the iPad app than with a mouse.

Mixing and transport control is often much easier in the iPad app than with a mouse.

Logic provides tap access to custom shortcuts - a bit like the iPad app Actions, but tailored to Logic.

Logic provides tap access to custom shortcuts – a bit like the iPad app Actions, but tailored to Logic.

Various layouts give you different instrumental controls and mixing and interactive help.

Various layouts give you different instrumental controls and mixing and interactive help.

GarageBand may not be taken seriously by every forum and comment troll, but in this case, Apple has plucked some of the best bits from GarageBand for iPad and made them available to Logic users.

Logic Remote is a wireless remote control app for mixing, parameter manipulation, instrumental input, shortcuts, and interactive help. It’s not the first time a DAW has gotten its own iPad controller app – Steinberg deserves credit as the first major DAW vendor to do that, with Cubase. And, indeed, there are some similarities between Logic Remote and Cubase iC Pro – see previous CDM coverage.

Where Apple has done something different is integrating Logic Remote with instruments. You get the interactive touch views from GarageBand, including a set of pads, piano keys, a virtual set of strings, and a chord layout. And, naturally, Smart Control layouts appear automatically. With Apple’s instruments, especially, this is a whole lot of fun, as you have instant touch access to instruments and soft synth parameters.

Unfortunately, I was sad to see that Apple hadn’t devised a touch layout for Sculpture – instead, you get some hum-drum virtual knobs. That seems an enormous missed opportunity to create something really special. And it would be one case where the iPad might best a physical input device.

Sculpture fans probably wanted more than this.

Sculpture fans probably wanted more than this.

Naturally, you also get access to mix and transport controls, plus the ability to jump between markers. I found I used the transport features more than any other; now it’d be hard to use Logic without the iPad nearby. Unlike Cubase iC Pro, though, there isn’t any visualization of the arrangement – only a ruler with nothing else on it. So if you haven’t set up markers, you have to look at the screen.

That’s perhaps the big problem with Logic Remote: once you get this, you want more. New Drum Kit Designer and Drummer features have big, flashy UIs on your Mac that look for all the world like iPad interfaces – but there’s no iPad equivalent. And being able to see the arrangement on the iPad seems like a must. It seems likely that future Logic updates may bring new features to the desktop and iPad remote app in parallel.

One clever feature I wanted to test but couldn’t in this pre-release: there’s an interactive help feature. It’s already useful to have documentation on the iPad, but even cooler, the iPad can dynamically update as you hover over features with your mouse. (I saw this demoed by Apple separately.)

Instrumental layouts and Smart Controls (for instruments and effects alike) appear automatically, making the connection between Mac and iPad feel fairly seamless.

Instrumental layouts and Smart Controls (for instruments and effects alike) appear automatically, making the connection between Mac and iPad feel fairly seamless.

Flex Pitch

Apple’s Flex Time feature was powerful already, but once you can manipulate audio freely in time, you begin to wish you could sometimes adjust pitch. Flex Pitch does that, with an interface for tweaking monophonic pitch, as seen in plug-ins like Celemony Melodyne. Again, Logic’s former rival Cubase deserves a nod for getting there first, but Logic users waiting to do this finally get the chance. Logic’s UI is especially beautiful here, with handles for each control. The results are uncluttered and easy to learn.

Apple says any monophonic content should work, from voice to bass lines. I experimented with voice and was fairly happy with the results. This isn’t just about auto-tuning: in many cases, you might just slightly, subtly tweak intonation, or try creative experimentation with shifting notes around, allowing you to re-compose after the fact. Just don’t expect too many miracles – our ears are especially sensitive to the sound of the voice, especially. But with some work, there are deep possibilities for tweaking and coloring vocal lines.

You can also export patterns to MIDI. As with Ableton Live 9, that’s a feature that can produce some interesting creative results — even when it isn’t perfectly accurate, it can be another song starter. (Unlike Live 9, which works both on monophonic melodic and percussive content in its convert to MIDI function, Logic is restricted to melodic content.)

In some contexts, Flex Pitch may replace a dedicated plug-in like Celemony’s Melodyne, and there’s no question it’s convenient having this built into the DAW. It certainly rivals the US$99 Melodyne Essential. (Significantly, I found myself using the Formant tool heavily, even apart from pitch correction, which is not included in Essential.) But Celemony’s more advanced products (and more expensive products, of course) still do a lot that Logic won’t. Flex Pitch won’t support polyphonic content, most significantly, which for now remains in Celemony’s unchallenged Direct Note Access. But even with monophonic content, you can access other advanced features for managing scale and tuning and separations and transitions between notes that are either missing or simplified in Logic. And these can justify the tradeoff of having to split your workflow between host and plug. Of course, Melodyne is available as a 64-bit plug-in, so you can always add it to Logic for heavier editing tasks.

My guess is that here this will depend on how much pitch editing is part of your day.

Update: I clarified the above passage to make it clearer how I would differentiate Logic’s built-in facility from a plug-in. We’ll have to put Cubase and Logic head to head another day.

For monophonic pitch adjustments, FlexPitch provides a rather lovely interface inside the DAW. (And yes, Cubase users, we know you had this already - but most DAWs still don't.)

For monophonic pitch adjustments, FlexPitch provides a rather lovely interface inside the DAW. (And yes, Cubase users, we know you had this already – but most DAWs still don’t.)

Drummer and Drum Kit Designer

Drummer is actually a lot of fun to use - rockers and songwriters wanting more dynamic backing tracks, even for practicing, will find plenty to like. But more sophisticated users can use customization and MIDI functionality to generate patterns for other purposes. Oddly, though - this iPad-looking UI isn't on the iPad.

Drummer is actually a lot of fun to use – rockers and songwriters wanting more dynamic backing tracks, even for practicing, will find plenty to like. But more sophisticated users can use customization and MIDI functionality to generate patterns for other purposes. Oddly, though – this iPad-looking UI isn’t on the iPad.

For singer-songwriters, composers, and the like, it isn’t always possible to get a drummer in the studio. Logic Pro X’s flashiest new features focus on simulating the drummer in the studio. Apple boasts that they turned to some major players, producers, and mixers to get the results, and while they focus heavily on rock/alternative sounds, the sounds themselves are top-notch.

Drummer is a feature that produces more dynamic results than loops alone would. Instead of repeating mindlessly in the way a loop does, a set of interactive parameters directs more human combinations of fills and different percussion.

What makes this feature fun is the amount of parameter control Apple has provided. And if you aren’t in love with sampled drums, there are two features that might make you still want to check out Drummer. One is, you can edit regions directly, generating MIDI for editing. Second, you can substitute the sound of the Apple drum kits with anything you want – including synthesized or electronic sound. I got a little carried away creating a minimal techno track using one of these presets and Klopfgeist, the infamous Logic metronome instrument. If you bug me, maybe I’ll upload it to SoundCloud. (Alternatively, if you really bug me, maybe you’ll have the fortune to stop me.)

There’s also an extensive Drum Kit Designer for mixing and matching your own kits, as you can see in the image.


New MIDI Plug-ins, Arpeggiator

When I reviewed the last big release of Logic 9 in 2009, I complained that Apple had neglected MIDI features. Boy, did they not neglect them now. There’s a set of live MIDI effects – so far, okay, long overdue. It’s the level of detail and power in these MIDI effects that sets them apart. The arpeggiator, for instance, can go from being a simple arp to a massive multi-step pattern generator with chord triggers.

They’re powerful enough, in fact, that you can finally use something friendly to a vast number of users and not the fairly-intimidating Environment, producing very sophisicated patterns and music generators. And, of course, you can use these with external MIDI gear, too.

These are best seen in the screenshots, so let’s have a look in pictures.

While finishing the review, I finally noticed something I wished I had asked Apple about – there’s now MIDI scripting. We’ve seen that in the Kontakt sampler and in DAWs like Renoise and Reaper, but MIDI scripting in Logic sounds like huge news; I’ll let you know when I find out more.



Depending on presets, the Velocity plug-in may show you the compressor-style UI or this.

Depending on presets, the Velocity plug-in may show you the compressor-style UI or this.








New Instruments and Effects

Logic 9 focused on guitar amp and effects simulation. Logic Pro X … focuses again on guitar amp simulation (though not exclusively – more on that below). So, the Amp Designer is now coupled by a Bass Amp Designer.

The good news here is, the Bass Amp Designer sounds fantastic. And you also get the ability to set up a Direct Box in addition to the simulation of the miked amp, and mix between direct and “wet” sound. Also, there’s now both parametric and graphic EQ on both the Amp Designer and Bass Amp Designer. Even in a crowded market of amp simulation effects, I found these hugely useful features, and of course not only for processing guitar and bass signal.

Also of use to guitarists (and the rest of us using these tools for other purposes), there’s a new tuner and a bunch of new stomp effects: Apple notes “Tie Die Delay (reverse delay), Tube Burner (tube style overdrive) Wham (pitch whammy pedal), Grit (classic distortion), Dr. Octave (sub octave enhancer) Flange Factory, Graphic EQ.”

I just wish selecting those stomp effects were easier; it’s hard to make out the different, pretty graphic icons in the window. But the sounds are nice enough.

New, improved guitar tuner.

New, improved guitar tuner.

Various new stomp effects are available; here are a few of them. No minimal iOS 7 UIs here, no sir.

Various new stomp effects are available; here are a few of them. No minimal iOS 7 UIs here, no sir.

Bass players get theirs. Bass Amp Designer.

Bass players get theirs. Bass Amp Designer.

The Direct feature is one of the nicer touches in the new Bass Amp Designer.

The Direct feature is one of the nicer touches in the new Bass Amp Designer.

Apple adds new instruments to the mix. They’re all bread-and-butter additions, but it’s nice to have them in your arsenal. Retro Synth is a simple virtual analog soft synth – happily not only another Minimoog-style synth, but with basic two-operator FM and wavetable modes, too. There’s also a new electric piano, clav, and B3 instrument. Back in the day, Emagic/Apple really led the industry with quality instruments here, but they had fallen behind. In the new modeled options, they’re back in the game; the instruments really do sound lovely. And of course, you can play them with the iPad, too, and not only a keyboard. (The obvious comparison in these instruments would be Ableton Live, which now has rather nice emulated keyboards and synths – though no Hammond organ.)

It goes without saying that while the mainstream tech press focuses on the look of iOS 7, skeuomorphic interfaces are alive and well in Logic. Apple did everything short of add dirt smudges to the keyboards and cigarette butts on the rug under the drums. Fans of faux woodgrain, you can still revel in an Apple product. Of course, with musicians, the reasoning is different: apart from looking nice, these designs give users depth, make interfaces easier to look at, and provide feedback on what sort of sound to expect.

New Electric Piano.

New Electric Piano.

New Clav.

New Clav.

Rotary controls in the new B3.

Rotary controls in the new B3.

The B3 interface, naturally, shows up on both the iPad and the desktop UI.

The B3 interface, naturally, shows up on both the iPad and the desktop UI.

More Features

There are many other smaller features I can’t cover here.

The most significant one to me is probably the ability to save particular versions and then compare, a feature Apple calls Alternatives. This combined with Auto-Save is invaluable for keeping your work safe and tweaking the final result you want. In fact, cough, an Alternatives-style feature used to exist in Final Cut Pro 7 and hasn’t made the leap to Final Cut Pro X. Ahem. Hope to see that fixed.

Other significant additions include Import/Export Final Cut Pro XML and Music XML export and a number of score enhancements.

MainStage 3 is also available as a separate US$29.99 App Store purchase, with an updated UI, support for Track Stacks, and of course support for Smart Controls – a perfect companion to that app, too. (Actually, I wonder if it will make more sense to use Logic with Logic Remote, or if a dedicated iPad MainStage control app is something we might see.)

MainStage 3 is also available today to take advantage of new Logic features. That should come as good news to celeb users like Nine Inch Nails and Paul McCartney.

MainStage 3 is also available today to take advantage of new Logic features. That should come as good news to celeb users like Nine Inch Nails and Paul McCartney. Photo courtesy Apple.

What Isn’t Changed – and About That 64-Bit Thing

Now, some bad news. Apple hasn’t touched UIs for almost everything else in the product. At last, MIDI has gotten some attention. But Logic’s suite of audio processing is starting to look seriously long in the tooth; other DAWs have simply moved ahead. It’s not that these aren’t usable, and indeed will be familiar to long-time Logic users. But I notice the number of built-in effects I still use has gone down dramatically in light of superior alternatives, and of course these UIs look out of place in the otherwise-refined host. Perhaps more importantly than how they look, the sound quality and functionality of some of these hasn’t kept pace as the industry has moved forward. Likewise, a lot of Logic’s instruments, while powerful, could also use a makeover; Ultrabeat in particular has a UI that … well, okay, existing Logic users know what I mean.

The other big change is dropping support for 32-bit plug-ins; only 64-bit plug-ins work. Apple has successfully motivated most AU developers to refresh their plugs. But while I wasn’t personally in any trouble on this one, years of experience writing music tech pieces tells me that right now, somewhere out there, someone is screaming. And that might be reason to hold out on the upgrade.

First Impressions

It’s the same as it ever was: now as always, it’s impossible to recommend one DAW for everyone. The reality is, there are a number of really terrific offerings. All of the significant players have gems, all of them weird quirks and oversights, all of them different areas of emphasis.

What Logic now offers is one of the most refined user interfaces available, as far as the primary window for mixing and arrangement. Because you spend so much of your time looking at that UI, that’s no small question. And it also offers uniquely good tools for producers looking to simulate drums and bass and guitar effects and amps in the box, coupled with some nice options for people writing songs and creating music and strong pitch offerings. On the electronic producer side, the new set of MIDI tools is simply spectacular candy.

It’s clear where Logic needs to improve next – it’s time for Apple to dig through that collection of audio processors.

But as a $199 DAW, Logic is a terrifically-strong choice on the Mac. As always, you’ll want to weigh it against other tools and see which you like and which fits for your needs.

For existing users, though, unless you need 32-bit compatibility, I think upgrading is a no brainer. Just be aware that, as an App Store app, the upgrade is also … $199. I’m sure that’ll make some people angry, though that is a weird story: it’s a perfectly-normal upgrade price, it just happens that the price for the whole product is lower than many rivals, and the App Store doesn’t offer upgrades.

I just know I find Logic is one of those tools I come back to when I want to feel musically productive – and that I’m glad to dump 9 for X. I hope we’ll look a little more at some of the music tools in there soon, as I’m using them in the work I’m making.


  • Austrian Apparel

    lets hear the track please !

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Heh , okay. There should be a follow up post coming anyway.

    • http://v8media.com/ Ian Page-Echols

      I’d also be interested to hear this track of yours. I am really excited to play with the Drummer feature. Definitely for the purposes of practice, but also like you were saying to use the midi to create drum tracks using other sample sets. It’s been unclear exactly how the drums play off your other tracks from the demos I’ve seen, so it will be fun to play around with.

  • jmob

    Can logic 9 and X peacefully coexist on the same computer? That would def ease the burden of dropping 32 bit.

    • Vitreous

      my question too! Or is there someone out there ready to turn around a 64-bit version of alphakanal’a automat synth? (I think that will be the killer for me…)

    • scottr

      yeah, that’s sort a go to for me, for fat analog. i’m hoping someone will come along with a 32-64 bit bridge to run the old 32 bit plugins, but it won’t be soon. however, that latest version of Automat i have has display redraw issues where some Osc and Filter labels get blanked out.

    • Jurgen

      FCP X can coexist with previous releases. Before installation of the X release one needs to copy the old app into a folder inside the apps folder (and name it “Old Logic” for example). Then the installer doesn’t find the old release and doesn’t replace it. I haven’t tried it with Logic but I blindly assume that it will behave the same as FCP.

    • jmob

      ok, thanks buddy

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Early word from Apple on this is yes, yes it can coexist. This isn’t an upgrade, it’s a new installation, so it apparently leaves your old copy alone. I’m not sure whether you need to rename it first. I’ll feel safer confirming this once I’ve gotten to try it on my system. We’re waiting on App Store codes – for now I only had the copy pre installed on my loaner machine from Apple. If anyone wants to backup and confirm, let us know what you find.

      But I think this would absolutely help ease the 32-bit question.

  • http://billcammack.com/ Bill Cammack

    Thanks Much for the great review, Peter! :)

    Cheers! πŸ˜€

  • Oliver

    Great first review, thanks!

  • Alex Groove Master Martin-Blan

    Good review Peter!!!!!!!!

  • digid

    No support for 32-bit plug-ins kills it for me, and there doesn’t really seem to be that much new stuff in there that I *need*.

  • gunboat_d

    Dark grey. I hate dark grey. It’s hard to read little text and zoom in on bits of audio when the background is so dark. Are there skins available? And the image of the pitch correction shows a medium grey grid…if it’s like that in the piano roll view it’s going to be a tough slog on the eyes to be doing work on the micro level. Sonar is the same. DP and Reason are much better.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      No, this is the only color scheme option. Of course, tastes vary.

    • gunboat_d

      I suppose i’m just a stickler for *legibility* over aesthetics. i’m a glasses wearer and i work in a brightly lit studio. with the rise of high density displays and 1080 resolution, are people going to be able to even see what they’re working on? i know i can’t be the only DAW user with bad eyesight and a laptop (and by “bad”, I mean my license requires corrective lenses).

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      I’ve used Logic on both a 15″ MacBook and 27″ iMac.

      It’s a mixed bag. The new UI stuff looks fantastic on the big displays and is highly legible. And overall I’d say the main windows are now very easy on the eyes. But that says nothing for the “legacy” Logic UIs, some of which are just practically blindness-inducing. (Yes, I’m looking at you, Ultrabeat.) And I’m frustrated that there isn’t more scaling of, for instance, channel strips.

      But overall, with the exception of the legacy stuff, I found it pretty usable on the 27″ machine without being impossible on the laptop. That’s more than I can say for some of its rivals.

    • nick

      i am also glasses impaired but the one instance i had to take a tour, EVERYTHING in both dark and over-lit conditions seemed to be easier to read (on a anti-glare screen) just me?

    • Mike Baker

      Wait – are you saying that LX doesn’t have this control anymore?

    • Mike Baker

      Hmmm…there was supposed to be a jpeg attached to that comment.

  • youto

    whats the licence situation for this? i mean serial key or any other means?..

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      It’s an App Store download, so the same as all App Store downloads – tied to your Apple account.

  • Kyle

    Good review. I’m not crazy about the dumbed down plugin “drummer” and the lack of update to core plugins like EXS24 makes them now look and feel archaic. It’s just a very different update compared to something like Ableton Live 9…

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Right, though at the same time I’d weigh that against the mixing UI, MIDI plug-ins, and, say, that new B3. I mean, it’s just a very different *tool* than Live 9, so it’s tough to directly compare. What I find in all of the DAWs is that they have such big feature sets, any update tends to focus on one area and neglect another.

    • gunboat_d

      it’s nice to see a B3 emulator again with leslie. i’m still mad at NI for killing B4.

    • Serge

      How can the plug-in be “dumbed down” when there was never a more intelligent version of it in Logic?

    • Jeff

      I think Drummer + Drum Kit Designer + integration into Logic’s mixer & effects is quite deep and flexible. Try loading the “producer” kit patches on the Drummer track and use Drum Kit Designer. It provides a wide variety of snares, kicks, toms, hats/cymbals. I also love how Drummer can be made to easily load any other drum plug-in. Try loading a “drum machine” patch from the library on a drummer track, or swapping out the instrument with another drum sampler.

  • anthony antfactor

    Wow… this is rather significant in my eyes… particularly the iPad instrument controls from GarageBand – Great preview!

  • Jon

    Thanks for that p/review. I guess it’s been a long time coming. For me, though, the dealbreaker with Logic is always its reliability. Did it crash or freeze up on you at all, editing complex projects with lots of automation and plug-ins? After the horror I’ve experienced with Logic 9 – and the attempts I’ve made to transition my work over to Reason and Pro Tools – I’m reluctant to spit out $199 for something that might cause many further headaches.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Reliability is extremely difficult to test. I can tell you this: I didn’t encounter any unusual problems, *but* my understanding is that the underlying engine is at least closely related to Logic 9. Now, once you say the words “lots of plug-ins,” it gets tougher to establish fault. I was running lots of UAD stuff without incident.

    • David Kaz

      RAM, Disk Speed, Open Applications, How full is your disk. There are many possibilities.

  • Gleb Bondarenko

    It’s sad there is no upgrades from 9, or discounts for pro 9’s users. Just bought it 2 months ago and would be happy to use some of new features in old version.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Of course, this is actually a limitation of the entire App Store. I believe in some cases developers on the App Store – possibly including Apple – have chosen to issue refunds or find other remedies to make up for the lack of upgrade.

      I have no idea as far as two months, but I would likewise think if you bought this yesterday, you could probably contact Apple. πŸ˜‰ (And if I had bought it two months ago, I might try…)

    • Gleb Bondarenko

      I didn’t even think about it. Interesting idea, I will try! thank you for advise :)

    • Bobalismus

      Call the iTunes store and ask. Can’t hurt; they might either refund your other purchase or give you a promo code for the new version. I’ve seen both actions taken on various lists.

    • Gleb Bondarenko

      Have already sent a feedback to them. Now waiting for answer…

    • http://vrpr.org/ Henry

      True. Apple has more often than not been nicely unbureaucratic upon request.

  • sacredgeometry

    Looks great, I love the scripting window… no vst support though…which is a shame… vst3 would have made this a much more appealing deal…oh well i guess theres still bitwig.. to.maybe pull me away from live.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Not to be glib here, but … I don’t expect Apple to support VST. They’ve never supported VST; AU is their format.

    • Colin C.

      where you been mate? Apple dropped VST when they bought Emagic. AKA it’s been YEARS since VST’s have been supported in Logic…

    • Ralphykeys

      I can’t wait for the PC version too, lol.

  • ExitOnly

    I still would love to see an OSC environment object for mapping OSC messages to midi/fader messages in Logic. I realize that their focus is probably more on the mainstream user..but if they have some OSC support already it would be awesome for this to be exposed.

    In any case, the midi scriping tool looks like it could be a killer feature. Looks like javascript too, which is great since its so commonly used. Looking forward to this.


    • DPrty

      The Midi scripting looks to be a knock off of JS scripting in Reaper .. by the way Reaper has OSC to fader control.

  • Iffy

    Thanks! great detail review. much appreciated. I wish they had some good chord stuff like Cubase, otherwise it seems like a good step forward.

  • Bobbalismus

    Fine review, Peter, lots covered. What I’m not seeing here or elsewhere is discussion of the audio editing tools for such things as voice over. Pro Tools seems to remain the standard; when I attempt spoken word slicing and dicing in Logic Pro 9, the results seem odd and unpredictable. Has there been any change in the non-destructive audio editing tools in the timeline?

  • gunboat_d

    One more question: when you’re opening all these windows and modules, how does LPX handle them? are they all docked by default or do they each get their own window? is it easy to navigate between multiple plugin instances, or it it Cmd+~ until you find what you like?

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      The behavior is basically the same as in Logic 9. As you’ll seen in the screenshot, most of these are actually floating windows. As brought up from the main window, they do remain docked (as with Smart Controls). But access to separate windows for Mixer, etc. is the same as always.

  • griotspeak

    The scripting looks nice. It isn’t incredibly robust but it opens up nice possibilities for MIDI effects. You can also observe (but not create) plugin parameter changes. It looks like they could be building up to something pretty interesting customization wise. A real win is that the scripter is in Mainstage as well.

  • Freeks

    iPad remote requires iOS 6 :(

    That leaves out us few million iPad 1 owners.

    Any ESX24 updates ?
    After Apple bought Redmatic we have been waiting that Apple would have integrated those apps to Logic.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Redmatica – interested in that, too. I don’t know if the fruits of the acquisition are somewhere in X where it’s not obvious, or if it’s something we’ll see in a future version.

      Unfortunately, iPad 2 is really becoming the minimum standard for everything these days, I’m afraid. Apple has actually had better support for the first generation than a lot of competitors. Then again, you could I think double up on iPad 1 running another controller app – maybe. I have to test how Logic Remote plays with other controllers using Mackie Control. Maybe it’ll explode. Maybe it’ll work. Will try to find out.

  • MrE23

    Peter, is there an option to make the timeline resolution be samples rather than bars/beats/ticks? I’ve been waiting for this for years, since fine-grain audio editing is really tedious compared to Pro Tools for this reason.

    • griotspeak

      Do you ‘just’ mean sample accurate editing in the timeline? If yes, that was supposedly added in a previous edition. I think 9 was the version that added it but it might have been as early as 8.

    • MrE23

      I mean that when I move audio regions on the timeline they snap to the nearest beat or subdivision of the beat, rather than moving freely. Am I missing an obvious option for this? A lot of the language Logic uses is unfamiliar to me, so I wouldn’t be surprised.

    • MrE23

      If I could easily make Logic behave exactly the way Pro Tools does in terms of editing modes (Slip, Shuffle, Snap) I would make the leap completely. I really hate Avid, at this point.

    • griotspeak

      If you want to snap to samples choose it from the snap menu in the upper right hand corner of the arrange view. If you just want to disable it momentarily hold control while dragging.

    • MrE23

      You are a saint – thank you :) I am going out of town for a week, but plan to play with this when I get back. Really hope I can ditch Avid πŸ˜›

    • DPrty

      There is a Protools template for Reaper.

    • MrE23

      Thank you- I will investigate Reaper as well.

    • Ethan

      Hold CMD while moving it. Thats it?

    • Mugwomp

      I know there’s the little icon that switches it from bar/beat to time on the right of the timeline, if that’s what you mean…

  • Taylor

    Can the MIDI effects be used with external MIDI hardware? I’d like to drive a hardware synth with the new arpeggiator.

    • MrE23

      Yes! I forget where I saw this but it was specifically listed as one of the things it could do.

    • Jeff

      Yes. You have to use the External Instrument plug-in.

  • ZZ

    I didn’t see it mentioned in the article… any chance the iPad remote will allow for multiple devices? If so, buh-bye fader packs…

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Sorry – I asked the same question. πŸ˜‰ ‘fraid it’s only one iPad per Logic session.

  • Don

    iOS control surface apps that utilize OSC protocol. What that means?

  • m0no

    I only just bought Logic Pro 9 :(

  • Mr. Melo D

    Hello, is there the opportunity to automate tracks without affecting the volumne fader (like in pro tools)? So that i still can change the overall level? Sorry for my bad english. Greetings

    • dave

      That would be nice, but in the meantime, i put a gain on the insert (obviously after any dynamic effects) and automate that

    • DPrty

      Reaper does it + you can grab the protools layout and feel right at home.

    • Jeff

      sure, add the Gain plug-in at the end of the insert list and automate the gain control.

    • Guile

      the way i do it: i automate the track the way i want it, then i route the output to an aux, so if i want to change the overall volume i just move the aux fader, without changin the automation.

  • sam

    how about rewire support? are you still forced to make logic the master?

    • griotspeak

      It looks like that has not changed. (I launched Logic after Live and Live didn’t see any new inputs)

  • Harv

    Bugs already found! Right click to view tools in piano roll doesn’t work…

  • Bobbalismus

    Any changes/improvements in the audio editing tools? As a long-time Pro Tools user trying to love Logic Pro 9, I find it to be somewhat unpredictable, and the switching of tools constantly is rather laborious. I have no doubt there is something I’m still missing, but just wondered: perhaps a new, context-sensitive “smart tool?”

    • The DIY Recordist

      As a fellow Pro Tools (and increasingly Ableton Live) user, I’m totally with you. I would add to that list “unintuitive” and “unwieldy.” See #3 and #3 and #9 on this list I made a while back:


      I was hoping to cross most of these of the list with the release of Logic Pro X. Looks like we’re not batting 1000, but maybe we got close?

  • Stephen Cullo

    The only problem I’ve encountered so far is that REX files do not play properly on an audio track of the arrange page. They are white noise. I downloaded the latest ReWire thingy from Propheads and used their Terminal permission repair:


    Anyone figure out what needs updating?

    • urbanwatcher

      logic preference > rewire > check the box (unchecked by default)

  • nick

    great review, peter!

    pulling the trigger as soon as it’s more stable. alas, for 200 bubbles this makes me all tingly and i envision my new sweet and sexy workflow with X and bitwig…audio-gasm.

  • Nikolozi

    Really enjoyed the detailed review!

    Would have been good to see a free trial version. If Final Cut Pro X has one, Logic should too. It’s always nice to try out an app before buying it.

  • Chris Stack

    Just downloaded it. So far, so good. This may actually goad me to start recording more.

  • sowari

    I would love to know if it is possible to route MIDI from one plugin to another. Logic X has some improvements with MIDI but does this include ‘routing’? To clarify, I would like to route MIDI from Maschine or Reaktor

    • DPrty

      You can do that in Reaper, check out Rearoute and that fact that you can route anything to anything.

    • sowari

      Thanks for the reply. I own Ableton Live and it is very easy to do that in LIve, but I feel it is time that Apple changed the AU format to make it possible in Logic.

  • Daniel Courville

    What about the Impulse Response Utility? Still there?

    • Jeff


  • griotspeak

    PSA: If you are as confused as I was when the esc key did not call up the tool menu, press the T key.

    It makes some sense that the ‘tool’ menu is mapped to T but my muscle memory does not like it one bit.

    • BazzBeat

      Thank you brother Griot! Needed that badly

  • TheDalaiSputnik

    I’m interested in the update to MainStage, as the current version has a bug that turns my monitor image to gobbledygook whenever I go to the performance view. Tried all of the tweaks i could find on the Apple forums and others. If it will really function correctly now it may be worth the thirty dollar “upgrade.” (although there are alternatives…)

    LPX, however, does indeed look both dope, fresh, phatt and stoopid, as the kids say these days. (Yes, I’m old & out of touch.)

  • http://vrpr.org/ Henry

    I’m wondering about a few things here:

    1. As you already mentioned, Peter, how comes they worked 4 (four!) years on this update, and almost all instruments and effects still look and sound the same? Only one new instrument (the so far nice looking “analog” synth)? And also: Why does everyone sell the e-piano and organ as new instruments? They’ve been part of Logic Pro all the time. The harp indeed seems to sound very nice. I can’t believe the audio pitch correction tool took so many resources?

    2. I absolutely second cutting of 32-bit support. Seriously, people, get over it and move on. There has been enough time for developers to upgrade their software – and there has been enough time for us users to find 64-bit alternatives. Even free or equally reasonably priced.

    3. It seems that the iPad app thing has been thrown into the package sort of just before release. Missing out on so many obvious opportunities for great integration is really a bummer. Or maybe, they want to sell stuff as in-app buy? Who knows…

    4. Why is everybody so keen on this dark, black, anthracit look? About a year ago I left Logic behind and switched to Reason (which definitely looks pretty different from the pack!) and – as much as I agree with you, Peter, that it makes a big difference how a DAW looks – we are staring at it for many hours after all – I find the light colours sported in Reason much more appealing and actually inspiring. I’m definitely not keen on retro looks just because you can, but e.g. the layout of those synths coming with Reason is simply so intuitive, logical and straightforward. Honestly, I could never be bothered to even start programming Sculpture. It looks like the worst UI designer’s nightmare ever.

    • DPrty

      Reason is its own thing. The three I like Ableton Reaper and Reason. I wonder if bitwig will make me adjust my top three. Reaper lets you have any interface you want. I use Reaper for the heavy lifting and Ableton + Reason = flavor.

  • nylarch

    Gotta say. For myself, after using this for a day it starts to feel like Logic 9 with a new UI and most of the same issues. The fact that audio can only be edited destructively was such a backward approach in L9 and I got excited to see the new audio editing view. But there’s very little new in there (unless I’m missing something). You still can’t reverse or transpose a snippet of a region or apply clip based gain. The more I’m using the app it feels like Logic 9 with a few new UI tricks and a few new instruments that are sort of OK.

    • Guest


    • Arvid Tomayko-Peters

      From the looks of it – reading reviews and user manuals and watching videos – I agree with you. What i wanted most form this update was better audio editing:

      non-destructive per-region reverse and normalize, pitch shift etc in the arrange.

      nicer anti-aliased waveform overviews in the arrange – in LP9 it’s really hard or impossible to see the waveforms of quiet audio clips in the arrange. Even if you zoom waveforms there is a point at which you just can’t see quiet waveforms. Not sure if the ones in LPX are not better, but they don’t look any better to me in screenshots.

      Getting rid of (or better yet the option to get rid of) the view of stereo audio files as a single waveform with one channel above 0 and the other below and instead proper two-channel waveforms. The current way is great for overviews of stuff, but crummy for fine editing.

      per clip gain (which IS there in logic 9 – just in the region info view with fades) should affect the waveform in the arrange window – zoom it vertically when gain is applied so you can see the results as you do it.

      Also big for me is FCPX roundtripping (or at least import of FCPX audio timelines somehow) – this they have done, but it appears to be half-finished and doesn’t work well at all – with what appears to be missing regions, and no order to tracks, no roles, and poor import of automation and fades (which is a advertised feature) – according to posters and bloggers so far.

      Also, I’ve been happy with the LP9 interface. They really didn’t need to change it much in my opinion. I’m not against the new interface – and some of it looks cool. I’d much rather they put their effort elsewhere.

      Maybe those of us who want finer control and better workflow for audio editing should stop hoping for Apple to improve that part of logic and start looking at other DAW options.

      Mind you I’m not saying logic is worthless – I’ve ben using it pretty much exclusively as my DAW for music and video sound design/mixing for years and I’ve figured out efficient ways to work with it in those contexts. It’s just sad because with just a few additional audio editing features that have been in other DAWs for over a decade, and even in other apple products, it could be SO MUCH BETTER – they could put Pro Tools to shame – if only they wanted to.

    • MrE23


  • a

    “It’s been four years since we saw a significant update to Apple’s flagship music production suite. But the wait today is over. Logic Pro X is here, along with MainStage 3 and a new, free companion iPad app called Logic Remote.”

    TouchOSC, which was the beta version of remote? 64bit? And you didn’t even start by owning up to buying into and propagating the Logic’s dead rumors. Come on.

    There was a time this site didn’t read like paid advertisements as “reviews” and baseless view mongering speculation. I wouldn’t be disappointed if I didn’t remember this site being an alternative to the usual BS.

    MIDI Plugins + scripting + environment + integration + easy access to enjoyable control methods is a (potential) huge deal, to me at least. Reaper’s MIDI is…..Renoise has an awesome user community and projects, but unless it does what you want out of the box….Kontakt, heh. Live has M4L, personally I like Max more because community to MIDI hardware with Live is not so fun. I use (and paid for) all of these programs, so this isn’t to start a fight.

    Right now, of the touch interface devices, iOS has the best support for MIDI and audio software. A $199 program that let’s me route, script and create compelling environments for MIDI and OSC between iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, sign me up.

    I don’t need another DAW. A good hardware mixer is cheaper than a computer + software.

  • nych



  • Daniel Wilson

    It looks very efficient. However, if you’re engineering, Pro Tools has no substitute.

    • DPrty

      Not True … try Reaper.

  • plurgid

    do we finally get midi routing in AU plugins? Been in the spec for like a decade now, but unusable in the flagship AU host. That would be pretty huge.