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Other Additions and Refinements
Logic Pro X has far more new features than we can cover here. But let’s peek at some new tools that, while not specifically for guitarists, may excite them.
New virtual drummer.
Until now, Logic has used its EXS24 sampler plug-in to generate acoustic drum sounds. With Pro X, EXS24 returns pretty much unchanged, but now you can wrangle virtual drums with Drum Kit Designer, a highly customizable drum instrument in the vein of FXpansion’s BFD and Avid’s Strike. Eight vintage and modern kits are captured in ultra-high resolution for exceedingly realistic pseudo drums.
Logic’s new Drum Kit plug-in replicates eight vintage and modern sets.
Good pseudo drums require good pseudo drummers, and Logic also provides those. The new Drummer plug-in is a library of drum patterns, variations, and fills, organized in a fun, intuitive way—as 15 fictional personalities differentiated by musical style. (The drummer in my examples is Max, who sounds like he’s really into Green Day.) Once you’ve selected a drummer, you can scroll through compatible patterns, tweak the feel, and even specify the desired force and complexity, MIDI region by MIDI region.
Drummer is a new MIDI-based drum-pattern generator with 15 drumming personas. This is Gavin, whose bio reads, “Although worried that his music school training will spoil his street cred, Gavin plays complex indie rock beats on a gritty-sounding kit.”
A hip newcomer, Retro Synth, joins Logic’s long-running virtual synth plug-ins. It mimics four vintage synth types (think Moog, Prophet, DX, and PPG Wave). Its large, simple controls are a big departure from the small, fiddly knobs and sliders of Logic’s older synths. The oscillators and filters of software synthesizers have improved greatly in recent years, and Retro Synth makes full use of these more realistic algorithms. There’s also a powerful arpeggiator—part of a new category of MIDI plug-ins, assignable to any MIDI track.
The new Retro Synth plug-in is a far cry from Logic’s older virtual instruments with their small, hard-to-read controls.
All of Logic’s libraries have been rebuilt from the ground up. There are thousands of new pop, classical, and ethno sounds. (The EXS24 sampler may not have changed much, but its content is dramatically updated and improved.)
Pic 04 caption: Logic’s revamped library sorts factory guitar sounds into four categories: clean, crunch, distorted, and experimental.
Built-in iOS support.
Since the iPad’s debut, various third-party apps have transformed the device into a wireless control surface for Logic. But with Pro X, that functionality is now built in via the free Logic Remote iPad app. One of several great features that have “trickled up” from GarageBand is the ability to input MIDI data for any instrument via a virtual fretboard—a great tool for guitarists who don’t play keyboards or read traditional notation.
Logic Remote for iPad lets you control the DAW’s mixer and transport. You can also use it to input notes via several methods. Here, tapping the virtual strings triggers notes on a virtual Hammond B3.
In addition to the Flex Time tempo-correcting tool that was in Logic 9, Pro X now also includes Flex Pitch—a non-destructive pitch-correction tool in the vein of Antares’s Auto-Tune and Celemony’s Melodyne. Flex Pitch only works with monophonic data, though—you can’t, say, pitch-correct chords or individual notes within chords. (Currently, that’s only possible using Celemony’s flagship program, Melodyne Editor.)
Logic Pro X lets you pitch-correct monophonic audio files.
Logic’s tuner has received a long overdue makeover with in Logic Pro X. It’s larger, easier to read, and has smoother animation and better ballistics. Added bonus: It no longer craps out on low bass notes.
Logic Pro X’s tuner just got a lot better.
Is Logic Pro X Logical for You, Captain?
This is a big update to a big program. During the three-year development cycle for this release, some longtime Logic users had expressed fear that Logic X Pro would be a dumbed-down “GarageBand Pro,” but that’s definitely not the case. In scenario after scenario, Logic offers a choice between a streamlined, iOS-influenced style and the previous approach. In fact, any iOS-influenced features now in Logic Pro X only add to the power and flexibility of this very mature DAW.
But the only way to tell for sure if either approach works for you is to try it out. There isn't currently a trial version of Logic Pro X available online, but keep your eyes peeled at apple.com, because they do sometimes make these available. In the meantime, visit a pro-audio retailer or Apple Store to give Logic Pro X a listen and find out whether its guitar and bass tools meet your recording suite needs.