Recently Apple released Logic Pro X, and we have now added a new training course, Logic Pro X – Know It All. As you Logic fans well know it has been four years since a new version of Logic was released. However, this release is worth the wait and is one of the few recent DAW releases that has significant new user functionality. As usual, I’m going to review these new features in this blog.
Probably the most interesting new feature is Virtual Drummer. Basically Virtual Drummer is a drum machine. However, it is implemented in a very user friendly way. You can create drum regions for different genres and for different musical styles within a genre. You can also vary the amount of swing and the number of fills in a Virtual Drummer region. This YouTube video is an excerpt from our Logic Pro X course on how to use Virtual Drummer.
Using Virtual Drummer
Drum Kit Designer
Virtual Drummer uses drum kits from Drum Kit Designer, one of the new synths in Logic Pro X. This synth has a good collection of acoustic drum kits. For each kit you can choose among several different bass and snare drums. You can also control other parameters for each drum kit piece as explained in our new tutorial on Synths & Samplers.
Logic Pro X has also added a number of MIDI Plugins. IMO the best of these are the Chord Trigger and the Arpeggiator. The Chord Trigger allows you to generate chords by playing a single note. You can use either predefined chords or define your own. The Arpeggiator lets you generate arpeggios which you can define using a number of different parameters. You can use these two plugins in combination to create some musically interesting sequences. This video from our course demonstrates how to do this.
Arpeggiator & Chord Trigger
Logic Pro X has added the concept of Patches. Patches combine Virtual Instruments and Aux Channels to create a complete sound. In the example shown below the EXS24 VI with an electric bass preset is combined with the Bass Amp Designer as well as several FX. For you previous Logic users Patches are similar to Channel Settings and largely replace them. The main difference is that patches can apply to multiple channels. Channel Settings are still used mainly for shared Reverb FX.
Logic Pro X has also added Smart Controls. This feature allows you to select the most important parameters in either a Patch or a Channel Setting and group them together in a single panel. Doing this allows you to focus on these controls while mixing or in a real-time performance.
Another new concept in Logic Pro X is Track Stacks which largely replace the now-legacy Folder Tracks. There are two flavors of Track Stacks, the most important of which is the Summing Track Stacks. A Summing Track Stack not only allows you to group several tracks, it also routes the output of each track to a single track so that the volume, panning, FX, etc. can be applied to the sound of the entire group. Below is an example of a Summing Track Stack automatically created by an UltraBeat Patch. Note that the mixing controls for each individual drum kit piece are also still available.
A Real Bonanza of User Features
As I said at the beginning, this release of Logic provides rich user functionality, unlike other recent DAW releases which have focused mainly on internal improvements. We have updated our DAW shootout analysis to reflect these new features. You can see the details of the new shootout here: http://www.digitalmusicdoctor.com/shootout/. Logic Pro X is now tied for second place in functionality and is at the top of the value ratio. And at a price of $199 Logic Pro X is a real bargain. I recommend giving it a try.