Review by Carlos Garza
Originally Published in Pro Audio Review
|I use logic for soundtrack composing and pop production. Over the past 4 years, I’ve shifted from using MIDI modules and keyboards to streaming sample players and software synths. Logic’s integrated music production environment is now the starting point for all my composing projects.
I’ve used Logic since version 5 and, as I’ve mentioned in previous PAR reviews, was eager to see Apple simplify and beautify the user interface.
The consolidated Arrange window with pop-up panes for the mixer and piano roll editor and the sliding pane for the media bin and instrument/loop library are a welcome improvement. However, I still use the separate score and environment windows when I need to focus on those tasks.
The transport and status bar — centered along the bottom of the main window — worked well, even stretched across two 19” standard displays. The Mackie/Logic Control that I’ve used since Logic 6 worked fine, as did the Unitor8 MIDI interface.
The Studio Sound Library, instruments and effects plug-ins are the heart of Logic Studio for composers. The sounds and loops cover many genres including pop, world, R&B and strong support for classic and modern electronic music. The sound effects and ambiences are well suited to indie film and stage productions.
Logic Pro 8 (LP8) makes sound picking easier than pie. Select a software instrument track in the Arrange window and click in the library browser to instantly audition thousands of pre-built instrument channel strips. For example, “gated synthesizers” combine soft synths with effects locked to tempo.
The symphonic instruments won’t fool your music teacher or put the high-end sample libraries out of business but are more than adequate for pop production and symphonic sketches.
I had no trouble loading Logic 7 project files. In fact, once I started using LP8, I found almost no need to go back to 7. One exception, Vienna Horizon instruments use a VSL plug-in for EXS24 and some settings can be used, but not edited, in LP8.
I frequently use QuickTime clips for film scoring. The new small movie pane in the consolidated Arrange window is a great idea and full screen mode is just a couple of clicks away.
To investigate the surround features I used Logic’s surround-animated component modeling synth, Sculpture, and other instruments in surround channels. I added a Sound Designer convolution reverb with one of the new surround impulses. Next, I picked a surround setting in the new Delay Designer and added Logic’s Surround Compressor with the “Atmospheric Master” preset in the master output.
The MultiMeter adds a surround signal viewer and a goniometric display to show coherence and phase relationships between stereo pairs. All together, a powerful combination of tools for surround production. You can burn your surround mix to DVD-A format directly from Logic or bounce to PCM for Dolby Digital encoding with the Compressor utility.
In summary, LP8 packs a huge bang for the buck. Mature audio and MIDI tools along with the extensive loops, samples and software synthesizers make LP8 a must-have tool for rock, pop, urban and new age producers and a cornucopia for film, TV and game composers.
Carlos Garza composes music for films. His music has appeared on Image Entertainment DVDs, Turner Classic Movies and the National Gallery of Art. He is a regular contributor to Pro Audio Review.
(c) 2008 Carlos Garza