Review: Logic Express & Logic Studio

A new interface makes Logic a product worth using. (November 21st, 2007)

MacNN Rating:

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Product Manufacturer: Apple, Inc.

Price: Logic Express: $199 - Logic Studio $499

The Good

  • Accessible interface. Powerful feature set. Very reasonably priced. No more dongle, uses a real serial number.

The Bad

  • None

While the world waited for Leopard, Mac audio geeks scoured blogs and forums for leaks on the new version of Logic. It arrived without advance warning and exhibits a predatory mix of evolutionary and sledgehammer features.

The Update

Logic always had powerful features but was hampered by a very exacting approach. Logic 8 emphasizes ease of use with single screen, templates, and hidden environments that both Logic Express and Studio share. Version 8 is much more intuitive for the beginner, and it is the ultimate GarageBand upgrade.

Logic Express

Logic Express 8 and Logic Studio 8 share the same code base. Logic Express, in no way a crippled product, differs from Studio in a few ways. There is no distributed audio rendering, no TDM hardware support, no Sculpture soft-synth or Bass Amp Pro, no WaveBurner, less surround sound, and no expensive controller support. Anything else can be plugged in via Audio Units or ReWire by Propellerheads.

Express has an upgraded Ultrabeat drum synth, the ES2 subtractive soft-synth, Guitar Amp PRO, and an editing EXS24 Sampler. By the way, rival samplers may cost more than the entire Logic Express package. Express can be called on to do heavyweight projects and for its intended market, which is recording mostly real instruments, it's perfect.

The new Quick Swipe comping is a great feature that allows supremely easy track editing in Logic Express and Logic Pro. You select areas from each take and the selected audio events are automatically assembled and transitioned into a seamless single track. No more excuses for sloppy solo edits!

Installation

Installation is easy but it took a bit of time due to the vast content libraries. Once started, they both recognized my Presonus FirePod. Due to new features, both versions understandably require more CPU power than the previous versions. Both products share project and GarageBand files and when running the same file on a MacBook Pro they seem to be equally efficient.

Interface

The new user interface greatly surpasses version 7 in terms of intuitive ease. A single window shows you everything, but it has retractable panes to give you more workspace, and it uses Spotlight search to find the files you need. This makes Logic feel like an Apple product for the first time.

 Logic Interface screen


Logic Interface - Screen Courtesy of Apple, Inc.


Enhancements

With the $300 difference in price Apple has decided to blow a few more minds in Logic Pro: Studio Pro supplies all the Apple GarageBand Loops (a $500 value), Soundtrack Pro 2, Waveburner, and the new MainStage. Distributed audio can now use non-Apple plug-ins.

Adding Soundtrack Pro 2 was a smart move because that well-regarded product has features like comprehensive sound repair facilities, sound effect placement, background sound generation and very finely detailed editing that fits best in a post-production setting. This new version can easily replace products like Peak by Bias Inc. for intricate editing.

Observing musicians using Logic's software plug-ins to power their concerts, Apple built an optimized application: MainStage, a gear rack emulator for use in live performances. It may look like Propellerheads' Reason, but the intention is to create a virtual instrument, effect, and routing rig that works in playing situations with audio amplification, and you can use any MIDI or USB controller. This is a brilliant pragmatic adjunct!

Reasonably Price

Apple has priced these products like competitive upgrades. The cost of the Pro version and an iMac is in the same ballpark as single products such as Steinberg's NUENDO, which approximate the features list. Apple has made upgrades from older versions very cost-effective and upgrading from Express to Studio risk free. If you bought Logic Pro 7 on or after August 1st, you are eligible for a free upgrade, otherwise it is $199.

Logic 8 it makes it hard to justify anything but a Macintosh for audio production.

Related Product Reviews:
Logic Pro 7



Edited by Ilene Hoffman, Reviews Editor

by Peter Mengaziol


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