A convert to Logic

David Holloway
12 February, 2008
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Having being involved with software-based music recording since 1993, I’ve been around the block a few times with pretty much every application out there. I started out on the fully MIDI-based Cubase Score, progressed to Cubase Audio ("I can record audio directly on the computer and EDIT it — unbelievable!") then onto Pro Tools LE with side-stops in Soundtrack, Ableton Live, Logic (circa 1999), Sibelius, GarageBand and Sequel. Since 2001, Pro Tools LE has been my workhorse and from the first few hours of using it, its work flow appealed to me immensely. I was smitten.

Like any love affair, the reality of morning breath and dirty underwear has crept in over time. For audio, I still believe Pro Tools has one of the best applications on the market. For MIDI and loops it’s a different story however, even with the recent 7.4 release which has made some welcome improvements in that regard. I’ve started looking around for an alternative, mainly because of my growing enjoyment of loop-based composition. GarageBand does loop-based work adequately but Apple’s SoundTrack Pro 2 and Ableton’s Live do it a hell of a lot better. And it’s SoundTrack Pro that started all this. I’ve found it the best audio-scratch pad I’ve ever used — I can whip up a half-decent song in a couple of hours from which I can then work up the full product. The only trouble is, you can no longer buy Soundtrack Pro as a standalone product — it’s only bundled with Logic Studio.

That’s all a fairly long-winded explanation as to why this past weekend I installed Logic Studio on my iMac. Be warned – it’s an enormous install of nearly 50GB, that took close to three hours. When it was finally done though, I realised I’d found my new music creation platform. Logic Pro is widely lauded as a comprehensive solution but the addition of SoundTrack Pro, the enormous Loop library, MainStage (a live performance interface) and a bunch of studio instruments and effects and you have pretty much the whole shebang in one box. And for $649 it’s not cheap but very much worth it.

The manuals supplied are daunting to say the least although the Quick Start guide is one of the better ones I’ve come across. If you’ve used GarageBand, you’ll find some work flow similarities with Logic Pro to make the learning curve that bit easier. I’ve actually struggled a bit after so many years with Pro Tools but it’s time I’m finding I’m not begrudging yet. The integration between Logic Pro and Soundtrack Pro could only be improved by rolling it into the one application. I’m yet to spend quality time with MainStage but expect more details on that in AMW.

Will I forget my old flame altogether? Not at all — Pro Tools is still the dominant player at the higher end of the market and its portable solutions are still mighty attractive. Their hardware isn’t anything to be sneezed at either — I’m currently in the throes of getting Logic Studio to work with my trusty Digi 002 Rack. CoreAudio makes things a little easier but I’ve still got some kinks to iron out.

All that said, I think I’m in love again and it’s going to take a lot of morning breath for me to be looking elsewhere.

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