Logic Pro 8

My inbox and IM queue is full today. After a long wait, rumors, and buzz, Logic Pro 8 is here. It’s a huge overhaul, from UI to features, but the big news for many will be the price: US$499 now buys you Logic Pro Studio, which now also includes Apple’s Soundtrack Pro audio editor.

We’ll be spending some quality time with the new Logic over the coming weeks, but here’s the mile-high overview:

  • New user interface: Logic’s UI has been rebuilt from the ground up with a new, single-window view, evidently largely inspired by Soundtrack. You never have to switch windows to make an edit. Digital Performer, Cubase, and SONAR have all found their own ways of doing this, and single-window editing is part of what many Pro Tools users say makes them loyal. Apple’s implementation is unique, though, so it’ll be interesting to see it in action.
  • Set up tracks more easily: Just configuring tracks and routing was often a challenge in earlier releases of Logic, partly because of the sophisticated Environment, a modular audio and MIDI system, lurking beneath. The good news: there’s a new track setup, streamlined channel strips, and Apple Loop-like channel strip preset management. The bad news (for Logic 7 ninjas): the Environment is a casualty.
  • Reworked audio editing and recording: Again, taking from Soundtrack but expanding upon its ideas, you get new features for multi-take editing, comping, sample-accurate waveform editing right in the main window, snap-to-transient editing, and other enhancements.
  • MainStage: This new tool is designed to make live performance easier with virtual racks of instruments and effects (including Guitar Rig effects for guitarists). Automatic-mapping hardware support (as seen in Reason, Live, Novation’s ReMOTE SL and others) makes it easier to plug and play controllers. Put them together, using templates or your own design, and you can set up live performance rigs, with a full-screen mode that’s easy to see without hunching over your laptop. On that note, there’s also–
  • Mobile file sessions so you can move easily to your laptop on the road. Pack that and —
  • Leave your dongle, because it’s gone — serial number authentication only.
  • Bigger bundle, lower price: Logic now includes Soundtrack Pro, plus the new onstage features, and still has all of the instruments, effects, and sound library as before, all for half the price: US$499 list.
  • The Environment Lives! And to its naysayers, I’ll just have to call up Steve Horelick, get together with Logic 8, and put together a whole bunch of new tutorials demonstrating how cool this is.


The holy grail of music software right now: make it easier for people to actually play with computers. MainStage is Apple’s entry, with full-screen graphics and virtual racks of instruments and effects. Whether it will do everything people need remains to be seen.

What isn’t in Logic 8: The overhaul for Logic Pro 8 already looks really huge. At the same time, there’s a lot I’ll want to get hands-on with, and from what I can tell, there are some things you won’t find (some of them welcome, some of them not, depending on who you are):

  • MainStage seems to be for instruments and effects only: One of the big requests from Logic users is the ability to run backing tracks build in Logic in performance. I may be missing something, but it looks like there’s no such facility in MainStage. (And, incidentally, Rax has lyrics support, MIDI file playback, and live visualizations.)
  • Instruments and effects look largely untouched: The old Emagic goodies are reskinned, but otherwise appear unchanged. (There’s just one new effect, called Delay Designer, from Soundtrack Pro.) What you do get, of course, is expanded surround support and all the other improvements; you just don’t get a new virtual instrument, in case anyone was wondering. The good news is, all of those oddball toys appear to still be there, and now cost half as much.
  • No more Logic Express: Sorry, I’m completely wrong. But while I usually don’t like “entry level” versions of products because I think they too often confuse consumers, this one actually makes some sense.

The sincerest form of flattery: I’ve heard claims that Logic 8 is inspired by Ableton Live, but I don’t see that. Live’s interface is very different aesthetically and functionally, and its centerpiece is the clip and the many things you can do with them. There’s nothing in Logic quite like the non-linear, clip-based Session view and its on-the-fly arrangement, and that makes sense: Live isn’t the right tool for everything, and Logic fits in as a different piece of the puzzle.

Logic’s inspiration seems to come primarily from three applications: GarageBand, Soundtrack Pro, and plasq’s little-known Rax 2.0. When both GarageBand and Soundtrack Pro arrived, many wondered when Apple’s flagship DAW would start to be more, well, Apple-like. Logic Pro 7.x took some cues from GarageBand, like integrating loop support and file exchange capabilities. But it’s really Logic 8 that takes a stab at what GarageBand would look like if it were built for pros. Much of that comes from Soundtrack Pro’s editing panes, and that’s not only skin deep: Soundtrack’s audio editing features had surpassed Logic’s in some areas, and this version not surprisingly has a lot of emphasis on those.

The surprise is that Apple has taken a lot of ideas about how to make live performance work from plasq’s Rax, which just changed hands. They even borrowed the name: “MainStage” instead of “OnStage.” (In fairness, they may also have been inspired by fluq’s OnStage, but that, too, was intentionally drawing from Rax.) Whether this was direct inspiration, or simply a filtering of important ideas about how to do live performance up through Logic’s pro user base, these changes are welcome.

I look forward to trying Logic 8 first-hand; you’ll be the first to hear more. We’ll also have some Logic tutorials and tips coming in the near future, as well. Stay tuned.

Logic Studio 8 / Logic Pro 8

  • scotskev

    check again… think you will find that the environment is still there if you really need it… they have done some stuff to make setting up projects much easier… and Logic Express still lives with some of the instruments and effects from the former pro having moved house

  • brian

    Hey, the enthusiasm is great, but shouldn't you make sure you have your facts straight before posting assumptions about features? Environment is definitely there.. Logic Express is definitely alive and well ($199).


  • Adrian Anders

    Kuddos Apple… with that price point Steinberg, Ableton, etc. will have to step up their game on the Mac side for sure.

  • Nick Inhofe

    Long live the environment!

    From the tech specs, under Ultimate Writing Studio:

    "Creative MIDI processing and routing in the Environment"

    Be careful what you write Peter, your liable to give someone a heart attack! ;]

  • Dissolver

    Hell yea. My copy's coming tomorrow. I wonder if the buffer issues that allowed plug-ins to continue playing after you went to the beginning of a track have been ironed out.

    Also, I hope automation moves around with regions a little better. That's been a major drag when changing arrangements… literally.

    I can't wait to see which plug-ins magically stop working!

  • I think the article needs two touch ups. One being that the Environment is still present and the other being that Logic Express 8 was also announced today, and not discontinued!


  • Simon

    Yeah I would not upgrade if they got rid of it lol, Shame the UK site does not offer it yet :@ grrr

  • Dan

    So, who wants to be the guinea pig?

  • Damon

    This is exciting to me as a Logic user, but to me Logic has been to MIDI penciling in what Pro Tools is to audio editing. And as I am happy to see the improved audio mix work flow, these preliminary promotions have left the MIDI implementation conspicuously unrepresented, which is sort of like promoting a new Ducati without mentioning the engine. Or is that promoting a Ducati without mentioning the suspension? Blah! Moving on…

    And though Logic has what may be considered the best set of comes with it synths and effects, it would have been cool to see at least 1 or 50 sort of up to date cool sound tweak-o-matic stutter twin synths or effects. Sound design stuff. Sure it is wise to establish focus groups to see what Garage Band users (and that includes me) want to see in Logic 8, but I think the true vitality of Logic is found in the very exciting electronic music happening today. I know there are more than a few big studio symphony orchestra record and mix Logic users out there, but there are surely many more home or private studio Logic crunch and much types.

    I think apple may be misplacing it's most relevant demographic. I know there is big money in bridging the gap between Garage Band and Logic, but there is great creative excitement in bridging the gap between Native Instruments and Logic. But as is to be expected, the bottom dollar man always gets the top vote.

  • James B

    I see a reference to upgrading from Logic Express 8 in the Logic Studio upgrade guide at
    So maybe express still has a future?

  • If anyone is interested in grabbing this hot update, I have been told that the new version and updates will be available in U.S. Dealers this weekend.

    Can’t wait to dig into all the new features and especially Mainstage!



  • Damon, I hear you, and believe me, my review will look at the whole program.

    I think it's fair to say, in general, the fact that instruments and effects are essentially unchanged from 2004 — at which point many of them were already several years old — has left them behind the third-party instruments and effects on the market. EXS24 is no Kontakt, for instance. Then again, if you want Kontakt, you can now go out and buy it for the price difference between Logic 8 and Logic 7. And, for many people — not just GarageBand grads, either — EXS24 will be good 'nuff. (Or in terms of personal feelings they may even prefer it; I don't know.)

    I don't see a single major item on the checklists — bundling Soundtrack, providing better audio editing and recording, making track setup easier, better supporting surround, better supporting film scoring, building a better UI, providing a way to play live, better automatic controller support for MIDI — that I didn't hear from numerous Logic users of the type you're describing. So, to me, it's all about testing it and seeing how good the implementation is. There may still be areas of disappointment; if I didn't find some, I probably didn't do my job. But I do think this came from users and not marketing. There's nothing like the "Magic Logic" a la GarageBand 08 that some had feared.

  • Motion

    I hope they have managed to sort out the audio engine and get rid of the DAE error that I've been getting since 1996-Circa 2003.

  • bliss

    I have a hunch that the price drop is directly in response to the ever growing popularity of Ableton's Live. As far as YouTube is concerned. Nearly every clip featuring a DAW features Live. I would say that Live appears 9 out of every 10 clips I watch on YouTube. So… Apple has had to respond to that, no doubt.

  • @Motion: If you're using DAE, you're relying on Digidesign's audio engine, not Apple's. So "sort out the audio engine" would very likely mean, ahem, sorting out Digidesign. And I think the fundamental problem there has remained that there's no significant incentive for Digi to support people using other's DAWs. Why they did DAE in the first place is a bit of a mystery to me — obviously, they hoped DAW flexibility would help sell more of their hardware, which is really their business.

    @bliss: I tend to agree, but whatever the reason, this makes more sense. A customer buying Final Cut Studio may make up the $1299 cost in gigs in the first week. For the music crowd, that's very often not the case.

    Anyway, I still think it's possible to overstate the Live/Logic comparison. Logic 8's interface is quite different from Logic 7, but the fundamental design is basically the same. Live's workflows are likely to continue to cause people to choose Live, and visa versa. I think there are generally good times ahead for tools beginning with the letter "L."

  • musicproducer

    Anyone else out there upset they bought version 7 pro before 8/1? Apple is offering no rebates or anything for those of us who did. Way to go Apple.

  • Jon R

    After spending much of the morning looking at the various manuals posted on apple.com it looks like apple has really tried to address many of the issues and feature requests people have been moaning about for along time. It also appears they have managed to refine an interface that many people found overly complex while seemingly doing a good job not alienating long time users by dumbing down the program ( I will note that a bunch of Logic terminology has been changed).

    As a long time Logic user it looks like an excellent update – hopefully it is stable out of the gate. (Really looking forward to being on the bleeding edge this fall with a new MBP, Leopard and Logic 8. Asking for trouble but hoping for fun)

    I am amazed that some people think this is a small update. Read the manuals – lots of refinement. And complaining about the price…give me a freakin' break.

  • Get this;

    I purchased Logic Pro 7.2 Academic ($499) on Monday the 10th. Installed the software on the 11th. Today is the 12, and Logic Pro 8 is out.

    I talked to Apple today – they don't have information regarding my situation as of yet. What you you think, should I be eligible for an upgrade ???

  • asger

    @ cyberpatrolunit: This is a cut/paste from Analog Industies. "Lucky me bought the upgrade to 7 last month, so I get to wait till later this month when they release the free ones for those of us w/in the proper time frame."

  • Nick Inhofe

    The real catch is that its the **Academic** version. I'm in a similar situation, except I've been using the academic version for over a year now. While Apple has an official policy of not allowing upgrades to academic versions, if have heard stories (including stories from professors at my former university) that non-academic upgrades have worked anyways.

    I haven't heard any official word on this but I'm anxious to find out. I would hope that if a Logic 5 user can upgrade for $199, then a Logic 7 academic user could do so as well.

  • Re academic upgrades: If you purchased THAT close to this announcement, I'd just keep calling, keep asking. If you get the right person, you may be okay. If anyone gets an answer — positive or negative — do let us know.

  • theo den brinker

    I have just ordered my copy. I am glad Apple have concentrated on the overall UI and work flow structure.

    New instruments are always nice but I am not that disappointed at not getting new instruments since I haven't really scratched the surface of Sculpture or Ultrabeat. It also provides space for software instrument and effect designers. Especially since Logic is now only Aus$649.00 and the money saved can now go there.

    BTW: Redmatica, who do interesting things for the EXS24, have a Logic 8 related announcement today (13th Sept).


  • Jin

    @cyberpatrolunit: It says on Apple's Logic Studio pages that Logic 7 purchases made on or after the 1st of August get a free upgrade. With $9.95 shipping charges.

    Of course that doesn't cover the price difference between 7 and 8, but at least you get your upgrade.

  • I understand that my purchase was made 48 hours before the debut of Logic Pro 8, however, I am still timid about my situation, because it was an "academic" purchase – which says on the box itself – not eligible for upgrades. I will let you know how this turns out…. but I sure hate grinding my teeth over such things.

  • Nick Inhofe

    There was a confirmation over at the big blue lounge…someone had an academic version of Logic 7, bought the upgrade and it DID NOT WORK.

    So, if your academic version of logic is still the box, send it back!

    Frankly, I can't be too upset over this. I got a good deal on the academic version, and the full version of logic 8 isn't too expensive. I'll probably end up buying it pretty soon, and see if I can't make a $100 or so on my used version of Logic 7.2 Academic on ebay.

  • Motion

    Hi Peter…a touch of sarcasm and bitter sweetness on my part….truth is I have been waiting for this day to arrive for about 6 years…it starts way back when in 96 with a Digi Audiomedia 3 card, after eventually changing to other soundcards and finally settling on RME…it was the "audio engine overload warning" (you could switch it off in preferences but it still didn't stop the problem entirely)that started driving me mad.

    Going back a bit further the funniest one which I'm not sure that other Creator users ever experienced on the Atari was similar in consequence to the two others…being stopped whilst immersed in the creative zone where the program would stop and a dialog box stating "something strange has happened" would appear….after clicking it away a further message response "please don't do that again" necessitating a further agreement clik in order to get back to buisness…a benign and humerous bug perhaps?

    Stop, start, stop bloody start…arggghh!!!

    Anyway after about a 15 year friendship with Creator, Unitor and Logic culminating in the hostage situation that Apple and E gave PC users when they did the deal was at best nothing more than a great hijack situation and a real kick in the teeth for what was for me the best and most creative DAW in existence…however I now required a new Apple computer and new OS to get cosy with in order to keep going with the programs progressive development…speculation on the size of the PC database was bandied here and there…mmmnn!! thought Apple that's a lot of computers…but are they in love with Logic enough to pay the ransom, many resisted!…Thanks but no thanks, Sorry Apple I don't have a spare £2000 right now even with the discount.

    So here we are 6 years or there abouts on….and yes I had many years creative use after the fact with V5.

    Logic Studio 8…completely rewritten?, smoother, leaner more refined, integration of other studio tools, a better user experience?, plus a ton of goodies to sweeten the mix or should that be negotiation?….has that bloody infernal audio engine overload problem been sorted!

    They told me I have been diagnosed with DAW Stockholm syndrome.

    This has been a cathartic experience and I'm very tired and confused.

    Apple, you got me!….or maybe that should really be Logic….but then you always have.

    "something strange has happened" and Apple "please don't do that again"

    I feel a resolution is forming from within me.

    But just to be on the safe side I won't be cancelling my therapist appointments anytime soon.

  • Motion, that was poetry. And I think one of the Creator coders was a Douglas Adams fan.

  • Wow – for the hobbyist with a little bit of money (well soon anyhow) like me – this looks like a great update – its not that pricey and looks to have everything that I would want included – from synths to effects to samples. Pity I just spent $250 or so on a whole lot of PC software… but no matter I'll wait until sometime next year… possibly after an update if they put one out… and grab it all then!

    I know for you pro types – the exs24 samples may not cut it – but how do the say piano and drum samples stack up? The borsendorfer club on the logic studio page sounded great to me – do you guys think it would work nicely instead of me getting a digital piano – I could buy an 88key controller instead and midi away? It would probably save some money?

    Any thoughts?

  • If the comparison is a digital piano, I think the included sampled piano is absolutely on par with hardware. The only issue is, most of the 88-key keyboards with a really good feel already have a good sound built into them, but I guess that's not really a problem. Check out the Casio Privia, the Yamahas, the M-Audio KeyStation, the Rolands, the Kawais if available, and see which you like.

  • Awesome – I don't mind the action on my Axiom25 … but you're right it's nothing like the one on the Kawai that I had lined up to buy…

    I guess buying a macbook+this software + a controller would be expensive in any case.. so i'll just get the 88key I wanted along – and look at this all later.

    In any case it just opens up some extra options for me – I somehow think that in the days when options were more limited I would've gotten more done!

    Thanks for the info Peter!

  • Motion

    Hi Peter…thanks for the kind words….I did not know that about Creator.

    I never could quite figure out where those dialog boxes came from or what I was doing at the time…there was never ever any obvious moves I could recall, they never ever caused a crash or anything untoward…they would just appear and go away harmlessly…in all the years probably I experienced this only 6 or so times..It may well have been a bit of fun and perhaps a nod to Douglas Adams.

    I wish Apple would release it again..if I recall, part of the Emagic deal was that Apple have ownership of the source code.

    A real gem and brilliant sequencer especially once you started using the ABCD grids…almost 3 dimensional in the way you could structure stuff.

    Oh well…the great grandson has been delivered so to speak, I think they have done a great bit of gardening with LS8, from everything I have found out about it so far…looks crisp, juicy and sweet….just like an apple should be.

    Here's hoping it's no crab in the performance arena.;)

  • hi guys. my 2 cents: don't forget, sometimes a complete overhaul requires a new framework in place. the software will then seem not too exciting in its first (.0) version. in this case, we get a refreshed UI, which is a big step and that's where i guess the programmers' time has gone.

    check this out from the history of logic:

    5.0: automation

    5.01: es2, evoc20, dot;

    5.1: logic control, multiple undo/redo, new evp88 models

    5.2: evd6, multiple output instruments, monitoring w/ plugins

    5.5: osx support.

    all filed under logic5.

    so i wouldnt jump to conclusions before .1 is out..

    another (though fairly tragic) example is windows vista.

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  • Talked to someone at apple today; they told me that ANYONE who made a Logic Purchase on Aug 1st or after is going to get the free upgrade. WooHoo!

  • Matthew Treder

    I think it's time for many of Logic's older plug-ins (and some of the new one, too) to give more visual feedback in real time about what they're doing. The Channel EQ really set the standard when it hit, and made the other plugs look pretty long in the tooth.

    NI instruments (Guitar Rig, Reaktor, etc.) are very good about this sort of thing.

  • William

    it bothers me that the post contains these two pieces of information in the same posting:

    "The bad news (for Logic 7 ninjas): the Environment is a casualty."

    and then the following

    "The Environment Lives! And to its naysayers, I’ll just have to call up Steve Horelick, get together with Logic 8, and put together a whole bunch of new tutorials demonstrating how cool this is."

    I am so sick of the blog mentality to just post anything that comes your way without really taking the time to make sure that the information that you are releasing as news to the public is correct.

    This mentality is actually reinforced by choosing to post the correction "Logic’s Environment Lives in Logic 8!" as a new post without actually changing the original mistake.

    We're overfed. Tacky!

  • William,

    I think your RSS reader was not updating. The story was corrected within a couple of hours. There was never conflicting information in the same post.

    Also, I qualified the original concern about the Environment by saying I was unable to get solid information. It was buried in technical specs.

    In fact, the huge advantage of the Web is that we're able to get more detailed information that isn't included in press releases. What you'll see in print is often a couple of sentences basically lifted from the press release. Logic won't show up for a couple of months (at least for some publications), and there won't be any information about the inclusion of the Environment either way. That's not a criticism of print; I write for print, as well, and love both reading and writing for print publications — I have a magazine with me at lunch, not a computer. They're different mediums, with different strengths and weaknesses.

    The potential omission of the Environment was something I and others reacted to immediately. What you saw was that reaction — and the revelation that it is still in Logic — essentially in real time.

    The one thing we can't overcome, unfortunately, is RSS spewing out information after we've corrected it. But that's why I published a separate post with the correction *in addition to* the correction in this item.

    I of course try to get things right as often as possible, and I'm the first to admit this was a mistake. But I do take as much time as I can. And of course I appreciate people calling me out when I've got something wrong — it's part of the whole reason I do this.

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  • Phil

    I just finished paying off my logic 7.2, It was $1200. Now I have to pay $200 to get the upgrade. WTF!!!!! What justification do I have to spend another $200 on a program that is less then half what I payed?

  • It was an uphill battle, but my Logic Studio 8 Academic is in the mail! Originally Apple was going to send me the new version, allowing me to keep my original 7.2 purchase – however they called me back and I ended up having to ship it back.

    Anyway, end of story.

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