Apple has released Logic Studio 9 today. Banner features: “Flex Time” audio warping, new goodies for guitarists (plus integration with a new audio interface and pedalboard from Apogee), expanded support for working with video and outputting compression, and most interestingly, tools for making MainStage a feature you might actually take onstage.

I’m meeting with Apple next week, so if you think of any smart questions, do pass them along. I should receive my testing copy then, too, so expect more details. In the meantime, here’s how it looks “on paper,” in a nutshell.

Live Performance

This to me is the interesting one. I loved the idea of MainStage when it came out, but I had a number of complaints in regards to what musicians would actually want to do for live performance. Specifically:

  • MainStage needs a way of playing backing tracks, particularly for bands and acoustic players and soloists.
  • ReWire is a must, so people using tools like Ableton Live (or Reason, or the awesome tracker Renoise) can work with them in a MainStage rig.
  • Better control mapping was needed for real performance – including grouping.
  • Musicians need a way of recording their gigs.

Well, guess what? Apple says they’ve added all of that to MainStage 2. ReWire support should make this particularly interesting, as solutions like a Logic-Live rig now become practical. And this is the first DAW to really try to do backing tracks in a way bands can use, even including Ableton Live.

Grouped controls allow you to drag and drop layouts of controls as macros. It’s a nice implementation, and different from what’s currently out there.

There’s also a live loop recorder, tape style. My first impression of this is that this doesn’t appear to match things like the new looper in Ableton Live 8, which can set an entire project tempo – it’s more like a basic stompbox effect, as we’ve seen previously in Native Instruments’ Guitar Rig. Still, that matches the simplicity of some of the other tools here.


Augh… and yes, that is Apple’s now-ubiquitous album art view as the browser mechanism for templates, proving they really don’t know where to stop. At least it seems they haven’t used that for the entire UI.

Of course, performance is everything in these implementations, so it’ll be fun to torture test MainStage 2 and see how it stands up.

And for anyone who wanted Live clips and Sculpture in one session, this could be interesting.

Flex Time Audio Manipulation

The music software market is already crowded with tools that promise to let you manipulate audio independent of its original tempo – but this implementation is more interesting than you might first think. You actually drag the mouse on the waveform itself, turning the sound into a Silly Putty-like, warpable view. Very much like Ableton Live, Logic also adds modes based on material (rhythmic, polyphonic, slicing), and an audio quantize mode that applies the feel of one track to another.

There’s also a slightly gimmicky record start/stop effect, which I’m sure will be a boon to anyone doing editing for MTV.

But make no mistake about it: Flex Time could heat things up.

Side note: Does Sibelius – now owned by industry titan and major Apple rival Avid – really not care that Apple lifted the name of its “FlexTime” technology, which I thought was trademarked? Did Apple pay off Avid to grab that name? (Especially funny after MainStage had a similarity to Plasq’s OnStage from Rax, a virtually identical feature.)

For Guitarists

  • A new pedalboard full of effects
  • An “Amp Designer” for combining 25 amps, 25 speaker cabinets, and 3 mics, plus a library of new presets
  • Integration with Apogee’s new GiO interface in both Logic and MainStage

Apple is obviously committed to providing a one box solution, so you never have to buy anything for music making that doesn’t have an Apple logo on it – something I’m sure doesn’t make Native Instruments, Waves, IK Multimedia, and other competitors exactly thrilled. Those solutions are already really good, but I have heard Apple’s implementation is quite nice, and I’ve heard it from people who are actual guitarists.

Notation Enhancements

Ornaments have been expanded with a broader notation library, and a set of some 4000 chord grids beef up tab capabilities for guitars.

I still think you’d be nuts to use Logic in place of something like Sibelius for major notation editing, just because I find the dedicated tool much quicker to use. On the other hand, Logic was born as “Notator,” so it has notation in its blood.

Other Improvements

  • Turn tracks into sampler tracks (again, the first time I’ve seen a good implementation like this outside Ableton Live)
  • Drum replacement
  • Improved editing inside take folders – so you can adjust recordings while keeping your takes
  • Better bouncing, track import
  • More bizarre warp effects for Space Designer (okay, I have to admit, I’ve gotten addicted to using convolution reverbs for special effects, so curious what they put in there)
  • A Vocal Jam Pack

There’s also a new browser for instruments, it appears, apparently to make this more accessible to new users. On the other hand, that’s a bit like holding a toddler’s hand before putting him in the seat of your Ferrari, when it comes to interfaces like Ultrabeat. (See what I mean on Apple’s site.) But I suppose it can’t hurt – and meanwhile, the market for educational products remains.


Soundtrack Pro 3

Soundtrack Pro is the oft-overlooked audio editor bundled with Logic. Part of the promise of Soundtrack is working well with Final Cut, so it’s nice to see some new features that help distinguish this tool. (I have to say, on the Mac I do prefer working in Soundtrack to working in Peak — call me crazy.)

  • Vocal Level Match applies a vocal level from one clip to another clip – fantastic for podcasting and production for video, if it works as advertised
  • Editing by frequency (’bout time — I’m hoping this means we can work directly in the frequency view, as you should be able to do)
  • Advanced Time Stretch
  • Compressor output workflows

Breakfast of Champions

Apple has also added greater emphasis to artists, mirroring what they’re doing with GarageBand — though any hopes for Pro Artist Lessons with Logic are sadly thwarted so far. What they are doing is “Pro Sessions,” in which you can download actual session files. (I’m guessing that doesn’t include some third-party plug-ins they used, and it’s no match for, say, remix stems, but…)

Logic Studio in Action

(Yep, people use Logic)

Artist Sessions (one nice gem in there — a Santigold remix… but was Santigold herself not a user of Logic?)

What’s Not in this Upgrade

As near as I can tell, Logic will not support 64-bit memory addressing or 64-bit mixing. The former is extremely unfortunate for users of big sample libraries, although third-party tools do fill some of that gap. (Even so, native 64-bit memory support would be welcome.) It’s possible we may see this in an update, however; if it’s “in the future,” we just won’t know because Apple makes a policy of commenting only once things are released.

Also, it appears that Logic’s increasingly long-in-the-tooth library of effects and synths — once part of the core appeal of the tool — are left as-is in this release, which would be unfortunate. On the other hand, with options like Native Instruments’ Komplete to fill that need, and a price of US$499, it’ll be hard to fault Apple on this.

Many folks expected some sort of iPhone / iPod touch app, given that third parties have built them for control and the like. They were wrong, but I’m not surprised — Apple likes to keep its consumer and pro features fairly separate.

Any other omissions you notice, or things you’d like me to ask about? Let me know.

At least I have a fairly decent working list for what I’m likely to be hard at work testing when this arrives in the mail.

And Logic has some intense competition, too, with even a new entry on the scene this year (Propellerhead’s Record).

Let the games begin…

Apple Logic Studio

All images Courtesy of Apple.

  • MK

    My experience of Logic Pro 8 on a 2009 Mac Pro 8-core was that only 8 of the 16 virtual cores were getting used. Any idea if this update sorts that limitation – or maybe someone can tell me I was imagining it in the first place.

  • West

    I think I saw something about improved grouping of tracks as well. Though it wasn't clear if that was only in the mixer or in the arrange window (please be arrange window grouping!)…

    Either way, I'm miffed. Just coughed up $200 less than 3 months ago, and of course no grace period. So I'm going to have to wait another several months before I'll be able to take the bitter pill…

  • Two complaints so far… The upgrade price at $199??? For a product that retails in the full version new at $499 you'd expect something more like $129.

    The minimum requirements state that you need an Intel processor (and then makes things confusing by stating that an Intel Core processor is required for Logic Node). It seems all their pro apps are going that way, but there are many studios (audio and video) that are still running on G5s. That would include me and at least 3 Bay Area studios I've used in the last year. Seen a few complaints about that in the Logic forums/list. So, yeah, we've reached that familiar point again…

  • @MK: I don't know that we'll know for sure on multicore utilization until Snow Leopard.

    @Marc: Well, yeah… I just don't think there's any getting around the toughness of the migration from PowerPC. Get ready for a 32-bit/64-bit split next.

    @West: Yeah, most devs now have a grace period of some kind, so even having complained about complexity and pricing, that's not so fantastic.

  • Martin

    I'd really like to know what the plans are for Open GL integration when Snow Leopard is released, and along with the comments above, about the handling of multicore processors. Having to route effects through busses to force the other cores to handle load isn't really an ideal fix in my book, and yet that's Apple's official advice on how to prevent a single core overloading while the others lie dormant.

    No 64 bit support is a bit of a joke, having spent an afternoon hearing about Apple's plans to move over to a complete 64 bit system following Snow Leopard's release on an Apple course I recently attended.

    I'm left feeling somewhat underwhelmed by this release, although there are some features which are undoubtably welcome.

  • Martin

    I meant "undoubtedly", not "undoubtably" – sorry about the ridiculous made-up word there. I got distracted watching TV while I was writing that comment…

  • matt

    I hate to sound stupid, but is Logic Pro now called Logic Studio? Nothing I've read anywhere today has cleared this up.

  • Yes, Matt, that's correct. There is no longer a boxed product called Logic Pro. It's Logic Studio. In that box, you have individual software tools called Logic Pro, Soundtrack Pro, and MainStage. But the product has one name, and that name is Logic Studio.

  • Captain Howdy


  • Nate

    Speaking of keeping the consumer and pro lines seperate, Logic now has built in support for Mobile Me (for sutomatically backing up control strip settings and the like). I can't imagine that'd be a popular feature, however, it's probably easier to code than an iPhone app.

  • Captain Howdy

    As yawn worthy as the Logic 9 update is, to say that it faces "intense competition" from Propellerhead’s Record is about the most absurd thing that I've ever read on this site.

    Get real…

  • desmond

    "Logic Studio" is a bundle, that consists of the Logic Pro application, plus other things.

    You cannot buy "Logic Pro" on it's own, it's only available as part of the Logic Studio bundle.

    So, Logic Pro is still called Logic Pro, and that's what the application is called and referenced. There is no application called "Logic Studio".

  • @Captain Howdy: Really, THE most absurd thing you've read on this site? 😉

    I mean competition from a range of other DAWs — Live, Tracktion, Reaper (now on Mac), Ardour (free), Cubase, Pro Tools (which also has integrated notation), SONAR, yes, Record, and even Apple's own GarageBand — the point is, you've got tons of choices. I don't think that's an outrageous statement to make, somehow.

  • Cynic

    There's nothing in Leopard that prevents Logic from utilising multiple cores. However, Logic's audio engine has been in need of a serious overhaul in regard to making use of multiple cores for some time. Even when Logic reports that the system is overloaded, the most CPU resources I've ever seen the application use is around 50 percent. This is pretty terrible in comparison to other applications like Cubase.

    Snow Leopard provides better support for software running on multiple cores for sure, but features like Grand Central rely on extensions to the programming languages used on the Mac (C++, Objective-C, etc…). It's unknown if Logic will use any of these specific Snow Leopard features, and, to my knowledge, it's also unknown if these features are even useful in a low-latency audio system.

  • WM

    On the Logic Pro 9 page on the Apple site, they talk about two ways to edit MIDI: the Piano-Roll and the Score Editors. No mention of the Hyper Editor. That would be a big disappointment if they've got rid of that.

  • @Cynic: Yes, agreed on all points; to my knowledge, that's all correct. It's just my sense, though, that Apple does heavily evangelize using their own APIs — so, assuming Logic is in need of some optimization across cores, and assuming Grand Central is useful for audio, it's *possible* at the very least that something could change with Snow Leopard. That's a lot of if's, though, I know.

  • @WM: Hyper Editor remained in Logic 8 when everyone expected it to disappear. (In fact, I recall a big panic then because people thought it or even the Environment were taken out.) More likely, it's just no longer something Apple evangelizes. I'll double-check, of course.

  • Commander Kay

    One of the major gripes I am having with Logic 8 is that keycommands don't work as they used to, immensely slowing me down when I work with it.

    The same keycommands are still available, but only when the part of the window you are trying to control is active (has the focus), pretty much rendering even very basic keycommands like "mute object" almost useless when you first have to click the mouse before using the keycommand.

    Am I missing something very obvious here or is that just something that others have learned to live with?

    I'd spend money on it if Niner would remedy that…

  • Finally updating their pitch tools…it has to be more intuitive than Logic 8 or 7. I don't care how powerful it was before, it was a PITA to work with.

    That said, if all they tweaked was the audio editing, it would be worth it for me. Any news on improved workflow for that?

  • Seems like Logic is catching up to digital performer in a lot of respects (quantize audio, better transient manipulation). I hope bounce in place is awesome, one thing I keep wanting to do is apply an effect to a region like you can in DP or protools. If I turn on an effect, bounce in place and turn it off, at least that is three steps instead of six or whatever.

  • wuruwuru

    Is there the ability in the new Mainstage to change a patch on one layer of a sound while keeping the other layer going. Perhaps something along the lines of Spectrasonic Omnisphere live mode?

    In the Logic Studio 8 version of Mainstage, it was necessary to set up presets for every combination of sounds you might need rather than being able to have three or four that you most needed and mix and match them as desired in the moment.

    For an application that purports to be oriented to live performance, this has always seemed to be a major shortcoming to me. Instead of setting up four sounds, it became necessary to have dozens of presets to mix and match them and then you would have to cut off the current patch as the new one loaded.

    The current setup only really works well for musicians that only play in bands with fixed set lists and a fixed set of sounds for each song.

  • DMS

    Many awesome additions to Logic 8 in my opinion. One thing that I think a lot of people had been hoping for, and is glaringly missing from this upgrade, is integrated pitch manipulation/editing of notes within audio files in a Melodyne-like manner – similar to what Digital Performer already offers.

  • Any idea if Mainstage will be able to interface with external hardware using Midi? That was a major flaw that crossed it off the list for using in a live situation for me with the previous release.

  • Hey Peter,

    Something to ask Apple —

    Why did Apple take away the controls to play audio files in the finder in Leopard?

    In Tiger, at least you could scrub thru files, adjust volume, etc… now in Leopard you can only click "play"…

    Also why are you not be able to audition files in the finder while a category like "sort by date" is selected?

    Leopard was a big step forward for artists and graphic designers to easily view their files — us audio people want the finder to work for us too!

  • sursiks


    you still can play audio files in the finder… just use quickpreview or whatever it's called. highlight the file you want to play and hit space; a window will shoot out with a timeline, play button, and track data on it. you can't adjust volume, but even if yr using an external soundcard there should be some sort of sound knob on there or on the speakers (although i know adjusting monitor volume is a pain in the ass, but they should be set to the correct volume to begin with).

  • @Dave: I'll be talking to Pro Audio people, so they probably won't have much to say about the Finder. But my advice would be, if the Finder isn't doing it for you, check out some of the awesome replacements — Path Finder, and then the audio specific tools (like AudioFinder).

    Oops, I didn't mention DP in my "competition" things, which means someone at MOTU is probably rolling their eyes. Yep, I know DP is still competition — especially since Apple is bringing up people making music scores, and those fiercely DP users are going nowhere fast.

  • Rrr. The site says "bounce in place" is destructive. There better at least be an option to undo or make a duplicate first. I don't understand why so much of their flow is destructive, like the audio editor? I'm a Logic convert but I miss DP's unlimited undos, especially with file editing.

  • cosmo

    just a quick question:

    i got my dad into buying logic and a mac 😉 now is there any way to make the font bigger?

    i don't use logic myself, but i think the font's pretty small too.

    I'm surprised i couldn't find more complaints… i guess it's just me…

  • @Jordan – hmmm, that's a bit odd, I agree. I really like the non-destructive bouncing capabilities of Live for that reason.

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  • Jordan is right — DP's unlimited undos (even loading old OLD sessions you can still undo stuff you did previously) is way better than what Logic offers. It has saved me once or twice!

    Also why isn't EVERYTHING recognized as an operation that can be undone? Volume rides, mutes, plugins, keystrokes, etc… the program obviously knows what just changed — why can't you change it back?

    Finally, even though this might potentially open up a rift in the universe or something why not go a step further and allow non-sequential undos. Why can't you undo an edit you did (for instance) keeping everything you did past that point in time (changes in automation, adding plugins, etc.) the same — sure, the program might have to re-render relevant areas but this would be huge.

    Think of it as Time Machine for Logic Studio 🙂

  • Wilhelm Reuch

    Most of the comments seem to be from those who dont use Logic.

    As a Logic-user I really like the new features and I cetrainly hope it will sound as good as Logic 8 does. As someone who works with EAM and soundart (and often with video) the ability to handle surround and imprroved integration with Final Cut Studio is just great.

    I switched over from Ableton Live 8 Suite and found Logic 8 an improvement in most ways. And now it looks (I havent tried it yet) like Logic 9 will be even better.

  • @dave agreed. need something more like the adobe history palettes, arranged by type of function in a customizable tabbed window with pretty and super useful color coding and contextual date and timeline data. Something like that… I still get tripped up by what will and will not undo. grrrr.

    I can't believe no one has mentioned it yet, but, HEY! Where are those awesome built in arpeggiators! c'mon now!

  • Oh yeah….


    Logic finally gets with it. That leapt out at me. As far as ootb features. That's a big selling point.

    Excited about flex time and maybe a bit by the stomp boxes. But, yeah, will be rocking this more mobile for at least a year or two. Be a while for the tower to go bye bye.

  • MB

    Hey Peter, just want to throw a loud +1 behind Commander Kay's gripe/question. If you have to click on a window to bring it into focus before you can use the key commands in it, it completely defeats the purpose of key commands.

    Along the same lines, how about suggesting a key command for shifting focus from one window "pane" to another? For instance, if you've been working in the piano roll pane that's integrated into the arrange (not sure about the correct terminology here – sorry), and you need to focus on the arrange again, it's a pita to grab the mouse and click in the arrange window again. Hope you know what I'm talking about…

  • James

    Looks like a solid update, although it'd have been nice to see some of the older synths and effects consolidated and improved.

    Unrelated, but I'd love to see a to-date budget music making article detailing laptops and desktops and daws for mac and pc!

  • @James: Yes, absolutely, well worth revisiting the budget story for Mac OS and Windows. And I'd like to do a story on Linux, too, that doesn't take the "kitchen sink" approach. (Yes, there are hundreds of OSS Linux apps… which are the three you might actually use.)

    So, what should our budget be? $499 seems too high for a true budget story. Maybe $200?

  • James

    It'd be interesting to see it in tiers maybe? I say all this out of self-interest, but also every couple of years it's good to go over that end of the spectrum. I spend so much time reading about Dot Com modulars and UAD cards and Neve Summing busses, it's real easy to forget my limits and feel like I'll never be able to finish music again – forgetting I got more done a few years back with a dying Juno and an 800 mhz pc running FL 5 or something equally ridiculous 🙂

    The $200 studio / The $500 studio

    You could possibly go higher if you wanted to go over the best value laptops/pcs for musicians or control/interface surfaces. Despite being an avis

    I'm putting together my first "prosumer" (haha) studio ever so it'd be handy! It'll probably be around an Asus laptop (I hear decent things) and an HP or Dell small desktop, w/controller/interface, software and monitors. Before now I've been ingratiating myself into other people's much nicer home studios for days on end just to get ideas out 🙂

  • James

    I was going to say, trigger happy soul I am, I am an avid reader of this site and others but it's almost hard to keep track – or get back on track with simple studio tools that work. Realistically the Logic 9 update is cool to

    see because people were even worried they'd drop the program entirely… but do I need 200 odd tracks? No, sir.

    Even Anders Trentemoller managed to crank out some lush music just using Acid and his banged out old pc and little else 🙂

  • RoyMacdonald

    While there seem to be some very nice improvements like the flex time I'd appreciate much more if the "small" issues are improved like better core load distribution (it's very annoying to get the cpu overload alert because just one core peaked and the other ones are almost load free), the usage of key commands that don't deppend on the window focus, to have the environment in a tab in the main window, an improvoved environment with certain modular capabilieties ala pd or max style (it would be really nice to have native LFOs to control any plugin parameter instead of having to build one with the environmet object wich tends to be somewhat clumsy), to have all the plugins GUI of the selected channel strip opened in a tabinstad of having those opened and spread al over the screen, maybe a bypass all plugins at once option, besides many other improvements i'm willing for. Apple talks about latency issues and how super awesome is it's low latency mode (which so far has been useless for me) yet Logic doesnt handle in an inteligent way it's audio interfase recording dalay (I have my interfase with a permanent cable between an output and an input so I can check the recording delay by sending out a spike, recording it and measuring the delay that was induced, all al which could be done easyly by software instead of having to go through the just mentioned method). Also it would be nice if Logic could adopt some of Soundtracks sample additing features like the spectrograph view or being able to select and drag the samples. Well there are lots of other little enhacements or fixes that I'll appreciate but mentioning those will extend this too much. I really hope that apple has given more attention in fixing all of the annoyng issues instead of just focussing in the eye-candy new features.

  • It's possible there are under-the-hood improvements that simply weren't mention in the PR material; I'll try to find out and to test. I'm surprised people are maxing out Logic on the CPU that easily, though; what are you doing, exactly? How many tracks, and with instances of what? I mean, aside from theoretical reasons to do this — which are good, too, from an engineering standpoint — where are you finding you're running out of CPU horsepower? (I believe you, just curious so I can understand the cause!)

    Memory is easier; I think with samples that's always short and streaming samples instead runs into disk bandwidth problems.

  • I max out CPU usage in Logic with Sound Magic Spectral all the freaking time. But that is a CPU heavy AU, that really needs to be tweaked by it author (beta v5 since '08 I think???). Mind you I am maxing out CPU usage with one guitar track, the FFT size of the plugin set to 16K or above (for sound quality), and the Sound Designer reverb.

    That being said, Logic 8 handles that particular plugin suite a lot better than Mainstage. In Mainstage if you boost the FFT size it can become unusable. But then again for playing live AU Lab works wonders, and is free to boot (if you d/l Dashcode).

  • Seems my main grips are covered with the new audio editing features. Lets hope they have fixed some of the existing bugs, cause you just know 9 is going to have a more than few new ones.

    The main things I'd still like to see are:

    1. midi plugins ala Live

    2. grouping in the arrange window

    3. better core balancing

  • Damon

    You want an improved, more efficient and more reliable work flow and the creative tools that inspire the imagination

    More instruments! A more up-to-date sampler or loop slicer which really encourages experimentation. A modular sort of patch and plug synth thing sort of like SynthMaker, which seems to have that Logic flavor feel as is, which would appeal to those who would like to combine the depth of the logic environment but with the gee whiz fun factor of making sound machines.

    I should mention that the flavor of logic has become increasingly thick with that all gray plastic feeling. I am reminded of elegance and sophistication of Tassman, which is all brushed metal in appearance, how I miss some of that sophistication in Logic. I realize that Apple wants to sustain a family theme quality between Logic and Garageband, but not to the point where Logic comes out looking and feeling cheap by comparison.

    On the other hand, when you consider the price of Logic and what it can do, everything I have mentioned is more in the luxury department, but were it up to me, these would be my requests.

  • GMM

    Nice overview Peter, thanks.

    A question you could put to Apple, do the new flex mode also allow for pitching audio, chromatic and/or cents?

    @MB; already there, you can move / focus between open panes with tab key.

  • mimou

    I just hope that the loopback and playback features work the way I'd like them to. I mean the possibility to play and manipulate prerecorded loops. BTW I cannot understand why doesn't Apple take advantage of the apple loops idea and put a Live like sophisticated midi and audio loops manipulation tool into mainstage. It seems so obvious…

  • Kurt

    I hope that Soundtrack Pro has been fixed to become a proper multitrack editor for doing audio for picture. The list of complaints has been the same for years, much like this list I found here: http://tinyurl.com/l3qw6d

    Apple hasn't gotten round to putting in simple things like clip-based volume/fx edits…something perfected in Nuendo YEARS ago. And still as unstable as hell.

  • I run it from a 2007 MBP, using at least 14-18 tracks with a least 2-5 plug-ins on each track, individual SpaceDesigner on each track and all. I think it's pretty good for a notebook. For me my firewire hard drive maxes out before the CPU does. Perhaps the biggest problem is that on MacBook Pros the Firewire ports are sharing the same bus so that the FW audio card and FW disk is sharing the same traffic?

    I welcome the new freeze track function. This would mean that I could momentarily freeze CPU intense tracks to keep on recording.

  • Downpressor

    Want some of these features but still on PPC.

  • I bought sound studio a few days ago (not even installed yet) and I feel they should offer a sort of a grace period – they can't ask me 199$ right away to be up-to-date, can they??

  • James


    as a company, apple can do whatever they feel like – even piss off their customers. As a customer, you do not have to spend the money right away.

    I always say, stick to what you know and works for you. If there isn't a problem with your current set up, why change it just because the newest product came out? I know people who are still working in DP4.6. or Protools 5, or a Commodore + akai sampler.

    If you are productive with your current workflow, stick with it for a while. Get some tunes out. After you have some material you are happy with – maybe then see what you can do with something new.

    It takes so much time to just learn the new intricacies of a new program or hardware (though I must say, much less so for hardware in my opinion) – and I feel i never get to making music if I always try and stay on the cutting edge.


  • James Y

    that last comment was from me…i should differentiate from the other james'!

  • Hellgi

    Hmm, you could ask Apple :

    – When will they give us more click/metronome options? I don't know, like a doted quarter note click (for 6/8) or custom clicks for compound meters.

    – File names with more than 31 characters? This is Leopard (and soon Snow Leopard). When will they move their file system to Cocoa!?! 31-characters limitation is *so* OS 9.

    – Where is the faster access to layers? Right-click on a track + "Reassign track" is annoying;

    – Hmm… multiple track selection? Say when I want to move a bunch of tracks in the Arrange page?

    – Why do layers'names still have to be so short?

    – 64-bit support anybody?

  • Some questions about mainstage:

    A) live pitch correction for vocals, can I haz?

    B) can it now (puhleeeeease) transmit midi clock?

    C) is there finally a way to trigger apple loops at the current tempo (and have them follow tempo changes)?

    D) it stops forgetting my keyboard assignments every time I start it up now, right?

    E) it uses multiple cores now, I hope?

    F) is there a way to group midi controls that send note messages (like pads) without having to create a fake keyboard object to contain them?

    G) is there a way to assign two controllers to the same channel strip (but not for every patch) … so I can have upper and lower keys on NI B4 ?

  • RoyMacdonald

    @Peter, I usualy use about 40+ (sometimes 100) tracks each one with several plugins (though I try to use Logics eq and compresor to avoid cpuhungry plugs, and leave the latter just when truly needed, Nomad factory's eqs and limiters, Amplitube, gitar rig, BFD, SoundToys). I also use a lot of bus grouping and sending, so to avoid multiple instances of, say, reverb plugs. I usualy try to build a very cpu-eficient setup but its quite common to have a just-one-core-cpu-overload when the song reaches a certain passage, the song stops, play again and everything is alright. Thats really pisses me off! Even more if i'm mixing with a client at mi side.

    I usualy end with several fronzen tracks but that doesnt completely fix the cpu overloads, though it helps.

    When I have a really high count of tracks and plugins I find reasonable to have cpuoverloads but when using few tracks and plugs and getting cpuoverloads at random passages is really strange. Sometimes logic is so temperamental, making me think that im dealing with a girl in its period rather than a computer.

    @CUCKOO it' a really bad practice to have spacedesigner on all tracks. Try sending trough a bus, it's much more cpu-cheaper and faster to work with (the idea is to send several tracks though the same instance of the reverb).

    I tryed t use MainStage for live presentations but I ended dropping it 'cause of the lack of all the features requested. I ended using some custom logic+reason setups. I guess that Mainstage was originallyintended for keyboardists that wanted to sometimes use logics synths and sounds live in a standard-non-electronica band, but not as the central brain of complex and multi computer/hardware electronica setup. what do you think?Peter, that's a question you could do to the apple guys.

    And yes, all this under the hood enhacements/fixes we are beging for are not mentioned because those are not a very "interesting" feature for the logic ad campaing, yet it seems, as in previous Logic releases, that Apple forgets about the under the hood optimisation and leaves those for the dot-updates.

    I wonder, does Apple have a beta testing crew doing some real world productions while testing the new apps? I guess so, but sometimes more often than I'd like to, I begin to doubt about it.

  • Jake

    To the person asking about focusing with key commands you can set up multiple different windows with different layouts (eg mixer, arrangement, mixer and arrangement etc) and allocate numbers to these and switch between them with the numerical keys.

    With regards to this update it looks good in many respects but there is one thing I have issue with. Amp designer looks nice, but pedalboard just smacks of dumbing down and trying to encourage more beginners to upgrade from GarageBand. While there's nothing wrong with this in principle it does seem a bit strange for an app that's marketed as a pro app. Surely introducing new effects that have limited tweaking ability is a step backwards and if nothing else leads to yet more clutter and even more options which in turn will potentially confuse the new users?

  • bliss

    Too bad the EXS24 hasn't been updated. I thought for sure that would get some attention. Many are using Kontakt, but Logic was the first DAW to include its own sampler, and it has only been updated once. A loooooooooooooong time ago. Saying that it's long in the tooth would be an understatement.

  • @Roy: Apple definitely does testing with real producers; I know some of them. I'm not actually even supposed to know that, though, as it is covered under NDA. But these things can be hard to build. My guess from what you're describing is that there's a bottleneck somewhere on their end — and that's part of the challenge of real world testing, you know, that it's tough to exactly replicate a situation. But I believe you and will endeavor to test it, and look closely through bug fixes and changelogs and see if the engineers will share more with me. I know how much this matters.

    @bliss: Yeah, that's fair. Aside from minor tweaks – and in this release the ability to make EXS presets easily from tracks – the EXS is basically what Emagic sold. It could also be the massive job of porting the plug-in code that's keeping Logic and GarageBand from making the leap to 64-bit.

  • patospurlock

    I still would like to know if Logic 9 will be supported better than 8. I mean we are only up to 8.0.2 I believe, and I swear I am sending off constant crash reports (again it might just be the plugs I am using).

    Also is Logic even supported through Software update? I mean I literally just found out about the update a month ago, but maybe I wasn't getting Logic Studio updates b/c I had them in a separate applications folder?

  • RoyMacdonald

    @Peter. I completely agree with your point. Surely it's dificult to replicate each scenario where bugs appear. I will be quite happy to test this new version thoroughly, yet the "financial crisis" stroke me quite hard and it's out of my budget, and needs, to buy the update, but I guess that eventually I will. It would be great if you can squeeze out as much as you can from apple angineerers. Maybe you could ask for an indepth explanation of the why Logic and FCP still don't move to 64 bits.

    Just curious, How did you get to have a meeting with them? Was it because you own this blog? I ask because I'd like to be in your position, 😉

  • Peter, I'd like to know what, if anything, has been done to the score editor besides adding 9000 guitar chord diagrams or whatever. Have they made any modifications in score and notation workflow? I'm hoping so.

  • JP

    Is Logic 9 finally apple-scriptable?

  • Chartco

    Have they fixed:

    1) Snap To in the Arpeggiator?

    2) Chord Memorizor – inputting notes with your own keyboard, not just that dumb little screen keyboard that the Memorizor has???


  • Gotta second GMM, very nice overview Peter.

    Don't really feel like adding to the negative white noise (that's what Gearslutz for) but it feels more like they're catching up rather then spearheading. Flex, elastic whathaveyou it's a great feature to have but as Mr. Randall pointed out in one of his blogs – it's probably better just to record at the right tempo/pitch to begin with……..

    I'm liking the idea tho of having all of this in one app rather than farting about with 10 different third party plugs, and there are some awesome new features here (the new import track yipeee!!). However I think Apple is doing the right thing here. This is everything you need regardless if your consumer/prosumer or pro. I wish they'd do it more modular tho. I"d like to see Logic Record, just tracks, playlists easily overview and than on to Logic Edit, and finishing up in Logic Mix. Having the environment as a tab would be awesome not to mention having a PD / Max type style integration.

    But again I did some fucking great tunes on Emagic Logic 3.5, everything after that version is pretty much just icing!

  • David

    I think there will be one of three options that Apple may take to get to 64 bit for Logic.

    1. A simple update no charge. Not what I think will happen, but a possibility.

    2. A minor update much in the way that Apple is dealing with Snow Leopard.

    3. A more expensive version much like how Apple deals with Final Cut Pro Extreme.

    Maybe a combination, who knows. I sure hope they support 64 sound engine as well as 64 bit memory addressing, then maybe we can get rid of Pro Tools and everybody else. 🙂

    Oh, for those that wants killer guitar amp/cabinets/signal processing, check out Fractal Audio Axe FX Ultra. High grade modeling with more dynamics.

  • Bob

    You guys do realize that ReWire, TDM library and all of your existing audio units are all 32-bit and not 64-bit, so a 64-bit Logic would mean no ReWire or TDM support and everyone would then have to repurchase all their plugins. Not trying to ruin the party, just saying… although I'm sure plugin developers will be ecstatic since they can sell a new version.

  • @Bob: Absolutely, and I'm certainly not surprised that 64-bit isn't here yet for that very reason. See a similar discussion on Create Digital Motion of the fact that QuickTime itself (and the UI) still aren't really 64-bit.

    Well, there's no solution on ReWire that I know of (although, while I wouldn't expect Apple to adopt it, JACK will do the trick).

    But I will say, Cakewalk has at least figured out a plug-in that bridges 32-bit VSTs to a 64-bit host without the entire host dropping to 32-bit (which is what happens otherwise). It's possible.

  • is Logic 9 finally not deadly boring gray anymore ?

  • Matia

    What I really need from Logic is the ability to slave via Midi Clock. I tried damn near everything to slave Logic 8 to pretty much every alternative and nothing worked. This worked for the most part in Logic 7 but this was one of the most frustrating 'improvements' in 8.

  • Hi Peter,

    For me, the most important thing is the reliability of MainStage. All those new features are nice, but will remain useless unless they significally improved the performance and make it just rock solid. Would be happy to know about this. I know many people like me who dropped MainStage because it wasn't just 100% reliable.

    Thank you!

  • griotspeak

    ar all of the notation enchancements guitar tab/chord related?

    nothing regarding workflow? we had a pretty great survey up at logic pro help and it seems like nothing will come of it. (i know that there never was a guarantee, but for nothing really to have been addressed would suck)

  • aaron

    Look! Garageband Pro!

  • no way

    DEAR GOD PLEASE TELL ME They revised MIDI control assingments section of their weak ass program and midi assignments can now be saved song-by-song

  • Brian Stone

    disclaimer: normally don't post so much info.. but I just had a marathon session before visiting here, so here it goes..

    @ Peter Kirn

    As you dig deeper into MainStage be sure you check out Loopback, it certainly can set the tempo with the first recording. It can also work sync'd with a predefined length, which is great for some applications.

    Also, because MainStage organizes sounds with Patches/Sets and can put Loopback any part of the hierarchy, you can do very flexible looper performances that I expect no other application, including Live can match.

    @ plurgid

    I had a lot of the same questions and have already spent several hours exploring these changes. Hope this helps..

    A) live pitch correction for vocals, can I haz?

    Yep, I just spent some time looking at this but the Pitch Correction plug-in requires some time to make calculations making it a poor choice for live performance. Latency for vocals is pretty awkward. Technically, you could put it outside the monitoring stage, so that the vocalist wouldn't monitor with the effect, but the audience would hear it, only a bit late.

    B) can it now (puhleeeeease) transmit midi clock?

    Yep. Starts and stops and syncs my MPC500. You can even map a button to start/stop Play in MainStage, which behaves exactly like a DAW's play/stop controls.

    C) is there finally a way to trigger apple loops at the current tempo (and have them follow tempo changes)?

    Yep. And any audio exported from Logic includes any markers which you can see in the MainStage workspace and you can even use the Selector object to see all the markers and jump to them. You can switch on beat/measure or instantly. Several Playback instances can be 'grouped' so that their transports link together making it very extensible and flexible.

    Audio files can also be drag & dropped onto channel strips containing playback to load or swap files. If you drag an audio file into the mixer and drop it in an empty spot, it will create a channel, add Playback and load the file. I love this touch. Makes setup very quick.

    For what its worth, MainStage 1 did not seem to have a clock like I would have expected. Getting two Ultrabeat instances to work together was always loose and at least seemed not to sync tightly. With MainStage 2, there appears to be some kind of centralized clock that ties everything together, more like a daw and frankly this is what I expect. Everything stays locked, Apple Loops, Delay Designer, and even Ultrabeat.

    D) it stops forgetting my keyboard assignments every time I start it up now, right?

    Never heard of that. Maybe a probem with your setup. I use it a lot and have never had this happen. Most of the time, I've been using a Novation controller, but I'm looking into getting something else now.. maybe I'll experience the problem with another controller.

    E) it uses multiple cores now, I hope?

    I read a comment from one of the engineers on another forum, and he claims that real-time calculations cannot be split across multiple CPU/Cores without adding latency. I'm not sure how much latency it adds, but it does make sense. Its a real-time app and not streaming audio in advance from a disk or pre-calculating. Its live processing everything. For what its worth, I am getting insanely great performance on my new 15" MacBook Pro and haven't even remembered until reading your question that it was only 1 core.

    F) is there a way to group midi controls that send note messages (like pads) without having to create a fake keyboard object to contain them?


    They've also added a new object which acts like the old keyboard object. It looks like a flying saucer that lights up when MIDI is received. This is great because I typically don't care to see the keyboard on screen.

    G) is there a way to assign two controllers to the same channel strip (but not for every patch) … so I can have upper and lower keys on NI B4 ?

    I believe so, yes.

    This is a surprisingly good release in that it seems to have filled in the feature gaps and even added a few tricks like the looper.

    I am still learning/exploring all of the ways Loopback and Playback can be used together. It appears that one should be able to have entire sections of songs switching on the beat while providing unique loopers to record into. I also think that building arrangements of multiple looper recorded parts is also possible, at least it should be. Those one-man acts that do amazing looper performances should love the way these features work in MainStage.

    Lastly, Playback can use Flex Time to conform the content to the current tempo. I set it up and controlled the tempo with a slider and the tempo of the audio changes in real-time, just like Live. Probably not that useful, but I still got a kick out of it.

    I can't help but compare this to Live. The big difference between Live and MainStage seems to be the patch-centric concept that MainStage uses. I'm not as savvy with Live as I could be, but I don't think it really works quite the same way. To do something similar in Live, wouldn't I have to create a large mixer setup?

  • griotspeak

    @no way

    i see why you would want project by project assignments, but i understand the current lack. consistency helps the controller. i really wish more was assignable. like the ultrabeat buttons….my monome wants to control that grid. it really…really does.

  • Is Mainstage 2 going to work as a ReWire client? Apple likes to only implement ReWire hosts and then claim they have full ReWire support. I've worked around this limitation with tools like wormhole/soundflower/jack, but I still have difficulty getting Logic to properly tempo-sync to other programs. (Logic can output MIDI clock, but it can't receive MIDI clock messages. What's up with that?)

    So if Mainstage 2 acts like a well behaved client and can sync to Live's transport so tempo-synced LFOs/etc in Logic's instruments work properly, I might actually consider shelling out $200 upgrade fee even though that seems really steep to me.

    Oh and I'm totally with @no way: did they finally add per-project midi mappings? I always wanted to set up my midi learn in different ways for different projects, and this has always been a huge pain point for me with Logic. The global-only settings, with no way to save and load mappings, is unnecessarily limiting. At least let us save and load mappings…

  • I am taking notes of all this stuff, don't worry.

    My guess is that MainStage is a ReWire host, not a client. But we'll see… I agree it'd be useful to have a client – for, say, bringing Logic instruments into Live and such.

  • griotspeak

    well, could you ask if OSC integration has ever been considered?

    midi feedback customization? (for surfaces like the monome to display status)

    my biggest one is expressions in notation. I would LOVE the functionality of, for example, a decrescendo in the score actually lowering velocity–and perhaps volume–overall.

  • Amen to JP's applescript request. A friend of mine made a workaround for creating shortcuts using quickkeys and locked screensets to always mouse to the same places in the mixer, etc., but it's outrageous that there are so many items and actions that are not accessible via the keyboard, menu commands or universal access/applescript.

  • Doug Rouxel

    A few things I would like to know: Midi controller assignments – has this been tightened up, particularly the quick access controller set up was very flaky before (and included in the logic 101 course, and quite difficult to teach because of it).

    Soundtrack Pro – have they integrated this properly into logic? previously you needed to bounce before returning your round trip from sound track pro, which is silly (considering the round trip workflow in Final Cut Studio) so has this been sorted out.

    Finally, and this is trainer specific and I could probably find out if I was at work – when will the logic 9 courseware be available, and when will the recertification courses be happening.

  • Paul Norheim


    it looks like no written manual nor even a PDF manual is provided in Logic Studio 9. If this is true, it`s terrible. Could you please ask Apple about this?

  • mrfracas

    Can you ask Apple why they do not respond personally to support requests. It's very frustrating when you come across an issue or a bug, and you're met with a pretentious silence. The next best thing you have to be patient for is an update, and those are few and far between.

    I've only just stepped up to 8.0.2, and now this… version 9! The dumbed-down sequel – at least that's what I gather from Apple's intention to lift the indepth manual from hard-copy, only to replace with a newcomer-friendly wad. Even 8.0.2 has it's problems. Other DAW developers are much more supportive of customers, and ensure constant updates and rigidity. How will Apple match that? Especially for it's customers who are reluctant to test version 9's waters?

  • mrfracas

    Oh, and another thing… what's their logic (no pun intended) behind no pre-announcements ahead of release dates? Surely this doesn't bode well for recent buyers of LS8; will they have a grace-period, or will they just have to take it on the chin (or in the wallet) and upgrade when they can afford it?

    How about giving consumers and prosumers the chance to prepare a little before something is released? To me, this whole idea of secrecy just leads me to believe Apple are on no social mission; they're just on their high-capitalist-horse. They say 'jump', we say 'what will it cost us?'

  • @Paul: Wait, not a PDF? That seems unlikely. What happened to the PDF in Logic 8? I'll for sure be looking for it as I tend to rtfm when writing a review. 😉

  • mrfracas

    Peter: You'll find the substitute for the PDF manual here:


    There is a manual in the box, but it's a bitesize version of the full manual, 'intended for the newcomer'.

  • Oh, I see — they've just gone Web/HTML only. I'll see if they include a local copy; would be crazy if they didn't. In some ways, that's easier to deal with than a PDF, and I certainly won't miss a bunch of heavy, paper manuals.

  • Paul Norheim

    Peter, I`m afraid the online manual is, to quote a guy at the electro-music forum, "a Reader´s Digest version for those who won´t read the manuals anyway".

    I think the 1000 pages`manual is gone. I guess it was a question of budget and time, and they decided that they couldn`t afford the work. However, I`m sure the many users who actually read the excellent manuals (me included), will be outraged. With such a complex application, a good manual is indispensable. Please tell them!

  • Yeah, indeed, it looks like the actual *copy* from the original manual has been nuked. Given that there are only subtle changes from Logic 8 to the vast majority of functionality, that's really surreal. So this will be high on my (ahem, increasingly lengthy) set of questions.

  • griotspeak

    for the issue of focus and that white box, tab switches area focus.

  • TylerJ

    So with this Studio equipment can you edit the voice like they do in professional studios. Ya know where they take people who cant sing and turn them into people who can. I am debuting my first single and i want it to be flawless if possible.

  • I had hoped to use MainStage in LS8. One of my main problems was that I could not use NI's Guitar Rig 3 in Main Stage because I could not side chain the audio input into the midi channel. I have to use the effect in a midi channel of main stage in order to control it with midi controlers. I talked with high level tech at Apple about this and they confirmed it did not work.

    I would love for you to find out if this has been addressee in MainStage2.

  • Ben

    I'm really disappointed with this update, especially Mainstage 2. I don't know why on earth they would boast "full Rewire support" and then only make Mainstage a rewire host. Why would you even want to use Mainstage as a Rewire host considering there is no easy way to change the tempo rapidly beyond "tap tempo" which is worthless because of it's inaccuracy imo. I'm fortunate in that I got an academic version on the cheap, but this is really frustrating. This is nearly useless with ableton Live without using external programs like Jack OS X and using routing from the IAC clock which is a huge pain in the ass, and is the exact reason i was formerly excited about buying this new version. Make Mainstage a Rewire slave Apple!

  • @MK : You say 8-core mac but think it has 16 cores… you are wrong ! it has only 8

    2 cpus with each 4 cores makes -> 2×4=8 not 16!

  • Here are my quick initial impressions on Logic 9:

    Flex time: Completely non destructive, so pretty cool (I was worried in a previous comment about that). Logic does not create a new audio file for every change, so flexing is done in the project file / on the fly and is easily undone. Flexing is pretty fast and decent.

    Customize transport bar: Now you can "Save as default". Thank f*ing god.

    Apple Loops: now you can crossfade and stretch apple loops directly (you have to turn on flex view to strech 'em though). This will save me a lot of time!

    Bounce in place is decent, with a lot of options about whether to include effects, effect tails, pan/automation, etc. You can choose a new track or supposedly the same track for its destination. I haven't figured out yet why it always disables the selected track for the destination for me yet though.

    So far the only major disappointment has been the help files. They switched over to inline help and the interface is BUGGY. Loading the manual takes forever. The window does not go away if you switch tasks. The mouse cursor still reacts to the arrange window behind the help window sometimes.

    Thank god for mrfracas's link above, I downloaded the 25 MB PDF manual which is way better, and strangely doesn't come on the install discs.

  • papertiger

    The absence of a printed manual wouldn't be so bad if Apple either offered one for sale or reduced the price to compensate for the fact that you don't get a hardcopy. I for one use the manual for Logic Pro 8 often and find it indispensable for such a complex program (and I'm an existing user — can't imagine if I was new to the program). It's another annoyance on top of what seems like an overpriced upgrade.

    That being said, I'll probably end up jumping on it sooner rather than later.


  • JP

    Hoping this topic is not long forgotten, I'd also like, or rather desperately wish that Apple finally has fixed OMF import.

  • EricE


    The nehalem processors support Hyper Threading – basically each core looks like two to the operating system. You get a slight hit on the second virtual core, but it is there. If you open CPU History in Activity Monitor on an 8 core 2009 Mac Pro, you get 16 CPUs displayed.

    I know, I have one and it's fun to watch with software that will take advantage of all those cores 🙂