I have to say I think Express is a model of what a more entry-level edition of a product could be. (I know Apple competitors reading this are shaking their heads and pointing out that Apple is in the comfortable position of selling pricey computers with big margins, but I think Apple still provides incentive to buy the Studio version without feeling the need to cripple Express.)

Nearly everything new in Logic Studio 9 is also in Logic Express 9, which Apple began shipping yesterday.

Apple Logic 9’s audio editing have been transformed, via a new means of squishing audio around in time (FlexTime) and new editing tools (Bounce in Place, one-step conversion to sliced sampler instruments, drum replacement, the ability to edit in takes, and reorganized contextual menus for regions). All of those features are in Express, as is the new Amp Designer and Pedalboard.

What Express gives you: Express is basically all of Logic Pro, with all the major effects and instruments, mixing, notation, and stereo output. You ven get things like the UltraBeat drum machine.

What Express doesn’t give you: The big ommissions from Logic Express are, naturally, the additional apps in the suite – MainStage for live performance, Soundtrack Pro for editing, and the lot. You also don’t get surround sound (no biggie). Most importantly, you miss out on some of my favorite sound design tools – the insane Sculpture physical modeling instrument and Space Designer convolution reverb and not to be found.

Logic still isn’t for everyone – well, anyway, I don’t really believe in “one size fits all” for music tech, generally. But if you do like Logic’s workflow and aren’t quite ready for the whole Studio suite, Express is a good choice, priced at US$199. That almost makes it the best bargain DAW available on the Mac – except that for non-commercial use, Reaper, now available on Mac, is cheaper (and for commercial use, roughly ties).



In other Logic news, those of you wondering what happened to the PDF manual for Logic Studio 9, it’s back! Apparently there was a production delay that held up its release; Apple says it was never their intention to eliminate the PDF version. Also, if you do choose to use the default Mac help viewer, that incorporates the full text of the documentation available in previous versions as PDF and print, along with all the expanded documentation for Logic Studio 9. I still find the help viewer annoying, because it insists on staying the topmost window, but both it and the PDF version work. (For window management on the Mac, check out my new best friend TwoUp, which could help solve this problem if you’ve got a big display. It finally makes my Mac manages windows as well as, well, Windows.)

Direct PDF documentation link from Apple (thanks, dead_red_eyes on comments!)

  • I started using Logic Express to do my podcasts with, and loved it. I still love it, but I did upgrade to Logic Studio. But for all that I get with the Studio edition, I would be just as happy using the Express version. For what I do, it certainly is powerful enough. Not a package to be scoffed at.

  • james

    what about sync in express?

    a common thing to cripple.

  • James, you mean MIDI sync? I don't think that's crippled. There's certainly ReWire support.

  • Cubestar

    I'm so entrenched in Live (clever ableton bastards!), but Logic is a steal for anyone who clicks with it.

    I think Energy XT is also a great deal on the Mac.

  • The sync is an issue as it won't sync with MIDI clock, only with MTC. Not a problem except that you cant slave it to an external sequencer like in my Korg M3. To that end I keep my copy of Logic 7.x.

  • dead_red_eyes

    In case anyone is wondering what the link is for the Logic Studio 9 User Manual .pdf, here's the direct link:


  • dr dub

    When i read about Logic s features and price, i always wish it clicked with me and Ableton Live didn t click so much with me.

  • @ the CSULB student store 79.99 YESSSSSSSSS!

  • apoclypse

    I am a Logic Express user and have been since version 7. I usually go with the Express package because its a more focused package. There are a lot of things that big box has that I don't really need. I don't use mainstage (I don't play live), I don't need soundtrack pro I use audacity for audio editing), and there are a lot of other things that are just not necessary for what I need, so I usually stick with Logic Express because since version 8 its basically the same package as the big box without all of the extra apps, and specialized plugins. The plugins aren't all that big a deal since I have Komplete, Kore, and Maschine which is more than enough for production work.

    I also have to say I've very rarely used the plugins included with Logic, other than the effects. My upgrade is in the mail and should hopefully be here by next week. I'm really excited. Flex time i the best thing that ever happened to Logic and is much needed at the moment since I started doing some heavy vocal work as of late.

  • vinayk

    @Peter – this twoup program looks pretty useful – they also have "sizeup" which has more features and is a "pay what you think this is worth" application!

  • I remember another limitation when I was using Logic Express 7: limited number of simultaneous channel inputs. But I don't remember the exact number.

    Now i have Logic Studio 8 and I'm really happy with it, soon I'll get the upgrade.

  • Peter, did you ever find out if Mainstage (or Logic itself) can operate as a rewire client and not just a rewire host in Logic 9 ? Still trying to figure out how to use Sculpture from Live with full transport sync (tempo synced LFOs, etc), and I'm not interested in upgrading from Logic 8 if it's not possible.

  • TJ Usiyan

    @adamj, have you tried IAC in Applications > Utilities > Audio Midi Utility?

    basically send midi out from live through the IAC portand set Logic up to listen to that port for sculpture through the environment.

  • RayFlower

    I was supposed to get my copy today but something went wrong so i wont have it until monday.

    I've also been using logic express since 7, to me the interface upgrades in 8 made it a lot "better" in terms of usability.

    Guitar amp pro,the compressor and post eq where great updates at the time which made it so much easier to work with.

    Though I do as many others, use 3rd party audio units.

    In my case:

    Th1 Triode,EzDrummer(occasionally),Akoustic Piano etc.

    Just for the price of the package, i can't really complain, the software instruments usually cover my needs, though i must admit the reverbs included are mediocre at best.

    What I'm looking most forward to working with in this new edition is Guitar amp designer which looks great, the samples on their site doesn't sound very convincing though but neither did their guitar amp pro samples back in the day, which has become one of my favorite tools for crafting my "tone" the past two years despite the mediocre cab sims(ended up bus routing it into th1).

  • james

    surround yes?

    locking to mtc and not midi beat clock seems backwards. ie. mtc is the more "pro" of the two and so you would think would be crippled first over midi beat clock.

    thinking more about more "pro" audio tools (recording, editing, mixing, sync etc.) and not music making (soft synths, special fx) why would you actually need logic pro over express?

    interested in details about limitations in channel count etc.

  • I'm actually not sure when they added surround mixing. But I think it doesn't include surround versions of all the plug-ins — Sculpture's surround impulses being a big one.

  • hey, peter

    I'm a long time CDM reader. thanks for all the information. have you met apple? I'm anxiously waiting for your report of this meeting and the answers for the questions other readers made on the post about the logic 9 release.

  • The sync is an issue as it won’t sync with MIDI clock, only with MTC. Not a problem except that you cant slave it to an external sequencer like in my Korg M3. To that end I keep my copy of Logic 7.x.

  • That is peculiar, as it'd make more sense to provide MIDI clock sync than MTC, but who knows… maybe some obscure technical reason that it's easier for them to do one than the other.

  • Nick P.


    How do you think such a low price on GarageBand/LogicExpress/Logic is affecting smaller music software publishers?

    I've always wondered if in their quest to kill Avid and Adobe, Apple is not reducing the number of third party developers. How can you compete with a team that has unlimited budget and *no* need to make money (at least not with software)?

    Then again these prices make pro audio available to anyone with a Mac, which is so damn cool…

  • @Nick: A lot has been made of the price, but the truth is, Apple's competition is in the same arena. A lot of people get their software bundled with hardware. Digidesign will give you a fairly similar bundle with a hardware interface thrown in.

    Then you look at Reaper, which is definitely an independent, smaller publisher and offers its software for significantly *less* than Apple's.

    Don't get me wrong — Apple's studio is unusually packed with stuff, especially with Soundtrack Pro and the Emagic legacy. And it's a really good deal. But I don't think Apple has an unfair advantage here, because there are lots of alternatives.

    It's tough to be a small publisher, but the issue has more to do with Apple marketing and the Apple brand than some sort of fundamental price edge.

    And I also see no threat of Apple squashing either Avid or Adobe.

  • TJ

    Of course, the same "everything" included with Express 9 was included with Express 8. The *programs* are ~identical, but the additional apps in the suite were not included. Express 7 was the last severely crippled version.

  • Tom M

    Does anyone know the maximum number of audio tracks that can be simultaneously recorded in Logic Express 9?

  • Barry

    I can't create a new external MIDI track and assign it a device number other than the incorrect one it is automatically assigned. It always manages to select the wrong number and it overrides a selection I make. I want 5 and it says 7. When I select 5, it overwrites it in the GUI with a 7. It is a 5 for an instant, but then it is a 7 again. How can this not work properly? I'm using a Korg M3 and the sound setups are not something I want to just move to MIDI channel 7, just because I can't get LE to address MIDI channel 7. Are the pros using this tool not doing this?

  • Barry

    OK – I fixed it. It seems that the Logic Express 9 "Environment" was not setup properly. I clicked a 16 key graphical keypad to enable each of the MIDI channels on the interface to my MIDI multi-instrument. This enabled each of those with a diagonal slash across each of them, thereby removing the graphical slash and simultaneously removing the restriction on its use. Now I can assign all of the MIDI channels to my various MIDI instrument tracks.