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!)