The Ableton-esque Live Looper in Logic Pro X 10.5 may have gotten all the attention. But don’t miss the Drum Machine Designer, Step Sequencer, and Drum Synths – they turn Logic into a virtual drum machine.

I wrote up a step-by-step tutorial as part of our ongoing partnership with Riemann Kollektion. The techno focus will obviously help if that’s your genre, but the secret here is that it’s a decent template for understanding other genres and even more experimental directions. Well, plus I’m always on a mission to get Riemann’s Florian Meindl to play around with some software.

How to unlock the techno powers of Logic Pro X 10.5

And these are all new features. Logic Pro X 10.5 adds the ability to make non-linear arrangements in Live Looper. But if you like hardware sequencers, you owe it to yourself to check out the new Pattern Region, which in turn has a Step Sequencer view. There’s a lot in there that you’d expect from hardware as much as software:

  • Custom lengths (including arbitrary start and end points)
  • Per-row step rate (including dotted and triplet rhythms)
  • Playback mode
  • Rotate patterns by row
  • Probability of parameters and triggers
  • Subrow editing of still more parameters

Basically, think parameter-locks (p-locks) and polyrhythms and polymeters. And if you don’t know what that’s about, just think… patterns to mess around with in complex ways. You can also save your own building blocks for reuse later (a feature I recently admired in FL Studio).

There’s also a new Drum Kit Designer, which will seem a lot like a Drum Rack to Ableton Live users, but has some tricks of its own. Since each pad can be its own sampler instance, you can make build really powerful sampling drum kits. That new Q-Sampler (‘q’ for ‘quick’) may look superficially like Apple’s Simpler, but it shares components from other recent Apple synths and effects for filtering, envelopes, modulation, and so on.

Building a custom kit – starting with LinnDrum as template.

The combination of the Drum Kit Designer with Apple-specific instruments like Sculpture can let sound designers really go wild. There are some tricks to building them, though, which I go into in the tutorial.

As if that weren’t enough, there’s also a new set of Drum Synths – so, even as people make the obvious comparison to Ableton Live, there’s an equally apt comparison here to Native Instruments Maschine, especially in combination with the step sequencers. And these have their own particular sound.

Drum Synths are simple, but multiple engines give you tons of options. Then sample them and load them on Maschine+ so you can put a sampled Drum Synth in a sample slot alongside a Drum Synth synth in your drum machine. Yo dawg.

Think Kicks, Snares and Claps, Percussion, Hats and Cymbals – but each with multiple models. (I told you I had some Maschine flashbacks, though the timbres here are different.)

All in all, it’s a bit like having an extra project studio. I regularly head to Logic a bit like moving from one studio to another more than switching DAWs, just for those particular instruments.

Check out the full tutorial, and let me know if you have questions or if there’s more you’d like to see.