Anticipation continues to mount regarding the release of an update for Logic.

Monday marked the third anniversary of the last significant update of Apple’s flagship DAW. In that time, users have been treated to little more than bug fixes and a few new guitar-focused features. The California company remains tight-lipped regarding the release date of any potential new version but rumours with more authority than usual suggest a major update is imminent. As widely predicted, Apple announced the release of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion yesterday morning, leading to the suggestion that Logic may follow shortly behind.

Boxed versions of Logic: discontinued

Our only significant clues to Logic’s likely arrival come from comparisons with Apple’s other pro apps.

Logic is widely expected to follow in the footsteps of the company’s video editing package, Final Cut Pro, which was upgraded from version 7 to Final Cut Pro X last April.

Boxed versions of Logic 9 were discontinued and prices of the product were cut as Apple moved distribution to the Mac App Store at the end of last year. (Final Cut Pro was also moved to download-only distribution shortly before its last major update.)

Notably, all pro apps except Logic were updated for compatibility with Apple’s new Retina displays on June 11th.

All of which suggests that a full update is close. If we had to put money on it, we’d bet on an announcement in late August or early September.

The backlash which met the release of Final Cut Pro X has led to fears that Apple may make similar mistakes with Logic.

The Logic staff – which still includes members of the original Emagic development team – will be well aware of the importance of this upgrade to pro users and hobbyists alike. Removing features or limiting backward compatibility would surely be a bad move.

One of Logic’s main strengths is its ability to bridge the gap between audio recording and MIDI sequencing. With the possible exception of Cubase, no other DAW comes close to serving both purposes. This leaves Apple in an even more difficult position – having to cater to the vastly different demands of two distinct user groups.

Our Logic feature wish list

Here’s what we’re hoping for in Logic Pro X:

Workflow improvements and new warping features

Ableton’s workflow is currently streets ahead of Logic’s in terms of handling audio warping and sample time-stretching. Apple needs to catch up. Workflow is the biggest area where Apple can improve Logic and the way the software handles loops and audio warping should be near the top of the list. We want to drag and drop loops, clips and entire songs into the arrange window and be able to trigger them in time with other loops immediately. Of course, Logic already has the infrastructure in place to do this, but why should users have to jump through hoops to complete tasks which take a single click in Live? Forget clicking a button to analyse transients, setting loop lengths manually, converting to Apple Loops or anything else; this kind of thing should be instant and automatic in our drag and drop age.

EXS24 is lagging a long way behind Kontakt

Ultrabeat overhaul

We’re sorry to say it, but the Ultrabeat drum sampler/synth is just too complicated. It’s clearly a hugely powerful drum plugin, but how many users understand it well enough to get the most out of it?

The phase oscillators, FM and physical modelling need simplifying and streamlining into a more intuitive GUI.

We’d also like clearer, simplified sample options which make it easier to audition drum samples and assign chromatic samples to multiple keyzones. And how about being able to view the sample waveform without requiring AAA vision?

We’d never usually ask for features to be removed, but what’s the point in having them if they’re so complicated that most users turn instead to third-party plugins like Battery and Tremor?

EXS24 updates

While we’re at it, let’s be honest: the EXS24 sampler is looking seriously tired. Logic  needs to keep up with Kontakt when it comes to offering a proper all-round sampling tool. We want time-stretching options, better sample editing features and some powerful processing options like the ones found in Xfer Nerve. A few modelled emulations of classic samplers and their filters would also be a great touch.

Logic’s ‘fifty shades of grey’ plugins don’t exactly inspire the creative process

MIDI effects

It’s crazy that Logic makes it so difficult to set up something as basic as an arpeggiator. The Environment window is a complex and outdated interface which most users would be happy to see the back of. How about MIDI effect plugins that we can drag and drop onto channel strips to process MIDI sequences before they hit the instrument plugin? Alternatively, why not just allow audio units to send and receive MIDI data between tracks, which would allow third-party software developers to route MIDI data from one plugin to another?

More synths and more fun

Finally, it’s time to bring the excitement back to Logic. The workflow has steadfastly refused to get more intuitive over the years and the appearance has become stayed. Let’s see some new synths which are simple and inspiring (and sound great, of course). Let’s see some Sausage Fattener-style one-knob wonders, some dirty electronic effects and overall something a little bit less… fifty shades of grey.

 

We love Logic, but after a three year wait it’s going to take a giant leap by Apple to bring it up to date. How’s our wish list? What are we missing?

26th July, 2012

Comments

  • How about thinking outside the box a bit and using some of the other Apple hardware? Amazing controller via iPad? Some kind of awesome live synth / control hybrid using iPad linked to main Logic computer. And yeah, a coupla new synths that aren’t crazy complex but do what they do very very well. I feel like Logic’s lost a lot of ground in recent years to companys like Native Instruments and Ableton.

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  • Crap wishlist if you ask me…

    True Latency compesation, multiple source routing, parallel processing without latency etc, etc. that’s what’s 2012 is about! Not more of the same shit like improved exs, es3 or whatever bullshit that can replay a sample of have another waveform to choose from. If you need more sampling option, get Kontakt…If you need more wavefroms use Massive. Logic should be a rcoksolid backbone….not a feature laden hobby program.

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  • @ InTheKnow

    Crap comment if you ask me…

    Obviously everyone wants a rock solid backbone. Logic is Apple’s flagship DAW. It *should* be feature-laden. Users *want* synth and sample features. You’re suggesting that everyone who uses Logic should just be happy to pay an extra €500 for a copy of Komplete and not care that the standard plugs aren’t good enough? If you want a rock solid program with no interesting features go buy Nuendo or something…

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  • Now children play nicely. The issue arises because of Apple’s strategy of dropping the Logic price to a bargain basement level in the hope of selling a shed load of Macs to hobbyists and kids. Logic used to be a DAW aimed squarely at the pro market – pro musicians and studios can afford a whole set of tasty extra plugins and so only need/want the solid backbone alluded to by ITK. Apple have split their target market -> is Logic meant to be a kid’s toy or a DAW for the grown ups?

    @CV/G – I don’t think your maths will add up. If NI charge $500 to recoup dev costs and make a profit from Komplete alone then Apple would struggle to produce a full featured DAW and a Komplete level quality plug in set for $200 all in. Lets face it Apple are not known for giving stuff away unless they absolutely have to. Additionally, people should invest in different plugins to get some variation on their sound otherwise you sound like every other idiot that only has Logic

    Either way, Apple sort out your audio editing capabilities and I’ll be very happy

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  • @The Truth – fair point, but NI are primarily a software company so almost all of their development costs have to be recouped from software sales. The situation with Apple is slightly different – if I want to use Logic, I also have to buy a Mac.

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  • @CV/G I get the point but Logic alone will never be the biggest driver of Mac sales (used to make sense when it was marketed at studio professionals and driving sales of the hugely expensive Mac Pros but recently they seemed to have abandoned that range). People tend to buy the Apple hardware to run other DAWs because of perceived stability and performance not because it is the only platform that runs Logic (although I am the exception that proves the rule 🙂

    Either way I’ll gladly take whatever improvements Logic X offers and cross my fingers they don’t release a bug laden mess

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  • Individual Region Gain. Cubase has had this function for years. Pro tools only appear to have ‘re-invented’ it and Logic seem to have totally ignored its time saving importance. Please

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  • I’m generally with In The Know and mes on this.. The pro vs hobbyist lines are being blurred throughout are industry. I produce for major projects out of my home studio, and have many third party products I have assembled over YEARS. One does not have drop hundreds or thousands at once to compule their personal library. Having more stable and robust “backbone” functions will inspire more creativity and originally in hobbyists working toward bettering their skills than a handful of one-knob-wonders.

    That said, the latency engine is truly the Achilles heel in 9. Whether you’re making magic with Logic’s packaged content or piling on third party wares, making music delends on temporal integrity. I find myself quantifying more often than I really want to due basic audio engine limitations.

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  • Excuse the typos, I’m on an iPhoen

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  • post fader plugin slots

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