One of Logic X’s main new features focusses on live vocal recordings. Flex Pitch is the natural follow-up to Flex Time, allowing monophonic audio parts to be pitch-corrected via a user-friendly waveform-based display. Suggestions that Flex Pitch is Apple’s answer to Celemony Melodyne are, in all honesty, a little wide of the mark. The feature set here is notably smaller. Even so, the results sound pretty good, whether correcting the pitch of individual notes, pitch-shifting an entire vocal or employing the pitch tools in tandem with Flex Time to reshape the rhythm and melody of a recording simultaneously.
If you’re serious about vocals and need a fully-featured pitch correction tool, you’ll probably want a little more than Flex Pitch has to offer. Although it allows pitch, formant, gain, vibrato and drift to be adjusted, it simply doesn’t offer the range of features found in a commercial alternative such as Melodyne or Auto-Tune Evo. Then again, even the most basic version of Melodyne costs €99; Flex Pitch is certainly very impressive for a free, built-in effect, and there are potential creative uses outside the obvious vocal correction.
The Flex Pitch edit menu also offers a new Create MIDI Track From Flex Pitch Data feature, broadly similar to the audio to MIDI features introduced in Ableton Live 9. Unfortunately, its results are as hit and miss as its Ableton counterpart. Here’s its take on the vocal melody from the examples above:
We’ve been bemoaning the absence of MIDI effect plugins in Logic for a long, long time. Logic X finally addresses the omission with the introduction of a new MIDI FX slot which sits before the instrument plugin on a channel strip.
To any smart alecs already drafting furious emails informing us that Logic already had MIDI effects, you’re totally right. The standard set of plugins is basically just a repackaging of the utilities which could be found in Logic 9’s Environment. By all means, feel free to continue hammering numbers into the ludicrously outdated Environment window. (It’s still there if you really insist, although it’s probably a signal of Apple’s intent that it now comes with a total car-crash of an interface which blends graphics from Logic 9 with the new look of Logic X – we’d be surprised if it wasn’t ditched or completely redesigned next time around.) Meanwhile, the rest of us will be enjoying the convenience of finally being able to call up useful, intuitive and easy-to-use MIDI plugins. That means we finally have a proper arpeggiator in Logic which can be applied to any virtual instrument or external MIDI instruments, plus further useful options including a Chord Trigger, Note Repeater and Modulator with a built-in LFO and envelope which can be assigned to any MIDI parameter or CC value.