Stability

We generally don’t like to speculate on the stability of software without long-term testing, but in this case it seems worthwhile to point out that I haven’t experienced a single crash in the days I’ve been testing the software. A couple of things haven’t quite worked properly – full screen mode pushed the edges of the window off the edges of my MacBook screen, rendering it pretty much useless; the record button didn’t appear in my transport bar until I unchecked it in the customisation dialog and then re-checked it – but in terms of stability I didn’t have any issues. Of course, it’s much too early to say what the long-term stability will be like, but the fact that Pro X is based on existing code rather than a complete rewrite is probably a good omen. It’s worth noting that a new auto save feature has been introduced along with alternative versions of projects. Both are long-overdue features but a major improvement on the meagre automatic backup options in Logic 9.

Pricing

When Apple discontinued boxed versions of Logic 9 in December 2011, we wondered whether its low price reflected the fact that 9 was getting a little long in the tooth, and half expected to see it bumped up when the new version appeared. We were wrong: Logic X remains priced at an incredibly reasonable £139.99 ($199.99).

But there is a caveat: Logic X is the same price whether you’re completely new to the DAW or whether you’ve bought every version since the early 90s; there are no discounts for upgrading from previous versions. On a basic level, the reason for that is very simple: one of the main limitations of the App Store is that it doesn’t allow discounts for upgrades.

Why won’t apple allow upgrades via the App Store, even for their own products? Frankly, your guess is as good as ours, but it appears to be a deliberate strategy on Apple’s part (one which is also adopted for the iOS App Store) and it represents a broader move in the software industry to find a new pricing model for software licences and updates. For alternatives, look at the cloud-based subscription models recently adopted by Microsoft and Adobe.

On the one hand, it’s unusual not to reward loyal customers by offering them a discount. On the other, Logic X is dirt cheap by pro DAW standards. Bear in mind that the price to buy Logic X outright is less than many Ableton users had to pay to upgrade from Live 8 to Live 9. Psychologically, existing users might feel happier if an upgrade cost £139.99 and a new licence was more expensive, but that would just punish new customers rather than rewarding existing ones.

Of course, Apple have the luxury of absorbing lower prices for Mac-only software in order to encourage the sales of more expensive hardware (similar to the strategies which have driven sales of iPods, iPhones and iPads over the last decade).

It’s a complex topic, and one we don’t have an easy answer for, other than to say that £139.99 is a very reasonable price for a piece of software as powerful and as feature-laden as Logic.

Conclusion

So, four years on from Logic 9, was Logic Pro X worth the wait? Let’s be honest: probably not. Four years is an eternity in the DAW world and it would have taken something absolutely staggeringly perfect to placate every user’s wishes. But is it a serious improvement on Logic 9? Undoubtedly.

Interface redesigns are rarely exciting, but they do make a huge difference to how efficient software is to use. Ignore the fact that the new GUI has similarities with GarageBand (although if you’re moving to Logic from GarageBand that fact will undeniably make the transition easier). Ignore the fact that the graphics are designed to fit in with a broader (and potentially now outdated) corporate aesthetic. The simple fact is that Logic is cleaner, clearer and easier to use than it was before, which translates to a more enjoyable user experience and hopefully better results. With that in mind, we’re baffled why Apple decided not to update the graphics of all the old plugins to match the new look.

The bulk of the updates are aimed more toward rock and pop production than dance music, but we’re willing to bet there’s something that pretty much every dance producer will find useful, whether it’s the MIDI FX, the track stacks or just the Retro Synth. Flex Pitch and Drummer might be a little more specialist, but plenty of dance producers will also find them useful for tweaking vocal recordings or adding live-sounding drums to a beat.

So, the full rewrite of Logic’s code didn’t materialise this time around, and we’d hoped for more updates to the existing instruments and effects, but there’s still absolutely no doubt that X is the best ever version of Logic by quite some distance, even if it’s not quite the essential, game-changing update we hoped for. Here’s hoping we don’t have to wait another four years for the next version.

The Verdict

Sound
Versatility
Value
Ease of Use
Overall

The Final Word

Not the complete rewrite some of us expected, but it's hard to find major fault with anything in Logic X.

Logic Pro X: The Best New Features

Retro Synth

Nothing ground-breaking here, but the one completely new synth in Logic X offers a versatile mixture of digital and virtual analogue sounds. The four different synthesis modes are all well worth exploring.

Logic Remote

The best iOS integration of any DAW so far. iPad owners will enjoy seamless hands-on control via the free remote app. Think of it as another creative tool rather than just another boring controller.

Scriptable MIDI FX

The bundled MIDI FX are useful, but it's the scripting which really excites us. Even if you don't want to program anything yourself, there are sure to be lots of free downloadable MIDI plugins created for Logic X.

22nd July, 2013

Comments

  • You can insert more than 1 midi plugin per channel by the way…. Just click on the green thin line underneath the current midi plugin (mixer view)

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  • So you can. Thanks for the tip!

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  • I bought Logic X the day it came out, much easier on the eye and the midi fx are great and work well with external synths – I now have an arp on my Juno 106 for example.

    You mention in your review drummer can play a different drum plugin – how do you set that up?

    Keep up the good work, always check in every few days to see what’s on the site

    Cheers

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  • @ Mr Bump

    Just load the Drummer track, then change the instrument from Drum Kit Designer to anything you like. This is presumably why Drummer is a distinct track type rather than a software instrument with built-in sequencer – the Drummer interface (i.e. the pattern creation side of things) stays intact even when you change the instrument.

    Aside from the obvious drum and percussion applications, you can create some quite interesting effects by inserting the Transpose MIDI effect and forcing the drummer’s output to trigger notes from a suitable scale.

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  • Ah yes! Nice one thank you, hours of fun ahead..

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  • This was a VERY insightful and objective article. Thank you!

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  • Apple need to address Logic 9 upgrade issue….
    Thousands of ill-informed Logic 9 purchasers, only to see the X launched at same price… Boo to Apple’s new inethical business practice!!

    And yes, this Toy is definitely not for the Pro, so i bet the Pros are being dumped by Apple in favour of new entrants, alternative songsters and dubstep aficionados…
    Again, Booo to Apple for their Logic 9 misconduct and lowly marketing practice!!

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  • I find it hard to understand how people are complaining about not offering upgrade discounts when the cost of the software at £139 is already dirt cheap. The cost of upgrading ableton 8 to 9 is 250 euros, which is considerably more (and only accessible to people who own the existing software). Putting it at £139 for everyone is both massively cheaper than any other competing software and also far cheaper than most other upgrades. Would these folks feel better if they paid £600 for the full software and then got a £250 upgrade, or just pay £250 for the software and then again for upgrade? If it’s the former then I’m amazed some of these people have managed to even get their heads round turning the computer on let alone understanding a piece of software.

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  • @Fuzzy – why is it a toy? Same Logic 9 stuff plus more features.

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  • “Surely a little update to the GUIs of these plugins wouldn’t have taken more than a few days’ work?”

    Hahahaha. That’s a good one. I don’t dispute that they could have used an update, but it’s definitely more than a few days work.

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