Review: Logic Studio

Logic Studio is an extensive package which includes all the necessities to record and mix an album, or even a feature film. It’s workhorse for all musicians and audio enthusiasts alike. If you’re specifically a PC user then you may be quite dismissive of this package as you will need to grab yourself a Mac to run it. However the benefits in Logic Studio are starting to prove that Apple does have a great price point for even the lower budget home recording enthusiast, this is simply because Logic Studio is so complete in respect to its price. The previous version of Logic was priced at around $1500, the new Logic will set you back approximately $649.

A New Logic for the Masses

Logic Studio was released just over two weeks ago and we were very excited to test it out, especially when we found out that Apple had dropped the price tag significantly, meaning that even the uncertain beginner can get their hands on a copy of Logic.

Logic Studio is an extensive package which includes all the necessities to record and mix an album, or even a feature film. It’s workhorse for all musicians and audio enthusiasts alike. If you’re specifically a PC user then you may be quite dismissive of this package as you will need to grab yourself a Mac to run it. However the benefits in Logic Studio are starting to prove that Apple does have a great price point for even the lower budget home recording enthusiast, this is simply because Logic Studio is so complete in respect to its price. The previous version of Logic was priced at around $1500, the new Logic will set you back approximately $649.

Most DAW (digital audio workstation) packages are not exactly what you’d call complete, in fact they’re nowhere near complete. Competing solutions like Ableton Live or Steinberg’s Cubase include virtual instruments, effects, and other utilities just like in Logic. However with Logic Studio it’s refreshing to find that there’s plenty more to play with and your “tools of trade” are actually usable, i.e. they won’t be collecting virtual dust.

The Package

Since I’ve touted Logic Studio as a complete package it’s a good time to give you a quick run down on what you get in the box. Check the link at the conclusion of this review if you want more information on the package.

  • Logic Pro 8
  • – Record, edit, mix, it’s where the magic takes place.

  • Mainstage
  • – Perform live with your Mac running guitar effects, vocal effects, midi instruments, etc.

  • Soundtrack Pro 2
  • – Editing and mixing sound for video production.

  • Studio Instruments
  • – Ultrabeat, Vintage Instruments, EXS 24

  • Studio Effects
  • – Guitar Amp Pro, Delay Designer, Production Effects

  • Studio Sound Library
  • – Jam Packs (five of them), Apple loops (18,000 of them)

  • Utilities
  • – WaveBurner, Impulse Response Utility, Compressor

Installation

Installation is going to take some time because you have a whole box of DVDs to install, literally. The USB dongle that previously came with Logic 7 is no longer present; instead you use your serial number and register online. If you choose to install the entire package then you’ll need 46 gigabytes of space. This is pretty standard in the world of audio and in our instance we’ve almost filled up the hard drive.

System Performance and Troubleshooting

This next bit gets slightly technical (well not really), just a warning though.
Apple sent us a review machine – MacBook Pro: 2.33GHz Intel Core 2 Duo, 3 gigs of ram, 120 gig hard drive 54000rpm, and all the bells and whistles.

Most people are always worried whether or not their machine will cut it for recording live tracks and running high quality virtual instruments all at the one time.
If you have an older machine then you probably will still be able to run Logic as the minimum requirements are: 1.25 GHz G4 with 1 gig of ram.

In our case the MacBook Pro does the job with ease, however the more luxurious instruments like the EXS 24 tends to peak the hard drive meter and this equates to logic popping up with an annoying system overload message. But read on because I found a solution to this little problem.

Apple suggests that ideally you can run a firewire hard drive if you’re using a slower laptop drive to rectify the system overload message. However I searched through the forums and found out an easier way to fix this bug, you need to navigate to User > Library > Preferences > Logic and trash the Logic related files; there should be two of them. Logic is then brought back to factory settings and it seems to have cured the system overload message that we had.

Recording an entire band

What better way to test out Logic Studio than in a real indie rock n roll situation. We pulled out a multi-track firewire IO device (Focusrite Saffire Pro) and ran a series of microphones on the drums, a direct in for the bass and guitar, and a vocal microphone. It was a total of five independent tracks coming through simultaneously; we also ran some amplifier simulators and monitored the sound live. FYI we recorded at 48kHz in 24 bit mode, this is generally fine for a CD release as you’re going to end up converting back down to good old 44.1kHz later on down the path.

After recording a quick tune we were all very eager to hear our results and found that all the tracks were very clear and there were no clicks or pops which sometimes come through when you’re running in low latency settings, and of course running monitoring effects.

The interface of Logic Pro 8 will be familiar to anyone who has played around with Garage Band or any audio application, the big difference with Logic is the intuitive design of the application and the incredible array of tools which will quickly give you a polished sound.

Presets and Effects

If you’re in search of that tight sound and have a limited budget then the presets and effects may become your lifeline. For example you could select a snare drum preset which would include equalization, compression, and so forth. The presets are highly usable combinations and are fully adjustable.

You also have a series of effects available which assist in direct in recording for guitars. So if you’re too lazy to place a microphone on your guitar amp, or you just can’t afford an original Vox or Matchless, etc.
Then you could simply load up Guitar Amp Pro and use the simulator which is similar to Native Instruments Guitar Rig 2.

Unfortunately Guitar Amp Pro isn’t as good as Guitar Rig 2 because it’s just not as intuitive to operate, but then again we’re talking about an extra plugin which costs over $600, yet it’s just one part of Logic, and wait a second Logic Studio costs about the same price as Guitar Rig 2 so who’s complaining?

The whole point I’m trying to make is that all the effects and instruments in Logic are at an excellent standard; to go out and buy them all separately would cost you an arm and leg. If you’re not into the whole selling body parts on the black market thing then you’ll probably understand what I’m getting at here.

It’s nice to be able to install one product and get up and running straight away; in fact if you had any more options in Logic it might actually lower your productivity. In the world of audio what you need is a few good tools, not a trillion useless flangers, alien delays, and Cher auto-tunes (although you can achieve that effect if need be).

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Take Your Laptop Out with Mainstage

If you’ve ever wanted to stage dive with a laptop in your arms then Apple may have brought that fantasy much closer to reality. With Mainstage you can run all of your effects and virtual instruments live at a gig. You can simultaneously run your midi controller, vocal effects, and guitar effects all through an external soundcard. We found the latency to be very acceptable, too. Mainstage is apparently configured to be trust worthy enough for real stage use and we haven’t had it crash on us yet.

It makes you wonder why you would even bother with a standard keyboard when you can connect a midi controller and run a virtual instrument in Mainstage. It’s also worth noting that Mainstage has an excellent full screen mode which makes it easy to view your settings on stage, and also a built in tuner and metronome.

Conclusion and Final Thoughts

We’ve only been able to touch on some of the features of Logic Studio, it’s an absolutely dense package and it supports basically every sound device on the market, unlike Pro Tools software.

I could write for days on end discussing the many features of Logic Studio, however instead you can follow the link below and look at the entire package in more detail.

Logic Studio is an excellent all-round audio application and it’s available to almost everyone because of the significant price drop. With all of Apple’s software becoming more and more affordable to the consumer it might be time to bite into that crunchy green or red fruit especially if you’re a musician.

Email us at Mailbag@Cybershack.com if you want to discuss Logic Studio.

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Product: Apple Logic Studio

Vendor: Apple

RRP: $649.00

Website: Apple – Logic Studio

Reviewed by Michael Stark

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