It wasn’t quite the Logic v10.5 update we were all hoping for, but this is still a pretty solid update nonetheless.
Here’s some of the main features:
Lots of tracks. 1000 of each type! 256 of each of Audio or Instrument tracks has usually been enough for me, but apparently power-users and film soundtrack people still ran out. So now we have 1000 of each type of track, and this also includes 1000 Aux channels strips and 1000 external MIDI tracks as well.
And since this huge number of tracks becomes hard to navigate in the Main window, you can (via the Preferences/Display/Tracks “Show Track or Bar Number While Scrolling”) turn on a pop-up display that shows which track you’re scrolling down to as you go (and the same for Bars when scrolling sideways).
In related Mixer window news, Apple have increased the number of sends per channel strip to 12 – up from the 8 we used to have. Nice.
They’ve also finally added a “User Default” setting for the Mixer’s “Configure Channel Strip Components” menu. Since they already had this handy User Default feature for the Track Header, Control Bar and Display and the Toolbar, it was always something I bemoaned as missing. Especially as I would always have to go and tweak a few things manually – like making three lines for the Track Name instead of one. Try it!
Oh and now apparently you can get rid of all those pesky External MIDI tracks that you don’t need in the “All” view in the Mixer.
Performance and Responsiveness
This is where Apple seem to have spent significant time and energy in the latest release, as the overall performance and responsiveness has improved amazingly in Logic. Things like starting up Logic, and scrolling, opening or switching windows is much faster and more responsive, especially with Mixer and Event list views.
Apple have optimized Logic’s performance ready for the new Mac Pro including support for up to 56 threads.
Alongside this, there are some options for controlling loading and unloading of plug-ins. For example, Option-clicking the On/Off button for a track now loads/unloads the plug-ins on the channel strip, and Freezing a track now unloads its plug-ins to free up resources.
The new project setting “Only load plug-ins needed for project playback” reduces load times for large projects or templates.
Projects with numerous Flex Time edits and/or tempo changes perform much more efficiently.
“De-esser 2” is a new de-esser plugin with extended features such as relative level sensing for reducing sibilance problems on vocals and hihats and suchlike. Looks like it is a lot better than the fairly basic original Logic de-esser.
The Expander plug-in has had a retina facelift and the resolution of the Sculpture interface has also been increased – it looks really nice again. I guess Apple are still slowly working their way through the instrument and plug-in catalogue and zhooshing them all up.
You can now send MIDI clock or MIDI Time Code to up to 16 different MIDI ports, each with its own timing offset and plug-in delay compensation.
Not sure if it was added in the this update or the previous ones, but I notice that you can now export All MIDI Tracks as a MIDI File. The old method just had export of MIDI “selection”.
The display of automation point values has been improved at low zoom levels.
When regions with region-based automation are split, automation points are now added to the right-hand region to maintain consistent playback.
Pan or Volume Automation written in Touch mode is now reliably shown when adjusted using the Track Header controls.
The Loop Browser can filter by loop type (Audio/MIDI/Drummer) via a little button above the Loop icons, and also allows drag-and-drop of multiple loops into your project simultaneously. Other enhancements include: It is now possible to drag more than one folder simultaneously into the Untagged Loops browser. Apple Loops now continue to loop after jumping to a different position while previewing. Preview apparently now sequentially plays all selected loops in the Loop Browser but I couldn’t make this happen.
Shift-double-clicking the background of the Tracks area now toggles playback from the clicked position – very handy!
Clicking on Flex Pitch notes now makes a sound. I’m sure it used to do this at one point anyway. Or maybe that was just Melodyne.
The Mixer now offers an option to disable its automatic scrolling to channel strips of selected tracks. This can be handy on large sessions.
The Recording section of Project Settings offers a new option “Auto-erase Duplicates”, which removes duplicate MIDI notes at same playback position when merge recording MIDI in cycle mode. So you don’t that huge clumping of overlapped notes so much.
Pressing Option + Shift while rubber-band selecting in the Piano Roll now creates a new Time Handles selection.
If all the currently selected tracks are routed to a bus, creating a Summing Stack from them now creates an Aux routed to the same destination.
The list of key sources in the plug-in side chain menu is now sorted into sub-menus by audio channel type (eg Input, Instrument, Bus)
The number of available busses for Multi-Output Audio Unit software instruments has been increased to 25.
Voice Over has a lot more control over Logic functions.
A bit more awereness of Cycles and markers has been added – there is now a key command “Create Marker by Cycle Area.” Finally! And the “Play From Selection” key command now takes selected markers into account.
There is now a key command “Copy Section between Locators (Selection).”
There are new key commands “Nudge Selected Parameter Up” and “Nudge Selected Parameter Down.” Apple have also integrated the nudge and transpose key commands that apply to MIDI notes, automation control points, and regions in the Tracks area. Mostly it uses combinations of Option & up/down/left/right arrow keys to either nudge left and right or transpose up and down. Add Shift for octaves up and down.
Key Commands that specifically affect region automation now function on all selected regions, even if some of those regions are on tracks currently set to display Track-based automation.
The focused track in a group of selected track is now always indicated when color bars are displayed, and when track numbers are not displayed in the Track Header.
Stability and Bug fixes
A lot of items that caused random crashes in Logic have been fixed – including a quite a few ARA2-related things.
And as usual there are too many bug fixes to list here individually (go here for the full list), but some of the ones I think are important are lots of Flex Time and Flex Pitch improvements, and ARA now seems to be able to handle things like Project Alternatives and project and audio file duplication.
ARA edits are now reliably saved in projects created from project templates and are reliably maintained when Save As is used. About time!
Smart Tempo and Flex and Follow have had a heap of tweaks and fixes as well.
Logic now apparently correctly plays back all channels of third party ambisonic audio files.
The EXS24 now consistently finds samples in those cases where the samples are in the project package and the EXS instrument file is in the User Library.
It is now possible to undo IR file selection in Space Designer, and the Wet control now automates properly as well.
Undo/Redo and Compare support with Audio Unit plugins is improved.
Plug-ins again consistently load their default settings when instantiated.
“Save as” now always defaults to the current project type (Package vs. Folder).
This is a pretty solid Logic Pro X update from Apple. I’ve had a quick play with some of my larger projects using this version, and they do seem a lot more responsive.
There’s still a few niggles that I’m hoping that they’ll address sometime soon- the perennial desire to be able to move tracks in the mixer, for example. And the magic Single Undo history feature has vanished.