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Sneak Preview: Apple Shows Off Logic Pro 6

$999 app incorporates all Logic technologies; Logic Express, Soundtrack 1.2 also debut By Dave Nagel
In a special media event tonight, Apple unveiled its pro audio software strategy for 2004, centered around, of course, its Emagic brand. At the event, held just prior to the opening of the NAMM convention in Anaheim, Calif., the company unveiled two products: Logic Pro 6 and Logic Express. Apple also announced it would be updating and lowering the price of Soundtrack. We have early details on all of these.

Apple representatives at the event, held inside the NAMM exhibit hall, outlined the company's two core audio strategies, with the iPod and iTunes holding up the consumer end, and with a new push in the pro market via the Logic line of pro audio products. The centerpiece of the new pro strategy comes in the form of Logic Pro 6, which incorporates all of the Logic line of technologies into a single package that will sell for $999. (The complete Logic line would previously run about $2,300.)

Apple Product Specialist Phil Jackson was on hand to run members of the press through some future audio technologies as well. These include Guitar Amp, an amp modeling system that provides controls over the type of amp, speakers, microphone placement and other parameters; Sculpture, which is a pure synthesis environment offering a number of interactive controls for creating experimental sounds, with deformers and various tonal adjustment parameters; and UltraBeat for percussion processing. Attendees at the event saw only a brief preview of these technologies. Complete details on the software will be made available tomorrow morning.

Also announced was Logic Express. Following in the tradition of Final Cut Express, Logic Express is a mid-range version of Logic that provides support for 48 audio tracks, 16 instruments, 12 inputs and 28 effects plugins simultaneously. It supports sample rates of up to 96 kHz and will sell for $299. Logic Pro and Logic Express now make up the entire Logic software line.

Finally, Apple also said it would be updating Soundtrack, the company's loop-based music production system designed for video professionals. The new 1.2 version will sport MIDI support and the ability to generate custom loops. It will also see a price reduction from $299 to $199.

In making the presentation, Apple representatives Richard Kerris, senior director of pro applications, and Rob Schoeben, vice president of application marketing, emphasized the link between the company's pro and consumer strategies. The iPod has become the No. 1 portable music player in the world, with more than a 50 percent revenue share and more than 2 million units sold to date. The company expects this to exp[and further with the introduction of the iPod Mini, which debuted at the Macworld Expo in San Francisco last week, and the alliance with HP, which will offer its own branded music player based on the iPod. And the iTunes Music Store has become, according to Apple, the most popular legal music download system, now with more than 30 million song downloads since its launch in April 2003.

The company says that it hopes to bridge the consumer and professional markets with GarageBand, the new audio production suite that debuted at the Macworld Expo last week as well. The company says it envisions beginning musicians adopting digital audio production on Mac hardware, since all new Macs incorporate the GarageBand application at no charge ($49 for the complete iLife suite, for those who do not have the latest version). This would, in turn, broaden the market for digital audio production in general and also provide an inroad for the users to transition to higher-end production systems, such as Logic Pro and Logic Express.

We will bring you more details on the new technologies introduced at the NAMM convention beginning tomorrow morning. For more information, visit

Contact the author: Dave Nagel is the editor and producer of Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; host of several World Wide User Groups, including Synthetik Studio Artist, Adobe Photoshop, Apple DVD Studio Pro, Mac OS, Adobe InDesign, Adobe LiveMotion, Creative Mac and Digital Media Designer; and executive producer of the Digital Media Net family of publications. You can reach him at [email protected].

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