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Logic Studio

More than your money's worth with Logic Studio

Installation
The installation of Logic Studio is fairly straightforward, but there are some things to keep in mind. The applications themselves are installed from the main installation disc, and install relatively quickly for 7GB worth of data. If you want to install the Jam Packs (10GB), Sound Effects (16GB), Surround Music Beds (6GB) and other optional content (7GB), you are looking at about 39 GB of storage space that you will need, and you can install these on a separate disk, which is handy.


All in all, you have the flexibility to install what you need, with a detailed installation option screen, and I did not run into any problems whatsoever. Installation: 10 (out of 10)

How it works
Normally, for me this is an easy section to write, as I am dealing with one program that is normally pretty specific with what it does. Logic Studio, on the other hand, tackles everything audio, and it does it very well, and in a logical order.

Logic Pro 8 is at the core of Logic Studio, and is their flagship application when it comes to music production and mixing.  I found Logic very easy to sit down and start creating music, especially with all of the Apple Loops that come with the application.   Most users, coming from a previous version of Logic, will be glad to know that Apple has completely streamlined the Logic interface for a better and easier user experience.

The biggest change Logic users will notice is that Apple has modified the Arrange Window, that basically has all the tools, or quick access to all the tools, windows or functions you could need at the quick click of a button. Apple has also added an Audio bin (to see all audio files in a project), the Loops browser, the Library (access to all settings files, i.e. channel strip, effect and instrument plug-in settings), and the Browser (to find any file on your computer) to streamline your workflow. You will also notice a customizable toolbar at the top of the Arrange window, much like the one in Motion, to put buttons that you use, or want access to on a regular basis.

It is very obvious that Apple is focusing on workflow with this version of Logic, as they have taken great steps to improve it, and it shows. Apple's concentration on all of the workflow issues that users were having in the past, coupled with the ease of use of the mixer, channel strip effects, imports and exports, makes Logic a very real contender in the live and studio recording market. Other great things that Apple has done to crank up the user friendly experience in Logic is the implementation of advance take management, and what I mean by that is that you can now capture multiple takes of the same "solo" (whether it's a guitar, vocal, etc), and they will appear in a folder on your track. To access the best portions of the different takes, simply open the take folder and "Quick Swipe" the section of each take you want to have in your "Master Take" and Logic will only play back those sections, when you play back your composition. Very handy!

Apple has also improved the surround sound capabilities of Logic to include the import, recording and bouncing in all major surround formats, and the capability to bounce directly to DVD-A, and the inclusion of a surround sound level meter is a big bonus.

One thing that I found truly amazing is MainStage, and it was an extremely clever idea on Apple's part to include this in Logic Studio. When thinking of Logic Studio, MainStage is the only application that really stands out on it's own as it is really not part of a music or television/film workflow. Here is the best way to describe MainStage. Think of the rock band U2. Most of U2's songs have a very separate and distinct sound. Now, think about a set list of 24 songs, each with very different and distinct sounds. Now, think about being able to switch between those sounds with one click of the mouse. That's truly how easy it is. If you don't know where to start, MainStage comes with a ton of presets to get you started. Taking a look at the Rock preset, once selected, you now have 45 different "rock" sounds to give you a wide range of sounds for your guitar.

The same goes for any keyboard hooked up by MIDI or USB, or any vocal or instrument that is hooked up to your keyboard through a microphone. Really, really cool!

I want to take a second to mention something that most people don't think about when they think of Soundtrack Pro. Adding it to Logic Studio was a very smart idea on Apple's part and here is why. Soundtrack Pro, being included with FCS2 makes it the audio mixing application of choice. But, what about facilities that use AVID as their editing platform instead of Final Cut Pro? Now, it's not a problem. With the inclusion of OMF import in STP, Logic Studio can now have a much wider user base, especially in facilities that use AVID as their editing platform because editors can export OMF files that can be imported into STP2 (or Logic for that matter) for mixing in stereo or surround sound. That sound you are now hearing is the door swinging open of alot more video post facilities choosing Logic Studio as their post audio application of choice. STP gives audio engineers the capability to mix in stereo, or surround for broadcast or DVD creation quickly and easily.

In my opinion, adding Compressor to the mix in Logic Studio is just an added bonus. It is a great and easy to use application for converting files from one format to another. New users to Logic will be up and running in no time, as Apple has included a variety of video and audio presets for common tasks that will have you converting to your format of choice in no time.

Of course for musicians, the last step of the process of taking their music and getting it out to the masses is with CDs via WaveBurner, the program that enables you to take all of your tracks and burn them to a CD for your own personal use, or create a duplication master for mass duplication. Conforming to all Red Book standards, creating CDs can be as simple as dragging the audio files into your Region List in the order you want them to appear, and clicking 'burn,' or if you want (or need to), you can keep manipulating your audio files right down to the minute you click 'burn,' by adding Normalization, Delays, Distortion, Modulations and Reverb effects, just to name a few. For musicians, this is the last step, and WaveBurner is a great, simple to use application that you will be up and running with in no time. How It Works: 10 (out of 10)

Value for your dollar
Looking back to Logic Pro 7, it retailed for $999, and with it, you essentially got Logic (with a few additional bells and whistles). With Logic Studio, you not only get Logic, but a brand new application for live music (MainStage), and three other top-of-the-line applications (Soundtrack Pro 2, Compressor 3, WaveBurner) for $499. This is probably one of the best deals out there on the market, and this package covers all an audio engineer's needs from studio music, to live recordings and performances, to audio mixing for film and TV, to mastering for CD in stereo and surround sound, all in one package. This is another section where I wish I could give Logic Studio higher than a ten out of ten, as it definitely deserves it. Value For Your Dollar: 10 (out of 10)

Final Total: 10 (out of 10)

Pros
Five professional editing applications (and tons of bells and whistles) for $499
Covers every aspect of music creation/mixing/finishing
Four of Five new Jam Packs included (separate value $400)

Cons
Upgrade price a bit high ($299)
No package with Final Cut Studio

Overall, I was extremely impressed with what Apple has done with Logic Studio, and finally, Apple has its own audio package that will satisfy musician and engineers alike. If you are a musician or audio engineer, and are still reading this, what are you waiting for?  For more information on Logic Studio, head over to www.apple.com/logicstudio


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Kevin P McAuliffe is currently a Senior Video Editor working in HD post production in Toronto, Canada. He has been in the television industry for 12 years, and spends his days onlining on a Final Cut Pro HD. Kevin's high definition onlining credit list includes concerts for Coldplay, Sarah McLachlan, Barenaked Ladies, Snow Patrol, Sum41, Paul Anka, Il Divo and Pussycat Dolls, to name a few. Also, Kevin is an instructor of Advanced Final Cut Studio 2 at the Toronto Film College. If you have any questions or comments, you can drop him a line at [email protected]


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