Apple’s latest desktop operating system, OS X 10.11 (also known as El Capitan) was officially launched a couple of days ago, bringing exciting new features such as the new system-wide San Francisco font, full screen split view and Safari 9. However, us music types would be well advised to avoid upgrading for the moment, as it would appear that this particular upgrade is causing more than the usual number of compatibility issues for third-party audio plug-in developers.
Reports are flying all over the web that plug-ins from heavyweight manufacturers such as Native Instruments, Arturia, and Waves are failing validation when used with Logic Pro X on El Capitan, with Waves advising users not to upgrade until compatibility can be confirmed. Hopefully this should take days rather than weeks, but if you run any non-Apple plugins on your system, make sure you check compatibility before you take the plunge.
iCreate 133 has broken cover and made a run for it across the shelves of your local magazinical emporium, and with all the good stuff packed into it this month, I’m surprised it can even move at all! Not one, not two, but three contributions from me in this month’s issue – two GarageBand tutorials and one Logic Pro X piece.
The first of my two GarageBand tutorials demonstrates how to use the app’s built-in tools to combat some of the noise issues that can crop up in a live recording scenario, such as low recording levels, bad gain structure, dodgy cables and noisy guitar amps. Elsewhere, my ‘Create Virtual Harmonies’ piece illustrates a useful technique for crafting backing vocal harmony parts out of unused lead vocal takes without the use of expensive third-party pitch correction plug-ins.
Lastly, I reveal an effective workflow for Logic Pro X users who want to get to grips with the process of sampling using Logic’s built-in EXS24 sampler, either by recording the source audio themselves, or by using pre-recorded material that already exists on their hard drive.
So if you want to learn about any of that stuff, might I suggest getting to know issue 133 a little better?
iCreate 128, which hits the shelves this week, contains just one tutorial from me – a two-page guide to using the Flex Pitch feature in Logic Pro X. Found on page 56, I use the common example of fixing the pitch of a dodgy vocal to illustrate how this clever addition to Apple’s pro audio workstation can do wonders for the intonation of your recordings. So if you’re twitchy about things being pitchy, get hold of a copy from your favourite magazinical distributor!
It hardly seems credible that a whole month has gone by since the last issue of iCreate hit the shelves, but it has. I ramped things up a little this month with a 5-page contribution to issue 126, which is out now. In a feature tutorial starting on page 44, I take a close comparative look at GarageBand and Logic Pro X, weighing up the pros and cons of each to try and help you decide which of them you should be using to create your music projects. Comparisons are made in the areas of plug-in compatibility, sophistication of automation systems and overall ease of use when recording, mixing and editing.
So if you think you might want to make the leap from GB to LPX, this might just help sway your decision one way or the other. Check it out at all good newsagents from today!
In the current issue of iCreate, which you can now find in all good newsagents, you’ll find two double-page tutorials from me on the new drum-related features in Apple’s Logic Pro X. Starting on page 58, I show you how to give your Logic projects some stick with the awesome new Drummer track. This amazing feature gets your groove going in the simplest way possible and sounds incredible. My step by step guide demonstrates how to create a Drummer track, switch between genres and drummer personalities, customise the grooves, alter the kit pieces played and fine-tune details such as fills, swing feel, ghost snares and hi-hat openness. You can get incredibly real-sounding drum tracks in no time with this feature, especially if you follow the simple instructions in this guide.
Following on from this, on page 60, I give a step-by-step introduction to the Drum Kit Designer plug-in, which plays the sounds used by the Drummer track. Here you can customise the sound of the kit by swapping kit pieces such as kick, snares, toms and cymbals, change the pitch and damping of each kit piece, and delve into deeper levels of control by invoking the ‘Producer‘ kits.
So in this issue, it’s all about the beats for me, so why not beat a path down to the shops and pick up a copy? They won’t stick around for ever…
Computer Music Issue 195 is now available, and this month I’ve contributed three items – my regular Easy Guide column, a feature tutorial and a review.
First up, if you’ve ever tried to export a project from one system on one computer and open it successfully on another, you’ll know how tricky it can be. So, on page 55 you’ll find my DAW to DAW feature, a handy five-page guide to transferring projects between different platforms. Encompassing MIDI files, effect and instrument presets, project files and the creation of stems, it takes in file transfer options like Dropbox before showing how to import a set of stems originating from Logic Pro X into a Cubase project.
Elsewhere, Apple’s announcement of Logic Pro X was one of July’s big news items, sending magazine editors and freelancers alike scurrying to shoehorn coverage of the app in before their deadlines. I was lucky enough to snag the official CM review, which starts on page 88 and continues for 3 pages of in-depth examination and honest critique.
Meanwhile, my regular Easy Guide column takes a more rhythmic approach this month, examining the basics of syncopation and what it means to today’s electronic musician. You can find the column in its regular slot on page 70, and the accompanying video can be found on the cover DVD for the print edition, or downloaded from the CM vault for digital editions.
So, with the usual shedload of other good stuff to be found in this issue, it makes for a cracking holiday read. Speaking of which, I’m just off on mine, so have a great summer everyone!
It looks as if the wait is finally over – Apple today unveiled the hotly-anticipated Logic Pro X, updating the Logic line of digital audio workstation software for the first time in almost exactly four years. At first glance, it looks like the app has had a major interface overhaul, with newly-designed graphics for most of the plug-in control panels as well as the main arrange, mixer and edit windows. Track Stacks appears to be a new reimagination of the folders concept, while Flex Pitch (as opposed to Flex Time) allows for the fixing of dodgy vocal tuning and repitching of instrument melodies. Smart Controls, meanwhile, allow you to manipulate multiple plug-ins and parameters with a single move.
The new Drummer plug-in adds a virtual session drummer to your production toolbox, while you can create classic 70’s and 80’s style sounds with the new Retro Synth instrument. There are also nine new MIDI plug-ins, including a sophisticated arpeggiator. There’s no news yet as to whether or not the EXS24 sampler has received some much-needed attention.
There’s also a new Logic Remote iPad app, available for free on the App Store, that allows you to use an iPad as a control surface for Logic.
Logic Pro X is available to download now on the Mac App Store for £139.99 ($199.99 USD). The 650MB download requires OS X 10.8.4 or later and runs only in 64-bit mode, so make sure you have 64-bit versions of all your favourite third-party plug-ins installed. Here at daveclews.com, we can’t wait to try this, so watch this space for more Logic-related news soon!
Steinberg have unveiled their latest major update to their acclaimed Cubase DAW, barely 8 months after the previous leap to version 6.5. In what appears to be a significant overhaul, the new version gets a completely new, fully-scalable mix page, brand new composing tools, more effects, more content, support for Yamaha’s impressive new Nuage controller and countless workflow enhancements for recording, mixing and editing music.
There’s a new Chord Track that automatically detects the chords within a song, a composing assistant that can intelligently suggest new chord progressions, and a new feature called VST Connect SE that makes it easy to collaborate with other musicians online via a video hookup and a real time chat window. Elsewhere, VariAudio 2.0 gives you the freedom to follow any changes made in the chord track and create multiple harmonies from a monophonic melody, and the new Cubase Channel Strip brings you a built-in noise gate, triple-model compressor, 4-band studio EQ, envelope shaper, tape and tube saturation and brick wall limiter / maximiser on every track.
These and countless other features too numerous to list here make up a substantial leap forward for Cubase, constituting a serious production package that’s scheduled for general release on December 5th, at a suggested retail price of €599 for the full version, with a cut-down Cubase Artist 7 version available for €299. Although upgrade prices are yet to be announced, Cubase 6.5 users who purchased their software on or after October 25th 2012 are eligible to upgrade to the new version free of charge.
You never know, perhaps this might be the prod that Apple needs to stop messing about with telephones and patent infringement lawsuits and get on with releasing Logic Pro X before the end of the year. We live in hope…
It’s been reported this week that Apple has successfully acquired Italian software company Redmatica, creators of KeyMap Pro, EXSManager, GBSampleManager, ProManager and AutoSampler, software solutions that enabled the creation and management of large sample and sampler instrument libraries on the Mac. These apps have built up a solid reputation as serious time-savers for professional Logic users. News of this acquisition provoked an interested raise of a single eyebrow (I’m getting better at this) on my part, as I’m always on the lookout for any hint of a development that might indicate an update to Apple’s ageing Logic 9 DAW any time soon. It begs the question, why would Apple assimilate a company that makes software products that enhance the user experience of the now-very-creaky EXS24 sampler, if there was not a major rewrite in progress of the DAW of which it forms a major component?
It has been hinted that the takeover is telegraphing a boost to GarageBand’s feature set, and while the long hiatus between iLife updates means that this may also be the case, GarageBand users as a demographic are far less likely to possess the kind of large sample libraries that Redmatica’s software was designed to complement. The most logical assumption is that there’s a new version of Logic in the pipeline, and that the functionality of Redmatica’s highly-regarded products is being integrated into it. Almost three years after Logic 9 was announced, this kind of development is one of the surest signs yet that some exciting changes are finally on the horizon for Logic users.
Whatever the reason, Redmatica founder Andrea Gozzi has now closed down the company, posting a rather terse message at http://www.redmatica.com to that effect, hinting that no further support or updates will be available from that source after June 12th. Could this be another clue to its imminent reappearance as part of the much-anticipated Logic Pro X / Logic 10? Exciting stuff for Logic users.