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Discussion in 'Studio & Stage' started by sergiodeblanc, Jul 16, 2013.
Life changer for me.
I looked at DP8 today, as the upgrade from an earlier version of DP is the same price, and I thought I owed it to myself to check both out, especially since I was a DP user going back to pre-audio Performer back in 1987.
Both DP and Logic are great programs that have a lot of audio-for-video capability, though DP is really more geared toward picture, with its ability to nest sequences as "chunks" along with virtual racks that sequences can share. That's cool for longer format work, such as film, TV and industrial videos where video edits can more easily cause timing changes that can screw up a single sequence completely. Logic still doesn't have nesting capability.
DP also has a lot more customization options; Logic is no longer able to change the background colors of the Arrange, mixer, etc. You can still pick the colors of tracks, but for some folks the black background in the new version of Logic is a turnoff. I happen to like it, though. With DP you can also customize the shape of buttons, faders, and so on. The audio plugins in DP may be nicer than the ones that come with Logic, though this doesn't matter much to me as I have 3rd party plugins I use.
The new Logic can't use 32 bit plugins, they've axed the "Bridge." I hated the bridge software that allowed 64 bit projects to use 32 bit plugs, as it often crashed, BUT...
...Several of my favorite plugins are still 32 bit only: IRCAM Hear, by Flux, Syrah, by Flux, and FG-X by Slate Digital. I'm sure these will be updated soon, or they're going to lose a chunk of their potential market! So I did use the Bridge, and for a time, I won't be able to.
DP lets you download their full product for a trial. So I did.
And then I realized I hadn't used DP in a very long time, and didn't remember anything! It's only been a few years, but I'm so inured to Logic that simply setting up instrument and audio channels was daunting!
I did an audio test and DP now sounds as good as Logic 9. When I switched from DP 6 or 7 to Logic 8, I noticed that the audio in Logic sounded better. It no longer does, as DP is now fully floating at a 32 bit rate like Logic.
But re-learning even the most basic things took a lot of time.
That was when I realized that I just don't want to learn DP all over again. So even though it's more flexible, more customizable, and pretty cool overall, I'm going to re-up with Logic X.
I'll DL it and install it this weekend.
Oh my God. OH MY GOD.
Okay, first impressions: The new interface is great. Very approachable from the standpoint of just throwing tracks down and getting the details worked out later. It still has a lot of the complexity of the earlier versions of Logic, but that complexity isn't quite as in your face now. A lot of stuff is familiar but the new layout is a big improvement in my opinion.
The fact that it only runs 64-bit plugs is not a problem for me. I have exactly one important third-party plugin: Amplitube 3. And it's 64-bit, so no problems there. Everything else I use is built into Logic.
But I bought this for the virtual drummer. So how does it stack up?
OH MY GOD.
I have a song I've been working on, kind of a heavy marching beat with a headbanging flair, but I've never been able to conjure up a drum track for it that really fit. So I pulled it up, threw on a new Drummer track, added some regions, experimented with the complexity grid, chose which drums to focus on in different sections, and tweaked the amount of fills to throw in. In less than an hour I have half the track done. And the other half will mostly just copy what I've already done. And it sounds excellent.
But it's a slow, heavy, headbanging beat. Not too crazy. What can this thing really do?
I pull up one of my favorite songs, written entirely in 5/4 time. I've already got a drum track for it, painstakingly programmed via midi to sound like a real drummer. But what the hell, if there's one thing I can throw at this to make it choke, it's a 5/4 beat.
In less than 10 minutes I have a serviceable beat for the verse section, and I haven't even really done much tweaking. This thing handles 5/4. This goddamn thing can do progressive rock. I can't believe it!
This may be the best $200 I've ever spent on music software. I'm a guitarist and a vocalist, I can play keyboards, bass, some limited percussion, but drums are the one thing I can't play.
And now I don't have to.
That sounds very promising indeed.
I'm good at programming drums, but things can always, always be improved, even in a 30 second track. So I'm looking forward even more to installing Logic X now, thanks!
Though I do wish they'd just go ahead and swipe the features that DP has regarding audio for video! DP certainly swiped enough features from Logic, like the track comping!
Curiosity got the better of me, I decided to go ahead and download it today. Looks pretty cool. I'm downloading additional content now. Fortunately, LPX recognized the content I already had, so it's only DLing new stuff.
Nice! As soon as I send off these last few tunes for mixing I'm gonna dive in, looks like they added a slew of really cool features.
Just curious, have you previously used any midi/drum software like SuperiorDrummer or Steven Slate? I'm very interested in how Logic X's drummer funcationality compares to those plugins.
The reviews I've read have been positive. I want it.
I haven't used either (though I did buy DFH Superior, the predecessor to Superior Drummer, back in the day), but they are an entirely different thing. Both SuperiorDrummer and Steven Slate are extremely versatile drum sampler kits that allow you to build and tweak a kit to your taste. Logic's virtual drummer has some of this, but not nearly to the same extent. You can customize the drum kits, and I still need to spend some time seeing how deep that goes, but I don't think it's going to have the level of detail that those other two have.
What it does have is a completely different interface for creating the actual beats themselves. Superior Drummer and Steven Slate both give you a library of loops that you can audition and choose from to generate a track, but that's the exact process that Logic's virtual drummer is meant to obviate. Instead of choosing loops from a library and arranging them along the timeline, you pick a drummer (each virtual drummer represents a style choice of sorts), you create a region on the track, and start tweaking parameters. Want more fills thrown in? Adjust a knob. Want to take the hi-hat out and focus on toms instead? Click the hats off and click the toms on. Don't like the particular beat of the kick/snare combo? There's a slider that gives you several options to choose from, and a grid that lets you plot a point from simple to complex. Want him to play louder? Move the same point on the grid along the vertical axis from soft to loud. It's like having a studio drummer in the room; the controls correspond to the sorts of things you would tell him to play.
Can you use Logic's drummer to play other plug-in kits, like the Steven Slate kits?
I have Slate, BFD, Addictive Drums, Lin Plug RMV, Geist, and RMX. They're all great, but as Sage says, the Logic drummer uses artificial intelligence to do more than play back midi or slicing loops.
As you know, all Slate, BFD, AD do is play via midi. The patterns and songs that come with them (and that you can buy) are simply programmed in or played on MIDI pads by a drummer. That's great, but to change what's there, you go in and adjust things, or play over the track, etc.
RMX and RMV trigger slices, and that can also be done via midi. Geist does a little of both. Sliced beats are cool, but adjusting the playing results in choppy sound quality. Yes, it can be done, and lord knows I've done it. But...
But this is different. Really different.
The drums respond to MIDI, but the virtual drummer is part of what's happening, and "he" has Artificial Intelligence. Tell "him" to play busier fills with the knob, and the software plays them, with real feel. Etc.
You can actually adjust what it's playing on the fly. It's quite different, very cool, and by the way, the drum sounds themselves are excellent.
I'm not sure I'd bother going to another kit unless I really needed a certain sound. I liked the sound quality better than Addictive Drums, but didn't have time to compare them to BFD, or Slate, whose sounds I like better than AD. However, in my brief listen, I thought the Logic drum sounds were in the same ballpark as BFD and Slate. This isn't a head to head comparison, just my gut feeling so far. YMMV.
Yup. If you move the tracks to the track of the other kit, it converts to MIDI, and provided that your drums have the same MIDI note assignments (which can of course be adjusted and changed), they play back fine. You might have to adjust the velocities, etc., depending on the plugin.
Thing is, the samples in Logic are quite good, they've impressed me so far.
One thing to be aware of Alan: If I remember, you're using Pro Tools. The concept behind PT is analogous to linear tape. Same with DP. Not Logic. Logic is different; conceptually it's region-based, not linear. It's hard for me to explain, but it took me a while to get my head around Logic (same with Cubase, by the way) coming from the linear worlds of PT and DP. I couldn't figure out WHY anyone would want to work with regions instead of linear recording, and none of the editing procedures made sense for a while.
Once I got it, however (and this was a matter of weeks, not days, of work) and the light bulb went on, I really started liking working with it, and now it feels very intuitive. But there was a learning curve, and I had to unlearn a whole bunch of things I learned with DP and PT.
I guess my point is that 5 minutes from now, everyone will have something that works like Logic's drummer, so I wouldn't switch on account of that. But it's a very cool feature and unique for now.
Did I mention there's finally a bass amp designer?
The drum thing isn't the only good thing in store here. There's lots more to talk about! In fact, I don't even know where to begin.
OK, I know where to begin: I think the audio algorithm has been improved.
Yeah, I know, 24 bits and whatever sample rate is whatever it is, right? Well, that's not the only thing happening with digital audio software.
I've talked about this with other engineers and my audio post partners in the past, and we noticed that even at the same word lengths and sample rates, some audio programs sound better than others. For example, using the same converters and audio settings, the Fairlight system that was recently upgraded by my friends at RingSide Creative to a new software version sounded markedly better. And as they also had the HD version of Pro Tools (not PT11), we compared them, and the Fairlight audio really did sound a little clearer and more open using the same Apogee converters. I don't know why, but it was noticeable.
The same thing happened when I switched from DP to Logic 8. However, I didn't notice an audio quality improvement between Logic 8 and 9.
But I do this time. I was honestly surprised.
How about the free iPad app to remotely control Logic, that does everything you'd want a remote to do and then some? Yeah. Pretty nice.
There's a new vintage style synth that does Wavetable, Analog style, and FM synthesis. It sounds as good as any 3rd party one. The audio quality of much of the new sampled content is better. Create a multitimbral synth and Logic automatically knows to put them all not only into a folder, but into an aux bus so that they can be processed as a group! Finally!
There's a new arrangement master track to make rearranging easier. You can finally export a 64 bit project's audio directly to picture (a real time saver in my business). The workflow that I've discovered so far is smarter, and more logical. Unnecessary submenus and windows have been consolidated in a way that makes sense. Things that got in the way of good workflow have been changed to better things.
There are presets of stacked synths with effects. They sound amazing.
I've only scratched the surface. It's going to take me a while to dig deeper into this thing. But so far, so good. Lots of tweaks, improvements, and stuff, large and small. It took a long time to download the additional content, so that limited my ability to tweak and tweak, but I did manage to try some recording, and I was pretty darn happy with the sonic results.
Also, the program is stable. None of my cranky plugins crashed the program (heck, some crashed L9 at times!). I had no glitches or problems all afternoon or night.
There is a learning curve, but it's not like switching programs. I like the new look of the program, it seems easy on the eyes, at least it did today and tonight. We'll see how that goes long term, but it's certainly better looking to me, anyway.
Looks like you can, as long as the mapping is the same as Apple's kits. I just replaced "Drum Kit Designer" in the channel strip with EXS24 and loaded one of the garageband jam pack kits, and it works. So I think you can use any plugin you like to generate the sound. You can, as Les points out, move the regions to another track and they turn into midi regions, but that doesn't let you audition the sound in real time. Luckily, by replacing Drum Kit Designer you can get the same functionality with your own plugs.
OMG, how did I not notice that?! That may be second only to the virtual drummer in exciting new features! Looks like it's basically a minimoog.
Well, the controls are similar to a minimoog, but a minimoog can't do FM or wavetable synthesis. When you select wavetable, the synth turns blue like the old Waldorf Wave, and you're in 1980s wavetable-land. The FM synth mimics a Yamaha DX7 in terms of its color and although it's a lot easier to work with, you're in 1986 FM territory sonically. I've owned a DX7 and the old Waldorf stuff, and the sounds are pretty accurate.
As you may know, the Waldorf stuff used a digital wavetable for its oscillators, and analog filters that had a very unique sound.
On the analog side of things, there is a minimoog emulation, but I think the filters are a little different than, say, the Arturia emulation of the same instrument.
I wish someone would come out with a D-50 emulation. Loved that synth!
But in any event, you'd pay $100-200 for the software synth alone, if it was 3rd party! And how much would the drummer thing be?
This is an absolutely stunning piece of software for $200. It's deep, it's competitive with anything out there, and it's an absolute bargain.
People on the Logic forums are complaining about the elimination of 32 bit plugs, but that darn bridge was very prone to crashing, and I think getting rid of it made the software more stable. There are complaints every time any product is changed (just look what happens here if PRS makes any change to a feature, there's always someone that liked the old thing), but this is a major improvement to Logic as far as I'm concerned.
I wish they'd have included a feature that allowed people who don't like the black background to customize it, and maybe they'll do that in future revs.
Found another cool feature.
As most Logic users here know, if you have a multi-instrument such as a sampler or drum software like BFD, you can create aux strips for the instrument and use separate outputs for each instrument (in something like East West sample players, for example, one can be, say violins, another basses, another percussion, etc. so each can be separately processed) or part of the drumkit. But you have to go into the instrument itself, set up the outputs, select them in Logic's mixer, and label each output channel.
If you insert Drum Kit Designer into a channel strip and select multiple outputs, then click the "+" sign on the strip in the mixer several times, you automatically get a channel strip, labeled, with each piece of the kit for mixing!!! And you don't have to go into the plugin to do this. It's automatic.
I loaded a kit, then clicked the + sign several times, and got a separate output for kick, snare, hat, overheads, cymbals, hi hat, room mics, toms, etc. etc. Even hand percussion!
Changing the kit, however, messes with these channel assignments, they don't automatically re-label due to differences in the kits, so it's best to do this AFTER you find a kit you like.
Also, I have now tested the Logic kits for sound quality against BFD, Addictive Drums and Slate. All the kits sound different, of course, but once they're set to equal levels, with equal processing (these 3rd party kits have processing in the presets that can be disabled), the Logic kits sound comparable in quality.
I'm pretty sure I'll use the Logic kits as a first resort, and only go to other kits for specific needs at this point. The Logic kits are so well thought out, it'd be a shame not to use them.
Must resist.... One of the songwriters I work with downloaded it at the bar we were at last night... must resist.
Nah, you must get it. Seriously. It's good stuff. You make your living with this tool, fergodsakes. Get the best tool you can.
I'm gonna, I just have to finish up these last tunes and then I'm on it! "Drummer" looks really cool.
The more I get into it, the more I find to like.
F'rinstance, there's an X-Y grid that lets you tell the program to play harder, softer, simpler, or busier. There's a knob that you can use to have it do simpler or busier fills. There's a drum kit picture that you can use to highlight the kit pieces that you want used more, or less, by the drummer.
The "drummers" themselves really do have different styles. And you can adjust the swing and feel of their playing. Finally, you can easily, easily export the result as a MIDI track for use by your other software pieces or for detailed editing.
And the sounds are quite good. No need to use other drum software if you don't want to.
But wait, there's more...lots more. There's so much to talk about, here are a couple of more things:
The multitimbral, multi output version of ESX24 is very easy to manage, in a folder with its own AUX if you want. I mean, they have really improved this program. Do not believe the handful of people bitching about it, it's great.
People are saying the pitch correction is very simple and effective, though I haven't had a chance to try that, yet.
OK, another very useful Drummer feature:
Lay down a line on a MIDI track (say, a synth bass line) and you can tell Drummer to lock to it.
I'm not sure yet if it works with an audio track.
But you can take an audio track, and create a groove template with it. Amazing.