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First look: Logic Pro X 10.1 brings it to beatmakers

Christopher Breen | Jan. 22, 2015
Tune into just about any Top 40 radio station these days and it becomes evident that a producer has as much (or more) to do with a song's arrangement and presentation as the recording artist. While this has long been the case with hip-hop and electronic tracks, even the music performed by such mainstream artists as Taylor Swift would have far less impact without the ministrations of the behind-the-scenes producer.

While it's not something that everyone will care about, I'm personally pleased to see the new Smart Quantize feature. I'm a keyboard player and I occasionally add a flourish of notes as I play. But, like just about every other musician on earth, I sometimes like to correct my timing by quantizing a part (which forces notes to a rhythmic grid so they play more in time). The problem is, if you quantize to something like a 16th note grid, 128th note flourishes are turned into unmusical blocks of notes. MIDI drummers can have the same problem with rolls and paradiddles. With Smart Quantize switched on, Logic recognizes these note-rich passages and improves their timing while maintaining the intended roll or other flourish. Also, the length of notes in-between quantized notes are compressed and expanded proportionally to retain the relative legato of the phrase. In short: quantization that feels human.

And so much more: the ability to have more than one drummer track in a project, realtime fade rendering, a redesigned compressor plug-in with Retina-ready interface, the ability to create custom plug-in menus, Command-click to un-mute or un-solo all channels, and improved stability.

A worthy upgrade

The Logic Pro X 10.1 update weighs in at around 1.1GB and is completely free for existing users. If you create electronic music, this is a must-have update. And even if you're a musician or producer less interested in electronic enhancements, it's worth it for the many improvements and fixes that aren't marquee features of this release.

GarageBand users who are starting to feel a little restricted with the tools that app provides will find this as good a time as any to drop the $199 necessary to own a copy of Logic Pro X. Thanks to the similar interface between the two apps (and the ability to hide advanced features so you don't feel overwhelmed) you'll feel right at home in no time. And if you're entirely new to Logic Pro, you'd be hard-pressed to find a better bargain among existing professional digital audio workstation apps.

 

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