Apple has revamped its premier digital audio workstation
software once again—this time with a multi-pronged attack on competing live
The new Logic Pro X 10.5’s flagship feature is Live
Loops, a freeform, non-linear tool that lets you compose music in a grid with
loops and samples, as well as record different arrangements into the timeline.
Bundled with that is Remix FX, which adds filters, gates, repeaters, and
bitcrusher effects for real-time manipulation.
All of the new Live Loops and Remix FX work via Logic’s
Remote app for the iPad and iPhone. So with one of those devices next to your
Mac, you can get all of this going with multi-touch control and a beautifully
animated interface that mimics hardware.
Sampler in Logic Pro X 10.5
Logic Pro X’s venerable ESX24 sampling plug-in finally
(finally!) gets a long-awaited refresh with Sampler, a ground-up redesign that
nonetheless retains full backward compatibility with thousands of existing
EXS24 sample libraries released over the past two decades. Sampler can create
multisampled instruments with drag-and-drop, putting it on par with Native
Instruments Kontakt 6, Steinberg Halion 6, and similar standalone sampler
instruments. Sampler features a much clearer interface for mapping and zone
editing, and it supports Flex Time to preserve sample lengths regardless of
Logic Pro X 10.5 also comes with Quick Sampler, a much
simpler and faster tool that you can drop any single sound in (or record one
with a mic) and turn it into an instrument, trimming, looping, and playing it
on a MIDI controller and twisting some knobs to modify it as you go.
Quick Sampler in Logic Pro X 10.5
For programming beats, several new tools are on offer. Logic
Pro X’s new Step Sequencer combines an Akai-style pad interface with
pattern-based sequencing and a colorful grid for building electronic and
hip-hop beats. It comes with more than 150 rhythm and melody patterns. Drum
Synth is a plug-in drum synthesizer with hundreds of built-in sounds and plenty
of sound shaping tools. And the existing Drum Machine Designer can now
integrate with Quick Sampler, Drum Synth, and Step Sequencer.
Finally, there’s another load of new content: 2,500 new
loops including modern and classic hip-hop, electro house, future bass, and
transition effects; 17 Live Loop starter grids in a range of genres; 70 new
Drum Machine Designer kits; and 1,500 new Instrument patches. Oh, and a bundled
copy of the original multi-track project for Billie Eilish’s “Ocean Eyes,”
because why not?
As is obvious by the major additions in 10.5, it appears
Apple has had enough of hearing praise for Ableton Live and has cribbed many of
that program’s most desirable tools, including what appears to be an on-screen
version of Ableton’s $799 Push 2 hardware controller in the new, fully
programmable Step Sequencer. Logic Pro X 10.5 is also a shot at Image-Line,
which after two decades on Windows only just recently released a Mac version of
its FL Studio DAW for the first time. While you could always make beats and
compose any kind of music in Logic Pro X, Live and FL Studio both offered
different and interesting workflows, and it will be interesting to see how Logic
Pro X 10.5 now stacks up.
Logic Pro X 10.5 is available for $199.99 in Apple’s App
Store, and it’s a free upgrade as always for existing Logic Pro X owners,
making this the seventh year of free updates for anyone who first jumped on in
2013. Stay tuned for a full review.