Offline effects and new playlist functionality are just two of the highlights of Apple’s latest Logic update.
If you’re a longtime Logic user, it’s somewhat sobering — at least from the perspective of age — to consider that this year will mark the 15th anniversary of Apple’s ownership of the application. It might be even more sobering to consider that 2017 also marks 25 years since the founding of the company that Apple acquired when they bought Logic in 2002: Emagic. As if to mark the occasion, Apple unveiled the new v10.3 of Logic Pro the day before this year’s Winter NAMM Show, alongside a new version of GarageBand for iOS offering improved Logic interoperability, as discussed in the March issue.
The first thing you’ll notice when running Logic Pro 10.3 is that Apple have updated Logic’s user interface, although the changes are mostly cosmetic, so you won’t have to worry about re-learning the interface as with the jump from Logic Pro 9 to Logic Pro X. The new look implements the design language of Mac OS Sierra and is therefore flatter and lighter, with many of the icons having adopted a line-drawn appearance. This is no doubt to take advantage of Retina and other high-pixel-density displays such as LG’s UltraFine 4K and 5K monitors, which Apple are championing, and you can’t help but notice how much better Logic looks on such displays.
There’s one feature that’s been a part of Pro Tools for over a decade that users of other applications have long desired, and that’s Playlists. This feature makes it possible to have multiple versions of the contents of a track, and although only one can be active at a time, it’s probably the best way of working with multiple takes. Each take can be recorded onto its own Playlist, and you can then create a master version from all the takes on another Playlist.
Developers of other applications have long tried to best this workflow, and Apple’s attempt was Take Folders in Logic Pro 8, where you could use Quick Swipe to highlight different sections of takes to compile the master take. Now, don’t get me wrong, Take Folders can be useful, and Quick Swipe made comping ridiculously easy, but it was a very specific solution, and, as such, offered less flexibility than Playlists.
Logic Pro 10.3 introduces a new, Playlist-style feature called Track Alternatives. The name makes sense, given that Apple previously introduced Project Alternatives in Logic Pro 10.0, allowing you to manage alternate versions of a project. Track Alternatives allow you to manage alternate versions of a track, each containing a different set of regions.
The Track Alternatives functionality isn’t visible by default, and needs to be enabled by right-clicking any track in the Track List and checking Track...
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