It’s day one of the annual NAMM Show in Anaheim, a convergence of 100,000 musicians, producers and music gear manufacturers, and there’s no shortage of news. And some of the most interesting news comes from a company that doesn’t even exhibit at the show. That company is, of course, Apple.
Announced today is the 10.4 update to Logic Pro X. While a point release isn’t usually something to write home about, Apple have added some particularly useful new features that will appeal to the click track phobic, electronic musicians and more.
The first big announcement is Smart Tempo. Described as an “advanced tempo detection technology that automatically manages tempo across all the content in a project”, Smart Tempo allows users to record without a click track and still have their performance remain in sync with other tempo-based content. This will be particularly useful for remixers and mashup artists (not a drug-taking euphemism). If it’s as smart as Apple claim, this could be a major deal letting tracks breathe and preventing artists from feeling restrained by the click.
Next up, Apple have introduced a colourful new algorithmic reverb called ChromaVerb which can simulate Rooms, Chambers, Theatres, Halls and more. This is a really welcome addition as all of Logic’s reverb had been looking rather long in the tooth. To put it into perspective, their most recent one — Space Designer — was actually introduced in 2003 by Emagic, the company the Apple bought Logic from. you can actually read Paul White’s review from 15 years ago here.
Another welcome addition to Logic’s arsenal of stock plug-ins come in the shape of Vintage EQ. No longer are you restricted to using the Channel EQ, you can now choose from three flavours of Vintage EQ: Vintage Graphic EQ, Vintage Tube EQ and Vintage Console EQ, modelled on some of the most sought-after hardware EQs from the 1950s to 1970s, say Apple.
Logic Pro 10.4 also gains a plug-in effect called Phat FX which is designed to add “warmth, punch and presence” to your instrument sources. Step FX, meanwhile, seems to do something along the lines of iZotope/BT’s Stutter Edit, adding rhythmic movement using filters, effects and step sequencers.
What’s really surprising about this latest update is the inclusion of ARA support. Audio Random Access is a plug-in extension developed by Melodyne makers Celemony and PreSonus and it allows the DAW and plug-in to communicate and share information about audio files, tempo, pitch and more. The main advantage is that you no longer have to record this information to plug-ins like Melodyne in real time. Although few plug-ins currently use ARA — Celemony Melodyne and Synchro Arts Vocalign are two — Apple’s adoption of the technology may give more developers the push to implement it into their own plug-ins.
On the instrument side, Logic Pro X adds two new Drummers playing roots and jazz-influenced brush styles, two vintage brush kits for Drum Kit Designer (both of which have been long-standing requests from SOS editorial staff), 800 more loops and 150 new cinematic patches for Alchemy. In addition, Mellotron can now be used as a standalone instrument plug-in and Retro Synth offers 18 different filter models. Realistic ensemble instruments, Studio Strings and Studio Horns, have been deeply sampled and offer custom articulation controls.
Logic Pro 10.4 is a free download for existing users but you will need to be running macOS 10.12 (Sierra) or later in order to get it. If you’re buying for the first time, Logic Pro X will cost $199.99 or £149.99 in the UK.