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      Review
      Logic Platinum 5.1.3
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      EMI Multichanel Interface 2|6
      by Emagic.

    and

    Latest news: Logic 5 v4.0 for OS X released, (08-10-2002).

    Emagic has released itĒs flag ship Logic Audio Platinum for the OS X platform.  The functionality is equal to the 5 version for OS 9, which is reviewed on this page. The OS X version includes support for EmagicĒs midi interface range, and the latest version 5.4 includes support for AudioUnits as well. More info and version download for registered users at:
    http://www.emagic.de/

    Review Logic Audio Platinum 5.1.3.



    Emagic, acquired by Apple on 01-07-2002, the very day we started testing Logic, is well known (if not famous) for it's commitment with the professional digital audio world. The rock steady products of Emagic spin in thousands of studios every day. Proving that the Mac and good software make great partners. In this review we take a look at the new version 5 Logic Platinum. But first...

    The acquisition by Apple finally proves what I have been shouting and writing for years: the Mac is the best digital/virtual studio you can wish for. I remember a contact with Apple Benelux, urging them to dive into the professional audio world. That was about 3 years ago. The answer was: not interested. A pure lack of market(ing) knowledge at that time, as far as I am concerned. Well: I'm very glad that finally somebody at Apple recognizes this strong potential too, and -I presume- started talking to Emagic. To my opinion the best partner in this case. May I do just a small suggestion for a new logo (I like to fool around with Photoshop from time to time ;-)?




    It was pure coincidence that we invited Emagic to send in Logic Platinum and the EMI 2|6 by the time the Apple-Emagic deal came through. We scheduled the test to start the first of July about a week before hand, not knowing that the acquisition would be announced the very same day. Predestination? Well, I tend to be rather ignorant when it comes to these kinds of subjects. But on the other hand: you never can tell...

    OK, enough sidestep. Let's go to what we are here for: a look at the new Logic Audio Platinum version 5.1.3, and the EMI Multichanel Interface 2|6.


    The Logic Marathon.

    Did you ever run a marathon? If so: do you remember the struggle? The sweat? The feeling that you were not going to reach the finish? And the huge satisfaction you felt after crossing the finish line? Well: that is more or less what we feel over here after several evenings (and nights) of digging through Logic Audio Platinum version 5.x. Wow: what a great software, but ....hmmmm.... not so easy to understand. Believe me: I consider "not so easy" as my personal understatement of the year.

    I wanna be honest here: I am the so called "easy type of user". I hate digging through manuals or PDF files. If I cannot manage software in an intuitive way within -let's say- a day or so, I quickly tend to wipe the stuff from my hard disk and leave the box and software somewhere parked in a corner of my testing studio, eating dust. I'm a musician, and do not want to fight with complex software. And above all: I am a typical Mac user who never reads the f....... manuals. And manuals there are enough: Logic 5 comes with extensive documentation, that can keep you reading for a couple of days at least. Very good: it is the best documented software we ever received at AudioMac. Compliments!

    So: when only after three evening sessions the first Logic audio light began to shine on me, I was exhausted and had lost my way in the huge amount of menus and sub menus. Really. On that third night, I finally managed to get virtual synthesizers to life in the Logic environment. Of course: I tried to do so first without reading the f..... manual. Stupid, stupid, stupid, I know.

    In the end I found my good luck shooting around no longer effective and read the manual. And found the answer quickly. No sweat, it worked within a few minutes. Lesson 1 in this review: when you buy Logic 5, you'd better first read the manual, than fire up the software. It will save you a lot of trouble and time!

    Logic has a bit long learning curve, but when you manage to understand the "logics" behind Logic, you will discover that you have amazing and very, very complete software installed. I now fully understand why large studio's and audio companies work with this software. You name it, Logic can do it, with both midi and digital audio. Full Automation, remote control of the software: just two very handy and important functions you will be using a lot when it suits your needs of course. And most of you will fire up that functions: they save time and bring you ultimate fast working.

    In this review, we put some extra spotlights on some new stuff in version 5. Going through all features of Logic would take a website full, and that would be a bit too much, right?

    XSKey.

    First of all, an extra spotlight on a nifty peace of new hardware that comes with Logic v5.x: the XSKey.


    * Emagics new solution against software piracy: the XSKey, here in the second right position in my USB hub.

    Emagic invented a new way to fight software piracy: the XSKey. A little peace of hardware you stick into an USB slot. It is used to register your software and it "remembers" what software is installed on your Mac. A nice thing is it is portable, so if you may want to install your software in -let's say- a second studio you are associated with, or on a portable you can take with you for on site recording. You take the key along with you and you're able to work legally. You can leave the software on the second machine, but you take the key with you. Or switch back and forth between the main G4 in your studio and the portable studio. The software on the second machine or portable is unusable, unless you come back with the XSKey. There are no software keys on the hard disk anymore.

    The XSKey sticks in any USB slot on your computer. On the image above it sticks into the USB hub, but at the moment I write this, it sticks into the left USB slot of my G4 keyboard. No sweat. Smart concept, and comfortable too. I would not be surprised if other software producers will follow this good method soon. One very important thing: never loose it: all your Emagic software becomes worthless.

    Impressive toolkit.

    The audio and midi toolkit Logic brings you is impressive. Extensive audio hardware support including TDM under Mac OS, OMF and OpenTL. A max total of 192 tracks of audio playback at up to 24bit/96 KHz, with a wide variety of audio formats. And -very interesting if you're in the gaming business- Logics virtual mixer supports the production of Surround Sound up to 7.1.

    But that's not all: Logic comes with a big bunch of very good audio effect plug ins, each of them easy to use and with a quality that truly can compete with other professional plug in stuff like Waves, TC and all those others. The plug ins range from the traditional ones like dynamics, reverbs and EQs, through to a range of unique sound sculpting tools such as the Autofilter or Spectral Gate and mastering processors such as the Multiband Compressor and Limiter. We needed three test sessions to run all this stuff, but were not unhappy spending all that time at all in the end: Logic comes with a heavy box of effects, that gives you an awesome start. Very, very good.



    The effects system in Logic is fully automated. It offers you 8 sends to 16 busses, 8 inserts and 4 EQ's. Per audio track, that is! Wow, if that is not enough... The insert effects can be used on inputs, tracks, instruments, busses and outputs, including VST plug ins (Mac and PC) and DirectX effects (PC).

    But that's not all either. Emagic is well known for good virtual synthesizer stuff (Logic native or VST instruments), and three of them are now included with version 5.x. A monophonic ES M bass synthesizer, and the ES Ensemble and ES Poly, both polyphonic. A nice basic starting set to get you on the road with virtual instruments. A total of 32 virtual synthesizers, like ES2, EVP88, EXS24 or VST(2) instruments) can be hooked directly into the mixer of Logic for convenient access.


    * The three virtual synthesizers that come with Logic 5. Up left the ES Poly, on the right side the ES Ensemble, and at front in the middle the ES Mono.

    And even that is not all: through the ReWire technology you can use external instrument applications like Reason, Rebirth, or the Native Instruments series like Battery, FM7 or Absynth (reviewed elsewhere in this site).

    All this -provided your Macs processor can cope with it all- gives you enough building blocks for almost any kind of composition you may want to produce.

    Planning your midi setup.



    It -most of the time- is a hassle to connect your midi equipment to the software in a correct way. Logic has a built in toolkit that makes this difficult task a snap, so we found out. A kind of flowchart representation of your midi setup, where you can connect virtual and hardware midi gear in almost any thinkable combination. Very good. Of course you can save your setups.

    Have it your own way.

    What we found very strong is the fact that you can redefine the user interface exactly the way that suits you best. You can even save them in a set, up to a total of 60. This feature puts an end to struggles between audio engineers, that work with the same Mac, but all have their own preferences in screen layout. One click and your favorite interface set is active. Very good.

    Arranging any way you like.



    Basically most of the work you do in Logic is in the Arrange Window. Here is where you record and edit individual tracks (midi and audio), where basically -regarding the user interface- it does not matter if you work with midi or audio. The functional approach is the same in both cases, which makes Logic very intuitive to use. If e.g. you want to zoom in on to just one track, individual zooming per track is possible. That goes for both audio and midi. Mixing, re positioning, copying, muting, quantization of midi tracks, transposition: all needed functionality is there, making Logic a very well equipped toolbox. And best of all: you can do all this in real time, without the need to stop the sequencer. A nice time saver.

    Automating arranging and remixing.



    An absolute winner feature in Logic is the full automation you can bring into your production. It is called HyperDraw, and drawing is exactly what you do. Volume, panning, that kind of stuff, is done by drawing (the green and white lines you see in the mini screenshot above). We take some good explaining text from the Emagic website:

    " Automated parameters are displayed with full names and values for fast and optimal control over even the most complex automation situations. Every control movement can be intuitively recorded and edited using Read, Write, Latch and Touch modes , allowing realtime automated playback of all volume, pan, effects and instrument parameter movements. Supporting 32 Bit value resolutions, and offering sample-accurate precision, you are assured that your mix automation is smooth and exact.
    The result of your automated mix, including all tracks, live inputs, instruments and effects, can be mixed down to a single stereo file or multiple Surround files. This can benefit from the transparent POW-r dithering process, assuring that 24Bit/96kHz recordings retain their true sonic character even at 16Bit/44.1kHz CD resolution.
    "

    It took us a while before we got grip on all functionality here, but then discovered that the right use of this automation feature can be a huge time saver for your studio. And we've said this in earlier reviews: time is money in studios too, right?

    Individual track editing.

    Logic enables you to edit tracks at any desired individual level. Here is where you dig into a huge amount of menus, sub menus and icon buttons. And this is the part of Logic where a start without reading the manual will bring you nowhere. Specially these parts of Logic demand that you read the manual intensively for the best results. But when done so, the horizon is even further than your imagination can image, so to speak. I think it is best described as "you can turn and twist each and every audio and midi bit in an endless way". We mention the Matrix, Event List and Hyper Editor, the fully integrated Stereo Sample Editor, DSP tools like stretching and pitch shifting with formant correction. In the Mac environment, AudioSuite and Premiere format plug ins are applicable as well. Great.

    Audio specs.

    The audio specs of Logic 5 are impressive. It supports 24 bit recording plus sample rates of up to 96 KHz. Further more: REX2 full support so you can exchange data with the ReCycle software by Propellerhead. Audio scrubbing with any audio hardware. OMNI file compatibility, handy for those of you who work with AVID and ProTools. OpenTL compatibility for data exchange with Tascam hard disk recorders. By default, Logic records in SD II format, but if you prefer to work with AIFF or WAV, that's possible to.

    Score.

    Extensive score functionality enables you to work"the classic way". If you're in the composing business and need to publish in score what you've created, Logic is the environment to go for. The big advantage is of course the full integration with the midi environment. We again take some text from the Emagic website as it explains very clearly what the Score Editor can do for you:

    "
    The Score window is a MIDI editor that displays traditional music notation. It also provides layout functions which make it possible to create professional score printouts quickly and easily. Logic's interpretation converts MIDI recordings to clear and legible sheet music in realtime, without changing the original performance. Notation can be edited with or without affecting the MIDI data. Score Styles offer immediate changes to the display of each sequence according to preset or user-defined staff formats. Note colors make parts in polyphonic score styles more legible. Instrument Sets allow you to save and print the entire score, individual parts or any desired combination of instruments used in the composition. The new step input allows the computer keyboard to be used as a note typewriter. As further features: Vast range of notation symbols, optional use of 3rd-party fonts (Sonata, Jazz, Swing fonts), fast lyric input aligned to notes, voice separation tool for polyphonic parts, graphic export of any desired part of a page, automatic guitar tablature and drum notation, individual editing of notehead size and stem length, individual staff indents, cross-staff beaming, notation of alias sequences."

    We did not extensively test this feature, as it is not the kind of work we tend to do at AudioMac.net. But from what we've seen we believe this feature can be of great help when you're a serious composer that has to deal with e.g. real life musicians.

    What else?

    What else can we tell you about our findings during about two weeks of intensive testing this software. The user interface "feels" good, so to speak. All menus and buttons react smooth and quickly, no irritating delays. The screen layouts are OK. The menus may be somewhat confusing at start, but the logic comes quickly (after reading the manual ;-).

    What we liked very much too is the Midi Step Input. You can arrange and compose using this module, where a large amount of key commands give you control over almost any aspect of step composing. In most software, step editing can be done while drawing with a pencil tool in a track. Ever did that? Then you know this method works, but is not too convenient. How many misdrawings did you make you had to correct afterwards? Ha, tell me about it... In Logic, you can either use a mini keyboard with corresponding button commands for velocity, length etc. Or you use the key commands, a total of 48. There are commands for any needed midi activity, and you can combine them in your composition any way you like. A specials key lets you switch between single note mode and chord mode. Very handy. All key commands for step input are even user definable, if you like. A strong tool.

    Oh, yeah, the localized menus. In the Preferences you can define your preferred language for the user interface: English, Italian, French, German, Dutch, Spanish, Norwegian and even Japanese are present. The help function remains English at all times. Of course the Dutch choice appealed to us very much: most audio software is not available in our native tongue. Thanks guys, we appreciate that.

    Rating Logic 5 Platinum.

    I could write a long conclusion text here, explaining why we gave a high rating for Logic Audio Platinum. I do not: I just give the plain
    10 straight away. This software is so good, so complete, so professional, that it hardly leaves anything to wish for when it comes to digital audio recording and music composing. It's complete, elegant to use, well documented, brings good quality, but -yes- a bit hard to learn. I like nice cars, and compare Logic with the classes of Audi TT or Audi A8. Total quality. Maybe the only drawback for now is that Mac OS X is not supported in this version. But: Emagic is working hard on an OS X version, although a release date was not given on Emagics website on the day we published this review. Basically I just miss one tiny function that would make Logic totally complete: a good quality built in MP3 convertor. For saving demo stuff or audio for the web.

    EMI 2|6 Multichanel Interface.



    And now something complete different: another peace of nifty hardware from Emagic: the EMI 2|6. Offering two channels in and six out, the EMI 2|6 brings true quality digitizing for the smaller studio setup. My testing studio is not that big, as you can see on the picture below. All stuff is packed into a studio room with the size of a baby bedroom, so if small equipment hits the market I'm very happy. The EMI 2|6 may be small in size, it's big in performance. It brings you two analog inputs, six analog outputs, and stereo SP/DIF in and out. The latency of the EMI 2|6 is very low, which makes it maybe the first USB I/O device that is truly workable with virtual instruments.


    * OK, we never did this before: a peek into a corner of our testing environment. The best corner so to speak. What you do not see is the total chaos of cables, boxes, computers, synths, manuals, software packages and software CDs in this testing studio. We show you the best cleaned part: the small area where I try to survive the total chaos around me. On top of my good old Roland D50 you see a blue box: the EMI 2|6. On the right my G4/500, at left my 9500/200. When you take a good look, you can spot my Quadra AV 660, famous for its very good analog digital conversion (for that time anyway). My mixing console is completely hidden behind the 9500/200. Very easy to reach.... ;-).

    On the front of the EMI 2|6 you see two switches (see picture below). The left one lets you select between between analog and digital input. The right one is for switching between internal and external clock reference. Green LEDS on the front top indicate your choice, plus power (a blue LED), sampling rate, signal presence for in and out, and an indication of I/O in 24-bit. For those of you that like to work with headphones like I mostly do, there is a rotary knob for headphones volume control at the right side of the front panel.


    * Close up of the EMI 2|6 on top of my good old Roland D50.

    The full power which resides in the EMI 2|6 (44.1/48/96 KHz with 24-bit audio quality) can only partly be deployed. Due to limitations of the present USB standard (bandwidth too small), recording and listening in 24-bit quality won't work on a Mac for now. When recording 24-bit, playback is in 16-bit. And when recording 16-bit, playback is in 24. Maybe in a next USB version the bandwidth will be good enough for full power: the EMI 2|6 is ready for that. In the mean time, the described limitation is mot a disaster: you can achieve very good results in both recordings modes. By the way: this goes for both Mac and PC. Yes, the EMI 2|6 will run in a Windows environment too, and here the 96 KHz option is no problem.

    New drivers for EMI 2|6 under OS 9.

    Emagic released the new EMI 2|6 Driver Version 2.0 for Mac OS 9.x. The update contains EASI, ASIO and SoundManager Driver. New in this version are: EASI Driver, significantly improved latency, improved behavior in external sync mode, support of 96kHz (2 Channels), automatic Switching from ASIO/EASI to SoundManager and vice versa, and Internal Improvements. Emagic recommends the use of Logic version 4.7.3 or higher when using the EMI 2|6. The driver update c=is free for registered users, and is available at the following URL:
    http://www.emagic.de/english/support/download/toolsmac.html

    EMI 2|6 and OS X

    Emagic has released a Firmware Loader, that let's you work with the EMI 2|6 under OS X. The driver is loaded automatically during startup of OS X and the loaded driver will remain in the EMI 2|6 as long as it is connected and powered. Once the firmware is loaded, the EMI 2|6 is fully available under OS X using the built in USB audio driver of OS X. You can choose the EMI 2|6 in the Sound System Preferences panel as your preferred audio system output. All signals from audio software, that works with the CoreAudio of OS X, will be played back via the channels 1 and 2 of the EMI. Furthermore, all audio applications that support the Mac OS X Core Audio architecture will be able to make use of the features of the EMI 2|6: 6 Output Channels, 24bit, all available sample rates and channel assignments. The actual settings depend on the capabilities of the host application. The Firmware Loader is free for registered users and can be downloaded at the following URL:
    http://www.emagic.de/english/support/download/toolsmac.html

    Rating the EMI 2|6.

    The video tape size blue box is -considering it's affordable pricing- wannahave for smaller studio setups and for on site recordings with e.g. a portable Mac or PC. The fact that 96 KHz won't work in the Mac environment (for now) could be considered as a serious drawback, but to my opinion it is not. The interface records with absolute clarity and feeds your Mac with a signal you can work with so to speak. AudioMac gives this box a nice and exact
    9.

    Addendum: New version Logic 5.2.

    During the test period, Emagic announced yet another update of Logic. Version 5.2. On 06-08-2002, shortly after we publishes the online review on version 5.1.3, a press release came in, announcing the upgrade download being available for registered users. We give you the text of the press release, so you can see what changes are in 5.2.

    Logic 5.2 offers a considerably extended feature set: additional audio routing possibilities through auxiliary channels, more audio tracks, improved track mixer, optimizations within the automation and further detailed changes. The new Logic version also provides owners of Emagic audio instruments and the Logic Control with several new features and optimizations, making this an essential release for all users.

    With this new version, individual outputs for VST2.0 and Emagic software instruments make a debut in Logic. Another innovation is a newly created plug-in, known as the I/O-insert, which is used to route the signals of external effect processors into individual channels via inserts. Also new is monitoring and pre-processing with plug-ins, as well as the ability to use busses and inputs as sidechain sources. Version 5.2 of Logic also offers hardware-independent realtime sample-rate conversion.

    The EXS24 now offers multiple outputs and can now import files stored in the Gigasampler format (.gig). Note that in order to play back long audio files, the EXS24 Virtual Sample Memory extension should be installed.

    The update is now available for all registered owners of Logic Platinum 5.0 Macintosh and Windows on the Emagic website as a free download (www.emagic.de/german/support/download/update.html).

    Logic Platinum 5.2 provides you with a plethora of new features in many different areas of the program a general overview can be found on the special Version 5.2 microsite (www.emagic.de/english/news/2002/logic52.html).

    All details of Version 5.2 are described in the file named "update info".


    Release information.

    Emagic sends us a list with information on the various updates since version 5.0.1. The list gives good info on added functions, etc.

    Pricing and downloads are available on the producers website:
    http://www.emagic.de/.


    All reviews in AudioMac.net are written by Peter J. Bloemendaal. All rights reserved.

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    22-09-2002