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:
Review Logic Audio
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
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?
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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:
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 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
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
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
* 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
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:
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:
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
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
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".
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:
All reviews in AudioMac.net are written by Peter
J. Bloemendaal. All rights reserved.
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