Taking Logic Pro X 10.1 for a Ride

by Nikolozi Meladze

Yesterday Apple released Logic Pro X 10.1, just in time for this year’s NAMM show. The last update (10.0.7) was over 8 months ago. The developers must have been working on new features during this time. This release doesn’t disappoint. Well, sort of.

I can safely say that my automation feature wish list for Logic Pro X is now complete. The Automation by Region has to be the new feature I'm most excited about. Automation can now be attached to a region. So, when you move a region all associated automaton will move with it. If you repeat a region the automation will do the same. The way I like to work is that all timeline events should belong to regions, whether it's automation, MIDI or audio. So, when you move a region all events in the region’s timeline range should move with it.

In addition to this, we now have Trim and Relative Automation modes. Trim mode lets you reshape previously recorded or drawn automation curves. But, personally, I find the Relative mode more useful for my needs. For instance, in this mode, you can have mixer faders automated and still be able to change the overall volume by moving the fader. There’s no need to adjust its automation curves, because they are relative to the fader's set position. I no longer need to insert the Gain plug-in to work around the problem. Note that Trim and Relative modes only work on Volume, Pan and Send levels and not on plug-in parameters. But that’s OK, as these modes are most useful for the mixer parameters.

The next new cool feature is the Drum Machine. I tested some of the presets and I have to admit, whoever did the sound design for it did a fantastic job. They sound amazing and ready to be used in your tracks. Though, I was hoping for an Ultrabeat facelift.

Speaking of facelifts, Compressor got a brand new retina ready interface. It’s beautifully skeuomorphic. It is an FX plug-in I use the most along with the Channel EQ. So, this is a very welcome update. The gain reduction history display looks great and is very useful. Unfortunately, this is the only Logic plug-in that got a retina display update. There are many more that require similar UI overhaul. But the Compressor update gives hope that they will all get their turn eventually.

If you love wavetable synthesis Retro Synth just became more attractive. It can now create wavetables from imported audio. Designed a great tone that you want to convert into an instrument and mangle with it more? You can simply render it in place and then drag and drop the rendered file from the file browser onto the synth. The Retro synth is not packed with features like the other complex plug-ins, but its simplicity is what makes it inviting.

Finally, you can now organise plug-ins in folders. Not a huge feature, but it will speed up your workflow. You don’t want your favourite plug-ins to be listed along the other 10 you don’t use. That’s just too much scrolling.

There are a lot more new features, including the Logic Remote update. You can learn more about them on Logic’s What’s New page. There you will also find feature demo videos. CDM has a nice overview. And if you have 2 hours to kill why not read the full release notes?

One last thing, the reason I said ‘sort of’ at the beginning of the post is because the bug I wanted to be fixed the most is still not squashed. The arrange view zooming is still terrible on retina display Macs. All you have to do is launch Logic in Low Resolution mode to see how fast and smooth zooming should be.