Apple Logic Studio/Apogee GiO
Apple, apple.com; Apogee Electronics, apogeedigital.com
Logic Studio, $499.00; GiO, $395.00
Originally published in Guitar World, August 2010
Logic Studio is simple enough for beginners to navigate quickly, and it doesn’t sacrifice the power and precision pros demand.
For years, musicians looking for audio production software faced a choice between easy-to-use programs with limited capabilities and powerful, but complicated, packages that required lengthy tutorials just to get you up and running. Apple Logic Pro used to be in the last category, but with each new version Apple’s engineers have streamlined even the most advanced functions, making the software much easier to use without sacrificing power or versatility.
The latest version, Logic Pro 9—part of the Logic Studio bundle that includes MainStage 2, Soundtrack Pro 3, and a variety of virtual instruments, effects and loops—takes significant steps toward simplifying workflow. More than 200 new features were added to the latest version, including dozens that were developed specifically for guitarists. When used with Apogee’s new GiO USB guitar interface and controller, Logic Studio becomes an impressive all-in-one tool that can handle just about any function in the studio and onstage.
Some of Logic Pro 9’s new guitar-oriented features include the Amp Designer and Pedalboard plug-ins. Amp Designer has 25 amp models plus 25 modeled cabinets, five EQs, 10 reverbs and three mics. Pedalboard contains 30 modeled stomp boxes, up to 10 of which can be used simultaneously. The Apogee GiO controller allows hands-free switching between Amp Designer and Pedalboard setups, and you can even map parameters like wah sweep to the controller’s expression pedal input.
Another great new feature for guitarists—and one that is slightly outside the usual studio and live-performance role—is Logic’s expanded guitar notation tools. Logic can transform your MIDI performances into music notation and generate guitar tablature from a standard notation source, complete with symbols for hammer-ons, pulloffs and bends. A large library of chord grids is also included, and you can create your own chord grids.
Logic Pro 9 also makes it much easier to record and arrange multiple takes as well as edit and move regions. To comp multiple takes, simply highlight the desired sections from each; the software then performs smooth crossfades to make the compiled track sound like a single seamless take. A Track Notes function lets you save detailed notes about a track, such as what amp and mic combination was used or other important reminders that you don’t want to forget when working on a project in the future.
The Apogee GiO controller is a brilliantly conceived and executed companion to Logic. It features an elegant layout with five transport buttons, five “stomp box” function buttons, and Previous and Next preset-select buttons at the lowermost corners that enable hands-free and mouse-free operation of Logic. GiO has an instrument input with a preamp that provides optimal guitar signals, and Apogee’s legendary 44.1/48kHz 24-bit A/D and D/A converters provide true, professional sound quality. GiO is also compatible with MainStage 2 (included with the Logic Studio bundle) and GarageBand ’09.
While Logic's new guitar features are a valuable bonus, the real dealmaker is the program’s elegantly redesigned workflow. All editing tools and content browsers are now combined into a single window, allowing users to find desired features and functions instantly. Logic has never been easier to use, and experienced pros will appreciate how much more quickly the new layout allows them to perform any variety of tasks. Audio editing was a chore on previous versions, but now it’s seamlessly integrated into the workflow.
The Amp Designer models sound very dynamic and realistic. The Mini Tweed Combo and various British Stack models are particularly impressive, responding nicely to touch and generating sweet midrange that sits perfectly in a mix. The Pedalboard effects deliver the right balance of grit and fatness to compare favorably to “real world” stomp boxes while losing undesirable noise and artifacts.
The Apogee GiO provides true hands-free operation of most Logic and MainStage functions. GiO is an essential piece of hardware for guitarists that want to use Logic’s Amp Designer and Pedalboard plug-ins onstage, and it delivers excellent pro-quality sound.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Logic Studio is simple enough for beginners to navigate quickly, and it doesn’t sacrifice the power and precision pros demand. The new Amp Designer and Pedalboard plug-ins, along with the MainStage 2 software, make Logic Studio a great all-in-one solution for guitarists who want a powerful tool that’s as home onstage as it is in the studio, especially when paired with the Apogee GiO controller/interface.
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