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April 2014

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review Apple's Logic Pro X S ound effects and music play an impor- tant role in making a movie more interesting and exciting, as we all know. A growing number of small-team (or even solo) documentary and indie-film shoot- ers are going it alone on extremely low bud- gets and for them, adding the right sound can be rather challenging — especially if they can't produce effects and music themselves. They can always buy sounds from online sound banks, but that's often less than ideal. It's also unnecessary, as both the big production stu- dio and the small one-man operation can be served by the same software solution: Logic Pro X. Apple's digital audio workstation even comes with audio loops that range from orchestral, to hip hop, to dubstep, to chillwave — all royalty free, and free with Logic. I work on a Mac and therefore have a natural affinity to most software Apple devel- ops. I've tried Premiere Pro and Avid Media Composer, but I just didn't feel at home. Home is Final Cut Pro X when it comes to NLEs. In the sound effect and music creation domain, home is Logic Pro X (and in both cases, "Studio" was the previous "home" before Apple tore down the building and erected a new one). Competing DAWs, like Avid ProTools and Propellerhead's Reason, are more or less alike in terms of basic functionality, but Logic Pro has a good number of unique capabilities that set it apart. The 85 plug-ins included with Logic give you an enormous palette of sounds and ways to shape them, and support for the well established Audio Unit plug-in protocol opens the door to thousands of alternative and more specialized options. Some of my favorite are those from iZotope. There's a reason for that. iZotope has one of the best sound dithering algorithms avail- able: MBit+. The company is an expert in sound processing and correction, and works together with some of the world's leading musicians to create unique plug-ins. Their products free your creativity and are a lot of fun to use, often coming with a generous number of presets you can build upon. For sound design, the combination of Logic Pro X and iZotope's Iris, Stutter Edit, Nectar 2, BreakTweaker and Trash 2 offers unparal- leled power. Visit the Post Website, where I go into detail on each of these tools. AUDIO FOR MOVIES Even without iZotope's plug-ins, you'll find Logic Pro X to have a number of plug-ins that allow you to "mangle" sounds or create more "sensible" effects, depending on your project's specific needs. One of the most useful and exciting plug- ins in Logic Pro X is what must be the best convolution reverb system available on the market: Space Designer. Space Designer isn't new to Logic Pro X, but it still stands tall above everything else. It can reproduce the sound characteristics of any room, not just by mimicking the room's audible quality with a synthesizer, but by actually taking a sample of the room with a microphone and then calcu- lating and recreating the reverb characteristics of that room. New to Logic Pro X is the ability to import XML files exported from FCP X. This actually imports the audio from the timeline for you to further process. When you're ready, you can export back to the XML file and load the updated file into FCP X. If you want to create music synchronized to a movie in Logic Pro X, you can also export the movie as a QuickTime file, then load the footage into Logic Pro X. You'll now end up with a sizable video window as well as the frames actually being shown in a dedicat- ed thumbnail track above the sound tracks. Furthermore, with Logic Pro X you can replace dialog in the audio editor — which also has pitch shifting and time stretching — and create punch-in recordings that seam- lessly integrate with the existing audio by way of crossfades and other sophisticated options. Logic includes a pro level virtual mixer with sophisticated routing options, multiple sends per channel, plug-in inserts, auxiliary channels, comprehensive automation features, and more. This gives you the tools necessary to mix and apply effects to all your effect, dialog, and music tracks. Logic can do complete end-to-end sur- round mixing and processing. The end-to-end designation that Logic supports allows a single mix channel to serve an eight-channel signal. The end-to-end designation also allows plug- ins to natively process all those channels. Logic also offers a multi-mono option that allows you to use non-surround plug-ins — such as the iZotope ones — in a surround mixing environment. Broadcast environments will miss CALM- compliant loudness meters, but Logic Pro X does come with a complete set of dynamics and metering plug-ins, so you still have the tools to keep your signals within limits. The Drummer and the drum kit is a new plug-in that takes the pain out of adding rhythm to your music. Drummer will drum unique rhythms for you, based on the virtual drummer you pick. Simple parameters let you control the relative loudness, complexity the drummer plays at different times, as well as the patterns and particular drums he plays. It's one of the great new features that set Logic Pro X apart from other DAWs. CONCLUSION I don't think there is anything else on the market that competes with Logic Pro X, unless perhaps you consider Avid ProTools, but the latter insists on the use of a dongle and integrates best with Avid's audio hard- ware, which I feel is inferior to the Apogee Digital audio interfaces with which Logic Pro X best integrates. VITAL STATS MANUFACTURER: Apple PRODUCT: Logic Pro X PRICE: $199.99 WEBSITE: Apple's low-cost DAW is packed with plug-ins. 56 Post • April 2014 By ErIk VLIETInck Skype: erikvlie

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