In the past week Apple has updated Logic Pro to version 10.8, adding in a number of interesting new features including the obligatory AI-powered functions. It’s taken us until now to realise the release had happened because of a rant point which we’ll save for the end of the article. For now, let’s stay positive and look at the new features Apple has packed in.
AI-based Mastering Assistant Plugin
As the pace of artificial intelligence in the music production sphere has gathered pace, it’s no surprise that, after announcements from FL Studio and Ableton Live – to name but two – that they’ve got the computer to input its brainpower onto proceedings, Apple wouldn’t be far behind.
The new Mastering Assistant effect plug-in is available in the stereo output channel of a project and analyses the audio, fine-tuning the sound through dynamic adjustments, frequency-balance corrections, and timbre enhancements.
A single audio sample can be transformed into a playable instrument using a variety of synthesis techniques, including granular, additive and spectral synthesis, opening the possibility of a wide range of sounds such as unique sound beds, pads, effects and rhythms.
Audio can be reshaped and reshuffled in real time, slicing audio, rearranging it, and adding scratching effects, with Beat Breaker. n addition to playing back slices in a different order, you can set the speed, direction, and volume with a given number of repeats for each slice.
Slip and Rotate tools
The Tools menu in the Tracks area and time-based editors now includes Slip and Rotate tools, which you can use to move content in audio and software instrument regions without moving the region boundaries.
Assuming you have a compatible audio interface, 32-bit audio recording allows for digital clipping to be removed by lowering the gain of the audio region, or increasing the gain without increasing the noise floor.
New Sound Packs
wo new sound packs are available: the Hybrid Textures sound pack contains 70 patches as well as over 80 Apple Loops featuring Sample Alchemy. The Vox Melodics sound pack contains a diverse collection of over 475 lyrical phrases, hooks, layered harmonies, FX and one-shots.
- Default region types
- Drummer and pattern regions on software instrument tracks
- Enhanced MIDI 2.0 support
- Hermode Tuning enhancements
- Accessibility enahncements
- Spatial audio support in All Files Browser
Logic Pro 10.8 is available as a free upgrade provided you have the correct operating system, which leads me on to a rant.
Apple seems to be accelerating the rate at which it requires the latest operating system (in this case Sonoma, v13.5) to be installed before the latest versions of its software can be installed.
I understand there are often minimum hardware requirements but it seems unfair to require such a recent operating system upgrade to be in place on a working system to get Logic Pro X to install and execute. I didn’t even get a notification that a new version was available, presumably as my system doesn’t currently meet the download criteria.
Many people (myself included) have not yet upgraded from Ventura or previous due to concerns over stability and compatibility. The first version of Sonoma only officially launched in September this year (2023) so it’s a very short time until lock in is enforced. Of course, one can happily continue to use the 10.7x branch of Logic Pro on older OSs, but if you want to try out the new features (and I really do) you have to bite the bullet and upgrade your machine.
I don’t like this kind of backhanded enforced upgrade. Yes, the OS is monetarily free but how free is it in terms of time spent upgrading and potentially troubleshooting? Ultimately, musicians producers and engineers (particularly professionals who rely on a stable operating environment for their livelihood) will need decide if the added features are worth making the jump so early onto a new system, which is only at a “point 1” (14.1.x) release at time of writing.
Of course, Sonoma also (officially) freezes out some not-that-old Macs, including some rather expensive pre-2019 Mac Pros and iMacs. I’d not be happy if I’d invested in that only four or five years ago and was already frozen out of the latest and greatest Logic Pro X.
Rant over. I can afford to make the upgrade. I wonder who else will? Could there be some jumping of ships to other, less rigid DAWs?