Logic Pro X 10.4 Update Explained - Eli Krantzberg - Interview

Logic Pro X 10.4 Update Explained - Eli Krantzberg - Interview

Hey guys. In this episode I’d like to introduce you to the great Eli Krantzberg. Best known as one of the most prolific authors we have over at Groove3.com.

Eli Krantzberg is an internationally known author and music software trainer. His instructional videos have helped demystify music software such as Logic, Pro Tools, Sonar, BFD, Melodyne, and Kontakt for thousands of users all over the world.

I interviewed him for this article about his newest title “Logic Pro X 10.4 Update Explained®” which is available at Groove3.com right now.

So I hear you just finished a tutorial or an explained tutorial on the newest version of Apple Logic. Can you go into a bit of detail about what’s new? What’s great? What have we all been waiting for?

There is lots that's new. Lot’s that’s great. And lots that we have been waiting for :-)  Let’s start with what’s new.

There are two new fantastic sounding multi FX plug-ins brought over from Camel Audio (you’ll recall Apple bought them out a couple of years ago). Phat FX is a great swiss army knife multi-FX plug-in. It’s got extensive LFO and Envelope Follow based modulation built it. So it’s fantastic for modulating their great sounding Camel Audio filters. I love its bandpass filter in particular. It’s a separate module that has a great feature whereby what is being filtered out can still be sent down the line for serial processing by the other modules.  

But my favorite secret weapon in this plug-in is its distortion algorithms. I love turning everything off except the Vari-Drive and Soft Saturation, and just using those two to add a really nice subtle and warm sounding saturation to an audio track.

Seriously, I think this may be the single biggest hidden gem, as far as mixing at least, in this Logic update. The other new multi-FX plug-in is Step FX. This one features extensive step sequencer-style modulation. So, it’s fantastic for creating arpeggiated style effects.

The two new instruments Studio Horns and Studio Strings also sound fantastic. And they feature a brand new articulation handling system that works as well with third-party libraries as it does with Logic’s own built-in instruments.

It’s actually hard to separate what’s new and what’s great :-) So far everything I’ve mentioned can be described as both new AND great :-) Speaking of new and great combined, Smart Tempo is the feature none of us knew we needed until now. It is a seriously fantastic new method of tempo analysis of recorded or imported audio. You can record free of any time reference and Logic will create a tempo map based on your performance. or, you can record freely and have Logic make it conform to your project tempo. Same thing for imported audio. And that’s just scratching the surface of what it can do!

And what have we been waiting for that is finally here? A newly imagined and streamlined approach to Logic’s Automation. MIDI Draw, which was fantastic in its day, has finally been consolidated into the Region Automation feature set. We can now finally create and edit track or region automation in the MIDI editors. The new AutoSelect function also makes the whole automation workflow more streamlined now. With the help of a couple of newly minted key commands, its also now super easy to work with multiple automation parameters all from a single visible automation lane.

We’ve also been waiting for an update to Logic’s built-in algorithmic reverb. The old PlatinumVerb is from a different generation of processing power. Now we have a completely redesigned algorithmic reverb, ChromaVerb. And it sounds absolutely stellar. I think it will give a lot of third-party algorithmic reverb developers a good run for their money.

There are also three new fantastic sounding vintage EQ emulation plug-ins that will definitely give third-party developers a run for their money. Pultech, API, and Neve emulations all live right inside Logic now. And they are really really sweet sounding!

And of course, there’s lots more! :-)

Out of all the ones you mentioned, is there any particular feature that sticks out as being the most helpful to you personally?

Personally, I am loving the new Studio Horns.  I’m not a super strong keyboard player, and so depending on the tempo, often don’t take full advantage of real-time key switching features when I am recording in horn parts. With Logic’s new articulation implementation it’s easy to get the best of both worlds. Key switching (any CC message actually) is there, fully editable, and easy to use. But more importantly for me, it’s dead easy to switch articulations on a note by note basis in the MIDI editors.

I’m also loving ChromaVerb. I’ve been using it for drum room reverb, and love the way the dampening frequencies can be adjusted to create a really dark warm room sound. I hate hearing snares and hi-hats “splat” all over virtual walls. It’s often hard to tame those harsh upper mids. Not so with ChromaVerb. Simply dampen the signal before it’s fed into the reverb!

Is there any feature or change that makes this version easier (or harder) for newer users?

Yes, Smart Tempo. It makes it both easier AND harder. I know that sounds mysterious. And I suspect a lot of users may initially find Smart Tempo mysterious to use at first. I think a lot of people will check it out and go “wow, that is super cool!”, and then proceed to never use it. It may take a bit of time for seasoned users to adjust their mindset to embracing it. But it is worth it, once you figure out how to best integrate its various features with your own production style and workflow.

Do you feel that you would have done any of these changes any differently or do you look forward to any changes in a future version?

That’s a difficult question to answer. I’m not a developer and don’t know what is involved in the coding of these new features. One thing that I am hoping for though is with regards to Smart Tempo. As it is now, it is only designed to work when recording single audio files. There is a workaround to using it on multi-tracked audio once it is in your project, which I show in one of my Smart Tempo videos. But I am hoping that eventually there will be dedicated multi-track support for newly recorded audio, as well as MIDI support. Imagine playing in freely from a MIDI keyboard and getting a tempo map created for you once you finish!

Can you discuss the differences between this newest version and any of the earlier versions? Or even the first version of Logic that you ever used?

I’ve been using Logic since version 1.1 in 1992. So, discussing its evolution since then would require a dissertation! One thing is certain though, this is a direct continuation of Logic 10.3.x. The interface hasn’t changed, and you can continue working exactly as you have been. Smart Tempo is easy to turn off. There are tons of great feature enhancements and improvements, but they are all continuations of the path Logic started on with Logic Pro X in 2013. A couple of not insignificant workflow features: we now have mixer and plug-in undo support, flex time has been enhanced with some new algorithms that interact with Smart Tempo, there are a couple of new really nice “brush” drummers.

Would you say that this version is a must have?

For anyone using Logic 10.3.x, absolutely. There is no reason not to upgrade to this version unless your computer can’t handle the minimum OS requirements. With this update, Logic requires Sierra or higher. So a lot of users might need to upgrade their OS. And for some users, that might even necessitate changing their computer hardware. But it can be convincingly argued that, for what you get with Logic 10.4, it might be worth it for some users to upgrade their Mac. Of course, every user is different, and everyone’s situation is different, but there is no question that this is a huge value added update to Logic.

What type of user do you see this version benefitting the most?

You know, ever since Apple bought Logic in July of 2002, they have done incredibly in terms of straddling that divide between addressing the needs of pro users versus more casual users. And this update is no different. The new instruments and effects are something users of all levels will love and enjoy. The tweaks to automation, mixer undo, key commands, the new file tempo editor, the new articulation editor, are squarely aimed at pro users.

Smart Tempo is, I think a great example of how Apple straddles the divide. It is on one hand meant to be incredibly easy to simply record, and have Logic calculate your tempo. But it is also designed for sophisticated tempo track editing where you have to move different elements around in your timeline. It’s also a complete re-think of the older Beat Mapping routines for getting project tempo to conform to your audio. These are features that I think pro users will embrace and love wholeheartedly.

So basically, everyone wins! I can’t imagine there will be users unhappy with this update, whining about what they didn’t get. There are lots of goodies and surprises in here that none of us were expecting, but that enhance the quality of our time we spend sitting in front of our computers making music.

Thanks Eli. I can’t thank you enough for taking the time to let us know about all these great new things in Logic Pro X 10.4.

Once again, you can get your own copy of “Logic Pro X 10.4 Update Explained®” over at groove3.com right now.

Here is a sample - https://youtu.be/lDbQlctegl8


Kenny Gioia