January 2016 saw the release of Apple’s Logic Pro X 10.2.1 and I, for one, wanted to know if there was anything worth writing home about. The latest update has a few key changes, including new sounds, workflow additions, performance improvements and aesthetic revamps.
New multi-threading feature to improve CPU performance
Apple introduced 'Live Mode' almost a decade ago, which enabled us to run more plugins and software instruments simultaneously. It worked by sending armed tracks to a separate core, thereby spreading the processing. However, when multiple complex tracks were armed, the single core could become overloaded. If you have a smaller/older machine and still rely on Live Mode, you may find that performance has been significantly improved with the latest update to Logic Pro X.
Improvements for Alchemy
Perhaps the most anticipated update to Logic Pro X last year was the addition of the Alchemy synthesizer to the program (thank you Camel Audio). This time around, you can now drag and drop Apple Loops straight into Alchemy and they will automatically conform to the project tempo - nice. With over 600 new Apple loops available, that's a lot of potential. Looking to add a new loop to your collection? Simply hit the download icon and add it to your library. It’s now an absolute breeze to grow your loop arsenal in Logic Pro X.
New beat groupings for metronome
Apple has answered many requests with the addition of beat groupings as well. A new metronome option means that accents can be generated according to the beat grouping of the current time signature. What does this mean in real terms? For projects that feature more than one time signature, we can change the metronome settings and get rid of 1/8 notes when they’re unwanted (which can be really annoying if you're a composer, especially for film). Easily set your preferred metronome at Project Settings>Group>Beat. Enter the group beat you want to try and enjoy.
All-new look to old Logic Pro X stock plugins
Another refreshing new feature is the redesign of roughly 30 stock plugins. While previous versions of this program used grainy, low-res plugins that didn’t scale well, the latest update includes several that harness the power of Apple’s retina display. Updated plugins in Logic Pro X 10.2.1 include:
- Stereo Delay
- Tape Delay
- Sample Delay
- Clip Distortion
- Phase Distortion
- Adaptive Limiter
- Single Band EQ
- Test Oscillator
- Correlation Meter
- Surround Level Meter
- Surround Limiter
- Binaural Post-Processing
These plugins scale beautifully while remaining perfectly clear, making them even easier on the eyes for those of us who spend an unhealthy number of hours staring at them. Some of these plugs have also received updated features too. The downside here is that only the above plugins were redesigned, leaving dozens more untouched - fingers crossed these changes are rolled out across the board in Logic Pro X throughout 2016.
Exports made even easier
'Export Track as Audio File' was a greatly appreciated update when it was added a couple of years ago, but we only had two options: export a single track, or all of them at once - not a great deal of flexibility. Logic Pro X 10.2.1 now supports the export of multiple tracks at once, an addition we can all be thankful for. Similarly, 'Bounce Tracks in Place' also allows multiple selected track functionality. Stem mixes just got a whole lot easier.
Drum Designer gets sample savvy
Logic Pro X Drum Designer now also supports drag-and-drop of multiple samples at once, allowing producers to build their own custom drum machine in a snap. Simply drag and drop any of your samples and sculpt to your heart's content.
Lane Set provides another perspective
For producers who prefer a visual breakdown of a project they’re working on, the latest update offers a 'Lane Set' feature in the Step Editor. Lane Set allows you to see all the content of each region in your project at a glance, with easy-to-identify (you guessed it) 'lanes', giving you a bird’s eye view of the project from start to finish.
Hide empty tracks
A key command has been introduced to hide all empty tracks (those without regions or automation content) at once - BOOM! Really handy, especially if you're working with templates. Just remember to assign it in the preferences!
These are just a few of the new updates available with Logic Pro X 10.2.1 update. While we wait for what the next major update will bring, at least there's a fair chunk of new content for us to explore in the meantime, as well as some ever-so-welcome bug fixes! Check out Apple's overview for an extensive list.
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