Logic 6 Apple
Pro Training Series
Logic 6 Professional Music
Creation and Audio Productionn
By Martin Sitter and Robert Brock, 2004
540 pages, $44.99 US
- What the Book is About
- By now we've had nearly a year
to get used to Garageband, Apple's entry-level music software. Like the rest of the
iLife suite, Garageband takes a topic that used to be the province of specialists
and makes it available to people who don't have specialist knowledge. Despite its
power and utility, Garageband has limitations for the serious musician. In particular,
Garageband can only record one stereo track at a time and can only have one MIDI
instrument connected at a time.
By contrast, music that you buy as a two-track stereo recording is usually assembled
from a number of single audio tracks - one microphone for each singer, one track
for each guitar, one or two for the bass, four or more for the drum kit. It's important
to be able to edit these tracks individually before mixing them down to stereo. Recording
all these tracks can be accomplished with specialist hardware such as hard disk recorders
and ADAT tape drives, but it's also possible to buy a device which connects all the
sound inputs to your computer via firewire for recording up to 8 simultaneous tracks
or via a PCI card for more than 8 tracks.
MIDI, which stands for Musical Instrument Digital Interface, is a protocol for connecting
musical instruments to computers so that the computer can record a performance and
play it back through the instrument. The instrument may be a keyboard, a rack-mounted
box with no keyboard or even a suitably equipped guitar, drum kit or wind controller.
It's possible to connect several of these instruments to a computer, and have the
computer instruct them all to play together.
So, for many years before the introduction of Garageband, there have been a number
of products which aim to satisfy professional and serious amateur musicians' needs
for a home studio. Emagic Logic was one such product which used to be available for
both Mac and PC. Apple bought Emagic, made Logic a Mac-only program and also did
something radical by repackaging it like Final Cut into two versions - an Express
version as a stripped-down first step up the ladder, and a Pro version with all the
bells and whistles added in.
While Logic beats Garageband in terms of functionality, Garageband is way ahead of
Logic in terms of usability and discoverability. Even with a good working knowledge
of music technology, Logic is perplexing and difficult to learn. The manual is readable
but seems to have been written by people who have forgotten what it's like to know
nothing about Logic. The most widely known problem for Logic novices is the Environment
setup which allows you to connect Logic to your other music gear. There's an autoload
song which seems to contain a lot of default settings that override everything you
try to do. Kill it and it will haunt you like the albatross from the Ancient Mariner.
The user interface of Logic 6 is also pretty non-standard for an Apple product. Little
things like pressing the spacebar to start and stop don't work. Mysterious icons
of telescopes with little arrows around them are used for zooming in and out. Logic
even appears to ignore what you do in Audio Midi setup.
- Target Audience
- The Apple Pro Training Series
books aim to prepare readers for Apple Pro certification exams in their chosen topics.
This book is the Apple Pro book for Logic 6.
The book covers Logic 6 Platinum, which turns out to be the version that was current
before the split into Logic 6 Express and Logic 6 Pro. Since that split, Apple has
upgraded both versions of Logic to 7. It's clear that a new edition of this book
ought to be in the pipeline and this particular edition would best suit people who
have not upgraded.
The book is well suited to people who are new to Logic, no matter how much experience
they may have of other music software and hardware; it is also intended to provide
shortcuts and tips for more experienced Logic users.
- What to Expect
- There are 16 chapters, an appendix
and a glossary as well as a CD-ROM.
The first chapters introduce the workspace, the transport controls and the editing
controls. Following those, there are chapters on setting up the MIDI and Audio environments
- the autoload song is also introduced here. Next, samples, tempo and non-destructive
editing with regions are covered. The later part of the book continues with arranging,
detailed MIDI editing, mixing, recording and surround sound. The appendix discusses
how Logic fits in with the other members of the Apple Pro suite - Final Cut Pro,
DVD Studio Pro and Shake. The glossary is a thoughtfully provided summary of digital
music's specialist jargon.
The CD-ROM contains a 30-day evaluation copy of Logic Platinum plus a number of tutorial
files. This turned out to be of limited value; you can't run any version of Logic
without a hardware usb dongle (a device the same size and shape as a flash drive
which contains a key to prevent piracy). The original deal was that you could get
a free dongle from the publisher after buying the book, but apparently these soon
ran out. We had installed our own copy of Logic Express and gotten some way into
trying to set up the environment when we obtained the book, so we were concerned
that installing anything else for an earlier version of Logic would mess up our poorly-understood
- The tone of the Apple Pro series
is much more sober than David Pogue's Missing Manuals. However as you get into this
book, the authors emerge as thorough, competent and knowledgeable, and they do manage
to sneak the odd humorous comment past the editors.
To quote from the introduction, the book is "based on the premise that a technical
book should be more than a tour of menus, commands, and windows - it should show
you how to actually use the application."
The authors hold to their promise throughout and explain the purpose of or reasoning
behind everything you are about to do. Although the early chapters are foundational,
the book is intended to be read piecemeal according to the interest of the reader.
Each chapter starts with a summary of what will be covered, including a time estimate,
and ends with a single page review of the key points. Within the chapters you will
find topics which start with concept-building explanations, then proceed via numbered
steps with frequent monochrome screen shots. The screen shots can be somewhat hard
to decipher as the text in the Logic windows and icons is often small and spidery
- but hey, that's what Logic is like in real life.
- Mac Guild Grade
- B+ (Great)
- Final Words
- This is a well-written and thorough
book which makes a hard-to use application for a complex purpose finally comprehensible.
Unfortunately this edition is now two releases out of date compared to the most current
version of Logic, and cannot cover recent developments like Express versus Pro versions
and the new compatibility with Garageband loops and Jam Packs. This lack of currency
is reflected in the Mac Guild Grade. It would be great to see a new version for Logic
7 in the near future.