My Favourite Logic Pro X Features in v10.4.5

David Earl running a demo of Logic Pro X — Photo by Apple

One Thousand

The most publicised feature for this free update is the compatibility with the upcoming Mac Pro, along with the increased number of tracks and channels as shown at the recent WWDC:

  • 1000 stereo audio channel strips
  • 1000 software instrument channel strips
  • 1000 auxiliary channel strips
  • 1000 external MIDI tracks
  • 12 sends per channel strip

I might enjoy the 12 sends per channel strip; however, I’ve no intention of upgrading my current machine anytime soon (surely not to a Mac Pro).

Also, I’m not sure I’ve met anyone in need of those many tracks/channels. I suspect this might be Apple poking fun at Pro Tools’ recent upgrade.

My Rundown

This article is subjective to my workflow and the kind of music I work with, so bear this in mind. I’m not going to go deep into Piano roll or MIDI improvements, as I use these things sparsely.

I’m a sucker for optimising the time I spend with software tools, and faster workflows are my bread and butter. I believe the best features in Logic 10.4.5 are in those realms.

Performance

The first thing I noticed is how faster the software launches. Wasn’t expecting what came next.

My sessions aren’t exactly huge, but I often get to 120/140 tracks, including busses. Many sends and plugins usually add time for a project to load. I tried to open one of the last songs I worked on, and it was there in a split second.

The mixer shows up instantly (I go back and forth between the track area and the mixer using ⌘1 and ⌘2, respectively), and the horizontal scrolling from left to right feels way snappier.

A little annoyance that got squashed is the short unresponsiveness when moving a plug-in up or down the chain while playing.

Now, to the list:

Only Load Plug-ins When Needed

This is a new project setting:

Project settings > General

This is the single feature that allows my template to get up and running in a fraction of a second, since I have no regions to start with.

Toggle to Load/Unload all the Plug-ins

Option-click on the on/off button in the track area will disable or enable all the plug-ins with a single click. I often keep old alternative tracks or different takes in the track area, switched off, so this will free system resources.

First is a regular click, second, the option-click.

Start Playback Wherever You Want

I do this all the time through the marquee tool, although I suppose I could get used to this new method.

Shift-double-click in the background of the track area to start playing from there. If the song is already going, just shift-click will suffice.

Redesigned and Improved Plug-ins

If you use the stock plug-ins for these things, DeEsser (now called DeEsser 2) and Expander have been redesigned and improved.

The new DeEsser 2
The new Expander

Store a Mixer Configuration as User Default

It might sound minor, but it’s a welcomed new feature for me. Again, it speeds up my work, especially when I’m starting a session from an empty template. This happens quite often, whether I’m testing instruments or plug-ins, writing new music or just recording ideas with my bass(es).

These are not my actual user defaults

More Apple Loops At Once

Multiple loops can be drag-and-dropped into a project simultaneously. Admittedly, this is new to me, since I rarely use Apple loops. However, I’m about to start building my library, out of old recordings and one-shots. Also, when I used to compose with Propellerheads’ Reason, I accumulated quite a lot of .rx2 files.

Bonus: it is now possible to drag more than one folder simultaneously into the Untagged Loops browser. Again: great if you’re building a personal library.

RX2 Files

Since I just mentioned them, it is now possible to drag .rx2 files directly into the Untagged Loops folder. If you have a collection of these, it’ll be pretty easy and fast to build a library in Logic.

Auto-erase Duplicates

The new option “Auto-erase Duplicates” removes duplicate MIDI notes at the same playback position when merging recording MIDI in cycle mode.

Project settings > Recording

Freeze!

Freezing a track now unloads its plug-ins to free up resources. It’s very much self-explanatory (and much needed for all the folks without a Mac Pro).

Create Marker by Cycle Area

As mentioned earlier, everything that might speed up my workflow is a great addition. Introducing a new key command:

Yes, that is my key command

Save As Defaults to the Current Project Type

Another little one that is way bigger than it sounds.

Since I’m old school, I keep “saving as” for backups or whatever compulsion I have about backups and versioning. Now, it always defaults to the current project type (Package vs. Folder).

Where’s the big deal? I always work with folders, but often want to save backups or important versions as packages. This makes things easier for me, and faster. Also, my disks are less cluttered: I rarely need to crawl into single audio files of my backups.

Overlay Showing Position When Scrolling

I’m not sure about this, but I suspect I’ll appreciate it more once I go back to production.

It’s a new preference to display an overlay showing position when scrolling horizontally along the timeline, and track number when scrolling vertically in the track list.

General preferences > Display > Tracks
The overlay

More Redesigns

The interface of Ringshifter and Sculpture have been brought to a larger design resolution.

Since I’m not a fan of flat design for music software, I welcome this. I wonder if this shouldn’t have been the direction since day one, instead of inflicting all the boring stock plug-ins black-and-blue redesigns. Just my two cents, not that big a deal.

Conclusion

I haven’t checked any of the flex time & pitch improvements yet. Also, I’ve never needed to use smart tempo, so I’m not sure of the updates related to it.

If you want to go through the complete list of updates and improvements, here’s the link.

Stay In Touch & Connect

Producer, sound designer and web developer. Released the album ‘After 1989: A Trip To Freedom’ about a real-life story between two wars. Game audio enthusiast.

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Simone Silvestroni

Simone Silvestroni

Producer, sound designer and web developer. Released the album ‘After 1989: A Trip To Freedom’ about a real-life story between two wars. Game audio enthusiast.

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