When I first launched LPX the software asked me if I was a
new or experienced user. I chose “experienced,” which should have
enabled the entire interface, advanced features included. However, LPX
launched in the “newbie” mode, but this was a glitch. Foe example, with Advanced Tools turned off I found
that I couldn’t enter tempi with a decimal place. When I tried entering a
tempo of 126.4 bpm, the simplified transport interpreted the entry as
1,264 bpm! [UPDATE: As we saw that the Advanced Tools were hidden, we naturally inferred that new user mode was the cause of this. However, upon testing with a clean install on a new iMac at Keyboard central, we found that the new/experienced user dialogue only determines whether to point you to a "What's New" document and has no effect on whether Advanced Tools are shown or hidden. By default, they're shown, which is the correct behavior. --Ed.]
Once I enabled “Show Advanced Tools” from the Advanced
Preferences options, however, I was in business. You can see a preview
of what gets hidden with Advanced Tools turned off in Figure 1, below.
|Fig. 1. Much of Logic’s feature set can be hidden to make things simpler for new users. Top: The new Navigate menu with Advanced Tools disabled. Bottom: The same menu with Advanced Tools turned on.
Another goal Apple had was to make Logic more, well . . .
logical. To this end, the names of certain features, menus and windows
have been changed to be clearer and immediately intuitive. The Arrange
window, where audio and MIDI track regions are laid out horizontally in
typical linear fashion, is now simply called the Track window (duh).
Basic record settings such as metronome count-in and MIDI cycle record
options are now organized under the new Record menu (double duh).
Most of the interface changes make a lot of sense and
generally improve workflow. There’s less need for modifier
keys—bypassing and moving plug-ins can be done by clicking and dragging
as there’s no need to use the Option or Command keys in tandem. A darker
background color scheme combined with brighter foreground colors
provides better visual feedback. (It’s easier to see the cycle area,
muted regions, and the solo/mute states of tracks, for example.) The
transport, previously positioned along the bottom, is now along the top,
thereby eliminating the risk of accidentally clicking in the OS X
Accessing instrument presets is now done on the left-hand
side of the screen via the new Library Browser. Browsing instrument
presets used to be done from the right-hand side, but the instrument
plug-ins themselves were shown on the left in the dual channel strip
Inspector pane. This was always a bit of a disconnect for a lot of
people, but won’t be now.
As I browsed through the new Patch Library (more on this
later) I couldn’t help but notice the generously sized and detailed
graphic representations of the source instruments. Facsimiles of various
classic synths from Waldorf, Moog, Yamaha, and others are displayed to
imply the sound source currently loaded. It’s great eye candy, and you can size the icons smaller or hide them entirely.
Some of the new onscreen areas—the aforementioned Patch
Library browser and the Smart Controls window, in particular — eat up a
fair amount of screen real estate. I found that on my 27" screen the
interface quickly became crowded, leaving little room for me to actually
see my tracks. Maybe this gives me the perfect excuse to upgrade to
A nice touch that new and existing users alike should
appreciate is the Quick Help feature. It shows the name and function of
whatever you hover the mouse over. I found this to be a great way to
short-cut my learning curve during the review. Overall, seasoned Logic
users should have little difficulty adjusting to the interface and new
users should have a much easier time getting up to speed compared to