June 24, 2011

The End Is Nigh...

by Chris Randall

The recent hubbub over Final Cut X (which you're no doubt familiar with, but if you aren't, Tom Ellard's highlights here and a funny but informative bit from Conan O'Brian here) is kind of silly. It's like standing on the train tracks, watching a train coming straight at you, and saying "there's no fucking way that train's gonna hit me." They showed it at NAB a couple months ago, and all the pros had a look at it. They knew what was coming, but they're all "there's no way they'd release that. It's just iMovie Pro!"

Newsflash: Apple don't care. Apple don't give a shit.

Ironically, for the kind of video stuff I do, which is of the "line up an audio track with a single video file, and shit it to YouTube" variety, Final Cut X is remarkably well kitted. I tried to use Final Cut Express for a couple months, and eventually pitched it for iMovie. Apple realizes that there are a lot more people out there like me (video-wise) than there are people that edit feature films. They'd like to make some money, please. Enter Final Cut X.

The thing to watch out for (and down the road when it happens, I'll reference this post as an I-Told-You-So) is this: Logic Pro is managed by the same group at Apple as Final Cut Pro; the Pro Applications group. This is the group of managerial types who most assuredly don't work in the media professions any more, and haven't for years. They're the group that thought making a "pro" version of iMovie and replacing the top-of-the-line video editing software with it was a good idea.

What do you think that bodes for Logic? Logic / Garageband has exactly the same pro:hobbyist footprint as Final Cut Pro / iMovie, and is managed by the same people. Pretty simple math there.

If you're a professional user, I'd strongly suggest taking a serious look at the other top-line DAWs: ProTools 9 and Cubase 6. I would, for obvious personal reasons, recommend the latter. It is a mostly lateral move from Logic Pro, features-wise. I'm not saying it's time to jump ship. I haven't heard anything more than you have. I am, however, deeply ingrained in the music software business, as you know, and have been for some time. You can smell these cycles.

Or don't bother, and when Logic X comes out and doesn't have a mixer, you can come back to this post, wherein I say I told you so.


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Jun.28.2011 @ 8:21 PM
I'm with boobs.

Jun.28.2011 @ 8:22 PM
Damnit! The "I'm with boobs" button is a little too close to the first/previous links. That last post was a total misclick. My bad.

Jun.28.2011 @ 10:19 PM
..on a lighter note I just stuck Goldbaby's new library WADRA 2 in pipe and smoked it....get dat shit...

Jun.29.2011 @ 12:11 AM
I have no dislike for Steinberg & Cubase, but if the Pro Apps/Logic team were to pull in 3rd party devs to work in their native tools at even half the rate of Steinberg one can only imagine where Logic would be.

For built in UI in a DAW I'll probably fall on the side of Live, even with the buggy year or so that v8 has had (until recently). Minimalist, vector, usable and not obtrusive. If PDC was more reliable, automation lanes a bit more flexible in their views and Max4Live still not such a kludge I could even replace Logic with it (as it is it makes a great sampler & plugin host alongside Logic).

Maybe Studio One for it's workflow has an honorable mention but that's mostly for the actual UI of the app and how it works, not for the GUI on the plugins.

Jun.29.2011 @ 12:39 AM
is live any good at sequencing external midi gear and doing in depth midi things? sysex, midi event editing and all that??? i've never bothered with it for sequencing hardware. whenever i use it it's for an all in the box kind of thing or for capturing jam session or doing DSP stuff during jam sessions.

Live is a great for a million little/big reasons .but i'd never make it my only DAW. i can't mix in it. once in a while i can but usually it comes out sounding good by some accident or because the track i'm working on is a massive editing/automation/routing frenzy and all the DSP sort of makes the mix happen. otherwise i need Logic to mix in.

and no matter what anyone tells me.. live's summing bus doesn't sound as good as other DAWs. logic wins over it every time even just loading up the tracks at same volume w/o eq/compression etc. it's really kind of amazing. if i export all the tracks from live and pull them into logic and set the faders at 0 (which is where they'd be anyways since all the volume etc automation in Live was written into the exported files) logic just sounds way better. the air up there especially. and i don't really know why it's that way though i've read some things from some apparently smart people who boil it down to how busy your mix is and how many tracks, plug ins etc you are using in live.. that eventually it kind of becomes a pot that is boiling over.

Jun.29.2011 @ 3:40 AM
I agree, I can't mix in Live either, at least not in the tradional DAW sense. I rely too much on Logic's bag of tricks these days for that. Namely converting between what I used to call OBA & TBA or I think Logic now calls Track Automation and Object Automation (drop the, Based), duplicating track objects so I can have multiples of the same thing dedicated to viewing certain automation types, and easily expanded & contracted to 'subviews' of those lanes (related parameters) with a keybind etc etc.

However 'mixing' in Live is more of a live affair, hence the proliferation of controllers for it now. If I use my APC40 I can just sit there and jam, record the results into the timeline and edit at will to grab the good sections and weed out the crap. A different workflow with different results, but it still works well for me in tandem with Logic since I've always used Live as a loop tool and sampler by triggering individual clips by notes sent from Logic (unquantized is the trick here so it ignores Live's timeline but adheres to tempo). I can just record the results into Logic as audio, record the automation into Live's timeline as I jam, or both.

Truthfully, for external gear & live Midi timing went to shit somehow a while back. Your note-to-note or event-to-event timing is fine within the midi clip or relative to other clips UNTIL the clip retriggers. It was pointed out to me that the start of clip point varies by a few dozen ms or more so overall the events in the clip will shift slightly in time relative to the overall timebase, but the individual bits will still have their same relative timing/groove intact. So you work around it by layering within the same event/drum racks/trigger multiple things in your external gear by the same event (say layered drum hits in a sampler or MD) rather than multiple clips. Audio seems fine in this regard, and when I do live stuff I tend to do a lot of my drum work in straight audio so I didn't notice it until it was pointed out to me. That's supposedly being resolved in the 8.2.2bX (betas) but I have yet to confirm that.

Jun.29.2011 @ 3:41 AM
(Chris, can I request an edit button available for a few seconds after I post? My typing at night is atrocious and the record here stands!)

Jun.29.2011 @ 6:48 AM
Forgot to add 2 things, my interest in Live has increased tremendously as of Max4Live. I have several uses for it, some of which are current & some planned. It's not a replacement for Logic's environment--the learning curve is higher if you're not already a Max user and the much greater capabilities means you have more options (blank canvas at times too).

One of the things that made me happy to see Max show up in Live was that it allows me to overcome the limitation that I can only map a control to a single thing in Live. In Logic I can split the incoming midi off from an input, filter it down to the control that I want to assign to other things, make as many duplicates of that as I wish, transform those duplicate signals to be new values (CC's etc) that map to other things, scale them so that the affected device is affected 'optimally' with the same source parameter sweep that hit other things (say map 0-127 to 44-64 on a filter sweep) and so on. Live was always 1:1 when mapped via it's built in mapping, Max4Live lets me get around this now.

There's some other things I use it for to sync Live visuals & dmx to my Live performance, and there are plenty of other people out there starting to use it this way too.

Jun.29.2011 @ 12:00 PM
The metadata features in FCP X look really useful. Depending on the project I might trade those for a mixer.

And I dunno versioning and autosave(and free online backup?) might be in the next update and I'd take that over backwards compatibility.

Jun.30.2011 @ 3:02 AM
"But for me, somebody who just moves samples around in a DAW without being able to play an instrument is not a musician."

By that logic, you could argue that Paul wasn't a musician on the intro to "Strawberry Fields", because he was just moving samples around on a Mellotron. Or is there some sort of arbitrary distinction between analog & digital samples, or a keyboard & mouse interface?

Also, I'm puzzled as to why you consider means more important than the ends?

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