October 7, 2003

Apple Pro Training: Logic 6  [ Edit ] 

Book Cover - ISBN 0321200403 Apple bought emagic, the company that makes Logic, a little while ago. They’re pushing Logic Platinum pretty hard as the best audio production software for your Mac, and this book is the first one sanctioned by Apple to get people up to speed on Logic.

In short, I think this book is a good tutorial to get you started on Logic. It’s focused on Logic Platinum, which isn’t great for me, but most of the things can be done in both. I didn’t have to buy this book, which I like, but I think it’s well-writen and worthwhile.

Now, the longer story.

Because I’m a cheap nerd, I’m never inclined to buy books on software, especially if they’re tutorials (as opposed to reference manuals). I hate the feeling of buying a book that will be out of date very soon, and will only provide me with one really solid reading. This book is definitely a tutorial, in which you build a short song using MIDI sequences and audio samples. The authors show you how to do things in Logic to build this song, and the idea is you’ll learn enough to shoot off on your own and use the manual to figure out the rest.

I think the book is pretty good. No book is ever going to be perfect for everyone, and this one is definitely not perfect for me. It’s geared toward Logic Platinum, so there are many times where a command they mention won’t be available (nearly everything is perfectly doable in Logic Audio, and most of the commands are the same, but it’s something to look out for). Recording is dealt with very late in the book instead of right away. Still, it’s been very helpful, and is helping me answer some of my key questions.

I’ve learned about zero-crossings. Logic’s tempo handling actually makes sense now. I also feel like I understand all the MIDI editors (except the Environment, which isn’t discussed very much) pretty well.

If you’re in my situation, here are some things the book will not tell you:

  • How to use any of the virtual instruments, including the EXSP24 and EXS24. As a drummer wanting to learn to sequence stuff, I wish they discussed this.
  • The section on recording is very minimal, and only covered at the end of the book. This surprised me a little bit, considering the book is geared toward musicians (and musicians often create music, right?). However, building a song out of known pieces is the only way a tutorial could really work.
  • The environment is only discussed a little bit. As one of Logic’s big advantages for MIDI nerds, I’m surprised they didn’t at least talk about arpeggiators or something. But then again, as a Logic Audio user with limited Enviroment capabilities, I guess I really shouldn’t complain.
  • While it does discuss the Quicktime synth, which is useful for people getting started with MIDI and don’t have outboard sound modules (like me), they don’t talk about how to get your Quicktime MIDI into your tracks that you bounce. Apparently there’s a way to use Apple’s DHSSynth audio unit to do this, but they don’t talk about it in the book.

For me, this seems to be the perfect book to borrow. I’ll only want to read it once, and then use a reference manual to go back and look up things I need to know. Unfortunately, Logic Audio 6 doesn’t come with a full manual; it comes with the Logic Audio 4 manual, plus addenda for versions 5 and 6. In fact, emagic told me they don’t even have a full manual available yet for Audio 6. I expect they must for Platinum and maybe Gold, but we cheapskates are left out to dry right now.

The ultimate book for me would be in two parts: a comprehensive reference with a tutorial. Maybe something like O’Reilly’s series on the perl programming language, which is in three parts. The lack of well-written documentation for contemporary software is a real pain, and this book doesn’t completely fill the void for me, although it is a decent start. Hopefully Apple will come out with something more comprehensive soon.

In the meantime, this book is definitely helpful. If you like tutorial style books, I can easily recommend this one to buy. If you just want a leg up, see if you can find someone to lend it to you.

Posted by Joe | TrackBack

Hi, anyway I could buy a reference manual for a Emagic logic 5 or 5.2 ?
cheers Kay

Posted by: Kay at July 15, 2004 3:14 AM

If you want a reference manual, your best bet is to call or email emagic/Apple and ask them about it. The emagic USA sales line, 530-477-1051, may still work even after the merger.

If you looking for documentation on the virtual instruments, you could look here for those manuals:


Posted by: Joe Chellman at July 15, 2004 8:31 AM
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