The Blog of Maxim Porges

Archive for December, 2006

  • Logic Freezes When Saving and Bouncing

    I was a little concerned yesterday when I tried to save my first track I created in Logic, and the application locked up. I also had the same problem when trying to “Bounce” tracks down to stereo mixes.

    A little Googling returned no results. One of the big problems was that there is a feature in Logic called “Freeze”, which garnered a lot of false positives.

    Being a Mac geek, I checked the Console, and saw the following message:

    2006-12-29 09:35:57.983 Logic Express[1309] *** -[NSNavSegmentSwitchControl cellAtRow:column:]: selector not recognized [self = 0x1d41f620]

    I Googled that, and found this forum post which explained that ShapeShifter was to blame. Simply adding Logic Express to the exclusion list in ShapeShifter’s System Preference plug in solved the issue.

    I decided to blog this issue with a slightly more searchable title in the event that others run in to this same problem. I’m sure there are more of us out there with ShapeShifter now that MacHeist is over! :)

    2006.12.29 / 4 responses / Category: Uncategorized

  • Switching to Logic Express from Cubase

    I have been a loyal Steinberg Cubase user for years. I’ve dropped over $1500 on their software and hardware over time, and defended them against critics who claimed that Logic/Pro Tools was the way to go.

    However, Steinberg has provided such lame OS X support that I, as a long time Mac user and Steinberg customer, am completed insulted. They’re just now getting around to upgrading all of their software to Intel Mac versions, and they discontinued their MIDEX 8 MIDI interface before releasing Intel drivers, which means I’ve basically got a $400 paper weight instead of an 8 in/8 out connector to my hardware synths.

    Thanks a lot, guys; that’s the way to treat customers on the platform most used by professional musicians and producers. I may not be a professional, but I damn sure expect any remaining remnants in the pro market to flee from your products with even greater fervour than before.

    I was faced with either (a) upgrading to Cubase 4 from Cubase SX for $249, with the promise that the rest of their apps will be Intel-ready by the end of Q2 2007 (requiring me to drop another $150 for a HALion upgrade), or (b) dropping $299 on Logic Express, and getting all the same features in an Intel-ready package right now.

    So, after years of Mac-user neglect from Steinberg, I became a Logic user yesterday afternoon. For those of you out of the loop, there used to be two big Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) software companies; Steinberg and Emagic. Apple bought Emagic (the makers of Logic) a few years ago after I’d already bought Cubase, and have done an admirable job cranking out updates to it ever since.

    I picked up a copy of Logic Express yesterday, which was a paltry $299, has over 90% of Logic Pro’s functionality, a full upgrade path, and (I might add) is friggin’ sweet. Not to mention, since it’s now made by the boys in Cupertino and is Mac-only, I don’t have to worry about getting crappy support or being treated like a third-rate citizen.

    Things I love about Logic (after less than four hours in front of it):

    1) It took me about a half hour of poking at Logic’s interface in the store to figure out how to use it, but once you get it, you’re golden. In researching the product a few nights back, a lot of people complained about the learning curve. Maybe I just got lucky, but once you figure out the Environment View you’re golden.

    2) I thought Apple’s “Loops” for their products were a cool idea when they announced them, but I didn’t realize just how cool until I spent some time playing with them yesterday. I’m a terrible drummer, so I love sampled drum loops. After two minutes in the Loop Browser I found a handful of rocking beats that got my creative juices flowing right away. What’s cool about the Loops is that unlike regular samples, they beat- and pitch-match to whatever you’re working with automatically. You get access to all the Loops in GarageBand as well as Logic Express, and can buy new sets when the ones you have get old and tired. You can even make your own loops – pure magic.

    3) The software instruments that come with Logic are extremely good quality, with very professional default sound sets. Their EXS24 Mk II sampler is crippled (from what I can tell) in the Express version to only do sample playback (instead of letting you record, too), but since I have Reason I can mess with the sampler in there all day through Logic’s ReWire support (which integrates Reason and Logic seamlessly). Even so, the included sample sets are, again, very high quality and immediately playable.

    4) The effect and soft synth user interfaces in Logic look fantastic. A lot of the Cubase widgets look like cheap Windows 95 components. They might have upgraded their UI in version 4, but I’m sure it still looks more like Windows than a Mac app, and since I can’t use it on my Intel Mac yet – who cares? :)

    5) Since Logic supports Apple’s 5 year old Audio Unit standard, I can program my own Audio Units in XCode and use them on my songs. I’ve always wanted to get into DSP programming, and now I can. I’ll note that still now, years after Apple made Audio Units their standard, there is no support for them in Cubase’s 4th OS X-supported version. Another hint that Steinberg obviously doesn’t give a damn about Apple users.

    I must say I’m disappointed in Steinberg; I always liked Cubase when it was properly supported, and there was nothing wrong with it as a DAW. Unfortunately, however, I can only take so much abuse from a company before I abandon them altogether in favor of more welcoming competition. I’ve only had Logic for a few hours, but I’m already very impressed and have whipped together a few beats in no time flat. I highly encourage any and all Mac/Cubase owning potential switchers to take the plunge and make the move over to Logic.

    I can’t wait to hook it up to Reason and see how much fun I can have!

    2006.12.29 / 1 response / Category: Uncategorized