Best Music Recording Software for Mac

Full review: Logic Pro X 10.5 Review

Characteristics: If GarageBand isn’t powerful enough for your needs, upgrading to this top-notch music suite should be at the top of your list.

Logic Pro X is a full-fledged pro-level software studio that includes quality virtual instruments, a huge library of loops, synthesizers, and audio tools. Some of these are worth buying on their own, with the newly added Live Loops, Sampler, Step Sequencer and Drum Synth all bolstering what was already an impressive offering.

You can save up to 1,000 tracks in total for each composition, with the ability to create several at once, and multiple effects can be applied and manipulated as the track plays.

Editing functions are complex and powerful, allowing you to control MIDI patterns, various aspects of audio tracks, and you can automate changes on the fly. Then there’s Flex Pitch, which is a kind of automatic adjustment that lets you fix errant vocalists or errant guitar solos, and Flex Time which can fix any timing issues in-game.

Smart Tempo is a particularly useful tool, as it adjusts midi instruments to match the varying tempo of a live recording, and the new sampler lets you import recordings and automatically break them down into constituent parts which are then mapped to MIDI keyboards. .

The addition of a step sequencer makes it easy to create drum, bass, and melodic patterns by simply selecting cells on a grid to turn beats and notes on or off. These can then be individually adjusted for timings while having effects applied. It replaces the aging Piano Roll and is a big step forward for Logic Pro X users.

The Track Alternatives feature also allows users to switch between region and edit playlists on any track, making it easy to explore creative ideas.

If you prefer to work with loops, the Live Loop feature lets you assemble them into columns (called Scenes) and then trigger them simultaneously. All of these can then be recorded directly into your project, appearing as standard tracks on your workspace.

Ease of use: GarageBand and Logic share a very similar and sleek layout, so if you like how the free version works, you’ll be right at home with its big brother. Some of the advanced features are initially hidden, but it only takes a few clicks to get them up and running.

Owners of the MacBook Pro with Touch Bar will find Touch Bar support a welcome addition, offering the ability to control various aspects of editing as well as use it to play some virtual instruments.

Logic is one of the most user-friendly powerhouses around, and you can also use an iPad as an additional control surface via the Logic Remote app. Additionally, Apple is giving iPad and iPhone users the ability to upload Logic files to iCloud and then add them on the go via the iOS version of GarageBand.

Formats supported: AAF, OMF, Open TL and XML (Final Cut Pro) projects. Plus AIFF, WAV (BMF), CAF, SDII, ReWire, MP3, MP4 and MIDI output options.

Supported third-party plugins: Yes, although they must be 64-bit.

Supported third-party hardware: Core-Audio devices are compatible, as are MIDI controllers and various control surfaces.

Scoring function: Yes.

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