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by Jason Snell & Dan Moren

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By Dan Moren

What I Use: You and your (Vulcan) Logic

Changing habitual memory is a tricky thing. Up until recently, all of my podcast editing was done in GarageBand, but I’ve recently made the jump to Logic Pro X and it’s been an interesting experience. Honestly, however, the transition has been far less fraught than I’d feared.

A large part of that is because of Apple’s move over the last couple years to share more code between GarageBand and Logic Pro. Rightfully, the current version of GarageBand should be called “Logic Basic,” or something similar; Logic Pro looks simply like a slightly more complex and cluttered version of GarageBand. Not to mention that Audio Unit plug-ins you’ve installed for GarageBand are totally compatible with Logic Pro as well. All of that is good for someone like me, who—though a big chunk of my work involves podcasts—is not an audio engineer. I know exactly what I need to do to take raw audio files and turn them into a produced episode and Logic Pro mainly lets me do that without having to spend a ton of time re-learning tools. (With the exception of actually mixing that multitrack project down into a single file—I admit, I had to consult the manual for that one.)

The even more significant impact is that rather than re-learning all my basic skills as I might have had to do had I gone to a totally different application, like Adobe Audition, I can instead spend my mental energy on enhancing my current podcast production workflow. I can focus on the new tools and capabilities that Logic Pro brings to bear to smooth out the most time-consuming parts of my life in GarageBand. So, for example, Logic’s tools for stripping silence or selecting all the audio regions forward in a project (or on a single track), or the ease of inserting chapter markers that can then be read by Forecast. I can even spend a little more time on things that make my life a little easier, like color-coding tracks so I can tell at a glance whose audio I’m looking at.

None of this is super envelope-pushing stuff, to be sure, but all of it contributes to making my life a bit easier. And no, I still don’t use a fraction of the full power of Logic Pro, not least of which is because so much of it is still aimed at editing music. (Skimming through Brett Terpestra’s excellent list of Logic features for podcasters, I only use even a few of those!) In truth, I could likely get by with a Logic Basic or a GarageBand Pro, an app that’s somewhere between the two that are available now. If you’ve never used Logic before, the app does try to ease you in by hiding away a bunch of the more advanced features upon your first use, but many of the features I was there to use were squirreled away in that case, so I had to jump into the deep end.

I understand it’s not necessarily feasible for Apple to invest its time in developing a third audio-editing program to fit between GarageBand and Logic, but it would be cool if the company created “packs” of features that could be accessed via in-app purchase, à la Ferrite on iOS. I’d gladly pay a solid chunk of money for a “Podcast Pack” set of features for GarageBand that would add in some of those useful missing tools, along with perhaps some built-in export options for popular podcasting-hosting services. Maybe that would mean more lost sales for Logic, but it’s hardly a program that has wide consumer appeal as it is. As it is, a part of me yearns for the uncluttered elegance of GarageBand (and no, that’s not a phrase I ever thought I’d be saying).

Then again, perhaps a year from now after I’ve fully adjusted to Logic, I’ll never want to go back to anything else—I mean, if it’s good enough for Spock, it’s good enough for me.

[Dan Moren is the East Coast Bureau Chief of Six Colors. You can find him on Twitter at @dmoren or reach him by email at dan@sixcolors.com. His latest novel, The Nova Incident, comes out in July and is available to pre-order now, so do it!]

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