Most appealing to me is the addition of electronic and hip hop players to the Drummer instrument. Jamming over Drummer’s funk grooves has been a part of my practise routine for a while now. It’s nice to be able to control the subtleties of the groove in terms of both feel and instrumentation, and I’m looking forward to being able to play over the hip hop beats too. I would love to see some jazz drummers in there, too; I think I’ll put in a suggestion to Apple.
As well as being a faithful jamming buddy, Drummer is also a great tool to employ when producing demos of new tunes to present to bandmates. Programming drums manually, or messing around with traditional loops, is fiddly and time consuming, and really puts the brakes on creativity. The Drummer UI lets you get the results you want quickly and intuitively. I also use it to add a bit of icing on the cake (in the form of a hi-hat or shaker groove) to programmed drums tracks in my electronic tunes.
Logic Pro X’s companion app, Logic Remote, has also had an impressive update. You can now use it to control virtually any parameter in LP, including third party plugins like Massive. You get a similar UI to the Controls view in LP plugins — a list of parameters which you can change via sliders and popup menus — as opposed to the more intuitively presented, fully graphical UI. Even Apple’s own synths and plugins have the basic controls view, but it’s a good first step. The interface on plugins like Compressor (which has received an update in 10.1) lend themselves nicely to being controlled from an iPad, even more so than clicking and dragging a mouse pointer to control knobs etc. Hopefully we can look forward to richer plug-in UIs in future iterations of Remote.
It would also be good if Apple made it possible for third party Audio Unit developers to provide iOS versions of their plugins in app form and allow them to communicate with LP (there’s already Inter-App Audio for recording the output of synth apps into a host sequencer). Or maybe Apple could publish a protocol to allow AU plugins to describe their UI in such a way that Logic Remote can present them in a similar way to how they look in the main DAW.
In contrast to the no-frills UIs of other plugins, the Channel EQ in Remote looks almost exactly the same as it does in LP, letting you interact with Logic’s recently redesigned and improved parametric EQ plugin with your fingers. Again, I think might prefer doing it this way, rather than with the mouse-and-pointer approach. I have noticed that the EQ interface on the iPad can be, at times, less than optimally responsive, even on my screaming fast iPad Air 2. This could be related to the fact that the data needs to be transmitted to LP over Wi-Fi (which, overall, works really well).
I currently use Remote to control a jamming project from the iPad sitting on the piano music stand, so I don’t have to constantly get up and interact with the MacBook. Of course, when it comes to complex projects, a lot of stuff is still quicker to do in the traditional way — with a trackpad or mouse in Logic Pro — but in my next project I’ll try to employ Remote and see if I can integrate it into my workflow.