Logic Pro X 10.4.2

Logic Pro X 10.4.2

The updates get better and better, first with the release macOS Mojave and now with the release of Logic Pro X 10.4.2. Here are the features Alexander Lindo finds most interesting in this release of Logic Pro X.

  • The Sound Library can be relocated to an external storage device
  • New mixer mode allows channel strip fader and pan controls to be used to set send level and pan

Being able to relocate the Sound Library to an external drive is a massive feature, especially for those of us that have limited space on our internal solid state drive. This feature is accessible from “Logic Pro X > Sound Library > Relocate Sound Library”. This will bring up a new window showing you the storage devices attached to your Mac along with their status. Simply select the drive you want to relocate the sound library to and click “Relocate”.

“Sends on Faders” enhances control in the Mixer when it pertains to send level and pan. When this feature is enabled you will notice that the channel strip faders become yellow. Any adjustments that you make on the fader while in this mode will adjust the send level from that respective channel strip. You can also enable “Independent Pan” by selecting it from the send pop-up menu on that channel strip. This will allow you to independently control the pan of the send.

In addition to these welcome updates, there are several bug fixes and enhancements in Logic Pro X 10.4.2. Rock on Apple!

The release notes are available here: https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT208892

 

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Latency

When Alexander Lindo first started his career in audio production and engineering he always kept the philosophy that less is more. Alexander has always done his best to stay away from processor intensive plugins and software that depends on dongles for protection. Alexander has done very well. Within the last 5 years, Alexander has noticed a consistent increase in processor use with many of the plugins being made now. New algorithms, new hardware modeling etc. It has gotten to the point where, on a modern production machine with only a few instances of a plugin, CPU fans have to shift into overdrive. 

In addition to increased CPU use, many of these plugins have high amounts of latency, thus rendering them useless for tracking. This must stop. Many people misinterpret the limitations of a Native system vs a DSP-based platform. It is often assumed that the only way to have a stable setup for tracking is to use a DSP-based system. This is simply not true. In fact many Native-based platforms are superior to DSP-based platforms. Alexander is not here to argue about whether you should purchase DSP or if you should go Native, that choice is yours.

Alexander is here to discuss the current state of the actual plugins themselves and what you can do to ensure a completely stable NATIVE system for recording / tracking (not just mixing). For those that are wondering, NATIVE means host-based as in all processing is conducted by the computer’s CPU. DSP-based means that processing is conducted by a processor other than the one provided by your computer.

When running a Native-based system the first thing to consider before making any purchase is LATENCY. How much latency does the plugin produce by itself? This question will determine whether the plugin is useful for tracking / recording on a native platform. If the plugin produces more than 64 samples of latency then it is not optimized for tracking / recording. Always check the manual or support page of the manufacturer before your purchase. Some may list latency in samples, some may list it in milliseconds. Some may not even list it. At this point it is up to you to demo the plugin and see for yourself. To do this in Logic Pro: hover your mouse cursor over the plugin slot on the channel strip at which point it will display the plugin’s latency in both ms and samples. To setup “Low Latency Monitoring”, open Preferences > General > Audio > Plugin Latency and enable “Low Latency Monitoring”.

With Low Latency Monitoring engaged, Record enable an audio track with your new plugin instantiated. Once this feature is enabled, all latency inducing plugins will be disabled (indicated in the mixer with orange text). Set the plugin latency slider to 1 ms (millisecond) in order to allow plugins with latencies under 1ms. The formula for calculating Latency in Milliseconds = Samples / Sample Rate. So if the plugin has 25 samples of latency that is 25 / 44.1 = 0.6 ms. This plugin will remain active during tracking and will not add any audible latency.

The formula for calculating latency created by buffer = (I/O Buffer Size / Sample Rate) x 2

So 128 samples / 44.1 x 2 = 5.8ms of latency

In addition to latency, another factor to consider is efficiency. In other words: How efficient is the plugin in regards to CPU and RAM usage. If a plugin is using up all your CPU or RAM resources, look elsewhere.  If you are looking for efficient plugins with little to no latency be sure to check out some of the following:

  • The stock plugins that came with your DAW. Many people seem to believe that they cannot sculpt great quality audio from the plugins that came with their DAW. This is simply not true. The majority of professional DAWs come with great plugins out of the box. If you cannot get great sound out of your DAW without buying third party plugins then…the problem is you.
  • Power Pack from Waves – All plugins in this bundle are light on CPU and most have zero latency. Ren Axx  and L1 both impose 64 samples of latency at 44.1kHz.
  • CLA Classic Compressors – All of these plugins have zero latency making them perfect for tracking / recording.
  • SSL 4000 Collection from Waves – Most processors impose 0-1 samples of latency. The Master Buss Compressor imposes 3 samples of latency which is negligible.
  • H-Delay by Waves – an excellent vintage inspired delay plugin that is light on CPU and induces no latency.
  • Focusrite Red 2 & 3 Pair – These plugins come bundled with Focusrite equipment and are available for purchase from the manufacturer. Both impose no latency.

These items serve as just general guidelines. There are many other efficient plugins available from Waves and other great plugin manufacturers. You are also free to experiment with plugins that induce latency higher than 64 samples as long as they are within your level of tolerance whilst recording / tracking.

The next thing to consider when running a native system is your choice of OS and DAW. The efficiency of your OS and DAW will play a major role in what you can achieve with your current hardware.

Upgraded to Sierra

LPX & Waves on macOS Sierra – Inst

Alexander Lindo upgraded to Sierra and he is glad that he did. In his words: The OS feels much faster and lighter than El Capitan and the new optimized storage features are certainly a welcome addition.” Logic Pro X appears to be working much better than it was on El Capitan and best of all, and he is no longer having audio drop outs / distortion when using applications such as iTunes.

After copying over all his useful content (such as music, photos, videos etc.) from a backup, his first step after installing a new OS was to create a backup. For this, he used Time Machine. The backup went through just fine with the exception of “iCloud Drive” which took a while to download content during the backup process. Once all iCloud content was downloaded, the backup process was complete.

Alexander opened up Logic Pro X and tested it without any 3rd party plugins installed. The DAW was as fast as its ever been since the OS X Mountain Lion; certainly a plus in his book. The next step was to install 3rd party plugins. Many companies in this area have warned users not upgrade to Sierra yet. Of course that did not stop Alexander as he tends to keep 3rd party plugin dependency at minimum. He opened up Waves Central and installed a local backup of his plugins after which he authorized. At first it did not authorize but this may have been due to the unstable internet connection at the time. After trying again it worked.

Alexander opened up Logic Pro and his Waves plugins were fully operational. He even recorded, mixed and mastered a song. Performance wise the improvements are certainly visible.

Plugins from Plugin Alliance do not work officially yet as told by the manufacturer however, he has found a temporary solution that will work until the problem has been officially fixed. See below:

  1. First copy the auvaltool file from the /usr/bin folder from your El Capitan install on to a USB Stick.

  2. Restart your Sierra install and hold down Command + R until you see the Apple logo and loading bar.

  3. Once in recovery mode, Open Terminal from the Utilities menu and type csrutil disable

  4. This will disable System Integrity Protection, which will enable you to replace the auvaltool on Sierra with the one you copied from El Capitan. Be sure to keep System Integrity Protection disabled while you use the previous auvaltool otherwise the it will not work anymore.

  5. Once a fix is officially released, simply replace the auvaltool you copied from El Capitan with the one installed by Sierra.

  6. Reboot your Mac and hold down Command + R until you see the Apple logo and loading bar.

  7. Once in recovery mode, Open Terminal from the Utilities menu and type csrutil enable in order to re-enable System Integrity Protection.

After following steps 1-4 you may need to configure file permissions. Do the following:

cd /usr/bin

sudo chown 0:0 auvaltool

sudo xattr -c auvaltool

sudo chmod 755 auvaltool

Disclaimer: Please note that this temporary fix is not endorsed by Plugin Alliance and you must use at your own risk. Plugin Alliance say that they are working on an official fix. SIP must be disabled in order for this workaround to work and should be re-enabled as soon as an official fix is released by Plugin Alliance. Disabling SIP (System Integrity Protection) poses a security risk and should only be disabled when it is absolutely necessary.

Alexander Lindo’s EP entitled “Progression” has been released recently and is available for purchase on iTunes, Amazon MP3 and Google Play. BUY IT NOW!

Update: Plugins by Plugin Alliance now officially support Sierra.

Upgrade Icons on Ubuntu

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You may have installed new applications, however those new applications come with not so new icons. They may provide you with ugly low resolution icons. Or you may have installed a beautiful icon theme like Numix-Circle and may be wondering why some of your icons have not changed. Never fair, you do not have to suffer with the presence of these low resolution icons, as the solution is simpler than you might think.

First look for the Application.

01lowrezicon.png
This is the AVI Demux application icon. Alexander obtained this variant of the application from getdeb.net as it was more up-to-date than the one present within the official repositories. As you can see, this application has decided to stick its low resolution icon instead of using the one present in the Numix-Circle icon suite.

07avidemuxiconupdated.png

In order to solve this problem we must first understand the basics of how Ubuntu handles applications and their icons.

Ubuntu stores the Unity Dash shortcut configuration files in /usr/share/applications 

All configuration files in this directory feature a .desktop extension to indicate that it is an application launcher configuration file.

And all icons referenced by those configuration files are normally stored in the /usr/share/icons directory.

You will need to gain root access to edit the configuration files. This is Ubuntu’s way of protecting you from yourself, so to speak. A lot of things could go wrong if you were to be the root user 24/7 for this very reason you are not a “root” user.

First open a Terminal window (Ctrl + Alt + T) and type sudo nautilus
This will open a Nautilus window with root privileges.
Go to usr/share/applications

The following window will appear:

02usrshareapplications.png

As you can see, the Avidemux icons “appear” to be present in this folder. This is not the case as these are simply just shortcuts referring to the actual icons located in usr/share/icons

Let us go there and investigate.

02usrshareicons.png

You can see that the icon Alexander Lindo has highlighted is avidemux.svg. It is there but it is not appearing in the launcher or the dash. This simply means that the application’s shortcut configuration file is not referencing the icon from the Numix-Circle icon suite but is actually sourcing its icon from another directory (either from within the usr/share/icons folder or sometimes in it’s own folder).

An example of this is the Xdiagnose application. It sources its icon from /usr/share/xdiagnose/icons/microscope.svg 

This means that, no matter what icon theme you use it will completely ignore it.This can be resoloved using the same method mentioned in this tutorial.

Close all your open windows and then close your terminal window.
Open a terminal window and type sudo gedit
This will open up the text editor with root privileges, enabling to edit configuration files editable only by the root user.
Hit the “Open” button and navigate to usr/share/applications

04usrshareapplications.png
Click avidemux2.6-qt.desktop and click Open

The following window will appear:

05usrshareapplications.png
Look at the Icon field. You can see it says: avidemux2.6-qt
Change this to avidemux and hit Save.
Or, alternatively, If you would like to have a backup in case you mess up just comment out the Icon=avidemux2.6-qt with a # so it will look like #Icon=avidemux2.6-qt
The field will become blue indicating that it is inactive.
Now you can hit Enter and type: Icon=avidemux in the next line.

06usrshareapplications.png

Hit Save, close all windows, log out and log back in and you’re done.