Logic Pro for iPad is a digital audio workstation (DAW) that takes on most of Logic Pro’s features and adapts them to Apple’s touchscreen iPad. While Logic Pro for iPad fails to be as complete as its desktop equivalent, it’s still an incredibly useful music tool for newbies and pros alike.
After years of using Garageband (which is much more limited than Logic Pro), iPad owners finally have the chance to play with a full-fledged DAW. But is it worth the price? And can it really meet the needs of a professional music producer? Below, I will closely examine what’s good (and what’s not so good) about Apple’s newest music-making technology.
What’s good about Logic Pro for iPad?
These are the most important exclusive Logic Pro for iPad features that make it worth the money:
The main difference between using a desktop device such as the MacBook Pro and a tablet computer such as the iPad is the touchscreen. Unsurprisingly, Logic Pro for iPad makes the most of this distinction and is fully optimized to be used on iPad’s touchscreen.
To put it simply, Logic Pro for iPad is designed to be a manual experience, featuring a new interface with fewer menus and an endless array of multitouch options. You can use your fingers to explore projects, swipe between tracks, and quickly change parameters.
With Logic Pro for iPad, it’s easier to zoom in and out than in any other DAW. Playing with the mixer is as convenient, as you can use multiple fingers for (for example) tweaking more than one fader at once. In a way, it’s just like using a real mixing console.
The first professional DAW for iPad
In addition to its excellent touchscreen-optimized interface and workflow, Logic Pro for iPad stands out for being the first professional DAW specifically built for iPad.
For the first time, iPad users can rely on a music-making tool that allows them to access a pro-level mixer, easily program and edit automation lanes, and group multiple tracks to create buses.
There are lots of things that still need improving, but Logic Pro for iPad is—at the very least—the most complete music-making tool for iPad users available right now.
Perfect for beginners
Tablet computers such as iPad are the gateway into technology for many kids. It’s no coincidence, for example, that tablets are more common in households with children. With that in mind, it’s tempting to think of Logic Pro for iPad as the potential first DAW of millions of Apple users. And the good news is that it happens to be the perfect music-making tool for beginners!
While more complex than its “little brother” Garageband, Logic Pro for iPad includes lots of downloadable lessons, which can be particularly useful for people who are still learning the ins and outs of music production.
Remember when you were playing with your first DAW? It sure felt like an overwhelming experience to me, as there were too many new, seemingly complicated things to learn. With free lessons ranging from “Logic Pro for Garageband Users” to “Create a Beat with Step Sequencer,” Logic Pro for iPad does a great job at making it easier for newbies to learn how to use a DAW.
Logic Pro for iPad also makes the most of the iPad’s touchscreen to offer an expressive playing experience to its users. Included are five distinctive Play Surfaces that make it easier (and ultra-intuitive) to mess around with Logic’s built-in virtual instruments.
The five Play Surfaces in Logic Pro for iPad are the Keyboard (for synthesizers and pianos), the Drum Pads (for drums and MPC-style instruments), the Fretboard (for guitars and other string instruments), the Chord Strips and the Guitar Strips (both designed for playing full chords with one single tap of the finger).
One of the most exciting new features of the Logic Pro for iPad is the Beat Breaker, an all-new multi-FX audio effect that can be used to transform boring loops and samples into dynamic, glitch-sounding patterns.
The Beat Breaker lets you split any audio source into multiple beats and process each of the beats individually. This offers a virtually endless number of sound-design solutions to music-makers, all of which are enhanced by Logic Pro for iPad’s touchscreen workflow.
In addition to the brand-new Beat Breaker, Logic Pro for iPad comes with a new sampler instrument called Sample Alchemy. It’s similar to most sampler instruments you’d find in any given DAW, but it works wonders in the context of Logic Pro for iPad’s touchscreen interface.
The ability to use one’s finger to (for example) change the sample’s playback starting point in real-time is what makes Sample Alchemy such a fun, new Logic Pro addition. Music producers can use this feature to their advantage by creating unique sound effects.
The re-imagined left-side browser is one of the most crucial differences between Logic Pro and Logic Pro for iPad. While it may not be immediately pleasing for the more experienced producer, it’s actually great for beginners, especially because of its new filter system.
Logic Pro for iPad’s browser makes it quicker than ever to find instruments and sounds by organizing everything in terms of Instrument Specifics, Genre, Descriptors (dark, bright, mellow, and so on), Performance Style, and others.
Apple isn’t exactly known for being compatibility-friendly, but the good news is that Logic Pro for iPad works just fine on many old versions of the iPad. If you have the iPad 5th-Generation Mini or above, you’re good to go!
What’s not so good about Logic Pro for iPad?
Logic Pro for iPad’s pros top its cons, but there are at least two things that need improving in Apple’s touchscreen DAW:
No third-party plugins
This is, without a doubt, the main weakness of Logic Pro for iPad. Most veteran music producers would snub any DAW that didn’t allow for third-party plugins, and Logic Pro for iPad is sadly one of them. If you were excited to use your expensive AU VSTs on your iPad, you will be disappointed to know that such is still not possible.
While it’s a fact that Logic Pro for iPad’s built-in library contains lots of cool instruments and audio effects, it’s simply unthinkable for some producers to rely on a DAW that doesn’t host third-party plugins.
This is the defining difference that makes it impossible to say that Logic Pro for iPad is the complete, professional DAW for tablet computers many hoped it could be.
While this not-so-good aspect of Logic Pro for iPad isn’t directly related to its interface or workflow, it can still be utterly annoying… For sale via a monthly or yearly subscription, Logic Pro for iPad is unfortunately not available as a one-time-buy product.
So, who is Logic Pro for iPad for?
Logic Pro for iPad isn’t the best DAW for VST lovers, nor the complete Logic-Pro-for-tablet software so many people wished it was. However, it can be incredibly useful for:
- Music production beginners: Much like Garageband, Logic Pro for iPad is an easy-to-use and intuitive DAW for people who are just starting to learn about music production;
- People looking for an expressive touchscreen music tool: Playing the virtual instruments in Logic Pro for iPad feels great, and its expressive Play Surfaces make it one of the best touchscreen music programs of the hour;
- Music pros who need a place to sketch ideas: In the same way that a tablet computer is the ideal complement to a desktop computer, Logic Pro for iPad can be a great software for music pros to sketch short ideas, come up with new riffs and melodies, and get a handy little extra solution in the studio.
Despite not supporting third-party plugins, Logic Pro for iPad is a great piece of music software that puts Garageband to shame despite failing to hit the mark of its desktop equivalent. It’s fun, extremely expressive, and incredibly more powerful than the vast majority of its competitors.