Logic Pro X Flex Pitch Review: Perfect Pitch, Nearly Perfect User Interface
I’ve finally had some good times with Flex Pitch, one of the most exciting new features Logic Pro X has to offer. I’ll walk through the user interface, have a look at workflow, and point out why I think it’s nearly as good as the industry standard for pitch correction: Celemony Melodyne.
Flex Pitch – The Tracks Area
The Flex Pitch user interface actually consists of two interfaces.
Basic pitch correction can be done right in the Tracks Area, formerly known as the Arrange Window in Logic Pro 9.
After selecting a region, turning on Flex Mode, and choosing the Flex Pitch algorithm, you’ll see something similar to this:
The center line represents perfect pitch. The bars show the deviation from perfect pitch. Above the centerline means pitch is sharp, below means it’s flat. Your working range is restricted by the height of the audio region, and equals ±0.50 cents.
To select multiple non-adjacent bars, use ⌘ while clicking on a bar. To select all bars in one go, use the Pointer or the Marquee tool: just drag around all the bars you’d like to select. Note that ⌘A will not work.
After selecting your bars, grab the top of one bar and drag towards the center line:
As an alternative method, you can control-click the audio region (but not on a bar):
If you do control-click on a bar however, there’s one more option to choose from:
The ‘Reset Pitch Curve’ option seems a little out of place in the Tracks area, since this particular pitch information is not displayed here. Just keep in mind that Pitch Curve equals your Pitch Drift and Vibrato, both of which can only be edited in the Audio Track Editor.
Flex Pitch – The Audio Tracks Editor – Scale Quantize
The Audio Tracks Editor offers a quick way to correct notes in bulk. With the Local Inspector shown, the ‘Scale Quantize’ feature lets you quickly choose a scale:
In the Audio Tracks Editor, note selection techniques are basically the same as in the Tracks Area. Note that ⌘A does work here, it’s the fastest way to select all notes. You can use the piano keyboard too to select all notes with a given pitch. Hold down ⇧ to select multiple notes, as shown below.
Flex Pitch – The Audio Tracks Editor – Hotspots
For advanced pitch correction in the Audio Tracks Editor, Flex Pitch offers a very intuitive interface that should look and feel familiar to those who have worked with pitch correction software like Melodyne or Autotune. Flex Pitch Hotspots are where the surgical action is:
No toolbox! Almost everything you need is there, with all the note parameters neatly displayed as dots around the selected note. Just pick a hotspot and drag it.
Some notes and remarks:
- Drag a note up or down to change in pitch semitones. Hold ctrl⇧ for Fine Pitch.
- Turn Scale Quantize off to freely edit in semitones, without notes snapping to a scale.
- Dragging the left and right lower corners of a note lets you change the length of the note (Flex Time).
- Editing the formant with Formant Shift doesn’t have an audio preview. Bummer.
- Double-clicking a hotspot opens a view of the audio file. Unfortunately this doesn’t reset the value of the hotspot.
Flex Pitch – The Audio Tracks Editor – Toolbox
Logic Pro X’s toolbox (press T) has some useful tools for Flex Pitch, I’ve highlighted them here:
Just like in the Tracks Area, both the Pointer and the Marquee tool can be used to select multiple notes. Both the Scissors and the Pencil Tool can split a note. The Pencil Tool can make new notes as well.
Flex Pitch and Comping
Can Flex Pitch be used while you’re comping takes in a take folder?
According to the Tracks Area, you can (note the bars):
But the Audio Tracks Editor says you cannot (note the lack of notes):
The way things look now, I think it would be best to make a comp first, then export that comp to a new track, then correct pitch with Flex Pitch.
Flex Pitch – Early Bird Verdict
No audio transfers to make, no buffers to fill, no pitch correction plugin to manage. That’s a huge workflow improvement, and one of the main reasons why I’ll stick with Flex Pitch for pitch correction of monophonic audio. But its user interface needs a little work. I’d love to see tighter integration with comping in a Take Folder. I’d like to be able to copy and paste the actual pitch correction data. I think it’s time for a smarter Toolbox that filters out the tools that have no use. An audio preview while editing formants, and a quicker way to reset the value of a hotspot are at the top of my little wishlist. But we’re only at 10.0.3, so I’ll be keeping a keen eye on future updates of Logic Pro X.
Hit me in the comments if you think I’ve missed something.
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