Logic X to Luna…initial thoughts from an Experimental Electronica Producer.

I’ve been a Logic user for about a decade now and, whilst it has served me well over the years, it is starting to feel a bit bloated — adding a lot of loop based features which just don’t suit my (somewhat old school) workflow.

Universal Audio’s Luna felt like a good alternative as it seems to cover the basics I need well (mostly) and integrates well with UA plugin’s which I use a fair bit these days.

What’s good?

First up — whilst it differs a bit from Logic in terms of how things are organised, once I got my head around Luna’s different views and options it made a lot of sense and mainly felt quite intuitive and common sense.

  • The ‘Warps’ feature is especially cool for some experimental mangling of audio files and enjoyed putting that one to good use on a bass part which came from my modular setup.
  • There is a search function for plug-ins, which is a big deal for me as I’m used to Logic’s handy plugin management and like quick access to these
  • I really like how it resemble’s UA console’s interface — including a handy ‘Tape’ section which I used to add some nice saturation using their Oxide plug-in. This works well on the main channel with the Ampex plugin too.
  • Automation is really well thought out — and I had plug-in parameters automated with minimum fuss, less so even than with Logic
  • I’d been having some MIDI issues with my Dreadbox Erebus v3 using Logic, but it proved to be rock solid here
  • Preset access management, even for non-UA plugins, is nice.
  • Talking of non-UAD plug-ins — no issues so far there too.
  • Even though it’s an early version, Luna’s performance was far quicker than the latest version of Logic X (maybe because it is less feature heavy) and I felt that, even though I was still learning the functions, I was able to get ideas down from both plugin’s and outboard really quickly
  • It sounds better — maybe due to the fact it is likely optimised for my UA interface but just sound much wider and richer than Logic.

What needs work….

I understand it is early days for Luna but there are some essential things that need work to make Luna easier and more straightforward to use — as well as some features which would need adding for it to become my go-to.

  • Adding tracks is not as intuitive as it needs to be — can’t quite understand why this isn’t available via a right click in a black track space as with many other DAW. Maybe I’m missing something?
  • Audio editing felt a little clunky — as did the snap feature, but this could just be me adjusting to a new way of working.
  • No control surface support yet — but looking over the UAD forums there is a lot of demand for it so I expect it is coming soon
  • No ‘freeze’ function on tracks, which isn’t maybe as much as a dealbreaker for me as my UAD kit tends to handle a lot of processing but could get annoying on very busy or FX heavy mixes
  • Given there seems to be a good working relationship between UA and Softube, some better integration with Console 1 would be nice too.
  • I had an issue with UA plug-in processing initially but was easily fixed by changing settings for my Firewire Apollo
  • Could be missing this but couldn’t see any option for MIDI cc automation — which I use from time to time for modular / outboard control
  • Track grouping is great but for sanity purposes something like Logic X’s track folders would be a useful addition
  • According to someone on the UAD forums there is no sidechain option yet.
  • UA plugins aren’t cheap but the cost of the Neve and API summing seems a little steep. That said — Black Friday is on the horizon….(update: but no offers there — oh well!)

So yeah — I’m liking Luna, but might hold off making it my primary DAW until control surface support is added. I’d certainly recommend checking it out though, and especially if you favour a DAW which feels more like an old school studio.

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