Experiences of logic studio and logic pro 9 with voice over.

macOS & Mac Apps
Hi. I am currently completing a research project in college to do with the accessibility of Apple's logic suite, and it would be very valuable if some of the logic users out there in the Applevis community could share their experiences, both positive and negative, with logic and VO. As a music technology student, I use Logic pro every day, and I'm aware of many issues and workarounds. I am very interested to know the wider community's knowledge and opinion on these. It would be great to hear people's real life examples of issues and workarounds that they have developed. I have just under a week to complete this project, so any responses within that time would be very welcome. Thanks in advance, Chris



Submitted by Kevin Reeves on Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Hey Chris. Please contact me privately via email so I can give you my number. My email is me@kevinreeves.net. Some parts of logic are somewhat usable, but it would take to long to explain here on this forum. Let's chat by phone or skype if that is convenient. Hope to hear from you. Kevin

Submitted by Cliff on Wednesday, March 20, 2013

In reply to by chris R

Eeyy! I'm also curious! I'm a full-time musician, and since I got my first Mac a few months ago, I've been working in GarageBand, and I've never experienced any recording software before in my life that is so accessible for me to use. However, there's some frustrating limitations to it that I'm not so happy with. The first that comes to mind, is the ability to cut and edit audio recordings, that I for instance was very able to do back on my old Cakewalk setup. But I haven't found any usable way of doing this in GB. A second example is editing and changing automation curves, and a third would be the limitation to only 2 gB per project, which has really throwed me in a bad mood sometimes when I'm almost done with the last chorus and that message pops up! So I've been going back and forth between investing my money on protools or logic, but I've always heard that logic is a nightmare to use with VoiceOver, and that I should definitely stay away from it. And now you're telling me that it actually is accessible after all?? I like GarageBand in many ways, and a friend of nine says that logic can be looked at as GarageBand on steroids... So maybe if logic after all is accessible, I could take use of the similarities to GarageBand which I already knows pretty well how to use, and and that way I don't have to learn a completely new software as protools, which I've heard is a little struggle to get familiar with. So I would really be happy if you guys could give me sort of a summary of your phone call, when it has taken place. As mentioned, I'm very curious to what you guys has to say about this. I guess it all boils down to this question: Logic or protools? Any experience with which of those two gives you the most advantages when using it with VoiceOver? I've heard somewhere that protools isn't so good with recording and editing MIDI, so maybe logic works better for going that? On the other hand, I've heard that protools is very accessible when it comes to working with audio. Well, I would like to be able to do both, so I'm really struggling on where to decide to put my money... Maybe ill just have to buy both... Really hope you can enlighten me towards making a final decision. By the way, protools is as far as I know sort of a industry standard, so I guess one argument for going with protools, is the ability to in an easy way send your project to others who have protools, and have them recording their part on it and then returning it back to me with no effort. Anyways, you know this far better than me, so I'm looking forwards to your replies! Thanks in advance All the best!

HI Cliff. The whole logic/ProTools debate is a very big minefield. At the moment, from my experience, it would be very hard to use logic without any sighted assistance, as there is just not enough voice-over support in the main windows. I have written a small explanation of how I see the accessibility in logic to be at the moment which will be part of my college project, and I will post this below. It is a sort of question and answer thing. As regards which to go for, then it is I suppose a matter of personal choice, however at the moment, I would say that for productivity, ProTools is more accessible, although I find it somewhat unintuitive at times. Yes, audio editing on ProTools is in my opinion quite hard to get your head around, and it relies a lot on keyboard shortcuts. However, the mixer I find to be quite easy to use. You have access to almost every control on each channel strip, volume fader, pan, inserts, sends, automation, I/O ETC. So in this regard, ProTools works better. This is what I have gathered from my work with the software. there is so much more to say about this which would be hard to put into words on here, and I'm sure that Kevin knows far more about it than me, I just don't want to give you any accidentally inaccurate information. Anyway, here is my piece on the accessibility of logic pro. These are just my findings, and there may not necessarily be completely accurate. How accessible is Logic Pro, and what are the issues and work arounds? At first glance, Logic pro appears to have a lot of accessibility issues. The main windows: the arrange, mixer, piano roll, hyper editor, score, and sample editor windows are all empty according to voice-over. To a first time user, this can be very off-putting, as it seems to preclude any sort of interaction with the user interface. The good thing about Logic pro, is that Apple have built in a comprehensive array of customisable key commands. This means that many of the actions that can be performed by a cited user, can also be performed using keyboard shortcuts. Most transport functions such as play, pause, record, go to start ETC can all be executed using the keyboard. Many keyboard shortcuts are window specific. For example, the left and right arrow keys in the arrange and mixer window select the previous/next regions within the same track, whereas in the piano roll window these keys select the previous/next midi events. This can be very useful, however you should always be aware of which window you are in and what keys are specific to that window. Most of the other controls outside of the main logic windows are accessible. For example the option menus within the piano roll window, (edit, functions and view) are all accessible as they are standard UI controls. When creating a new track the library appears, which lists every audio and MIDI instrument, preset or plug-in available to the user. This is a standard column browser, meaning that it is inherently accessible, although there are a few small bugs to do with voice over curser tracking. After selecting an instrument or audio plug-in, it appears in the arrange window. As this window is not accessible to voice over, it appears to be impossible to open the plug-in window with out assistance, and there doesn’t yet seem to be a workaround for this, as there is no key command to do this either. After opening any plug-in window, you are presented with the editor view. This is a graphical user interface showing all the plug-in parameters. Unfortunately, this is also in accessible to voice-over in its standard form. The good news is, Apple have built in an alternative view into every plug-in window. This is called the controls view, and can be accessed through the view menu in the plug-in window toolbar. This view presents every possible parameter as a name label, a text field where a number can be entered, followed by a slider which can be used to adjust the parameter’s value. This is a fairly efficient work around, however in certain plug-ins such as the Ultrabeat drum machine, and some synthesisers, where more than 500 controls are present, there is a significant lag in voice over’s speech, and occasionally, voice-over can become unresponsive and course the application to crash. If you explore the screen using the trackpad, and drag your finger down the left side of the screen encountering each control one after another, then this lag is not present; and this is a much faster way of accessing all the parameters. Also, if you know the name of the control you’re looking for, press control+option+F to perform a voice-over search and type in the name of the control and search for it. This will jump you to the control straight away, no matter where it is in the plug-in window. As mentioned above, keyboard shortcuts can be used quite effectively to access many controls with in logic. This is most useful in the piano roll, where the left and right arrow keys jump you between each note in a MIDI region, and play these as you select them. Holding the shift key down whilst pressing the left or right arrow key will select each event in the direction you’re going. The up or down arrows on their own will move you between tracks, And holding the option key and pressing the up or down arrow, will transpose the selected note up or down by a semitone. Lots of other key commands can be customised for adjusting the note length and position, note deletion, and other actions. Of course, keyboard shortcuts are not the answer to everything, and you cannot adjust mixer controls such as Pan, volume, effects, or add inserts or sends to tracks. To do this, you need something like a tactile control surface such as the Korg nano control 2, the Behringer bcf2000 or the novation SL49MKII automap MIDI controller, which will make your life much easier working with logic, although it is not perfect by any means. Why could these issues be occurring? As regards the issue of the main windows not being accessible, this is most probably dew to them being written in a non-standard programming language. This means that voice-over is unable to recognise any of the controls within these areas as they are not in a Standard coding. The Editor view in plugging Windows has a very graphical and visually orientated interface, meaning that it would inherently not be accessible. It is therefore good that Apple have chosen to include the controls view as an alternative, which whilst not a perfect solution, is certainly usable. hope this helps a bit. Chris :-)

Hi again! Thank you so much for taking the time to post a very thorough reply! :) It seems like at the moment that protools is a much better choice for me when it comes to accessibility then... But I really like the part you wrote about using the arrow keys together with other keys to be able to edit MIDI events in logic. Don't think that is plainly possible to do in protools... Do so maybe one would want to use logic for MIDI recording and editing, and protools for the audio part and then somehow combine it into one project afterwards? Man, that sounds very inefficient to do.... Really wish there was a way of combining the accessibility benefits of each of the two software in to one superaccessible recording and producing software... I actually have a Novation MKII, but so far I haven't managed to figure out how to set it up in any way to make my life easier, but again, I'm still only using it with GarageBand, so maybe it will be more compatible and intuitive to use with either logic or protools. But what about things kind like filters, EQ and other pluggins in protools? Do you know if that is accessible with VO? And do you know if audio editing in protools is impossible to do or is it just that its a pain to learn all the keyboard shortcuts? If it can be done, I'll probably manage to get a grip on it after a while. Hmmm... Can't make up my mind to what I should go for... But are protools and logic the only real options to chose from when it comes to pro music production on the Mac? I guess they are... Especially when you need to do multi track recordings, and making music without that ability would be a complete waste of time... Tough one, this question...

Submitted by slj on Friday, May 17, 2013

Hi all. Thanks a lotfor all this great information in this topic. I am a total newbie when it comes to make music in any program, and I'm currently reading about the different choices which are accessible. What are the limitations in Garageband which is accessible? Why not just push this application to its limits? :) I have some great information which you might find useful: If you wanna buy all the old jam packs Apple have made, you can buy Main stage from the app store, and then download all extra jam packs, loops and sounds for free in Main stage. I haven't purchased Main stage yet because I would like to get some experience in Garageband before I do that, but I'll say that would be worth it, also if Main stage is totally inaccessible. Any thoughts?

Hi. I have pushed garage band to it's limits many many times, and it does have several annoying limitations. MainStage is not totally inaccessible but it needs several unusual work arounds, but I can currently do more with mainstage interns of the mixer and plugins than I can with logic. I have used it live as well and made my own concert sett ups and it has works quite well. I shall go into detail about the limits of garage band and the accessibility of MainStage later when I have more time. Thanks, Chris :).