ARA , or Audio Random Access, has been around for several years. Logic users were always on the outside looking in, while users of Studio One, & Sonar were enjoying the party. Logic users are now finally invited. Our invitation has arrived with the release of Melodyne 4.2 by Celemony.
The big workflow changer with the ARA version of Melodyne, is that it is no longer necessary to first transfer audio from Logic into Melodyne in real time. That might not sound like much, but it is actually huge. One of the things Logic users love so much about flex pitch is that it is immediate. You enable the function and boom, you’re ready to edit. Now we have the same luxury with Melodyne. Basically, call it up, hit play, and the the transfer is almost instantaneous (depending on the amount of data on the track).
How well is it actually integrated with Logic? Let’s take a look.
Track Edit Mode and Clip Edit Mode
Two new buttons above the note editor allow users to switch between Melodyne ARA’s Track Mode and Clip Mode. A third button is used to enter note assignment mode.
In Track edit mode, you see the contents of the entire Logic track, regardless of how many regions it comprises. Melodyne Studio’s Track List allows you to either edit or reference multiple tracks simultaneously. When changing region boundaries in Logic (cut, trim, split, move, etc), Melodyne ARA updates to reflect the new edits the next time you hit play.
In Clip Edit mode, you see only one Logic region at a time. But notes that may lie outside the region boundaries remain visible, with a grey boundary to distinguish them. This allows for precise editing at region borders, as well as the possibility of using Local playback within Melodyne to audition notes outside of the region boundaries in Logic’s Tracks Area. These notes can be copy/pasted within the used area. It’s a great way to take bits from unused sections of a longer part and add or replace them to the section being used.
Looping, Comping, and Playback
Logic’s loop function translates perfectly to Melodyne ARA. Notes edited in Melodyne are updated in all loop iterations after restarting playback. Quick swipe comping is also a big win in terms fo workflow. Quick swipe edits made within take folders are immediately updated in Melodyne ARA on playback.
Transport and navigation between the two interfaces is smooth and intuitive. Updating loops/cycle range in either Logic or Melodyne ARA updates the other immediately. Local playback, invoked by double clicking in Melodyne ARA’s background, is the equivalent of engaging solo mode. The compare button in Melodyne’s tool bar acts as a bypass button by temporarily reverting all of Melodyne’s edits to their default state.
And file management is a no brainer. An ARA folder is automatically created either within your Logic project folder, or consolidated Package, depending on the format you choose. So the data is always there with your other project assets.
As great as the integration is, it’s not all sunshine and lollipops. Melodyne ARA and Apple Loops or Flex algorithms are mutually exclusive. A warning message will pop when trying to combine them, and the Melodyne window will be empty. There are ways around this problem, by bouncing to disc after making tempo changes, and then re-instantiating Melodyne ARA.
Track alternatives also don’t play well yet with Melodyne ARA. This can be worked around by combining the creation of new tracks with duplicate settings (Command D in Logic) and judicious muting.
All in all, this is a great “1.0” release. The future of ARA & Logic is looking very bright!