If people would read the manuals that came with their software, there probably wouldn't be much of a market for Thomson Course Technology. The company's Cool School Interactus (CSi) imprint creates tutorials for a wide variety of software, including Reason, SONAR, Cubase, Nuendo, Digital Performer, and Pro Tools.

I started using Logic ages ago, when Emagic released version 2. I figured the best way to learn it was to simply start using it. Over time, I've become very handy with a specialized subset of Logic, essentially using it as a virtual tape deck, editor, and mixing console. At the last two TapeOpCons, power users like AJ Wilhelm and Walt Szalva have clued me into a world of new tricks worth learning.

Finally, I'm ready to get in step with the times (stopping short of joining my Pro Tools comrades) and move from Logic Platinum 6 to the latest Logic Pro 7. The documentation included with my new software presents me with well over 1300 pages of reading material. I'd love to absorb that, but there's simply no time. Enter CSi to the rescue.

Logic CSi Starter gives a very useful overview of the tools and functions offered within Logic Pro 6, most of which translate to Logic Pro 7. Users can drill down through six paths of instruction, designed to guide you through the process of recording a song from start to finish. The paths include an Overview, Setup, Recording, Editing, Mixing, and Delivery & Backup. Quizzes are included to make sure you've absorbed the major points.

I remember several questions during the Logic panel at TapeOpCon 2005 regarding Cycle Recording, Automation, and the recently introduced Freeze function. Each of these topics gets its own easy-to-follow explanation in CSi Starter. For me, it was useful to see demos of the virtual instruments I had been ignoring. I'll be using the EVP88 Rhodes-styled electric piano and EVB3 virtual Hammond B3 in the future. In all, there are two and a half hours of lessons on this CD- ROM. I'll bring this tutorial to our 2006 panel, and recommend it to new users.

Logic Pro CSi Master's four hours of overview provide a great boost in getting to know this major upgrade. Changes in appearance are explained as Apple's way of integrating Logic into a suite including Final Cut Pro and DVD Studio Pro. Coverage of the new Apple Loops function describes capability I'd long awaited in Logic, allowing pitch-stabilized and artifact- free time compression/expansion of loops and samples, as Sony's ACID software has long offered. I was pleased to learn about the Global Track's improved ability to handle tempo and key changes. The many new and returning DSP options are introduced, including Channel EQ, the powerful Multipressor, and the impressive Space Designer impulse-response convolution reverb. A related and particularly useful new feature covered is plug-in delay compensation.

Both tutorials require registration codes in order to run in OS X, though Logic CSi Starter doesn't require one for OS 9. The only problem I uncovered was that attempts to launch Locator LE repeatedly crashed the CSi sessions in OS X. The quizzes won't run without it. Since Logic Pro CSi Master doesn't provide an OS 9 shell, that left me with no access to the Logic Pro 7 quizzes. (Logic CSi Starter $26.99 direct, Logic Pro CSi Master $44.99; www.courseptr.com/csi)

Tape Op is a bi-monthly magazine devoted to the art of record making.

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