bank and program support for external MIDI


OK, this is probably one of the oldest gripes about Logic out there. Compounded by the fact that Logic doesn't support the Apple standard in core MIDI for bank and program names when Logic is now itself an Apple product, makes the omission even more perplexing. This has been discussed in trade magazines.

To make matters worse, when you use the virtual instrument called External Instrument, which was made to combine the functions of a MIDI instrument track and an audio input track, you sacrifice the ability to select a program number (as on a MIDI track in the Arrange Window), because External Instruments do not offer these additional MIDI parameters, forcing you to manually select your banks and patches directly on your MIDI hardware. This trade off is unforgivable to many Logic users, so they go right back to using separate MIDI Instrument channels and live Input channels in order to preserve the program number designations in their MIDI tracks.

This problem is so serious, it is a key reason why some users of competitors' products hesitate to switch to Logic (I've met many). What can I say to them? Stop using your external MIDI gear? This is a major frustration for people who have a lot of outboard MIDI hardware. You need only look to Digital Performer to find the best example of a solution to date, and it has been implemented for years and years. I know former users of DP that miss this functionality more than anything.

Apple must bury the competition with an intuitive solution, fully integrated into Logic, that simply works. It should support the numerous banks that modern expanded MIDI hardware often provides and allow the user to store on each External Instrument track in the Arrange Window both the bank and program name associated with that track. The track setting should show (1) the number of the Bank, (2) the name of the Bank, (3) the program number and (4) the program/patch name. Even sweeter would be next/previous arrows on either side of the bank and program numbers for easy navigation of the external sound library. Beyond that, add support for key commands and assignable MIDI keys in the way that sample switching is controlled by MIDI keys in the EXS24.

It would be so easy to make MIDI hardware buffs swoon if this issue were addressed correctly. I hope Apple understands how critically important this is to so many Logic users. Of course, I'd get fewer calls for assistance with Logic setups in studios in my region, but I'm willing to make that sacrifice, lol.
Testify, brother!

I am just starting to learn Logic. While it has many great features and can be more approachable than some audio/midi software, the patch name handling is absolutely atrocious.

Do I really need to set up patch banks and names in the Environment for *each* project? This can be saved in a template, but then older projects don't get names for newly programmed patches or newly added gear?

If my initial impressions of patch handling are accurate, this is the achilles heel of what is otherwise an elegant and powerful piece of software.
No, it's not that bad. You configure it once in the environment under the MIDI instruments section, then save this as your song template. To transfer the configs to existing songs or other templates, just select everything in the window and paste it into the same environment window of the destination song. Hope that helps.

But I agree it's still atrocious, lol.