Logic Pro vs Pro Tools – Which is Better?

Logic Pro is an affordable digital audio workstation (DAW) perfect for beginner and experienced musicians, while Pro Tools is a high-cost industry-standard music program best suited for recording and editing audio. Both are extremely capable DAWs and are extensively used by music pros.

Logic Pro and Pro Tools are arguably the two most popular DAWs for professionals. You should be okay with either of them even if you’re working at the highest level, but it’s harder for beginners to get into Pro Tools than it is to start using Logic Pro. Drastic differences in pricing also reflect the fact that Pro Tools isn’t at all designed for entry-level producers.

However, Pro Tools IS the industry standard. If you want to use the same DAW the guys at the world’s most renowned studios rely on, you should get Pro Tools. And if you want to make a living as an audio engineer, knowing every feature of Pro Tools is pretty much a must. Nonetheless, it’s worth noting that more and more engineers are making the switch from Pro Tools to Logic Pro.

The similarities between Logic Pro and Pro Tools

What brings Logic Pro and Pro Tools together is the fact that both want to sit at number one. They’re highly comprehensive, and apart from one or two very specific features, they’re capable of doing pretty much everything. 

Both are used by renowned studios and audio-production schools, both offer complete MIDI and audio editing, and both sit at the forefront of the music world.

With this in mind, knowing which one to get is all about answering two fundamental questions: what’s your budget? And what do you want to do with your DAW?

Key differences between Logic Pro and Pro Tools

  • Logic Pro is affordable, while Pro Tools is the most high-cost DAW around. More importantly, you can get the complete version of Logic Pro with just one payment, while Pro Tools is a subscription-based software.
  • Logic Pro is easier to use, while Pro Tools is harder to navigate. If you’re an entry-level producer, starting with Pro Tools can be intimidating. Logic Pro is much more intuitive, especially if you already know your way around Garageband.
  • Logic Pro features an extensive library of virtual instruments, something you won’t find in Pro Tools. Pro Tools’ audio effects are great, but where are the virtual instruments? If playing virtual synths is your jam, you’ll need to spend a lot on third-party plugins to do so with Pro Tools.
  • Logic Pro and Pro Tools both support great audio-editing features, but Pro Tools is more complete. Namely, it includes a ‘Beat Detective’ feature and an ‘Import Session Data’ option that can truly make a difference.
  • Logic Pro is designed to fill the needs of creative musicians working inside the box, while Pro Tools is a music-recording program first and foremost. Making songs from scratch inside Pro Tools can be harder since its main purpose is to be used for recording live bands.
  • Logic Pro is only supported on Mac, while Pro Tools is available for both Mac and Windows users.

1. Logic Pro

2. Avid Pro Tools

Pricing

It’s hard to deny that Logic Pro is much better than Pro Tools when it comes to pricing. Even if your goal is to record live bands as a music engineer (something Pro Tools is better suited for), it’s not that hard to make the case that Logic Pro is still the best option, at least budget-wise.

You can get Logic Pro with a one-time payment of just a couple of hundred dollars. Pro Tools, however, relies on a subscription-based license that can cost approximately one thousand dollars per year if you want to have access to all the advanced features. Considering both Logic Pro and Pro Tools are extremely complete music programs, it’s hard to justify such a drastic difference in pricing.

Bonafide music pros shouldn’t worry about making a serious investment in their work, and top studios are pretty much obliged to have a Pro Tools license. However, from the standpoint of a solo music producer working from a home studio, getting the money needed to buy a complete Pro Tools license can be a challenge.

OS compatibility

Logic Pro and Pro Tools are not exactly impressive when it comes to OS compatibility. A Linux option isn’t supported by both programs, for instance. However, Logic Pro can only be used on Mac, while Pro Tools is available for Mac and Windows.

Crucial workflow differences between Logic Pro and Pro Tools

The crucial workflow difference between Logic Pro and Pro Tools is that the first is best for beginners and songwriting, and the latter for recording and editing audio. Logic Pro makes justice to its name by being extremely intuitive, while Pro Tools is a harder-to-navigate DAW powerhouse.

In the end, understanding which DAW is best suited for you – workflow-wise – is all about considering what kind of music producer you are. Are you sitting in your bedroom, looking for the best DAW to start making high-quality songs? Then Logic Pro is your best bet. Are you an experienced audio engineer, looking for the best DAW to install on your professional studio’s computer? Then grab that Pro Tools license as soon as possible.

Numerous music pros have both Logic Pro and Pro Tools because of the workflow differences between the two. When they want to play electronic instruments, create a beat from scratch, or add MIDI arrangements to a song, they will most likely opt for Logic Pro. When they want to record a live band, edit audio, or correct small performance mistakes, they will most likely open Pro Tools.

Even though Pro Tools is harder to learn, it would be a mistake to assume it is worse workflow-wise. Logic Pro works best for creative tasks because it was made for creatives. Pro Tools works best for high-level recording projects because it was designed to do so. It’s harder to make a fun song in Pro Tools, in the same way, it’s harder to record a 50-piece live orchestra with Logic Pro.

Audio editing

Pro Tools is widely perceived as being better than Logic Pro for audio editing, but that’s not something you can take as a fact. While Pro Tools was made for the recording studio, Logic Pro offers pretty much all the features you can find in a top-level recording DAW

Both Logic Pro and Pro Tools are such complete DAWs that it’s hard to find features exclusive to both. On the topic of audio-editing, though, Pro Tools has two great tools you can’t find in Logic Pro: Beat Detective and Import Session Data.

With Beat Detective, you can correct timing information found in audio clips. This feature doesn’t sound like much, but it’s a difference-maker if you’re an audio engineer working with hundreds to thousands of live-performance recordings. Beat Detective is amazing for correcting tiny mistakes made by drummers and aligning everything together. Doing the same in Logic Pro is much harder and time-consuming.

With Import Session Data, you can easily bring in tracks from one Pro Tools session to the other. Crucially, you can do the same with pretty much all information, including settings. The Match Track function, for instance, allows you to quickly copy full groups of effects from one project to the other, with no need for lengthy loadings.

Since Pro Tools is first and foremost made for audio editing and recording, it’s easy to assume its superiority in this particular chapter. Yet, such is not as black-and-white as one would think. Some audio engineers have argued that Logic Pro is superior for mixing, for instance. Some people also consider Logic Pro’s comping feature to be better for quickly slicing and selecting audio regions.

MIDI editing

When you’re a professional audio engineer recording live bands in your studio, you will have minimal to no contact with MIDI. Despite that, Pro Tools offers complete MIDI editing options that work flawlessly. There’s one crucial caveat, though: unlike Pro Tools, Logic Pro already comes loaded with pretty much all the virtual instruments you’ll need.

Making an electronic track from scratch using Pro Tools is possible, but it can get very expensive. On the topic of MIDI editing, Logic Pro is superior because of something that’s not related to MIDI editing per se: namely, the available stock plugins.

Stock plugins

Pro Tools is loaded with a decent collection of audio effects, but its virtual-instrument library pales in comparison with Logic Pro’s massive collection of stock plugins. If you want to have fun using your MIDI controllers to play some excellent-sounding synths and drum machines, make no mistake: Logic Pro is your DAW.

If you want to get access to even half of the virtual-instrument stock plugins in Logic Pro with Pro Tools, you’ll most likely have to spend a fortune on high-quality VSTs. When you add this to the cost of the license, it’s easy to see why Pro Tools isn’t the number one choice for beatmakers and creative songwriters.

One could make the case that Garageband (Logic Pro’s little brother) is best suited for musicians trying to have fun with virtual instruments than Pro Tools. That’s somewhat baffling if you consider Garageband can be used for free on any Mac computer (learn more about the differences between Garageband and Logic Pro).

Is Pro Tools going downhill?

When you step into any million-dollar music studio, you’ll most likely find Pro Tools open on the audio engineer’s computer. That’s why Pro Tools is still perceived as being the industry standard, the number-one DAW for music pros working at the highest level. However, recent editions of Pro Tools have left many longtime users disappointed.

Pro Tools is older than Logic Pro. While Pro Tools has been around since the late ’80s, Logic Pro’s first edition was only released in 1993 – and unlike Pro Tools, it only started getting used in professional music circles much more recently. For this reason, Pro Tools is more reputable than Logic Pro; but is it going downhill?

Some people – including YouTuber Ryan Stephenson – have claimed that ancestry is the main reason why Pro Tools is still the number-one industry-standard DAW and that the program is hardly a trendsetter in this day and age. Recent updates of Pro Tools have displayed a worrying lack of imagination, boasting new features that aren’t exactly innovative.

Pro Tools’ two biggest feature updates (folder stacks and offline bouncing) were already used by competitors (including Logic Pro) before being added to the program. This helps to make the case that Pro Tools needs to up its game if it wants to remain ahead of the competition. Logic Pro, on the contrary, seems to be on the rise.

Verdict

Due to recent updates, major differences in pricing, and a more accessible workflow, one could make the case that Logic Pro is a better DAW than Pro Tools. However, doing so would be like comparing Beethoven to the best rappers in the world. In other words, it’s impossible to deny that Pro Tools is still the industry standard – even though it costs a fortune and hasn’t offered much in terms of innovation in recent years.

To sum things up, choosing between Logic Pro and Pro Tools is all about understanding what you want to do as a music pro. Do you want to create tracks from scratch? Then Logic Pro is the way to go. Do you want to run your professional music studio with the help of a program that’s flawless for recording, no matter how large the band you’re working with? Then you won’t make it without a Pro Tools license.

It’s not easy to compare Logic Pro and Pro Tools because both DAWs are as close to perfect as it gets. I guess the best we can do is to appreciate the fact we get to choose from both, knowing that all our needs as music pros will be covered by either one.

Brian Clark is a multi-instrumentalist and music producer. He is passionate about practically all areas of music and he particularly enjoys writing about the music industry.

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