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ProTools vs Logic vs Ableton: A Pro Comparison
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4th January 2012
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ProTools vs Logic vs Ableton vs Cubase: A Pro Comparison

I hear, read, and participate in the debates all the time. Over the years, I've become a pro user of all DAWs (except Cakewalk and Reaper). I want to sum up the advantages of each for those seeking a 'to-the-point' comparison:


Ableton Live: Best for Producer/DJ
- Better for creativity (session view, DJ-Style A/B Crossfade)
- best manipulation of plugin routing (SEE MY YOUTUBE VIDS)
- Most sophisticated session/plugin templates (loading a fully routed plugin or even session into currently open session)
- Better track freezing than most DAWs
- Easy to create off-count clips without copy/paste headaches

ProTools: Best for Engineer
- Stable Sequencer (less crashing than most DAWs)
- A breeze for sustained recording and vocals
- Conventing Mixing and mastering
- Very Powerful TDM/AAX plugin support via Dedicated DSP

Logic: Best for Artist/Producer
- Packed with a complete set of instruments and effects
- Good mixing structure.
- Easy automation
- Comping tracks is very intuitive


CUBASE/Nuendo was not originally part of this thread, but its review is similar to ProTools.
- A dream for mixing/mastering
- Lots of Plugin features (Steinberg invented VSTs)
- exclusive control surfaces (CMC)
- nicely integrates with Motif XS/XF by Yamaha (who bought Steinberg)
- Awesome broadcast abilities.



I left out Reason because it:
1) does not support AU/VST/RTAS
2) can be incorporated to any DAW above via ReWire.

I left out Reaper because its:
1) too young (cannot push to the limits I'm use to)
2) still considered a starter for new producers looking to experience the 'DAW effect'

More Details:

Ableton Live is AWESOME, but it only stands out for me when I use it with Vienna Ensemble Pro (I use this religiously and will explain in the last paragraph). It has unique functionality for creative minded producers. It could also become a standard in game music design (if Ableton plays their cards right). Its one of those DAWs that if you actually day a few days to play though the interactive tutorials, you'll find a wealth of new ideas to do with your music.

ProTools is the "Industry Standard", but only stands out after spending $10k for HD. The sub-standard versions that run under $3000 (depending what hardware you bundle) only give you a tease of ProTools, and really taxes your CPU buffer when using 3rd party plugins and can disrupt sessions(although this happens with all DAWs, its more common in ProTools).

For those who have macs and want to spend less than $10k, I'd definitely consider Logic because you get more for your money than with ProTools. Its instrument/plugin package is the best that comes with ANY DAW currently. It also integrates nicely with Itunes for exporting/bouncing to various formats.

Cubase/Nuendo offer very advanced mixing and master capabilities out of the box. This is the first VST enabled DAW I used back when it was version 1. While I like its mixing features, I don't find myself inspired when producing a new track. I admit that I haven't tried its lastest series of CMC Controllers, which I'm sure adds nice functionality to the system.

For those who don't know, Vienna Ensemble Pro is a plugin hosting software that works miracles when you want to run lots of CPU intensive plugins without slowing your DAW down. Your DAW is going to be your master sequencer for 95% of users. While its doing that, it should not be distracted with your plugin processing, except maybe for the master track and a some send FX. Vienna works as a light weight plugin in your daw pulling audio from your heavy weight plugins who's CPU processing is now independent. What does this mean?? Read on!

When plugins run side your DAW, they take part in its 'global' CPU limit set in the preferences. This means your plugins run at a fraction of their potential (your wasting all that good Dual/Quad CPU GHz you paid for). BUT if you run them in VE Pro, they burn rubber! TEST: Try running as little as 5 instances of Ominsphere with all 8 midi and audio channels playing different patches on separate tracks simultaneously. This will CRUNCH your DAW (i'm sure of it). Doing the same in VE Pro has NO affect on DAW. Sounds too good to be true? Almost..VE Pro costs €235.
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#2
4th January 2012
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What about Cubase?
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Vst Expression is unique to Cubase and its one of the most creative tools in any DAW period. Ask around...
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5th January 2012
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I have to disagree on the PT thing. The stock instruments (especially Xpand2) are amazing on there, and I prefer them to Logic. That being said when I'm composing it takes longer to track out stuff via exporting .wavs from regions compared to how it's handled in logic and Ableton (unless HD is different?). I use PT and my Partner uses Logic as well as the singer I'm working with so I get to use both. I'm going to jump to Logic now that it's $199 instead of dropping $500 to go from PT 8 to PT 10. Now I LOVE Ableton live as well. There's the digidesign version that I got when I bought PT years ago but it's limited to 8 tracks. I think it's the best for remixing and coming up with sketchpad ideas due to how it easily warps audio.
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5th January 2012
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Quote:
I have to disagree on the PT thing. The stock instruments (especially Xpand2) are amazing on there, and I prefer them to Logic. That being said when I'm composing it takes longer to track out stuff via exporting .wavs from regions compared to how it's handled in logic and Ableton (unless HD is different?). I use PT and my Partner uses Logic as well as the singer I'm working with so I get to use both. I'm going to jump to Logic now that it's $199 instead of dropping $500 to go from PT 8 to PT 10. Now I LOVE Ableton live as well. There's the digidesign version that I got when I bought PT years ago but it's limited to 8 tracks. I think it's the best for remixing and coming up with sketchpad ideas due to how it easily warps audio.
Whether or not you like Pro Tools instruments doesn't change the fact that Logic has more (close your eye's i'm bought to drop an opinionated response) and better instruments. Even if you like PT instruments it's not as a "creatively friendly" and quick to use as Logic. If you think PT is more creative friendly then you understand it more then Logic, which is ok, but coming from a user of both, I would say Logic hands down has a more consumer feel, and PT has a more "This is how it's done, I hope you know the quick key" vibe.

I agree with the OP's opinions on the group of people each DAW is based for. Although I kinda thought this was general understanding
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5th January 2012
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Definitley agree with the op's insight on these 3 programs. I've used all to some extent and stick with Logic mainly.

The main problem with pt is,like the op said, you have to spend thousands to really use it and for it
to be CPU effecient.
Not to mention the instrument add on bundle that's like $1k.
Kind of the same with ableton. You have to buy the suite for like $6-700 to have access to absolutely all it has to offer. Logic was like $400 for the full version and tons of instruments and plugins. Roughly 40gb of content. now its a $200 download.
Not that it's the best program, but it's the best deal besides having to buy a mac, of course.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JoRillo View Post
Whether or not you like Pro Tools instruments doesn't change the fact that Logic has more (close your eye's i'm bought to drop an opinionated response) and better instruments. Even if you like PT instruments it's not as a "creatively friendly" and quick to use as Logic. If you think PT is more creative friendly then you understand it more then Logic, which is ok, but coming from a user of both, I would say Logic hands down has a more consumer feel, and PT has a more "This is how it's done, I hope you know the quick key" vibe.

I agree with the OP's opinions on the group of people each DAW is based for. Although I kinda thought this was general understanding
no need to close eyes, it's an opinion, its all good man . One thing to keep in mind is PT's better plugins are optional (Tranfuser, Strike, Structure, Hybrid) But pretty much all I use is Xpand2 (and NI komplete stuff) and it's a beast man. The stacking and arps, custom patches you can make in Xpand2 is slick which is what I prefer over the EXS24 based stuff. When I'm using Logic, I use Komplete, Sampletank, and Korg M1. This vid here demonstrating the presets I think shows off really well what Xpand2 is capable of doing. but again to each their own, some love Roland rompler sounds, some prefer Yamaha or Korg.

Pro Tools 8 Xpand 2 sound demo - YouTube
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are any hip hop producers using Ableton to make beats, or Logic for that matter?

seems to be predominately either Fl Studio or Reason
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sampire View Post
are any hip hop producers using Ableton to make beats, or Logic for that matter?

seems to be predominately either Fl Studio or Reason
I use logic mainly but also use ableton. I think Logic is better for hiphop personally but any sequencer will work. I know dudes that use Sony acid and kill it.
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reaper>
cant help it
im a fanboy lol
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5th January 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sampire View Post
are any hip hop producers using Ableton to make beats, or Logic for that matter?

seems to be predominately either Fl Studio or Reason
I use Logic for all my beats, Pro Tools for my tracking and mixing - although with that said I just tracked and am mixing a song in Logic. lol
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I used to think exactly the same and used Logic on my mac due to it being fully 64 bit and very user friendly but when I started doing semi-professional work and big sessions I found Pro Tools to not only be quicker at editing but a lot more stable and once I got the hang of my Euphonox MC Control and the new PT10 Eucon commands I'm whizzing through mixes,
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Logic for writing, composing and recording here, been a user since 4.8

Gotta say i hate Lion OS though.
Feels like they turned my quad core powermac into a very large iPhone :-(
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how about ableton, anyone doing hip hop production in that?
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Protools instruments are nice I've been preaching that for a minute but its coding for instruments are bad. Kills my old mac.

Logic is cool for producing, really dislike it for audio stuff.

Reaper... lots of potential but annoying to me.

Cubase/Nuendo never made beats in cubase. Used nuendo long ago and for audio it was fun for me.

Ableton- I still can't wrap around my head around what its doing.

Studio One- lean, mean, and works. I'm switching slowly to make it permanent for my individual / personal projects.

Makes my 06 mini feel like a mac pro, no glitches, no pops, no stops.

But Protools is still king of editing n so forth. Just very fussy.

Dope thread btw.



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6th January 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sampire View Post
are any hip hop producers using Ableton to make beats, or Logic for that matter?

seems to be predominately either Fl Studio or Reason
I make ALL of my beats on Logic. Check sig... ALL done in Logic.
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7th January 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sampire View Post
how about ableton, anyone doing hip hop production in that?
the ableton session view interface is basically one large customizable mpc with extra features, so it probably fits that "type" of hip hop production better than any DAW other out there. the thing is, ableton became popular around the same time when hip hop production was shifting towards another direction centered around orchestral synths and quantized single-shot drum sounds (fl studio does a much better job at this style with its 808 style sequencer). this i think is the main reason why ableton never caught on with the mainstream of hip hop producers while it has caught on with big names in every other electronic genre from daft punk to nine inch nails.

to me, i appreciate ableton for its ability to change the way you approach making music, which is something other DAWs don't focus on. for example, ableton has its own unique hardware controllers to fit its interface such as this:

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this entire thread is a trainwreck.
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7th January 2012
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I solely use Live. I dont think i could work without it. Drum programming in live is the SHIT. In fact sample management imo cant be touched.
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7th January 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sampire View Post
how about ableton, anyone doing hip hop production in that?
Yes. Many use it.
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8th January 2012
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What is the OP talking about with regard to Vienna Ensemble Pro?
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Most of these Guys are using cracked Fruity Loops or (FL Studio,to be politically correct) they could care less about this comparison ....
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ZLOTY


BTW nice thread OP.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Skamm Goodiez View Post
reaper>
cant help it
im a fanboy lol

Im gong to concur. abelton is a toy daw period! just like fruity loops. better but a toy. logic is awesome. huge and so many behind the scene options. you can really get into the guts of logic. Never really liked protools,

REAPER is by far the most fluid daw i have touched. BUT

i feel that i feel this way because i have worked on the others. (owned all others) i went from cubase to ableton thought it was the coolest. then relized how it controls the groove you follow. went to logic and was sold dopest hands down. same time bought a digi oo3. sold it six months later. so from logic my g5 was was not able to upgrade to logic 9. went back to pc found Reaper and never never will i look back.
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Updated to accomodate Cubase and nullify Reaper. (sorry reaper fans)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ivoryviking View Post
abelton is a toy daw period! just like fruity loops.
Interesting opinion. Take note, Ableton Live is:

1) 1 of 2 daw to support both VST and AU simultaneously. This a big deal when you have preferred plugins that support only one format.
2) The ONLY daw that allows fully templated plugins. For example, you can create a plugin template in logic that basically keeps patch settings. In Ableton, you can recall patch, routing, auxilary tracks (and their routing) all in one shot. If fact, you can combine multiple plugins into the same preset and load at any time. You can even load sessions into current sessions.
3) The ONLY daw with intuitive crash recovery: If you system fails for any reason, upon relaunching Live, it asks if you want to restore what you were working on.
4) The only DAW that has incredible non-destructive looping features (especially if you want a loop to be off count from the normal even bar count). Who else does that??

I don't want to sound like an Ableton Fanboy (that vibe died off a few years back). They have room for improvement like everyone else. But feature-wise, gotta love them. I don't totally disagree with the 'toy' perception, because every time I run it, I feel like I'm in a musical playground with a lot of imagination flowing.
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Studio One also supports AU's and VST's simultaneously.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SoundEng1 View Post
Studio One also supports AU's and VST's simultaneously.
Yes it does.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ivoryviking View Post
Im gong to concur. abelton is a toy daw period! just like fruity loops. better but a toy. logic is awesome. huge and so many behind the scene options. you can really get into the guts of logic. Never really liked protools,

REAPER is by far the most fluid daw i have touched. BUT

i feel that i feel this way because i have worked on the others. (owned all others) i went from cubase to ableton thought it was the coolest. then relized how it controls the groove you follow. went to logic and was sold dopest hands down. same time bought a digi oo3. sold it six months later. so from logic my g5 was was not able to upgrade to logic 9. went back to pc found Reaper and never never will i look back.
Toy? HAHAHA! <DELETED BY MODERATOR> Tell me what is it about live that you couldnt do or that made you think that it was a toy?

This isn't an interface or workflow question this is a functionality question? When people state a preference i get it. I also agree that some Daws are better at some things than others etc etc. I dont agree that daws sound noticably different. HELL dont agree that Live is a TOY! statements like that only prove you either A) did not bother to read the manual or get to know it <DELETED BY MODERATOR> I'm gonna give you the benfit of the doubt and assume you didnt like the workflow and so didn't bother to learn it which is ok.

It's just these types of ludacris statements that cause confusion. SO many great DAWS available these days. I think Reaper, Logic and PT are great - I use live because i couldnt live without the tricks and Magic that it can do that NO other daw can. (Mostly in it's sampling engine) which in my opinion is untouchable.
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10th January 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KT1 View Post
Toy? HAHAHA! You dont know what your Fuc** talkin about! what a joke. SO 'Mr i have used everything'. Tell me what is it about live that you couldnt do or that made you think that it was a toy?
Lol, My favorite part is that his favorite DAW is the cheapest one I know of that isn't free. This is my list. PT > Logic > Abelton > Reaper > Audacity (Never used cubase, sonar, reason, or adobe)
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