Being a sound engineer myself, I like to stick with one Digital Audio Workstation that I am always going to use for producing music, rather than swapping between several. But the question is, which is the better DAW to use – Logic or Pro Tools? These are the factors that I will be taking in to consideration when making my decision:
- User friendliness
First of all, we have to bring into question how easy the program is to use and navigate. With Pro Tools, it can be trickier to know where everything is and what you are doing, especially if you’re a beginner with DAW’s. Logic, however, is a lot easier to navigate from when you start it up. Even if you’ve not seen Logic before it’s still a great deal easier to have a better idea of what you are doing if you’re starting off from scratch. Logic also has tutorials that are easier to follow. This brings us on to appearance. Personally, I think Logic has a far better appeal to its appearance.
Above is the main screen you would normally be seeing when recording and editing into Logic. As you can see the audio and midi tracks are at the top represented by the blue bars and the mixer is located at the bottom half of the screen. To the left (cut out on this picture) is the inspector and to the right is the audio bin.
This is the main screen for Pro Tools. On the right is the edit window just like Logic and on the left is the mixer screen. These two windows, however, are not usually on the same screen. If you do want them on the screen together then you have to get two separate monitors which can be a pain. The options are also harder to find as some are hid in the menus at the top.
The next factor that I’ve highlighted is the speed of its functioning, and as this will be mainly dependent on the computers processing power, Pro Tools does have far more keyboard shortcuts which can save a lot of time.
Recording and mixing is the most important factor, so this is where it matters most and to be honest, there’s not a lot in it on the recording basis. However, I would say that because Pro Tools has its own mixing window, it is easier to mix projects and also comes with better plugins. The Pro Tools compressors, EQ’s, reverbs etc all have a similar feel to them where as Logic’s are all a bit different. Saying this, Logic does have a decent amount of standard plugins provided in the installation. Pro Tools gets my vote for this round.
Midi is where I think Logic comes in to a mind of its own. To start with, Logic comes with eight installation discs so you can probably expect it to come filled with VST’s and more loops, and although it takes up more memory on your computer’s hard drive, it’s definitely recommended that you use the full installation with all logics library (I think it’s about 8GB worth).
In terms of recording and editing Midi, Logic’s ‘Piano roll’ (pictured above) is a fantastic way of doing this. It’s so simple to quantize, fix note lengths, and fix the velocity in seconds. You can simply move and stretch the note lengths yourself and also move the actual note itself and if, for example, you played a wrong note whilst recording on a midi keyboard, you can just move the notes that you had played wrong. In defence of Pro Tools, however, you can do pretty much everything that you can in Logic, it’s once again Logic is so much more user friendly which is why it’s getting my vote on this.
This also helps when composing music. Logic has many start-up options allowing you to select what your project is going to be for i.e. composing, mixing, video projects etc and there are many loops that will help with composing. This is something that Pro Tools is missing. Logic is also easier to publish your work at the end of your project. All you need to do is to set the locators, choose what format you’re going to be bouncing your work to (e.g. Mp3 WAV) and then click bounce down from edit window. Pro Tools can sometimes have fits when bouncing down larger projects.
The cost is also something all users will take into consideration. The latest version of Pro Tools – Pro Tools 10 HD, is around £450 online, and Logic Pro Studio 9 is £417 from Apple’s website. However, one set back of Logic is that it is only compatible for those with a Mac computer, whereas Pro Tools is available on both Mac and PC. This could quickly lead us into another debate of what’s better – Mac or PC? However, I’m going to stay out of that. Usually those who prefer Macs tend to lean towards Logic, just because it works so well with a Mac. And those who use a PC stick with Pro Tools, because, well they’ve no option.
In conclusion, I think that there’s no right or wrong software to use and I think it’s down to personal preference. As you may probably have been able to tell, I edge myself towards Logic because I love composing and the fact that the number of VST’s and audio loops in Logic’s library is just endless.
So what’s your favourite? Feel free to comment below
Article by Jack Daniel James
“My musical journey started at the age of 11 where I picked up a guitar for the first time and started to learn the basics. After a few years I became grade 5 in plectrum guitar and I now play piano, keyboard, harmonica, bass and ukulele. Currently, I’m a student at School of Sound Recording in Manchester studying Sound Engineering & Design. Out of college hours, I enjoy gigging at weekends with my band Room6. Check out our facebook page at www.facebook.com/room6official, you can also find me on Twitter @rockstarjak.”