Logic Pro X vs Pro Tools (8 Categories, Who Wins?)

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  • Apple’s Logic Pro X and Avid’s Pro Tools are two titans of pro audio software/
  • Both have similar features but differ in some crucial areas.
  • Learn which DAW is the best for your needs!

DAWs (or ‘Digital Audio Workstations’) are a tricky subject. There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. One producer will find their workflow is suited to one DAW while the next producer will feel the complete opposite.

With many options to choose from it can be difficult to determine which DAW is for you, never mind which is superior. One thing that is certain, however, is that Logic Pro X and Pro Tools tend to be the two that go head to head in the audio world.

While they are both similar in a lot of ways, there are also big differences depending on your workflow that can either make or break your opinion of each.

So whether you’re deciding to invest in either or maybe you just want to witness a ‘DAW war’, pull up a seat as we dive into Logic Pro X vs Pro Tools.

Also, consider checking out our massive guide on Ableton vs Logic vs Fl Studio vs Pro Tools.

Logic Pro X vs Pro Tools (The Differences)

Primary differences between Logic Pro and Pro Tools:

  1. Pro Tools is available on Mac and PC. Logic Pro is only available on Mac.
  2. Pro Tools has flexible payment models. Logic Pro is a flat fee.
  3. Pro Tools is regarded as industry-standard in pro audio circles. Logic Pro is popular among modern musicians.

CPU and RAM

OK let’s do the boring bits first. While this isn’t the most exciting topic it is important to take into account when purchasing a DAW. Besides how they make things sound, we need to think about how they perform.

As a general rule in audio production, we need to be using powerful computers especially if our mixes start getting into the realm of hundreds of plugins and tracks.

Both pieces of software are particularly intensive on computer usage with Logic requiring 8GB of RAM to run and a minimum of 6GB disk space for minimum installation.

Pro Tools, on the other hand, suggests a minimum of 16GB RAM with 32GB or more recommended. 16GB is necessary for installation which means most laptops are out of the question without a RAM upgrade.

For Apple users, this can quickly equate to an extra few hundred dollars to upgrade from the ‘bare minimum’ tech specs of a new MacBook.

If money is no object, then neither are the specs, but for those sticking to a budget, Logic Pro X is a much more wallet-friendly option.

Winner: Logic Pro X

Cost

If you’ve got the funds to set up a top-spec recording studio then you probably have the funds for both Logic and Pro Tools (even if you don’t use them both!). If you’re stuck choosing between them then cost is going to play a big part.

Logic itself doesn’t offer a free version as such, although there is a demo version available. These days, Apple have evolved Garageband to be something close to a free version of Logic. However in terms of taking the hit financially then Logic Pro X isn’t going to require a remortgage, coming in at a very reasonable $199.99.

The bonus with Apple is they offer education bundles if you’re a student, so while you won’t necessarily get a discount on Logic Pro X you can often take advantage of these offers and get other programs thrown in such as Final Cut Pro.

Pro Tools, on the other hand, isn’t as straightforward as Logic. Avid will offer you several different options which start at $29.99 for a monthly license (ie you rent Pro Tools), $299.99 as an upfront fee or $599.99 to buy the whole software outright.

Avid also offers education bundles to help students purchase or subscribe to Pro Tools for a reduced rate.

Image credit: apple.com

Although these options can be a little confusing when you are trying to figure out where to start with Pro Tools, we do like the flexibility and different payment options, meaning you don’t necessarily have to commit to paying for the DAW outright. This option is perfect if you just want to dip your toe in and see if it’s for you.

Pro Tools is widely known as the industry standard DAW as well, so even though its a little pricey, it’s a great piece of recording software to know if you’re looking to get into the professional audio industry. In this case, despite costing more overall, Pro Tools wins.

Winner: Pro Tools

User-Friendliness

Forget sound, forget recording, we need to think about the user-friendliness of the different DAWs. In this case, we’re referring to things like setting up your preferences, saving sessions, remembering audio interfaces, and the general ease of navigating the software.

We’ve all sat there in our mixing or post-production session wondering why there is a blinking light, or a tick, or a missing option!

We’ve also all opened a session to find our tracks have just…gone. It’s a nightmare, so it’s important that we find a DAW that makes file management clear and easy. Auto-recovery is another life-saving feature that you can’t thank enough when it works!

In Logic Pro X, the menu is easily laid out and there’s even a handy “Quick Help” option that you can toggle on and off with the click of a button. Hover over anything on the screen for a pop-up box explaining what it is and how it works. This can save valuable time if you are just starting out, and before long you’ll know all the controls you need to know without Quick Help.

Setting up or changing your audio interface is easily done and can be completed without needing to restart Logic Pro X. You also have the option to save your sessions as projects which can easily be accessed and emailed to your bandmates without the worry of losing any music.

Pro Tools, on the other hand, can be a bit more temperamental. The menus are more difficult to navigate and can seem unintuitive for newbies. Changing interface requires a restart of the software, again eating into valuable mixing time.

If you don’t save your session or import your stems properly, you can open up a session and find your music is gone (that’s not to say that won’t happen in Logic but its a bit less fiddly).

Pro Tools is a lot more prone to crashing as well, particularly if you aren’t using a top-spec computer. In this case, the points go to Logic Pro X.

Winner: Logic Pro X

Interface

By interface, we’re talking about the screen, tracks, routing, aux’s, metering, etc. The thing you spend your time looking at when recording!

Both have a similar layout (which is pretty standard between most audio and recording software anyway), with shortcuts to switch between your mix and edit windows. So if we’re debating Pro Tools vs Logic on these grounds then there isn’t much difference in points.

Both give you the option to organize your tracks by color, and both have similar recording options allowing you to punch in or record passages in your own preferred way.

In this case, we would argue that Apple’s software is still more user friendly and easier to pick up for beginners. It feels like the layout is more intuitive for someone who may be new to music production, making it easier for them to progress quicker.

Pro Tools again feels a little like you need to already have a certain level of knowledge to be able to pick up on the nuances of the software.

Yes, ultimately you will be mixing the same recording and the same audio but if Pro Tools is a little more tricky to pick up on then you’re probably going to have an easier time in Logic.

Image credit: sonicscoop.com

There is one thing that, depending on your style, might seal the deal for you in this argument. Logic’s signal routing is designed to be as easy as possible. As an example, if you want to send your guitar tracks, or any of your music, to an auxiliary or buss track then simply selecting an output to that track will automatically create the aux and route the signal there.

On the other hand, Pro Tools will not send a signal anywhere unless it is specifically told to. Create a send for one of your tracks and, well, nothing will happen until you have created that track yourself and routed the signal to it.

However, in music production, it’s important to not cut corners. Don’t run before you can walk, as they say. So as a newbie, there are benefits to approach that Pro Tools takes here. By being specific, you really get to grips with signal routing which is vital when dealing with a large number of tracks in one mix.

It would seem like Logic scores the points again BUT there are instances where Logic’s intuitiveness can be a little annoying. For example, if you load up a software synth it’s not uncommon for it to create its own bus tracks, usually a reverb attached to the synth patch.

What if you then decide you don’t want to use that software synth? Well, you need to go back and delete the bus track manually.

So there are pros and cons to each, however, we still think Logic Pro wins this round.

Winner: Logic Pro X

Recording

One of the most important aspects of any DAW is how it performs in a recording situation. Again, both have similarities but in this case, we feel that there is a reason why Pro Tools is known as the industry standard.

Both offer a selection of tools, allowing you to cut, copy, and fade but there is something that feels a lot more intuitive in Pro Tools when it comes to actually recording.

Depending on your style you might want to get several takes, and you might want to keep going until you nail that perfect take that hits the mark. You might even end up in the unfortunate situation of needing to record a section in small pieces and patch it together.

The multi-tool in Pro Tools is one of the best functions within the DAW, allowing you to add fades and shorten your clips without having to switch or toggle between buttons. This can save a huge amount of time in the recording process, especially if you are having to patch things together.

It also means you can trim your regions and add your fades super quick, saving you a whole bunch of time later on in the mixing process.

(Want to mix like a pro? Check out out these essential tips from mixing engineers.)

Logic, on the other hand, does offer a similar tool, but you’ll need to go into your preferences menu to set it up. Of course, that isn’t the end of the world but Pro Tools offers you the function right there in the toolbar.

For editing on the fly and tidying up your sessions in prep for mixing, Pro Tools definitely has the lead here. Yes, we know essentially both DAWs do much the same job, but Pro Tools just feels more streamlined, quicker, and easier in the recording process.

Winner: Pro Tools

MIDI Integration

For those producing electronic music, or anyone wanting to use a MIDI controller to add synth, strings, and pads, MIDI functionality is just as important as recording functionality.

Logic is great for MIDI, it’s as easy as plugging in your midi controller and then you’re ready to start recording. Pro Tools, on the other hand, does require a brief setup process, it isn’t exactly a difficult task but nonetheless Logic does make life a bit easier in this sense.

It’s the same for automation as well, both offer the same functions you’d expect from a DAW (read, touch, write, latch) but again Logic makes this a lot easier. Just hit ‘A’ and your automation is quickly displayed, allowing you to choose your parameter from a simple drop-down menu.

With Pro Tools, this is a little more complex, requiring you to choose which parameter you want to affect before editing your automation.

Image credit: apple.com

With both DAWS it is very straightforward to assign parameters to your MIDI controller, so if you want to adjust your sounds in real-time then this is easily done with Pro Tool and Logic.

The piano roll in both is very similar, allowing you to adjust velocity and duration for each note, but there is just something a lot more intuitive about Logic’s ability to create a MIDI track, followed by a MIDI region (meaning you can begin editing in seconds).

Pro Tools has long had a bad reputation for producing electronic music and it’s easy to see why. Logic makes this process quick, easy, and fun. So whatever your workflow is like, Logic Pro has the upper hand here.

Winner: Logic Pro X

Mixing & Plugins

We’ve already mentioned that Logic makes it easy to set up auxiliary tracks, a vital part of the process of mixing audio. But in order to mix you are going to need plugins!

Both DAWs come with a big selection of standard plugins. Pro Tools, depending on which bundle you buy, will come with an array of 3rd party plugins for you to use, including amp simulators, compressors, reverbs, and EQs. You’ll also get the ‘standard’ Pro Tools EQ, compressor, noise gate, and other useful tools.

Now, these are great, and it’s brilliant to be able to open the software and experiment with such a variety of plugins to get the sound you are after.

Logic, on the other hand, comes with a similar array of standard plugins which are all exclusive to Logic users (ie they are only usable within the Logic DAW). While you won’t get the same variation as you would get with Pro Tools, you don’t really need much more to create a great mix or produce interesting music.

The other huge bonus of mixing within Logic is the large number of soft synths and the free-to-use Apple loop library.

You’ll be able to add extra dimensions to your sound with strings, brass, drum loops and more. Granted they aren’t the BEST on the market but when it comes to music-making and mixing, it’s great to be able to have a quick scan of the loop library and find a sample to jam with.

Pro Tools no doubt comes with some cool, quirky stuff that you won’t find in Logic. But for consistency, we’re going to give the points to Logic.

Winner: Logic Pro X

Compatibility

An obvious disadvantage to Logic Pro is that you’ll need to invest in an Apple product to be able to use it! The price can quickly spiral into the thousands depending on the specs you want, although there are refurbished options on the market for cheaper prices.

So in case you were wondering, there is no PC version available for Logic Pro.

(There is also no PC version of Garageband, though there are some great free DAW alternatives for Windows users).

Image credit: 9to5mac.com

Pro Tools, on the other hand, is compatible with both PC and Mac. We’ve already mentioned that Pro Tools does need a powerful machine but as a general rule PCs are cheaper than Macs. So you can probably save a few hundred dollars by going down the Avid route even if you need to buy a new machine.

However, one cool feature of Logic is the ability to import Garageband sessions into the DAW, which means if you’re recording or making music on your iPad, you can simply load up the session within Logic Pro and get mixing.

Obviously there are some notable differences between Logic and Garageband, but it’s a great feature to make use of if you want to demo your music on the go and load into Logic later. An obvious downside, however, is cost – you still need to buy an Apple product!

So in this round, we’re going to assume you have neither a PC or a Mac. If we look at it that way then Pro Tools just wins this round as you have the option for both!

Winner: Pro Tools

Logic vs Pro Tools: Which Is Better?

It depends.

A copout answer, but ultimately, your individual needs are going to determine which one is best for you.

As for me personally, Logic Pro is my preferred DAW. Although it is a tough battle between the two, I feel that for my own needs, Logic Pro comes out on top.

For me, Logic has become my go-to DAW for the fact that it makes life simpler and easier when it comes to mixing and creating music. It feels more intuitive, and the standard plugins are great for creating a pro-sounding mix.

Whilst there are certainly advantages to using Pro Tools, ultimately when beginning a session, Logic has become my go-to software for these reasons. My workflow is more streamlined and so is my productivity and most importantly Logic just feels more enjoyable!

But that’s not to say that Pro Tools isn’t the most suitable for you. Logic and Pro Tools can do many similar things, and you may prefer the way PT works for a particular task. There is a reason Pro Tools is dubbed the industry-standard as well, so even if you are a fan of Logic, it is worth getting to grips with ‘Tools if you want to pursue music and audio professionally.

What’s your preferred DAW? Tell us in the comments!

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