Pro Tools vs. Logic: Audio and Midi
Pro Tools offers a classic approach to audio, essentially digitizing the analog mixer with the
addition of convenient destructive audio editing. Logic invites users to a modified DAW
experience that includes an evolved interface, and a multitude of samples, presets, and plug-ins
suited for the midi musician. Pro tools is like the PC of DAWs, while logic is like a Mac; both
are incredibly capable and comparable, however each is strikingly more convenient for different
users, depending on experience and intentions. In short, Pro Tools is better for the experienced
folks focused on audio (though beginners can be successful with this program), and Logic is
better for beginners concerned with midi and samples (though there is plenty of room for growth
towards advanced mixing).
|Who it’s good for||
What each offers…
Pro Tools: Interface, Editing, and Mixing
The Pro tools interface is made up of two windows, the playback window and the mixer window.
Editing in the playback window is meant to simulate the manual editing that would occur when
using a tape recording system, what differs is the option to destructively edit. Destructive audio
editing is processing audio files such that the edit cannot be later adjusted or reversed other than
selecting undo. This is one function where Pro tools certainly surpasses Logic. Pro Tools’
Audiosuite gives users the option to destructively edit with literally every plug-in in the program,
including the ones that they install that were not included with the initial purchase. This enables
versatile creation of sounds, swells, and details that are otherwise unachievable.
Editing in the mixer window is meant to simulate an analog experience, creating a fairly easy
transition from live to studio mixing. Users will find that they are able to create new aux
channels with effects and bus signal to them, just as they would with real cables and boxes in a
live setting. However, when using the mixer window one needs to know what sound they are
seeking, including the exact steps they need to take in order to achieve that sound as presets are
limited. Plug-ins do offer an array of presets that are helpful when first exploring, but these
become limited fairly quickly as understanding is advanced.
Logic: Interface, Sounds, and Presets
Logic has a different interface than Pro tools, and a greater number and diversity of plug-ins,
presets, and instruments included, one of Logic’s greatest attributes. Logic’s interface is
composed of one main playback and light mixing window that Apple calls the arrange window.
From the arrange window users can adjust volume, mute, solo; basic mixing functions, as well as
view and edit playback of all tracks. Several smaller popup windows give users access to more
specific functions. The mixing window allows channel strip design almost identical to Pro Tool’s
mixer window. The info window displays the channel strip of only the selected track. The library
window lets users scroll through a multitude of preset sounds, instruments and channel strips for
just about any genre or function one can dream up.
Synths, drums, beat pads, samples, and audio presets are all found in the Library window. Logic
includes a very diverse set of instruments that are not only pre made, but also premixed, giving
users quick access to derivative sounds and feels that would otherwise be painstakingly sought out and recreated from scratch. Audio presets enable users to explore and adjust to find the kind
of mix that they want to use for each take that they track. This can be an great time saver for a
songwriter working to create the right arrangement, or a convenient way to learn different mixing
techniques for the beginning engineer.
While Logic does offer a great number of plug-ins and presets, it can be very frustrating for an
engineer who knows what they are looking for. Many functions and files are hidden from view.
Even simply deleting an aux channel you wish wasn’t there can feel like a very advanced
process. If you have never worked with audio, I would point you to Logic. This program can be a
great place for you to discover how other engineers have mixed by using preset channel strip
settings. If you are a seasoned audio junky looking to go digital or transition from live to studio,
Pro Tools is for you. Pro Tools will feel far more familiar to you than Logic and it will give you
the nuts and bolts of mixing, so to speak.
In the world of DAWs (Digital Audio Workstations), there are a lot of different options to choose from, and it can be very difficult to decide which platform you want to go with. A simple Google search gets you mixed reviews and conflicting information, so whose opinion do you trust? To give you some guidance, we’re going to talk about two of the forerunners in the industry: Avid Pro Tools, who recently released version 12 of their software; and Logic Pro, who recently released version X of theirs. While they both have a lot of similarities, they also have many differences, as well as distinct pros and cons.