Logic 9 vs Pro Tools 9

Pro Tools vs. Logic. Which do you use? In this ultimate slugfest-of-a-DAW match, David Earl and Keith Crusher set out to discover which is the ultimate DAW... by comparing their respective features.  
Life is filled with interesting choices. From the banal; for example, choosing between jam or honey on your toast, traveling by bus or train to work, to the life-altering, that is, deciding which is the best digital audio workstation: Pro Tools or Logic Pro?

And we all know that '

Rounik is the Executive Editor for Ask.Audio & macProVideo. He's built a crack team of professional musicians and writers to create one of the most visited online resources for news, review, tutorials and interviews for modern musician and producer. As an Apple Certified Trainer for Logic Pro Rounik has taught teachers, professional... Read More


dave M
logic is awesome and i'd love to use it - however it is one of the worst apps for editing multiple midi tracks in a single editor. just one example: bass and guitar playing some unison notes/events. guitar is the top most layer. lets say you want bass on the top layer (not obscured by the guitar). no can do. only way to get to it is to dbl click it to show just that track (this is not good enough). being able to orchestrate/compose by showing different tracks into an editor/piano roll, and seeing them in relation to each other is fundamental to how i write. wish i had a different work style. coming from Digital Performer, and working a lot in midi (for composing - not for electronic or serious midi work) Pro Tools handles this style of writing very well. their midi editor is way better then the piano roll. if there is a pro out there that could correct me about how logic Could do this - i'd be greatful as i'd love to use logic instead.
'dave M', perhaps you could add what it is about Pro Tools that makes you write, "i'd love to use logic instead".
Hi Dave, not sure I fully understand. Have you tried using the different Link modes in order to alter the contents being displayed in the Piano Roll?

Peter Schwartz has written a pretty awesome article about Link modes in Logic here:


I'd also highly recommend using the Event List in conjunction with the Piano Roll. It's amazing how quickly and easily these enable you to select and edit MIDI events IMHO...

Peter Schwartz
As to link modes helping with what Dave described... While it's possible to edit multiple regions in the piano roll, it's not well-equipped for the task. If you had a unison line played with even two instruments in unison, notes of one part will overlay the other in the display. Unless you move the covering note out of the way temporarily, or, should the beginning or end of the covered-up note peeks out from behind the other one (because it starts earlier or ends later) allowing you to grab a hold of it, well, you're out of luck.

This lack of accessibility is something that's bothered me but only on rare occasion, since it's not often that I'll edit more than one part at a time in the piano roll. So it's not an issue for me.

What I'd really love to see is Logic incorporate a 3-dimensional display for the piano roll, where, when multiple parts are selected, the display can be 'rotated' obliquely so that different parts are displayed along the Z-axis. Selecting a note for a part would then return the display to 2-D for editing. Hey, a boy can dream, can't he?
Logic for most home studios, EDM/Pop and hip hop.
Protools for live band recording and pro studio compatibility.

Im very much partial to Logic though. All the effects and instruments are amazing and it records and works with audio very well.
Apple keeps price down, and only a downside for those without a Mac.
Rounik -

I love Logic, it's my DAW of choice after having tried most of them, but dave M has a point. In fact it would be great if Logic gave the piano roll editor a 'region-agnostic' mode - i.e., like in DP, from a side-panel you select what *tracks* you want it to look at - multiple ones if desired - and it shows the contents of them, without regard for the region objects the data is in.

This is the most musically-relevant way of treating the data (MIDI notes on a timeline - who cares what region they're in) and would dispense with the whole thing about having to shift-click multiple regions in the Arrange to select them just so a linked piano roll window shows their data.

This way you can work on multiple MIDI streams in one thought-flow, switching on and off the relevant tracks as needed.

That said, I actually much prefer the 'feel' of the Logic piano roll editor, I find it easier to look at, and grab notes with, than DP's. Now if only Apple sorted that multi-edit feature out, the piano roll really would be killer.

Hi Adrian,

Yes, you're right. This functionality would make Logic's Piano Roll so much better.

I love Ski's 3D aspect idea.... Think he should patent that one quick :)

I have to admit I'm quite liking Pro Tools' MIDI Editor It's very clean and easy to use for most of my normal MIDI editing tasks...

I make music... Logic wins.... End.
Not a problem for me to decide, I have both DAWS on my Mac. Logic for main song creation and Pro Tools for mixing and mastering. However, I recently purchased Cubase 6 because 90% of my work is through midi and I think their Midi Editor is the best on the planet so I'm giving it a serious go. I know this discussion is about Pro Tools vs. Logic Pro, but I thought I would throw this in just because I use it as well. Anyway, I don't think I need any more DAW's for now.
Doing music - Logic wins. Doing thousands of fades editing film cues - Pro Tools wins. I think the effects in Logic are more varied and slightly easier to use than PT.
Let's have Matthew Loel T Hepworth do an article about Cubase and answer the same questions that both these guys did! That would be interesting.
Peter Schwartz
Food for thought...

I think these kinds of comparisons and discussions are useful to be sure, as they portray the strengths and weaknesses of different DAWs as they're used in different situations. Per what PeterD said about doing fades, hands down Logic doesn't compare to PT's capabilities in that regard. On the flip side, certainly there are things about working in Logic that aren't as easily facilitated in PT.

Choosing a DAW is about finding the right tool for a particular type of work, combined with how well it facilitates one's concept of what their workflow should be. A person's relationship with a DAW is determined to a great degree by the way *they think* with respect to how the designers collectively think. So ultimately there can never be, and will never be, a "best DAW". There will only ever be "the best DAW for the job at hand". Heck, there are certain things about Logic 8 that facilitate my workflow better than Logic 9 does. How's that for a twist!


Robert Anthony
Let me qualify my opinion first:

I work at Guitar Center in the Pro Audio department. I'm certified both by Apple as a Product Specialist (which includes Logic Pro) and by Guitar Center as a Software & Recording Expert.

That said, I work with avid Pro Tools users (pun not intended, but I'll take it!), I help customers with Issues regarding their software that they bought and so forth.

Pro Tools is just sooo unintuitive. I mean it seriously takes 20 freaking steps to do anything in that program. I admit I don't know enough about the program to give lengthy examples but the few things I have seen just in working where I do lets me know I'm not missing anything except 7 extra steps to every. single. process.

My favorite was when we were talking to a customer and he asked how to get an audio file into Pro Tools. I, being a Logic user, said "Just drag it into the sequencer interface window". One of the Pro Tools users corrected me and showed us on the demo computer:

Pro Tools: (going off memory, not exact)
1) Click on the "Audio Bin/Window"
2) Choose "Import Audio"
3) Nav the gauntlet to where your files are
4) Select and choose "Copy Files"
5) Press Done
6) In the NEXT window choose "Audio Folder"
7) FINALLY you can add files to the project

1) Drag a file into the sequencer. Logic does everything else.

my opinion is pretty much: Pro Tools is "Industry Standard", which is another name for "Old". Logic Pro 9 is, like all Apple products, simple to the point of overlook, yet packed with so much innovation.

I honestly feel that Pro Tools is a hindrance to so many would be music makers and producers. It has a needlessly complicated learning curve that just overwhelms people. I'm smart enough to get it, I just don't get it. As in "Why is this program so needlessly complicated?"

The reason I like Logic Pro is because it gets the software out of the way so you can make music. I guess using Pro Tools is half about being able to say "I can use Pro Tools", which makes it "Industry Standard".
dave M

you can drag and drop audio files direct into pro tools. just did it. mp3's as well as .caf files from logic (although there is conversion time with those). if you are helping people in GC decide about software, you should look a bit more further in PTools as that is false information. overall - as the article states, PT is easier to learn - and Logic is a deeper program with many many benefits if you learn it.
I'm a logic pro user so I can't make comparisons with PT but certainly in general I really like logic. I have a similar problem to others with editing midi though, esp with drums. EG record a B/D part. Then a snare part on a second run, then HH etc. All the parts are on top of each other and it's not easy to select single, or multiple parts for editing. Maybe I'm missing something?
G.F. Big
I've never used Pro Tools. It might have been useful to comment on issues such as bugginess, or reliability, the respective quality of the audio engines (is there any noticeable difference?), how they deal with latency, etc. I use Logic and am always amazed at what it can do, especially when I review chapters from the 'Tips 'N Tricks' tutorials. Logic is a pretty deep program: I don't think anyone has gotten to the bottom of what it can and cannot do. Yet, it is pretty straightforward if you just want to lay down some audio tracks. I'd like to check out PT sometime, but I've invested a fair bit of time and money to learn Logic that it just doesn't seem worth the expense and time to learn to use another DAW.
@paul2open Yes this is another facet of Logic's 'objectification' of everything.. Obsessively putting things into little separate boxes (regions) when it doesn't always make musical sense.

You can use the merge mode but it's still unintuitive IMO..
I'll take Cubase 6 over these toys anytime.
Peter Schwartz
@ Paul2Open,

== All the parts are on top of each other and it's not easy to select single, or multiple parts for editing. Maybe I'm missing something? ==

Yes, you're definitely missing something, but you're not alone in this.

I can't speak for how any other DAW operates, but Logic has the ability to let you create multiple tracks that all point to the same instrument. This way you can record separate parts on separate tracks but they all funnel their MIDI data to the same instrument. Here's the deal...

Get friendly with the key command called "new track with same instrument/channel strip". Note that this is not the same as the function which creates a new track assigned to a **duplicate** copy of the instrument/ch. strip. I've had Shift+T assigned to this for years, so I'll refer to this from hereon in. Of course you can assign whatever you want to it. OK, here's a scenario:

Start with a blank song (Explore/Empty template is good for this). Create and single new instrument track and load it up with the plugin of your choice. Something drummy.

Record a kick part. Great. Now do Shift+T and on that new track, record another part (say, HH). It's going to be using that drummy plug as its sound source. If you look in your Mixer page, you'll see only one instrument channel -- the original one you created. Both tracks, however, are "pointing" to that same channel strip. So the MIDI data on both tracks funnels to that one instrument.


So now you have the means to create a (virtually) unlimited number of tracks on which to record and play back parts which access the same instrument. There's no reason to **ever** have overlapping regions any more! And because each track's MIDI data is separate, you now have the ability to loop (say) the kick pattern over 4 measures but the HH part over 1 measure, etc. You also have completely independent control of each part's region in terms of the realtime parameters (velocity, transpose, etc.).

Downsides? Absolutely none. But if you wanted to be a neat freak and have all of those drums eventually play from a single track, all you'd have to do is merge them.


Wow, Ski, that is amazing, especially as I have been on forums (this one included) and asked about this before and been told you can't have multiple tracks addressing the same plug-in! I had found a way round it by rerouting in the environment but that was tedious and scary as I don't really trust my environment skills. Thanks a lot for that advice! Hope it helps others too. Talking of the environment isn't this another difference with Logic vs Protools, does PT have an editable environment?
Gary Hiebner
I have an MBox 2 Pro audio interface but never use ProTools anymore.

I still have the interface in case I need to open up my older ProTools projects. But I haven't had to open them up in the last 4 years (still on ProTools 8 so don't have the ProTools 9 iLok dongle).

I moved from ProTools to Logic when I realised how much more Logic is geared towards composing and the creative environment than ProTools. You can't beat it. ProTools doesn't even come close. In my opinion.


Indeed, this is an area of Logic that confuses many - that one channel strip (i.e. instrument) can have multiple tracks. Now although this works wonderfully for Software Instrument channels as Ski describes, be aware of creating multiple tracks for one audio channel strip.

Let's say you create 4 tracks assigned to the same audio channel strip... and place 4 audio regions all starting at Bar 1 and ending at Bar 5 on the four tracks... upon playback you'll only hear one of the regions, the other three will be automatically muted in essence. To play all 4 back simultaneously you'll need to create 4 tracks with their own channel strip.

Anyway, that's just a headsup... as for the Environment... well, every DAW has an environment as such - it's just that Logic's is more accessible to play with. Definitely is another difference between Logic & Pro Tools :)
Peter Schwartz
Hi Paul,

Glad that helped! Per Rounik's clarification about audio tracks, what I described is true for software/virtual instruments and MIDI tracks. And for as much as I love the Environment and what you can do with it, there's definitely no need to go there just to record multiple parts which all get sent to the same instrument. Whoever posted that information should be wished into the 11th dimension where they'd have to do an alignment on a 24-track machine with rusty heads!

I'll go one step further to explaining how this all works to shed further light on how Logic is set up.

Again, let's start with a blank song (Explore > Empty template). The first thing you **must** do is create a track of some kind. The reason you aren't allowed to get around this is because a Logic project can't exist without at least one track. Well, OK, so you create a track. But you can't just create one. You also have to assign it to one of three possible "objects" --- an instrument channel strip, an audio channel strip, or a MIDI device (external MIDI). Let's say you select an instrument.

So, at this point you may think that what you created is an "instrument track" where the track and instrument are intrinsically connected -- hard wired, so to speak. But nothing could be further from the truth!

What you have in actuality is a free-standing software instrument channel that's free to receive MIDI data from an unlimited number of sources, i.e., multiple tracks.

The track itself is, in reality, a simple data "lane". But by virtue of the fact that you must create a track and assign it to something when starting this new project, it's easy and natural to assume that they're intrinsically connected.

So there are two ways you can look at the situation:

1) tracks are freelance "lanes" for holding data (regions) and the track can be freely assigned to output its data to the "object" of your choice: audio, instrument, or MIDI.

= or, an equivalent way to look at it =

2) "objects" are assigned to tracks, and the same object can be assigned to multiple tracks

In fact, try this for sh!ts and giggles: create one "audio track" and one "instrument track". Open the environment and select the MIDI thru tool (looks like a MIDI jack). With the "instrument track" selected in the arrangement, click on the audio channel in the environment. Voila, you've just re-assigned that track to an audio channel! Conclusion: tracks are **assigned** to objects, not intrinsically connected to them.
Logic Pro was my main audio app of choice for eight years, interspersed with Pro Tools projects. I was totally sold on Logic for music and radio recording and mixing.

What I disliked about 'Tools was its limited audio interfaces. Ironically, all my current AIs are M-Audio, and PT9 can use others.

I'm back to Pro Tools for its sound-for-video editing via OMF. The way it handles clips makes editing quicker and easier. Tempo shifts are smoother, and I use Reason for MIDI. Another irony: realtime bounce, especially for long pieces. Avid says they'll offer offline bounce in the future.

Nevertheless, I plan to always have the latest versions of Pro Tools and Logic Pro.
Gary Hiebner
Offline bounce was definitely a big reason why I switched to Logic from PT.

Especially when you are working on compositions that go into the 20-30min region. Last thing you want to do is a realtime bounce and have to wait.

I'm surprised it has taken them so long to implement it. Logic has had it for years!

Another reason for a +1 for Logic.

I got recently got Logic and was very disappointed when the software was not able to detect my USB MIDI keyboard. Most of the music I make is made with the keyboard and to have this [so called] amazing software not accept my keyboard's signal when GarageBand does is utterly annoying... On to Pro Tools.
Tarun Sharma
I was a protools user and than i graduated to logic. Being a musician i prefer logic but it also has some issues.,

Like you can not select notes according to the note velocity..
Copying automation breakpoints from one track to another is a long process..
Crashes more often than protools

but overall when it comes to music production, Logic is no 1

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