July 1

Pro Tools vs Logic Pro X: Which DAW Is Best For You?

Pro audio tools and hardware used to be astronomically expensive, reserved only for commercial pros and the wealthiest hobbyists. But the price of hardware and software alike has dropped steadily over the last two decades. These days, home artists and hobbyists have more options than ever before.

Two of the top DAWs on the market today are Pro Tools and Logic Pro X. Which one is better is a common question, but here’s the truth. There’s not one correct answer for everyone, but there might be a better choice for you. Let’s break down the differences: here are all the pros and cons to consider.

Pro Tools vs Logic Pro X DAW Comparison

Both of these applications are digital audio workstations, or DAWs, designed to make sense of a wide range of audio and electronic inputs and work in harmony with an audio interface and other pro recording gear. Both Pro Tools and Logic Pro X offer all the tools that you’ll need to produce high-quality, slickly produced audio.

Combined with the right hardware and third-party tools and plugins, these are the same programs the pros use. That means they’re deeply powerful pieces of software, but they’re also complex. Either one will take you some serious time to learn.

Along those lines, the two programs go about achieving the same (ish) outcomes in very, very different ways. If you already have deep experience in one, you’ll still have a significant learning curve in the other. You’ll know the nature of the tasks you want to complete, but the way to complete them will be different. And in some cases the tools don’t have the same names and don’t even look the same.


The two programs take very different approaches, but they both offer all the core functions you’d expect out of a DAW. Both include a pro-grade MIDI sequencer, support multitrack recording, and work with a wide range of third-party plugins, instrument packs and VSTs (though compatibility isn’t quite universal here).

Both are powerful, resource-hungry apps that require competent hardware if you want to do much (and do it well), and both offer their own unique mix of time-saving automated features and novel solutions to common industry pain points.

Lastly, neither program will automagically make your content professional. You’re still constrained by the quality of your inputs, your output hardware, and — let’s be real here — the quality of your raw tracks and cleanliness of your MIDI sequencing. That said, if you have all that in place, either of these DAWs will help you turn good into great, with more power and efficiency than you could before.

Top Differences

At a high level, the top differences between the two programs have to do with audience and focus. Pro Tools is the unquestioned industry standard when it comes to tracking and editing vocals and instrumentals. Logic Pro is, at its roots, a MIDI-forward DAW, with more intuitive and (in some ways) deeper control over MIDI and electronic tracks.

Both DAWs can do the other, of course. But there’s a difference in focus.

You’ll also see Pro Tools in just about every pro studio. Logic Pro X shows up in some, but it tends to be more common among hobbyists and electronic musicians.

Pro Tools and Logic Pro Pricing

Logic Pro X is available from the Mac App Store, where it sells for a one-time $199. As an Apple app, you can expect periodic updates, though you may need to pay for a new version some day.

Pricing for Pro Tools is not so direct. There are multiple tiers, including a completely free Pro Tools First. For the not-free tiers, Avid is pushing users hard toward a subscription model. It’s still possible to buy a perpetual license from some third-party retailers

Ignoring any time-limited sales or promotions (“first year for $199!”), here’s what you’ll pay for the two priced tiers of Pro Tools:

  • Pro Tools: $34.99 monthly, $29.99 per month (year commitment), or $299 per year
  • Pro Tools Perpetual: $599 with 1 year of software updates
  • Pro Tools Ultimate: $89.99 monthly, $79.99 per month (year commitment), or $799 per year
  • Pro Tools Ultimate Perpetual: $2599 with 1 year of software updates

There’s also an entirely separate and much lower pricing matrix for education customers (both students and teachers). For Pro Tools, you’ll pay $9.99 per month with a year commitment or $99 per year. The perpetual license costs just $299.

If you’re wondering which version you need, you almost certainly do not need Pro Tools Ultimate unless you are, well, a pro. Here’s a quick breakdown of the differences, but as long as you don’t’ need more than 32 I/O ore more than one video track, regular ol’ Pro Tools is more than sufficient.


Logic Pro X is owned by Apple and is solely available in the Mac App Store. In other words, it’s a Mac-only app.

Pro Tools, on the other hand, is made by AVID and is available for either Mac or PC. This fact alone makes Pro Tools far more universal as far as compatibility.

Pros and Cons

Pro Tools: Pros

Industry Standard: If you’re tracking instruments and vocals, there’s no question: Pro Tools is the industry standard. This doesn’t mean it’s going to blow Logic away in terms of quality or end result. But it does mean that if you ever want to ship off project files to a pro mixer, they may expect Pro Tools tracks.

Basic Bundle: The basic bundle of instruments and samples includes some top-notch items like AIR’s Mini Grand and XPand!2 that many producers rely on.

All About the Video: If you’re editing audio to sync with video, Pro Tools is the de facto choice. All tiers support this robustly, and Logic Pro X simply does not. You can bring a video directly into the Pro Tools environment and synch up your audio tracks perfectly. If you imagine you might ever expand into video content (and do it yourself), that alone could steer you toward Pro Tools.

Free Tier: Serious creators aren’t going to last long on the free tier. Still, there is a free tier, and that’s significant. It means you can play around with Pro Tools without committing. You can be pretty well convinced that you want to invest before actually investing, and that’s a pretty great attribute.

Pro Tools: Cons

MIDI Editing: You can do all the MIDI editing you need to do within Pro Tools, but it’s just not as pleasant an experience. You can tell that the DAW’s bread and butter is live recording, not MIDI. The MIDI editor pops out into a separate window that covers, well, pretty much everything else. It’s frustrating to try to work in the MIDI editor and see anything else at the same time.

Basic Bundle: No, this isn’t a typo—the basic bundle is both a pro and a con for Pro Tools. While Pro Tools has a few exceptional instruments and samples, the overall basic bundle is a little thin. It seems the folks at AVID are expecting you’ll pony up for the packs you want or that you already have some. If you’re just starting your home studio, this can be a frustration.

Hard to Learn and Set Up: Pro Tools has made strides (especially with its free First edition) to be more beginner-friendly, but the truth is it’s still not very. At its roots, it’s still a product built for high-end commercial studios. It’s difficult to learn and difficult to configure, the trade-off being its sheer power once you get it set up correctly.

Cost: Those monthly subscription fees add up, but the $599+ perpetual license is maddeningly expensive. And that’s before you start factoring in all the third-party plugins and instrument packs you may need to purchase.

Logic Pro X: Pros

Better for Creators: While both DAWs can typically do all the same stuff, there’s no ignoring that Logic Pro X is built for music creators. Pro Tools is geared more toward pro recording engineers.

Simpler Interface: Most users would say that the interface here is simpler and easier to use than on Pro Tools.

MIDI Editing: In this area, the two programs are somewhat mirror images. You can tell that Logic Pro has its roots in MIDI (where Pro Tools…definitely doesn’t). The MIDI editing pane opens at the bottom of the window so that you can still access the main project workspace. If you know you’ll be doing a lot of MIDI work, that factor alone might push you toward Logic Pro X.

Basic Bundle: Given the all-in-one price of Logic Pro X, the basic instrument and sample bundle included is quite impressive. You get better drum machine sounds, a better variety of synths, and a solid piano and organ right out of the box.

Logic Pro X: Cons

Compatibility/Universality: While Logic Pro X shows up in more pro studios than its predecessors, it’s still far from the industry standard for live tracking. It’s also Mac-only, so if you’re already invested in a high-end PC, you literally can’t use Logic.

Less Robust Audio Editing Tools: We said above that Logic’s interface is simpler. Of course, “simpler” usually means “not as powerful,” and that’s true here. Pro power users will chafe at the limitations, especially if they’re accustomed to Pro Tools. In the interest of simplicity (and with the MIDI-forward focus), Logic doesn’t have as strong a set of live editing tools.

Weaker on Advanced Features: Logic Pro X is awesome for beginners and electronic-focused producers, but it’s not nearly as strong as Pro Tools when it comes to advanced features (video synch is an example) and complex hardware/recording setups.

Logic Pro X vs Pro Tools: Best Uses for Each

The argument over Logic Pro vs Pro Tools isn’t so much about which one is better or worse. It’s about which DAW is right for you and for your unique style of music making.

This is a bit of an oversimplification, but you can almost boil it down to this: do you do more MIDI work or more live tracking work? Logic has the edge on MIDI creation and editing, certainly. And Pro Tools is light years ahead in tracking and editing real instruments and vocals.

So in essence it’s not always as simple as a protools vs logic discussion. The programs have many overlapping functions, but in the big picture they have differing focuses.

There’s also pricing and compatibility to consider, as not every budget or setup works equally well with the two DAWs.

If you’re an at-home producer that spends most of your time working with instrument samples and MIDI tracks — and you own a Mac — Logic Pro X is most likely the best place for you to start.

But if you’re an acoustic singer/songwriter who plans to spend most of your time chasing that perfect vocal — investing the time to learn Pro Tools is going to pay off big time. The same is true if you want to freelance edit or produce or if you’re looking to work in a pro studio.

Remember, either DAW is going to take an investment of time. You won’t be good at either one at first. It’s also possible to learn both, but we’d highly recommend you get good at one before starting the other. Being a beginner at both can be quite frustrating.

Final Thoughts: Pro Tools Vs Logic

In the end, whichever DAW you choose, the DAW is only a tool, a means to an end. The real joy is in the music you make and share with the world. Either app can help you produce music you’re proud of. It’s just a matter of deciding which one makes the most sense for your style of music-making. Once you pick, the sky’s the limit!


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