I want to buy a DAW: Ableton or Logic?

Hi,
I’ve been saving money to buy a daw for christmas, and i need some opinions to decide.

I’m using Ableton Live Lite now because it came with a MIDI controller that I bought, but the limitations in channels is awful. That’s why i decided to upgrade.

I mainly use DAW for editing and mixing. I made almost all my music DAWless to then record and arrange in my mac. I usually use VST instruments for ear candies but rarely for composing, cause the computer tend to break my creative flow.

Taking into account that? What is your experience with both DAW’s for my type of use? I’d instantly go with Ableton cause I “know” how to use it, but it’s a lot more expensive than Logic. Does it worth the extra money if i’ll be only using it for editing and mixing.

Another thing is performance. Is it Logic “faster” just for being made directly by Apple or for my type of use it really doesn’t matter too much?

Thanks in advance for all your opinions.
Greetings from Chile!

If you’re using your DAW as a glorified ‘tape’ recorder and mixer, pretty much any modern DAW will do what you need. Most of them have the option to trial the full software for something like 30 days, if you want to test them for yourself – it’s all about workflow at the end of the day. I see Ableton has 25% off til Monday, Bitwig on sale til 11 January 2022, and there must be deals on all/most of them right now. Anyway, this is a personal preference question, so no one can really say what would be best for you. Get the demo versions.

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I agree with Craig. It sounds like you’d mostly be using the DAW in standard arrangement mode, so you probably wouldn’t take advantage of a lot of what makes Ableton more unique. In that case, Bitwig or Logic would probably work fine for you (FWIW I started out with Logic Pro and switched over to Ableton because I preferred the session/clip view, but Logic felt a bit tighter syncing audio and midi with my external gear).

One consideration is whether you want to integrate a controller to make recording and mixing more immediate. I have a Push 2, which is nice but doesn’t get that much use (I got a great package deal–Ableton usually does these at the end of the year, not for BF), but I also use a Launch Control for faders. I feel like there are a few more hardware options for Live than Logic.

Whatever one you learned on will make you hate the other. It’s like trying to switch stance on a skateboard

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If you’re positive you just need recording and mixing than I say go with Cubase or Logic. I’ve used Logic for years, it’s probably the best value for money you can get and has good stock pluguns. Having said that, Cubase looks like the best around to me for this kind of stuff (but I do ‘t think it of es with amy stock plugin).
Also, Logic’s midi routing is…NOT the best. It will work fine as long as you inly need to connect tracks to external instruments though.

If you think at some point you might want to use your DAW to enhance your hardware’s capabilities and as an instrument itself, Imd co sider Bitwig or maybe Live. I’d suggest Bitwig, it’s more flexible and has a completely modular workflow that makes it stand apart (IMO), but both are great.

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Bitwig is definitely on the “ableton side” of DAWs (I prefer Bitwig).

If one’s looking for a “Multitrack recorder-mixer” kinda feel, Bitwig’s mixing workflow is actually quite bad!

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As @craig already said, if you’re using your DAW as a multi-track mixing/mastering tool, all DAWs will do a fine job and many will have enough plug-ins included to do a decent production run.

Ableton is special, because it provides the clip-launch interface (session view) for live sessions and for playing very flexible with ideas and musical elements. If you don’t use clip-launches, you will not miss it in DAWs like Logic, Cubase, or other linear working DAWs. Ableton’s arrangement-view provides this linear workflow too.

Ableton and the integrated Max4Live plug-ins provide not only excellent audio FX but MIDI-FX as well. If that’s interesting for you, check it out.

At the end it’s a workflow preference. Sound quality should be great for both apps.

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With Logic 10.5, the clip view workflow of Ableton has been added. Logic will get you free upgrades (at least that’s been the case historically). The most recent version, 10.7, added a bunch of functionality to their step sequencer if that matters to you. Right now, I am using my MPC to create basic drum loops and bass lines, and then going into Logic to add some synth tracks, and then tighten the sounds with FX and Compression, then bouncing it to Soundcloud and my business website. Easy.

I’ve tried Ableton Live. In some ways, it is easier to use. I just can’t stand the way it looks. The aesthetic just seems cartoonish to me. I use Bitwig for more of what Live does. Logic has a minimalistic setup and you can grow with it.

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Ableton Live and upgrades, packs etc are all 25% off until Monday if that helps your decision

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If you have any inkling to perform live later, I’d start with Ableton. Will give you a head start later.

They are both good DAWs though, you really can’t go wrong. Just learn it through and through!

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Couple of notes re logic:

  • the recent updates have given it the ability to act in a more Live-like way, with clips and loops etc. It’s still based in the multitrack paradigm.
  • if you’re a student or know anyone who’s a student (or works in education), you can get a fairly solid discount on Logic (it’s through Unidays in the UK. Not sure about elsewhere) [edit: just realised this is only via the pro apps bundle, with MainStage, Final Cut etc, for £199/$199)

Re usage: a lot of people reckon the Alchemy synth in Logic is worth the price alone, and it’s heavily optimised for Mac. Others have already stated the advantages of Ableton. Their Push controller is also amazing but perhaps not needed in your workflow.

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I used Logic until mac os update made me lose my old ver 9 license, then switched to Ableton and prefered it even using arrangement view most of the time, but it did make me switch from recording hardware into a daw (with Logic) to a more hybrid approach.

If I weren’t already invested in Ableton I would probably be looking into Bitwig, but maybe that also appeals to a more hybrid approach. Reaper would do the trick for recording and mixing hardware.

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Ableton is pretty expensive…. I‘d go for Logic or Bitwig - probably rather Bitwig

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Looks like there’s a free 90 day trial of Logic. Probably the best way to figure out if it works for you: Logic Pro - Free Trial - Apple

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I’m not really interested in hardware control for mixing. I tried once to use faders but i’m so used to move parameters with mouse (or just typing them with the keyboard) that I ended up selling it and buying a cheaper one only with keys hahaha

Thanks por the answer!

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Why do you think it’s bad?

Logic is a really good deal, I bought it years ago and never payed any upgrade since then, the amount of sounds/plugins/efx that come with it is nice, you can control it with the free iPad app.

On the other hand I am using Live much more, one because I know it much better but also that I just do not get along with the way that Logic works with MIDI. If you want to sync a lot of devices via MIDI or work with the “External Instrument” from Ableton IMHO it is much easier to setup and configure. I am not sure if you can select any MIDI device you want and enable MIDI clock on it in Logic, in Ableton you can. I also like the easy way to load Overbridge and then create Audio tracks for each of e.g. Digitone tracks or Digitakt.

But maybe all that is possible in Logic as well.

Trying it out for free as @tasker mentioned is probably a good idea.

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I have kind of a similar workflow. I make all my sketches in a Digitakt that also sequence some hardware synths and then print everything through Overbridge for editing, mixing, etc.

Thanks everyone for the awesome replies.

As I mainly use Overbridge + Audio Interface for all my recording purposes, I think that i’ll give Logic a try with that workflow to know if suits me.

As some of you mentioned Bitwig a lot too I’ll also give it a try. I’ve seen that the demo version has everything but you can’t save/export, so it’s a good way to try.

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I’d think a little more long-term here. Ableton. The gift that keep son giving.

But Logic is cheap compared to Live. Get both.

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