Protools, Logic, or Digital Performer

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by MagnumSSS, Dec 19, 2004.

  1. MagnumSSS

    MagnumSSS Member

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    These three Software apps seem to be the cream of the crop for a Mac. I'm aware of the M box, and frankly all I need is about 2-4 inputs. If I don't go Pro Tools, I'd get an M Audio 410 most likely (I like it more since it has 4 inputs.....but not sure if the mic pres sound as good as the Focusrite pres on the Mbox.

    My big beef with the Mbox/Protools system is that you need to have the Mbox attached to your computer if you want to do ANYTHING in Protools. This will make mobile editing/mixing a hassle. Is there any way around this? Does anyone know if Digidesign will change this in the near future?

    A question about Learning curves. Which application (Protools, Logic, or Digital Performer) is the easiest to learn and make full use of? By full use, I mean good midi capability, GREAT plug in effects, superb editing/sampling, etc........

    I'm looking to do one man band stuff by recording guitar and voice, doing midi keyboard synth stuff with soft synths to take care of bass, synth sounds, horns, etc, and I also need a good Drum Machine application (was thinking about BFD).

    Anyway, I know there are some similar posts, but not one that really analyzes these three together. If anyone has knowledge, I'd appreciate advice.

    Peace.

    Mag
     
  2. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    Suggestion:

    Base your choice mainly on what you want to be doing over the next few years and don't get too hung up on hardware interfaces, learning curve or specific plug-ins. All have a learning curve, all of them sound great and have access to great plugs. All of them can use software samplers.

    If you plan on doing lots of MIDI sequencing and composing, DP or Logic would be better than PT. DP has been and still is the software of choice for many film and television composers, but this last year or two Logic has been moving in as well. DP is great for rigging up a whole MIDI studio and making changes on the fly as it plays back. PT's MIDI functionality is clumsy and archaic, but for minimal MIDI users like me it serves its purpose fine.

    If you plan on doing mainly audio and just basic or occaisional MIDI sequencing, PT or Logic are more geared to the recording studio. PT more so, because more studios have PT installed than any other program – which makes it easy to open your sessions there and vice versa with a minimum of hassle. Audio editing in PT is a breeze. Most musicians and engineers I know have PT LE setups at home, which makes it easy to collaborate or hire out certain tasks.

    Logic is gaining more popularity on all fronts but I'm not familiar enough with it to tell you much about it. I'm told it's a very different interface than either PT or DP. Maybe someone who uses it will speak up.

    If you call Sweetwater and speak to one of their less squirrely salespeople they should be able to steer you right. Email me if you'd like the name of my rep; he knows his stuff and has always steered me straight.
     
  3. MagnumSSS

    MagnumSSS Member

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    Good advice,

    The most use I have for midi is attaching one midi keyboard to control soft synths and also using Drum Machines/Samplers like BFD or Drumkit from Hell in the host's sequencing tool (whether it be ProTools, Logic, or whatever).

    Not sure what the best application would be.

    I've talked to Sweetwater and the advice I got was Pro Tools and Ableton Live to use with a Mac Powerbook G4. The advice was coming from the fact that all of these components are tightly integrated and will cause me the least amount of problems. Plus, like you said, it's what most professional studios use so transfering projects would be a snap.
     
  4. juniorspecial

    juniorspecial Member

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    Last year at Christmastime I got myself an Mbox, which, of course, included ProTools LE. It also included somewhat reduced versions of Reason, SampleTank, Live, and Amplitube.

    I totally fell in love with Reason, and bought the full version a couple of months ago. The way Reason and ProTools integrate is fantastic, and it gives enormous capabillities. I can play samplers, drum machines, loops, synths, and have almost vulgar amounts of control over them.

    ProTools is a great program. I mainly got it to do online collaborations, and to record jamtracks for myself. I had no idea I would get so deep into the synth/sampler/looping end of things, but it's been really, really interesting for me.

    Getting ProTools, and the stuff I've gotten into it since I bought it, has been one of the most interesting musical experiences of my life.

    I endorse it heartily!!

    :dude:dude
     
  5. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

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    Reason will interface with all three programs pretty much the same way.

    I think Michael's advice is 100% right.
     
  6. MagnumSSS

    MagnumSSS Member

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    yeah, I figure inegrating Reason would not be a problem with the ReWire featuers available on most apps.......

    But, I spoke with Cakewalk when I was considering Sonar about Reason as a drum machine/sampler. I explained to him that I wanted very easy control over where to put what drum samples where in order to create totally original drum patterns. He recommended BFD, I think mainly for the library of recorded drum samples, but it seems a little more geared to the instrumental musician whereas Reason seems angled at the DJ.

    Am I right on this?
     
  7. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    BFD... is the last word "deal?"

    Seriously, I have no idea what that is.

    Reason is a soft synth/sampler. You can use it for whatever you want.
     
  8. MagnumSSS

    MagnumSSS Member

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  9. Macaroni

    Macaroni Member

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    Transferrring projects between programs is not a big issue anymore and can be done easily via an OMF export/import. Unless you have the same exact plugins on both systems, there will be issues regarding that, no matter which program you choose.

    Logic and DP are miles above PT LE, and they compare more directly with the full blown PT HD, so that's something to consider, as well as the fact that Logic & DP have superior MIDI capabilities to any version of PT.

    I use/prefer Logic Pro 7, but to be fair, you should also consider Cubase SX, which is basically the same as its big brother, Nuendo, except for the video post handling capabilities of Nuendo.

    ProTools HD (way too much money), Logic Pro 7, DP and Nuendo/Cubase SX are the big players to choose from, and they are all basically in the same league, so you can't go wrong with any of them. I would never choose PTLE, but for what you're doing, it would work, but not nearly as well as the other choices, since they offer many more, and superior, plugins and software instruments, especially Logic Pro 7. Check out the details thoroughly to make an informed decision.
     
  10. Orren

    Orren Member

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    Well, as a person who literally wrote the book (see signature below) on Logic, I guess that would be me. ;)

    Mag, you said you were looking for something with great plug-ins. Of all of these applications, Logic Pro 7 is the only one that comes with a truly complete and 100% professional set of 60+ synthesizers and effects. From Pitch Correction stuff to guitar amp modelers to virtual analog synths, FM synths, drum machines and samplers, Logic has you covered. So in that regard, you can't go wrong.

    As are as a different interface AKA learning curve, there is definitely an "American style" of interface that PT and DP have, and a "European style" used by Logic, Cubase, Nuendo, Samplitude, and so on. PT/DP sort of put all the audio and notes in an Editor window, and then you copy, paste, and move individual notes and audio segments in that editor like you would rearrange text in a word processor.

    The European way is that all of your audio and notes are automatically stored in "containers" on an "Arrangement" page, and you can cut, crop, loop, etc. those containers. This is usually called "Object Oriented" vs. "Note Oriented."

    I started on Opcode's vision, which of course used the AMerican way, but as soon as I moved to Cubase, which used the European method of moving regions on an Arrange window, I felt like I was home. I find it much more intuitive. Some DP and PT users can never get the hang of it. OTOH, some Cubase/Logic users are never quite able to cope with the lack of regions on an Arrangement page in American applications. So it really depends on you.

    Logic has a rep for being difficult, but its not, once you learn how Logic lays things out. Logic has the most intuitive arrangment and looping functions, and the best plug-ins. It is behind in some editing and mixing features (like plug-in compensation), and doesn't get as good disk performance as Cubase.

    Cubase has the best overall feature set, excellent audio editing, great disk performance, no looping at all (just ghost copies), crap plug-ins, and what I consider an odd mixer.

    Digital Performer is a great application--I used it for a year, and think it's the best looking of all them. But I find its lack of MIDI objects on an Arrange page, and other bizarre features (such as only natively recording split stereo SDII files) deal killers.

    Pro Tools TDM is the pro standard, and if you can afford the $14,000 for a basic PTHD system and 192 interface, go for it! PTLE is crippleware--no sound replacer, crippled track count, and so on. It also doesn't come with nearly the plug-ins of Logic, have nearly the MIDI features of all the above, etc. So while a PTHD rig in a Macintosh is a killer combo, a PTLE rig is a compromise at best.

    Just my thoughts. :)

    Orren
     
  11. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

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    >> Transferrring projects between programs is not a big issue anymore and can be done easily via an OMF export/import. Unless you have the same exact plugins on both systems, there will be issues regarding that, no matter which program you choose.

    Yeah, not to mention edits, fades, automation, sends, busses, etc., none of which export.

    >> Logic and DP are miles above PT LE, and they compare more directly with the full blown PT HD

    And red apples compare more directly to oranges than yellow apples.

    DP grew from MIDI sequencing software. PT LE is meant to be a home studio audio recording system. HD is meant to be a commercial studio system, so of course it's "way too much money" for most home studios. That makes about as much sense as saying a SSL desk is "way too much money" compared to an Allen & Heath.

    The differences between the two are primarily track count (LE is limited to 32 tracks, 128 virtual tracks and 256 MIDI tracks) and the hardware interface. There are some tricks HD can do that LE can't, but they're not critical. LE is not more popular amongst audio pros in their homes than DP or Logic because they're all stupid people who don't know what they're missing, it's because of functionality and session compatibility.

    That said, if you anticipate needing more than 32 audio tracks Logic might be the better choice. Me, I'd rather work in PT because of its editing and compatability, and bounce a few tracks down if needed. It didn't kill George Martin. :)
     
  12. joseph

    joseph Member

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    Inevitably some will like logic over PTLE, etc and it seems the differences are in ease of use and flexibility, etc...

    Are there noticable differences in Tone quality, given the same set of ears EQ/mastering? I guess another way to ask, for a relatively simple 6 track recording, can you tell which system was used by the sound?
     
  13. Orren

    Orren Member

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    Yes and no.

    No, in a "correct" audio engine (meaning, not buggy), you will not hear a difference in simple summing, other than perhaps volume. Meaning that if you simply have 6 tracks and do a stereo mixdown, they will sound the same.

    But as soon as you start using built-in effects, you'll notice a difference. For example, Cubase has really poor built in effects, Logic has world-class effects. So if you use any compressors, reverbs, and so on, Logic will sound better.

    If you don't use built-in effects, but instead use third party effects--such as PSP Audioware, Audio Ease, Sonalksis, Ohm Force, Waves, and so on--you're back to sounding the same in any application.

    Orren
     
  14. MagnumSSS

    MagnumSSS Member

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    That's what I've heard about Cubase, poor built in effects. That's one reason I was considering Sonar if going the PC route.

    But, I'm headed the Mac route now. I could still use Cubase, but why? Anyway, quality of built in effects is important to me. How do the Protools LE built in effeccts compare to Logic's, for anyone who has experience. The intriguing aspect of Logic is that it not only has great built in effects, but I don't have to hook the ******* i/o hardware unit up to my computer in order to do ANYTHING in the sequencing program. So, a comparision would be great, if anyone has experience with BOTH Protools and Logic (MichaelK?, Orren?).

    Not many Digital Performer users?

    Keep in mind, my needs are musician's/music making needs.
     
  15. MagnumSSS

    MagnumSSS Member

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    Hey, Orren, sorry, I didn't see your earlier post. (is that too many commas? haha).

    BTW, great post! Very good advice, it seems. Logic is more appealing now. Can you hook me up with a "builder's buddy" discount? Haha....
     
  16. Macaroni

    Macaroni Member

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    Night and day. Logic's effects and software instruments are in another league, ie: world class. Plus, you get many more. And the new Audio Units standard by Apple is great.

    Once you experience Logic's "Screen Sets", you won't want to work any other way. Logic is not hard to learn - I could get anyone up and running in a matter of hours. It's brilliant for composing and recording - fast and painless. And I personally don't have any problems or find any limitations editing audio regions in Logic.
     
  17. MagnumSSS

    MagnumSSS Member

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    are you american or european? :D

    Well, that sure was a glowing review! If everything this man speaks is true, then Logic seems like a winner! Has a price tag to match. Guess it's worth it.
     
  18. MagnumSSS

    MagnumSSS Member

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    Question about the soft synths in Logic: When I get my midi keyboard, will I be able to control pitch bend and glide with the slider wheels on the left hand side of the midi keyboard? This may be a dumb question, but just needed to make sure. Damn, I'm still a newbie!
     
  19. Macaroni

    Macaroni Member

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    Italian/Canadian (born)/American! ;)

    You could always get Logic Express - same exact program, with less tracks (48 max, I believe) and less effects/instruments. Then upgrade later if/when needed. Logic Pro is definitely worth it.

    And definitely get a UAD-1 Studio or Project Pack. Absolutely amazing plugins and a fantastic deal, price/performance wise. A no brainer.

    In fact, I don't use Logics effects that much, since I prefer the UAD-1's compressors and EQ (LA2A, 1176LN, PultecPro, Fairchild, EMT-140, TrueVerb, etc), so you might want to consider Logic Express and a UAD-1 card. Compare Expresss to Pro to see the differences.


    AFAIK you can. Logic's MIDI capabilities are considered to be the best.
     
  20. Orren

    Orren Member

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    Yup--all Logic synths are either pre-programmed to allow bend and glide from the wheels, or if they have user-configurable modulation sources, those are one of your choices. :)

    As for price--are you a student (any level)? In the USA, the educational price (either in a college computer store or Apple's Online Education store) is $500; quite a bit cheaper!

    Orren
     

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