Logic Studio, Pro Tools LE, or Pro Tools HD?

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by RandyB, Feb 29, 2008.

  1. RandyB

    RandyB Guest

    I'm designing a recording studio for commercial applications, and was wondering what the strengths and weaknesses of Logic Studio, Pro Tools LE, and Pro Tools HD were.

    I'll be starting out doing songwriter and singer demos, then doing more mainstream commercial projects as I build the business, such as voice-overs, non-synched and synched film scoring, producing new artists, jingles and commercials, etc.

    My research so far: Logic Studio is great for musicians and non-technical creative people, doesn't have as many technical features used in commercial recording work. Pro Tools LE is good for in-home projects but may not work with tracks created in Pro Tools HD, and Pro Tools HD is better for full-blown commerical recording applications and post production.

    I'll be recording acoustic instruments and vocals, using samples and midi instruments, and using plug-ins.

    The studio will be around 12' high x 19' wide x 27' long, separate drum and vocal iso booths, and control room.

    Thanks for your help!

  2. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    :? I can't help but feel a little cautious about this question. My personal feeling is that you should go with the software that you are familiar with but looking at the way you posed the question, I can't help but think you don't have any experience whatsoever with any of this software. Otherwise, you would likely know or at least have an inclination toward a particular software.

    What is your budget?
  3. RandyB

    RandyB Guest

    I haven't used any DAW systems, just talking to people, bought some books. I've done recording in the old analog days, so I'm familiar with the recording environment and processes.

    I've been a database administrator and SQL programmer for 30+ years, so I have a technical background, but I don't have any hands-on with Logic Studio or Pro Tools.

    I can afford Pro Tools HD if this is the best way to go, with one, two, or three DSP cards. I'm also considering Apogee analog-digital input.

    I want to be able to obtain the best possible audio result, top-quality audiophile grade sonics. Cost and ease of use are secondary.

    I'm considering Groove Tube GT67, Rode NTK, Neuman 149, I'll be doing a lot of grand piano recording, various genres. Vocals, jazz quartets, popular original music.

    Thanks for your help!
  4. AnomalyAlecB

    AnomalyAlecB Active Member

    Feb 24, 2008
    Do you have any friends with a studio?

    I'd suggest you go and play with some software and see which you flow with best.

    And if you're that serious about quality, you probably shouldn't be considering LE products.

    Maybe also look into Cubase and Reason, as they have reputations as well.
  5. RandyB

    RandyB Guest

    Thanks, I live in L.A., lots of top-quality recording studios, and it seems the default "de facto" standard is Pro Tools HD.

    Now I'm wondering if I should get Pro Tools HD for a PC or for a Mac Pro. I've used both PC's and Macs before, just wondering which platform will give the best results.

    Here is probably what I'll get to start:

    Pro Tools HD with two DSP cards, I can add a third one later if I need it
    PC or Mac Pro, dual-processor QuadCore, 3 500GB 7200 drives
    DigiDesign 192 or Apogee analog-digital input

    I can get a summing mixer later if the results warrant, Neve or similar.

    I can get one of Digidesigns control surfaces later, the ICON looks pretty good.

    If anyone has experience with the above, let me know what you think of this configuration, any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Thanks, Randy
  6. hueseph

    hueseph Well-Known Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    Vancouver, BC, Canada
    Definitely ProTools HD would be the way to go if you want absolute compatibility with other pro studios. I personally don't think there are any sytstems that equally as powerful. At least not without the addition of third party dsps. Beyond that it's a matter of Preamps and A/D converters which can get very pricey.

    Money no object?

    Link removed
  7. TheFraz

    TheFraz Active Member

    Feb 5, 2007
    It sounds like protools HD is the way to go for you.
    If you have the cash to burn, and HD system on a mac pro with an ICON would be a great set up.
    I am not a huge fan of the digi preamps, but with the icon you can adjust them all from the board. But you can not gain ride, as every thing is in 3 db steps. Personally, I would choose a non digi preamp rack. Just place them close to where you record from so its still easy to get at.
  8. cfaalm

    cfaalm Active Member

    Feb 21, 2005
    Home Page:
    With PTHD in the pocket, you can later decide to add Logic. It will work on PT's hardware and Logic Pro is not as expensive as it used to be.
  9. bent

    bent No Bad Vibes! Well-Known Member

    Oct 26, 2007
    Cocoa, FL
    Home Page:
    +1 PTHD

  10. IIRs

    IIRs Well-Known Member

    Oct 23, 2005
    Actually, audio quality will be about the same from all native DAWs, budget or high end. The 'LE' versions are likely to be restricted in terms of track count etc. rather than quality. Of course, high end systems will probably come with better built-in or bundled FX, but you can always add 3rd party plug-ins to a budget DAW if you need to. Features and workflow should be your deciding factors.

    I suggest you demo Tracktion:
  11. RandyB

    RandyB Guest

    Thanks for your help!

    I checked out the Pro Tools HD 7.4 system requirements on the DigiDesign website, and prepared the following requirements for the Windows-based system. I'll do the same process for the Mac Pro.

    Windows PC specs:

    HP xw8400
    Windows XP Pro SP2
    Two Dual-Core Intel Xeon Processor 5160 3.0 GHz 1333 MHz FSB
    4GB 667 MHz DDR2 SDRAM
    one 160 GB 7200 rpm SATA 3.0-Gb/s NCQ
    four 300GB SCSI drives, 15000RPM
    ATTO ExpressPCI UL5D SCSI Host Adapter driver version 3.0.1
    Intel 5000X Chipset, BIOS version 1.19
    Nvidia Quadro FX 1500 driver version
    HP LP2465 24-inch Monitor
    3.5" disk drive
    Keyboard & mouse

    Any benefits of the Mac Pro over a Windows platform?

    A new question: Which of the following MI DAWS would work best with Pro Tools HD:

    1. Yamaha Motif X8
    2. Korg M3-88
    3. Kurzweil K2600X

    Which of the above has the best sound quality?

    I'd like to use the MI DAW for sketching arrangements, then saving some of the tracks and MIDI sequences to Pro Tools for editing, mixing, and laying down some acoustic tracks, vocals, live instruments. I'll be getting a Steinway B or D with PianoDisk, figuring out how to integrate this with Pro Tools, so parts that I sequence on the DAW could be played on the PianoDisk using the MIDI sequencing for playback with "live" piano. I'll probably use two Neumann 149's in OTRF for the grand piano. The studio will be 12'H (sloped ceiling) x 19'W x 27' long.

    Is the DAW worth it, or should I just use my Fatar Studio 2000 weighted action MIDI keyboard and the samples and sounds in Pro Tools?

    Thanks, Randy
  12. not to try to change your mind, as PT is a killer app, but audio quality isn't affected by which system you use. Unless you are planning on recording at like 192khz (not sure the point) than the DSP cards are a little over kill. If you get the newest Mac Pro, pimp it out completely (8X3.2 processors, I think 16 GB of Ram, 2TB of storage, or a RAID) and Logic Studio, you would come out at a fraction of the price of an HD rig. Pro-tools in an amazing audio workstation, but its midi and composition tools leave something to be desired. Logic comes with 40gb of content, including loops, very high quality instruments, and very high quality effects. If you are using Apogee converters, your sound will be pristine, and I guarantee that you aren't gonna sit there wishing you had more CPU to run plugins. I run Logic on a Macbook (not pro) with dual 2.2ghz processors and 2GB of ram. I have 40+ audio tracks plus instrument tracks, with 50 or more plug ins running, and the CPU meter has plenty of room to go.

    For composing, I prefer Logic studio. The protools Xpand or whatever is kinda a joke. Elastic audio is a cool feature in PT, but you could get an LE rig and use it for editing, even on another computer, buy a spare computer for it, and some nice pre-amps, plus the entire Logic rig for less than a PTHD rig.

    Just something to think about. I use both, and they are both good for different things, but for the kinds of things your talking about doing, and HD2 system is overkill for one, and you won't even see a performance difference between it and a pimped out logic system unless your scoring a movie or something with lots and lots (like 100+) tracks with FX.
  13. tamasdragon

    tamasdragon Guest

    Lately we here have much more problem with our macs, and our pecees are more stable. But I say that if you are familiar with both, both can be great, pecees may be cheaper.
    Tamas Dragon
  14. backinthelab

    backinthelab Guest

    Not to sway you either way, I just want to explain why I chose Logic over PT when building my studio. First thing was price. If you have $20k-plus then go for the gusto. I found, however, that I could use the hardware of my choice and plug-ins are about 1/2 price compared to their TDM counterparts. Next factor was the creative environment. I've found that Logic instills a certain excitement to create and not just record. I LOVE the sequencing end and the customizable environments. Logic does a lot more than just record live audio.

    However, and this is probably a big one. I've actually lost potential clients because I don't have PT. Ignorance is bliss, but there are a ton of people out there who have this mindset that you have to have PT in order to get a quality recording. Is it the flagship of the recording industry? Of course. I just like Logic in all it's glory.
  15. RandyB:

    What you have described that you would like to do with your set up is very similar to the set up that i'm looking into building aswell, although mine is more for a home studio rather than commercial, but i'd like to try and link the two if possible.

    I've been looking at various equipment, hardware, software etc for months now and did alot of research into each one. After all this research I am still undecided in what to go for! lol

    For every "pro" you read about something there is a "con" so I guess it truelly is down to specific usage for everyone. This should come into the equation before you decide PC or Mac. I advise you to remove that debate from your mind whilst looking into things as it really messes with your head!

    From the list you mentioned i've only used Pro Tools LE (7.1) with an 002 and M Box 2 interface so i'll give you some info from my experience using the program and also some info i've picked up along the way:

    Great for recording multiple tracks

    Fairly easy to pick up the basic functions although there is ALOT more i've still to learn

    Works well using rewire with programs such as Reason 3

    Poor for sequencing (Although 7.4 may be better and it also has elastic time, if anyone has used this please let us know more)

    Expensive for plugins and a larger interface

    Computer has to be of good spec when using plugins during mixdown as it eats up the CPU

    From what i've read Logic would be more suited from a sequencer point of view but this limits you to a mac computer.

    Pro Tools HD is supposed to be the industry standard for commercial use but this is very expensive.

    At present i'm NEARLY decided on building my own PC and using Cubase Studio 4 as my main DAW, and also purchasing Reason 4, with the possibility of purchasing Ableton Live 7 if I have enough left in my budget.

    I feel these would be most suited to me as I prefer a PC and will be recording some acoustic guitar tracks, but mostly because i'll be doing alot of sequencing as
    I'll be looking at producing dance tracks mainly.

    I hope this helps with your enquires and if you'd like some more info on anything i've mentioned then give me a shout. If your looking into the PC side of things I can maybe give you some suggestions on components if you like.
  16. Alécio Costa - Brazil

    Alécio Costa - Brazil Well-Known Member

    Mar 19, 2002
    I have been using Pro Tools TDM since 1999. I have just climbed from a modest PT24 to PT24 Mix Cubed and then to and HD2 Accel PCI-E.

    HD2 Accel and a fat MAc Pro will give you best of both worlds, being TDM and RTAS (VST with the wrapper stuff) dsp related.

    I guess prices of these systems have dropped considerably in your area. You live in the USA, right?

    Maybe you can even find used PCI-e rigs, 2007 Mac Proes and save some money for microphones ( Neumann, Audio Technica, AKG, Rode) and very mportant, room acoustics and monitoring.
  17. djg5000

    djg5000 Guest

    I use Logic 8 Studio daily and loving it! I has all the features and plug-ins for recording, tracking and mixing. You can even master tracks well on it. Logic Studio is around 500$ and comes with tons of high quality plugs and synths, drum machine and great, organized presets for everything. As well as all of the Appleloops (6 packs of garage band jam packs) and other software (Main Stage, Sound Track Pro, Compressor). For me it's very stable and fast on an Intel Duo Mac! If you use a Mac go with Logic! If you use a PC, buy a Mac and use both for best software combo. While Pro Tools is an expensive industry standard, Logic is more fun and inspiring with a more streamlined approach, cheaper plugins and comparable functions. There is not much one can't do with Logic vs. PT. On the other hand if you run a professional recording studio you will end up with both inevitably.
  18. Monkey_Mouse

    Monkey_Mouse Active Member

    Nov 8, 2008
    New Jersey
    Pro Tools is great due to the DSP processing power of the system. Great for stacking reverbs, EQs, and the like. But if you are using external hardware for compression and tone, you may be better off going with one of the second tier DAWs like Logic, Sonar, Cubase, or Live. All lean more towards composition instead of pure audio manipulation (PTHD), plus can use audio interfaces with quality at least as good as the PTHD boxes. With quad cores, DSP power is becoming less important. The new PCIe UA cards are a good substitute for PTHD, if you need some more horesepower.

    You can put together a Sonar rig on a PC with a top quality interface, summing box/mixer, and monitors for around $10K. Try doing that with PTHD...
  19. PTHD is the de facto standard and if you are serious about studio work, you probably should consider it strongly, but it's very fiddly setting all that up and making sure you have compatibility etc, not to mention, IMHO ridiculously expensive. For audio editing it is better than Logic, although Logic Studio includes Soundtrack Pro 2 which is a very capable audio editor.

    Although PTHD is an industry standard, in terms of cost efficiency and features, Logic blows it away. You could set up a Logic studio with Apogee interfaces or a Nuendo studio and would have better MIDI, more plugins, and a better audio interface for quite a bit less but you are going to have plenty of potential clients who will insist on using PT, or bring you PT files.

    I am not and never will be a fan of Digidesign stuff, especially PTLE/M-Powered, or their monopoly and tying you to proprietary hardware (none of which is more than acceptable in it's respective price range, IMHO) but they have the reputation and there is a need to fit in if you want to be successful - there are very few Logic or Nuendo only studios that are, most studios know they need PTHD. Logic Studio 8 only costs 499 dollars, so you could include that in your setup too.
  20. gdoubleyou

    gdoubleyou Well-Known Member

    Mar 19, 2003
    Kirkland WA
    Home Page:
    I also can afford PTHD, but it doesn't fit my business plan.

    Just curious, but why would you choose PTHD if you don't have any DAW experience?

    Do you have the proper acoustically treated space for it, mics that will do it justice, a business plan?

    In the Seattle area most of the studios with big rooms, that solely depended on musicians, have had to shut their doors.

    The remaining PTHD rooms are mostly doing video and film post production.

    Bad Animals studio (used to be owned by the band Heart ) had to remake themselves to stay in business.

    If I were your client why would I spend my money at your business, if you don't have any experience or track record?

    Just curious.


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