MAGDA in Blog, Music Industry, Music Tech, Songwriting, 25th August 2016

Ableton Live vs Logic Pro X – from Songwriter’s Perspective

Ableton Live 9 or Apple Logic Pro X? Comparing and choosing professional music production software that fits your needs


My background

I’ve been using Logic Pro X for 3 years for producing songwriting demos. Although I am not a full time producer, for my hi-quality demos I do the following operations:

  • arrangement using midi and virtual instruments
  • editing vocals such as pitch correction
  • applying effects such as compression, delay, reverb…
  • mixing
  • applying mastering effects such as compressor, limiter

I started using Ableton Live a couple of weeks ago, when I met people from Ableton HQ in Berlin at Music & Tech: An International Women’s Day Event at Factory Berlin.

Tough day at the office #magdamusic

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At Ableton headquarters in Berlin

User interface

Whenever I work in Logic Pro X on MacBook Pro 13′ I need to scroll through the windows all the time. Ableton Live has much better organisation of the screen, everything is visible even on the small screen. Besides, it looks fabulous: it is bright, and the colour palette is beautiful.

Ableton Live user interface

Instrument presets

I’m too lazy to create new sounds so I mostly use instrument presets. In Logic Pro there are much more default instrument presets than in Live, but those which are in Live are better (for pop/EDM). In Live I could use almost all of them, while in Logic I need to search for a longer time to find something useful.

Virtual instrument Alchemy in Logic Pro X


In Logic the samples are fantastic, because they contain great instrumental and vocal hooks, perfectly suited for songwriting and arranging. Even Rihanna’s Umbrella is produced using Logic samples. Browsing through Live samples library I heard mostly weird sounds I’d never use.


I’ve been using GarageBand since first iPads appeared, and am using the iPhone version even nowadays. In GarageBand it is easy to capture ideas “on the go” and then you can open that project in Logic Pro and finish your production.

MAGDA's summer essentials pt. 2: nautical map of Adriatic Sea + GarageBand on my iPhone #magdamusic #magdaincroatia

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I love playing with my gadgets Magdalena Loborec, © 2016

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You can also control Logic Pro with your iPhone and Logic Remote app, even play virtual guitar and piano on your iPhone to input midi in Logic.

I saw some apps on the Apple Store that are working with Live. They contain keypads and I never used this kind of playing.

Conclusion: Ableton Live or Logic Pro X?

Both software are pretty easy to understand how to get around, and both can be used for making music you want.

Ableton Live seems to suit better for DJs/producers because of the sound library, the arrangement view for live performance, apps with keypads…

I’d say Logic Pro suits better for composers due to GarageBand app on the iPhone/iPad, the way song key/transposition/music notation and other composer tools are organised within the software.

Recording guitars using Ableton Live, Apogee Jam and guitar PRS CE24
Ableton Live user interface

In the end all comes for personal preference. You can try Ableton Live for free here (Windows and OSX), while for Logic Pro I saw only “buy” button on official website and is of course supported only on OSX.

As I’ll get new experience with Ableton live I will keep posting about, so keep in touch!

Which software do you use, or thinking about using?