Logic Pro vs Reason vs Ableton – Which Is Best For Music Production?

This video, via loopmasters, takes a look at Logic Pro, Propellerhead Reason and Ableton Live.

Rob Jones outlines the platform and DAW differences, both in terms of Audio and MIDI capability, as well as looking at each platforms sequencing, editing and bundled FX and instruments packages, to offer a clearer understanding of the 3 software packages.

What’s the best desktop app for music production? One of these apps, or something else?


89 thoughts on “Logic Pro vs Reason vs Ableton – Which Is Best For Music Production?

  1. Logic! especially if you have lots of midi gear, logic is by far the most powerful tool. the environment might have a rather steep learning curve, but once you get control of it, the possibilites are endless…
    the downside: the integrated fx/instruments are sort of a mixed bag. i absolutely love the es2 synth, but i hate the reverbs.

    also, at the current price, it is a total bargain!

        1. so 64 bit support is your only justification for calling logic “by far the most powerful DAW”? i was expecting something in regards to features and workflow. live can utilize up to 4 gb of memory, which is plenty for most uses in a home studio environment, and in a pro studio i’d use protools over logic every time. this argument will also go out the window with the release of 9.

  2. Cubese/Logic with Live rewired and you set to go. Reason? C’mon… It has been toy, it’s a toy, no matter what propellerheads marketing is trying to say. ProTools are awesome in the studio, but i don’t mean the studio in your bedroom. Presonus studio one v2 with melodyne inside looks good, but Reason? C’mon 😀 And Bitwig? Well, we will see…

    1. You haven’t used Reason in a while have you? Of course it’s not as good as Logic but calling it a “toy” makes it sound like you’re a little out of the loop.

      1. Reason has REALLY changed in the last few months. The Rack Extension development has radically altered the product, it’s a complete game-changer. There are almost daily additions to the Prop Store of new instruments, FX, utility etc “building blocks” that are all fully integrated in the Reason environment. Some are expensive, most are cheap. And it’s still rock solid.
        From my perspective, it’s like Christmas coming every week or so, I can’t believe the stuff that I’m getting to add to the mix.

        If anything, the danger is that one of the advantages of Reason, the closed environment (which makes you get good at knowing how to get results with what you’ve got to work with) is now becoming more and more open. The are lots and lots of options now!

        The dongle is still a huge PITA though 🙁

      1. Hm… well, I started with Cubasis as my first DAW and moved up to a fuller Silver version. It started becoming less stable and more difficult to use, but I liked it well enough to upgrade when the Intel Macs appeared. At that point, their patches and updates came almost weekly, I had to reload the reverbs SEPARATELY every time (!) because they did not translate properly and their customer service became very difficult to navigate. The instability ruined that playing field. I lost faith in them after struggling for a year and went with Logic. I am much better off. It will sound odd, since Logic started as a German product, but I have come to veer away from German products. I have had several such companies be very hard to approach when I needed help. MOTU, Camel Audio and Apple are FAR superior and I have never had their products be anything but stable. Just my opinion, but that has been my experience and ultimate path.

  3. God, I hate videos like this. It makes fan-boys post crap with a lot of exclamation points.

    You know who likes fan-boys? NOBODY.

    Be agnostic. That way you get the best of everything.

  4. So he listed everything we already know.

    Doesn’t mention the most important information.

    Stability, working updates and upgrades.

    Customer services, providing 64 bit in a timely manner.

    Price and cost comparison?

    Obviously this guy is just trying to push DAW software so he can sell more samples.

  5. Ableton has it’s faults but for me the WORST is it’s inability to utilize multi core support. People playing huge sample libraries, like kontakt, run into CPU issues even on a nice computer with plenty of RAM.

    Logic works seamlessly with macs.

    1. Live does use multiple cores but not AS efficiently as some of the competitors. I think the worst fault is actually the out-of-sync automation. Live compensates automatically for all the delay caused by plugins, especially those with high lookahead times. But this compensation doesn’t include automation. So, you can never be sure when exactly the automation will be played back.

      For the most part I love Live, but god have they made a mess of stability. On the other hand I use macs but I have never used Apple software that didn’t make me want to tear limbs off their designers. And Reason’s buttons are tiny and even having had Reason Adapted, I couldn’t get a track started within the 30min demo time of Reason 5. So, freewheeling Live it is for me.

  6. like any sensible person will tell you, the “best” DAW is subjective and is dependent on the individual. as music making is an artistic process, different people will have different needs and work better in different environments. the problem with DAW war debates is that fanboys will concentrate too much on technical details, because these are things that can be factually argued (for example Reason doesn’t support plugins, so in that respect it is technically inferior to the others).

    the problem with this sort of argumentative process is that it ignores the wants and needs of the individual artist.

  7. I use Logic, so I am happily biased, but the simple fact is that each of these programs is a different animal. Logic has long been a full recording suite that includes useful instruments of its own. Reason has only recently grown past being mainly a self-contained synths and effects environment. Its big strength has always been its modularity, at which it excels. Thor is a killer synth. Live has generally been something of a DJs tool with a more in-depth focus on cut-&-pasting. ReWire is no small thing, either. I simply chose Logic because I tend to write in a linear, more pianistic fashion. Its more like the Otari 8-track reel-to-reel that taught me the basics of multitracking. I find it very direct in a way that serves my needs. That’s the only standard that counts in the end.

    1. Same here. Logic acts like tape for me. I have the other DAW’s and I use them too. However I automatically find myself making different music in Reason and different music in Live. They kind of guide the process.

      1. Good point.

        If you’re doing more loop based stuff, Live is pretty killer.

        If that’s not what you do, though, other daws are going to probably work better for you.

  8. Ummmmm….I do use reason….a lot. It works the best for what I want to accomplish in linear terms….I do couple it with logic or numerology from time to time via rewire, but I’m not sure what the complaint about a sandbox program could be….that’s why I like it, its an instrument I continually get to remaster every year when new tools for it come via updates. I’m not gonna lie, I would love more granular stuff going on, an lfo module, a matrix update, real timestrech, definetly more effects…..but then again, its just a crazy sampler to me, added bonus is some decent synths and an intuitive sequencer. To each his own…

  9. Reason is a toy??!! LOL and ignorant. Use the tools to make music people. This DAW debate was fun until I realized, quite some time ago, that I was arguing with a 12 year old with torrent access. Make music people.

  10. I also think it depends, to a limited extent, what kind of music you are producing at the moment. I’m a Live fan, but it seems like it’d be a little more cumbersome to use to for someone producing doom metal vs. industrial or idm.

    Arguing what is the “best” is a waste of time. It’s all relative.

  11. I have all 3 of these. Roughly I use Live 90% of the time, Logic 8% Reason 2%. I am not a DJ and don’t use many loops. Mainly I use the DAW to manage routing my softsynths and outboard keyboards, recording and polishing my work. Logic is great and surprisingly uses least resources on my iMac but has recent hassles over 64/32 bit plugins, and I can’t really get my head around the Environment windows for complex midi routing, certainly Live is much much easier to use. Live is also excellent for building sofsynth splits and layers using instrument racks. Reason 3 was the first DAW/Softsynths that I bought, so I have a soft spot for it, and have had great fun with it even though it doesn’t support VSTs and has NO MIDI OUT a major issue for me. However the latest version with Record runs like a dog on my 3yr old iMac and the new mixer is pretty but hard to keep enough of it on the screen at once, consequently I dont use it much at the moment.

  12. I shall invent the very first PAW (physical audio workspace) where your instruments, effects and amp modelers are all simulated by using various tools like amplifiers and analogue synthesizers. Playback is accomplished by using musicians to play the instruments. I’ll sell each PAW as a bundle and make the gear incomparable with other competing PAWs. I’m going to make a fortune.

  13. the best tool is the one that feels transparent enough to to allow you to realize your ideas without feeling like you’re fighting the technology. some of this depends on interface, and some of it just depends on what you’re used to. i think it’s more about picking one and sticking with it. after all, tools don’t make better music, ideas do. which tool inspires the free flow of ideas is totally subjective and different for everyone.

  14. Garageband!

    I use Reason mainly as an instrument. I find it’s “blocks” and grid functions don’t lock or aren’t as intuitive as a double click on a midi slot in Live. Live is by far the hardest to figure out at first but a quick 15 minute tutorial on what things do and how to implement them is a must if you’re stuck. I haven’t used Record yet with reason so I’m not up to snuff on if they made any changes. The fact that Reason can’t load any of my favorite soft synths and plugs is a big down side. I like having the customizable feeling at my finger tips. Logic, for me, was a pain to integrate into my workflow. That’s probably because I’m so used to Pro-Tools. Ableton is something I use on a daily basis and the power of drum racks not just for drum samples but quantifying other samples for playback is such great tool.

    1. Get ready for the GarageBand hate!

      But I’ve got Logic Pro and still use GarageBand for a lot of things. It’s pretty powerful – but more important, it’s so easy to set up.

  15. I’ve used Logic, and MOTU’s Digital Performer. I strongly prefer DP, but it really has to do with how I work and what I like to make.

    Logic has nice and somewhat comprehensive VI’s and effects. It’s not as logical a UI as I would like, some things are hard to find, and the documentation isn’t great. Good sound, and deep as hell.

    DP has a great set of tools for composition, arranging and production. But it doesn’t provide comprehensive FX and VI’s, most of what is there is very good. It has been solid and versatile for my needs. The more I learn it the more I like it.

    Do you need to change tempos? use custom scales? use MIDI functions like transpose/harmonize? run lots of effects? have the program generate random ideas? use loops? The answers to these questions will probably determine better and worse choices for your DAW.

  16. I use all three – Logic and Reason on my University’s computers and Live at home. Each has their benefits and pros/cons. I use Reason as a plugin mainly, because all the effects and synths within it sound awesome. Logic has some great effects built in as well, and the ES2 needs no further accolades. Logic’s writing style is quite linear which isn’t ideal for me but I’m fine with that. Live allows me to generate ideas on the fly and do whatever I want with or to them. It allows me to have an uber-fast workflow which is always a plus.

    Each DAW has their drawbacks and strengths. Knowing the strengths of all of them, it allows us all to make the most out of each. If you have access to one, two, or all three, use each one to their benefit. Enjoy each for what it offers. Instead of being a fanboy of one in particular, realize that nobody gives a fuck about why you think one DAW sucks and that someone with a crappy laptop and Audacity is making better stuff than you while he’s half asleep.

    Don’t create divisions within the music making community. Instead, create music. That way, everyone is happy.

  17. Ableton Live won me over with its flexibility and ease of use. Ive tried logic and reason in the past, and could just never get into them. Ableton is not perfect though, the ableton plugins aways sound thin to me, and ableton distorts horribly if you touch the red on the volume meter. The session view is awesome for sketchy out ideas before adding them to the timeline. The learning curve for ableton is pretty low and there are tons of online videos for anything you what to learn in it. My biggest complaint is I always find myself tweaking knobs and automation lines endlessly to get the sound I’m looking for.

    1. Um, isn’t tweaking knobs and spending time with your work to make it unique and inspiring the essence of the creative process? I think you are missing the whole point.

    1. I think one of the reasons that music hardware and software systems – and instruments – are complex is because they have complex and varied functions which are designed to be controlled with expressiveness and subtlety by expert users. Achieving this kind of mastery takes a great deal of effort, but can make the difference between results that are great and results that are merely good.

      Or it could be that musicians just aren’t good at making software that’s easy to use, possibly because they’re already highly skilled at controlling complicated devices (pianos, violins, saxophones) that normal people can’t use.

      1. Sometimes we also forget what a steep learning curve there is for “Analog Audio Workstations” that include mixing boards, patch panels, hardware synthesizers and samplers, outboard effects, turntables, tape decks, etc.. Sometimes hardware is a bit easier because you can grab it and see the cable routing, but many of the same complications exist.

    2. Yeah, too bad Coltrane, Hendrix, Buddy Rich and all those other legends stuck with one instrument and subsequently mastered it. What dummies for putting all that effort into just one instrument. LOL

  18. I don’t know if it’s just me, but I’ve always found Live a weak performer in the audio quality department. Live just doesn’t sound as good as other DAWs. Most DAWs sound the same, but Live just has this thin sound to it in comparison to everything I’ve used. I’m not trying to flame, but that’s just my experience

    1. I think this is mostly due to the fact that Live is more difficult to mix. At least, that’s always been my feeling anyway. Somehow I always feel cramped and uneasy when mixing in Live, so most of the time I just bounce the audio out into Logic to mix. And Live’s instruments need a lot of beefing up if you want them to sound full.

      Also, I’d just like to point out: Isn’t Logic’s “channel strip setting” function pretty much the same as Live’s racks and Reason’s combinator? Novation guy in the video said he’d like to see Logic implement something like that. I’m confused… I mean, it’s the same thing. Except if you want to combine two channel strips you’d have to route the audio of the first into the second, then to the mains.

  19. Really with this BS? I don’t care what DAW you guys like, how does that affect me? Unless your in the market to buy one of these and never tried any of them, what’s the point of watching this video and then arguing about DAW features?

  20. As someone who started long before the first soft synth hit the market. I like reason for the way it thoughtfully emulates the way I used to be able to work with a bunch of analog gear, a mixer and some patch cables. With one or two exceptions I have not found anything that I can’t do with reason as long as I’m willing to think a little outside the box. I’m especially fond of Thor. A single synth that combines subtractive, fm, am, wavetables, with formant filtering AND rudimentary physical modeling. What more could a synth lover ask for?

    At least that’s how I feal right now. I’ve also been using logic fairly consistently for about 12 years and completely loved using Nuendo when it first came out.

    I suppose it all depends on what inspires you.

  21. I have started making electronic music with Steinberg PRO-24 and Atari ST.
    As the time progressed, I have tried other sequencers available at that time, mainly CLab, but never liked the workflow…
    Pro-24 became Cubase and CLab was acquired by Apple.
    As the time progressed (and so did the sequencers), I have stuck to Steinberg until Propellerheads came along – ReBirth was a revelation and Reason followed soon…
    Needless to say that I am still the user of Propellerheads, Steinberg and more recently (since ver 4) Ableton Live.
    Love them all equally, but I wish that Steinberg will include AU support in their products at some stage…

  22. Ok, this is sort of on the topic, so I’ll just post it here.

    I need a new DAW for my PC. Logic is obviously not an option, since the newest versions don’t even run on PCs, but there must be an alternative out there! I’d like a DAW that gets updated frequently with bugfixes (or is free of bugs, lol), is good for working with the Fireface UFX and hardware synths for that matter and works well with the Maschine.

    Any suggestions?

    Oh, and why doesn’t Steinberg have a demo version of Cubase on their website?

  23. All three, obviously!! We are spoiled that there are so many excellent alternatives. 😀

    I’ve been into Reason and Live for the last n years, but Logic keeps calling my name…. Nonetheless, these days I am mainly switching off between Reason, Prophet ’08, and a ton of iPad apps which are just so much fun!! And GarageBand on both the Mac and iPad is just a relaxing environment for quickly recording stuff. And the SynthStation25 makes the iPhone into an absurdly fun and useful “hardware” synth/workstation.

    The disadvantage of this embarrassment of music software wealth is that it isn’t as easy to achieve mastery over a single application. I’m closest to mastery with Reason, which continues to impress me with its (oft-derided) synths, low CPU usage, and reliability, just as version 6 infuriates me with its dongle/internet login requirement.

  24. I was also a bit disappointed that the review didn’t give too more advantages/disadvantages, e.g.:

    Logic: does everything. Cheaper. Nice included plug-ins/instruments, but (I think) you can’t use them outside Logic! Possibly best MIDI sequencer. Great upgrade from GarageBand. Mac only. Vince Clarke uses it for live mixing and “performance” from a MacBook Pro.
    Reason: can do anything with mastery, but ReWire doesn’t entirely compensate for no plug-ins and no MIDI out. Sounds great, easier on CPU and more reliable, probably due to no plug-ins. Dongle or internet login required as of Reason 6. 🙁
    Live: awesome performance and audio stretching. Excellent custom hardware controllers available. Superior for DJs and sampling musicians. Expensive (and possibly bland?) instruments & less stability with Live 8…

    1. Live is as bland as you allow it to be. I’ve been using it for a while now and am consistently told how unique, strange, gritty and many other adjectives my compositions are. 95% of the instruments and effects I use are native to Live. It’s all about what you do with the tools you have.

      1. To the “dislikers”: My comments were meant to be an example of the sorts of additional things that I’d like to see discussed – not gospel truth. And I have no idea why the comment system keeps mangling my words.

        I think your reply underscores the point that mastering a tool is the difference between great results and merely good.

  25. While I love the Reason devices, after using Live’s sequencer I just can’t go back. I regularly Rewire Reason into Live but I’ll use the external midi device just to avoid Reasons sequencer, but this makes automation tricky.

    While I understand and respect Propellerheads closed platform philosophy, what I really wish for is for them to continue Reason as is (no plug in support, closed system) but to develop and market a version of the individual devices as seperate VSTs (minus the external routing capabilities) so they can be used in other DAWs – group them all together and call it the Reason Studio bundle – they will sell loads. Being able to use scream, thor or the RV unit in Live would be so, so good.

  26. I personally think that Live is the best for what I do. I use real hardware, including an Access Virus TI, and I have found that Live seems to be the best for controlling external hardware in a realtime ang live looping workflow. The fact that Ableton can allow you to Produce, DJ, Remix, Perform, and work with an uninterrupted workflow has always been what was attractive about it to be. Is Ableton the best DAW? The answer depends on what music and workflow you prefer. Go check them all out at your local GC and discover for yourself the features that you would love and the features that you would never use. Just my 2 cents.

  27. for me it depends on whether you are using the DAW as a traditional recorder/mixer environment, or as a creative workspace environment. where you are on that spectrum seems to depend on the type of music and process you use to make music. I’ve always liked using Reason rewired into Pro Tools, using Reason like a toolbox attached to the main work environment. Logic and Live (and now Reason too) are trying to cover all approaches and musical styles. Logic always felt powerful on editing, Live on creative play, and Reason on synthesis and sampling.

  28. I love debates like this but to be honest I use Pro Tools for my production lately.

    maybe because I’m trained in pro tools but its the most efficient and block free way for me to make music. To each their own.

  29. A friend of mine, one of the members of an electronic group in Australia, recommended that I use Cubase. When I was ready to buy a DAW Cubase 6 just came out – perfect timing. I’m glad I made that choice.


  31. So thanks to all for the useful information, really appreciate. So i already have de Mac, the midi controller, and the money in the bag. I try Abbleton because Logic haven’t a trial version and i think that is great. I have the doubt… if i’ll buy Logic and not work for me, will be a waste of money and finally i’ll get Live.

    Thanks 4 the answer.

  32. I keep hearing about the same few programs when googling this topic but can someone please help me out?
    All I want is something I can use and manipulate ezdrummer/drumkiit from hell and add in pre-recorded guitar and bass lines.
    I’ve downloaded the Cubase 6 trial 3 times but it wont install 🙁
    Was leaning towards Live until I read this…
    “it’d be a little more cumbersome to use to for someone producing doom metal vs. industrial or idm.”
    Not looking to produce doom metal as such but will be playing around with some metal. Am currently using 4 separate programs – 2 of which are unstable – and it’s driving me batty!!
    Please help!
    PS.: Would love to go apple but unfortunately that’s not an option – yet.

    1. Cubase trial versión will never work, you must have and older versión with Security Key or something to put on trial…

      LIve is the best option if you dont have a Mac yet, try to get the Intro vertion is amazing and really cheap. You also can get a Synths and efects on Sugar Bytes Shop.com or buy a Drum machine to make that kind of sound.


  33. I am a classically-trained musician, haven’t played for many years (doing other professional stuff), just started working the GarageBand in 12-11 but very frustrated with its limitations (maybe my lack of knowledge?). I want to compose musical scores (films, standalone pieces) using multiple tracks with different instruments, each one entered individually via MIDI, not using many loops if any. I need to be able to synch tracks with each other, alter individual notes and rests – would appreciate suggestions for DAWs that are Mac compatible. Thanks!

  34. People saying its up the individual are wrong and right at the same time yeah it’s up to what your most comfortable with but it does not mean its a better software its up to who offers the most and had the most reliable software because people can say fruity loops is better than all of these programs and they might be right for there case but if it crashes every single moment then pro tools or logic is killing it

  35. In my opinion i use reason 6.5 and i think its the best for ease of use and logic is to complicated like cubase plus what mixer can even come close to what the modeled SSL 9000K in reason 6.5 can do? the sound quality alone in reason 6.5 is the best ever it outputs with a 64bit data bus from the mixer plus RACK EXTENSIONS is better than VST and AU

  36. And i’ve used nearly every DAW you can think of from cubase, protools, studio one,logic, nuendo, sampletude, digital proformer, acid pro, fruity loops and all versions of reason and record plus more and in my opinion REASON 6.5 IS THE BEST DAW EVER MADE the work flow is amazing i make hits in 5mins and have music proformed worldwide because of the workflow in reason 6.5

  37. Logic is fantastic in a good many ways, and would be the perfect DAW for me, if it weren’t for it’s almost stone-age audio editing that makes me want to pull my hair out in frustration. I have seriously NEVER seen anything so bad.

    1. It caught me off guard at first to, but I considered the alternative. He is laying down a lot of info for some that may not be familiar with the context. His pauses are replacing the “ummm’s and eeehh’s and aaaahhh’s” that typically occur when someone is presenting a monologue at length. A person listening needs a natural break to digest the new material. But saying uh…. to many times just makes one looks… uhhhh, like an idiot


  39. the only three DAWs i have ever used and each one has it merits and mares. any body heard of commix, drum and bass duo, they used reason to do their first album back when I think it was reason 3 and people said you couldn’t use it to produce a tune. But like with all things its rarely the tool but the craftsman that cuts final product.

    3 great tools for any craftsman willing to learn how to master them!

  40. It isn’t about which DAW you use. It is about how you use that particular DAW.
    Everyone has an opinion on which DAW is the simplest to use, but all of it is based upon personal experience. In my opinion, I say Ableton is the simplest, simply because I’ve had more experience with it time-wise. But I’m almost certain if I picked up Logic or Reason like I did Ableton, they would come just as naturally to me. I don’t think anyone should hear what someone else has to say about the better DAW, I think everyone should try each one themselves (via a Trial period, most DAW’s do have those.) and work with what they feel comfortable with! Simple said.

  41. Guys, it depends on what u are familiar, confortable and used to. I can achieve a very good quality sound in reason, cubase, fruity loops and ableton coz I know my way round them. Infact I don’t use only one app for the whole project, I take advantage of rewire too. Meaning I can switch from one project to the other depending on my needs.

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