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Live Performance: Logic vs. Ableton

Discussion in 'Recording Gear and Equipment [BG]' started by charlie monroe, Jan 4, 2012.

  1. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    So I think I am ready to leave Garage Band behind. Nice program, and I managed to do some nice work with it, but I'm beginning to run up against things that I can't do. :(

    The next step is to move up to a more powerful DAW, and that brings ProTools, Logic and Ableton Live onto my radar. :meh: I think that these three programs seem to get the most love around here. I'm aware that there are other low cost solutions like reaper and so on, but I don't want to be limited by lack of plugins.

    A drummer friend of mine wants to experiment with some live dubstep/DJ stuff. He can play drums and keys while I play bass, keys and trumpet. The idea is to improv loops on the fly and build songs with addition and subtraction.

    Ableton apparently is user friendly on stage, and Logic has a module called MainStage that is supposed to be performance oriented as well. I think I can safely throw PT out. If you want to, make a case for alternate software. My criteria is that it must be a good recording package, not merely a live looping application. This project is not the only reason I want to upgrade. I still have a ton of music in my head that needs to be recorded, I am hoping to kill two birds with one stone.

    Can I have some users of both or either weigh in on these programs? What do you use and why? What suite does which tasks better or more intuitively?

    I think this thread belongs here, but if not feel free to move it to Live Sound.

    Much obliged.
  2. BurningSkies

    BurningSkies CRAZY BALDHEAD Supporting Member

    Feb 20, 2005
    Syracuse NY
    Endorsing artist: Dingwall Guitars
    If you like and are comfortable with Garage Band, I'd be leaning towards Logic. A couple years ago I was provided with a promo copy of the complete Logic suite and one of the things they sell it on is how easy it is to move 'up' from GB to Logic.

    In the end, I decided that I'd rather stay with Cubase than to move to a whole new DAW and learn all the little quirks and features, and I had it on my MBP for portability and the FULL Logic software hogged most of it's 120g hard drive (once you load all the samples, sounds, etc).
  3. fokof

    fokof One day ,I'll be in the future

    Mar 16, 2007
    Live is designed to be used live , not Logic.
    It is an easy software to learn , not that big of a deal.

    I personaly use Digital Performer as my main DAW and learned the basic use of Live in 2 days.
  4. silky smoove

    silky smoove Supporting Member

    May 19, 2004
    Seattle, WA
    Logic's Mainstage is designed to be "played" live. I've seen it reviewed favorably against Abelton Live as well as negatively. My guess is that it comes down to personal preference and the types of sounds you're after.
  5. I would have thought Cubase should also be on your list?

    Is it an issue that Logic locks you into Mac?
  6. If you use a lot of loops, Ableton Live. If not Mainstage might be better.
  7. Get ableton Live, it was designed for Live use.
  8. Live loops, yes. Multiple plug-in combinations and switch between them, no.
  9. D.A.R.K.


    Aug 20, 2003
    Actually, this is easily done in live.
    I prefer live for performance and creation, but try to avoid it for summing. I actually avoid any digital summing buss, but that's another can of worms.
    Logic is great and has some killer plug ins, not to mention it's compatibility with final cut which makes it invaluable.
    My current band/ client uses both.
    Fwiw, we have had more issues with mainstage than live.
  10. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    We would be playing live. The idea is to have sound samples prepared, and then manipulate them with our instruments. Are you saying that MainStage is really just for modelling and it is awkward to create and replay loops in MainStage?

    Could you point me in the direction of any of those head to head reviews?

    I didn't know Cubase was performance friendly. Do you use it in a live setting?
    I do use Mac already.

    This is, I guess, the heart of my question. Technically most of our work would be loops, but not canned loops. We want to be able to call up sound patches and make loops with them on the fly.

    I wish I could just try these things out, but neither is what I would call cheap and software is non-returnable. I'm hoping to make the correct choice the first time.
  11. charlie monroe

    charlie monroe Gold Supporting Member

    Feb 14, 2011
    Buffalo, NY
    This is the kind of thing I want to know. What is more appealing about Live? What kind of issues did you encounter with MainStage? Were you able to overcome these issues or are they deal breakers? What is the one thing that makes you choose the one over the other?

    Thanks to everyone, this is helpful! :hyper:
  12. D.A.R.K.


    Aug 20, 2003
    The issue with mainstage has been with parameters getting "stuck", necessitating a re-start. Also a few odd, random parameter jumps. The mainstage rig is used for a keys setup.

    Live is used with max not only for playback, but also to control strobes and lighting (dmx conversion via entech interface) as well as video (arkaos can be used via rewire).

    No deal breakers, mainstage is earlier in its development so you can only expect bugs, they all have them actually.
    The key is to be realistic about what you want to do, and to have excess power and memory so things are never under stress (my rule is no less than 50% resources free).
  13. ugly_bassplayer

    ugly_bassplayer Supporting Member

    Jan 21, 2009
    For live , Ableton
  14. D.A.R.K.


    Aug 20, 2003
    If you are looking to manipulate audio via analog instruments
    (bass guitar, for example) max for live is deep, but can do this.
    You could set up parameter functions based off of specific frequency ranges or velocities.
  15. You could always get the existing Live version and test it out, it does not save but otherwise it's fully functional. Yes, if you use a lot of loops, Ableton Live makes sense.

    I use Logic (not Mainstage) for keyboard work, works really well and I get all the nice keyboard plug-ins (Hammond, Electrical Piano et rest...)
  16. I was answering with my day job hat on really (I work in IT).

    Dunno about performance friendly. I know people who use it, but I only use DAWs at home.

    Understand you use Mac already, but you are about to lock yourself into Mac for future upgrades if you build a whole lot of stuff in Logic. You upgrade your computer every few years. Do you want to be able to look only at Macs?

    All else being equal, Ableton has the advantage that if Apple lose the plot you can switch platform easily. Committing to Logic makes you hugely dependent on Apple for your entire platform, just when the guy who many believes made Apple successful is gone. It's a risk.

    BTW, I use Mac and Logic as my DAW of choice, and while there are some things I can't do in GB I actually think it's quite awesome as well.
  17. Mainstage is a software add-on that AFAIK comes only with Logic Studio 9 (€499). Ableton can be bought starting at €200, and it's a full feature Software, meant to be used for live looping and more.
  18. You could actually purchase Mainstage separately from the App store and the App store price for Logic Full edition is pretty cheap now.

    As for all those negative things people say about locking themselves to the Mac platform: I guess most professional studios and post-production studios are in trouble now, or have been the last 15+ years...

    PS: I use both, both are fine. As for Macs, I banned any Windows systems from our house 10 years ago, got tired of fixing viruses, bloatware and malware servers that sneaked in every day to my kids' computers.
  19. PS: Just checked the Mainstage price at the App store -- wow that was low.
  20. It's not about Mac vs PC. It's about a tool that only runs on one platform vs one that runs on multiple.

    Vendor lock-in - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    I use a Mac and pay more to do so. Today I think the extra price is woth it. But if they double their prices and halve their quality I would expect not to. Just like many people who use Mac today probably went there due to Vista.

    Anyone who thinks it couldn't happen should read up on the period where the board forced Jobs out, and what almost happened to the company before he rejoined.

    It's just a risk. If Logic were the best tool I'd use it, but if Ableton and Logic were neck and neck in other respects I'd go Ableton to lessen this risk.

    PS the future will be fought between Android and IOS, not OSX and Windows.

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