Both Apple’s Logic Pro and Steinberg’s Cubase are great DAWs to use for music production. However, there are some differences between Cubase and Logic Pro that might make you want to choose one over the other. So which one should you choose? Here’s our Cubase vs Logic battle!
For a TLDR of Cubase vs Logic: Cubase is the obvious answer if you want to have a cross-platform Daw because Logic only works with Mac. But Logic is a much more intuitive DAW and much easier to get started especially if you’re new to music production.
Chances are if you’re reading this, then you’re wanting to decide between which Daw to get logic or Cubase. In this article, we’re going to cover the pros and cons of logic and Cubase as well as the differences between Logic and Cubase.
First off, What is a DAW?
Before deciding which DAW is better, we should probably discuss first what a DAW is. DAW stands for digital audio Workstation. DAWs are used to produce music. Any kind of music that you hear including music on TV, video games, or on the radio – all those are made with a DAW.
DAWs have advanced features besides just recording audio. You can use Virtual instruments, change pitches of audio, use advanced mixing techniques, use equalizers, and just do everything to make your sounds sound better.
Cubase: An Overview
Steinberg’s Cubase has a pretty long history. It’s been around since 1989 when it started as a MIDI sequencer. If you can believe it, it ran on an Atri computer. Remember Atri?
After about a year, Cubase was available for Mac making it a cross-platform DAW that could be used by many more people. Cubase is still cross-platform letting both MAC and Windows users use the software to make music.
Cubase is well known in the scoring and composition spaces as a great DAW because of its MIDI features. That means some famous composers like Hans Zimmer use Cubase instead of other DAWs.
The Different Versions of Cubase
One thing that sets Cubase apart from other DAWs is that it has different versions for various uses. The main versions of Cubase are Cubase LE, Cubase AI, Cubase Elements, Cubase Artist, and Cubase Pro.
The various versions can have some major differences. For example, only Cubase Pro and Cubase Artist come with the VariAudio 3 engine – a feature that is similar to Melodyne or autotune, allowing you to change the pitch of recorded audio.
You can view all the differences between the different versions here. I decided not to put them here because there are soooo many differences.
The main thing to know is that the more expensive the version, the more features you can get. While it might be tempting to go out and get the Pro version, the version with the most features, you might not need all the bells and whistles that come with that.
I STRONGLY encourage you to look at all the different versions of Cubase and decide on which features you need before you decide to buy a version. The good news is that you have a whole lot of options when it comes to upgrading to the newer versions. That means you can start out with something like Cubase Artist 11 and then upgrade to Cubase Pro 12 when that comes out if you want to.
When I started with Cubase, Cubase 6 to be exact, I got the Cubase Pro and didn’t use most of the features that were available. So don’t waste your money on features you aren’t going to need.
The thing to know is that you’re aren’t going to get stuck in one version forever, so don’t worry about that.
With that out of the way, let’s look at the pros of Cubase.
Pros of Cubase Compared to Logic
Let’s look at all the Pros of Cubase base compared to Logic.
Cubase is good for scoring
Like I said, Cubase is known for scoring films and other compositions like that. If you’re looking to do that, Cubase might be the DAW for you. That’s not to say you can’t do the same with other DAWs, but Cubase is known for this kind of work.
Cubase allows you to import video files so you can score your music to it. I haven’t tried it on the newer versions, but I’ve heard it can be big buggy. That said, I haven’t seen this feature advertised with Logic.
Compared to Logic, Cubase has a much more advanced export options menu. If you have different audio groups, you can export them instead of just the stereo out mix.
Cubase is cross-platform
You can use Cubase on PC or MAC. This is a huge deal for someone like me who has a Macbook and a custom desktop PC. Being able to work on the same projects on multiple computers and not having to learn more than one DAW is a huge advantage.
I’ve been a drummer for about 20 years. That means when I’m programming drums, I might want to program some really interesting – or difficult – parts. With a traditional MIDI piano roll, this isn’t as easy. It’s much easier to do this with Cubase’s drum editor. Just take a look:
The drum editor doesn’t deal with note lengths because you’re working with drums. It makes it much easier to write complicated drum parts. This is a huge selling point for me since I love writing drum parts so much.
Comes with A Ton of Very Good Stock Plugins
Depending on the version of Cubase you get, you get some stock plugins. These are things like EQs, delays, and things like that. These are very powerful and can save you money from buying new plugins from third-party vendors.
Cubase comes with a cool feature called comping. Comping allows you to record multiple takes and then take the best part of each of these takes to create a master take. That means if you have a vocalist that can’t sing a whole passage perfectly, but can sing all the parts correctly sometimes, you can just comp the takes and turn them into a perfect take.
Cons of Cubase compared to Logic
Here are the cons of Cubase when comparing Cubase to Logic.
Steep Learning Curve
I love working with Cubase, but I have to admit, it does have a pretty steep learning curve. If I had to assign a number from 1 to 5 for how difficult it is to learn the software, I’d give Cubase a 4 while giving Logic a 2. There’s no way around it, getting started with Cubase can be a big pain in the butt.
USB Dongle System
You have to plug in a USB dongle (stick) in your machine in order to run Cubase. This works as a form of copy protection. I have it plugged into the back of my desktop PC and it stays there no problem, but if I wanted to run Cubase on my new 2021 Macbook Air, I’d need to…
- craw behind my desk
- take out the dongle
- use a USB adaptor with my Macbook
- only have an additional port left on my laptop
- go through all the software validation
With Logic, I just open it up from my desktop. It’s that easy.
Works better on PC
This is more of a problem with older versions of Cubase, but even though it’s cross-platform, many people say that it works better with windows.
Crashes too much
I’ve used multiple versions of Cubase with different laptops and desktops and one thing that is constant is that it has crashed way too many times. It doesn’t crash so much that Cubase isn’t usable, but it still crashes way too much for my liking.
Logic: An Overview
Logic is famous for being one of the most accessible DAWs out there on MAC systems. Pretty much every musician that has a MAC has used Garage Band to record music. Logic is the next logical step when advancing as a music producer, so many MAC users enjoy using Logic.
Pros of Logic Compared to Cubase
Here are the pros of Logic when comparing it to Cubase.
Easy to Learn
Logic is very easy to get started with. You download it and just start. Compare that to Cubase where you have to download it, figure out all the copy protection, fiddle around with your dongle, find out how to set up your audio interface if you need to, etc…
Logic’s UI is also much easier to understand than Cubase’s UI. Here’s Logic’s UI…
To top it off, when you start Logic, you’ll be prompted to download a bunch of virtual instruments meaning you’ll already have pretty much everything you need to get started. Speaking of virtual instruments…
Logic Has Many Virtual Instruments
Logic has over 70 gigs of virtual instruments that you can download as soon as you open Logic. These are largely better than many of the other free virtual instruments you’ll find online and you don’t have to worry about having problems getting them set up in your DAW – they’re automatically imported and ready to go.
Compare that with Cubase and you’ll have to make sure you download the correct format of the instrument, make sure you put it in the correct folder, set up the folder in Cubase, and scan the folder.
Cubase has all kinds of different versions. So many versions that I had to link to a separate page instead of putting them all here. Needless to say, it can be a headache trying to figure out what version of Cubase to get.
With Logic, you just go to the MAC store, pay for it ($199 at the time of writing) and you’re ready to go.
Cons of Logic compared to Cubase
These are the cons of Logic when comparing it to Cubase.
Much simpler export options
Logic doesn’t have too many options when it comes to exporting files. Here are the options you get when it comes to exporting.
And this is what the audio export looks like
Only available on MAC
If you are trying to decide between Cubase and Logic and you don’t have a MAC, then the choice is already made for you. Logic only works on MAC. That means you’re going to have to buy a Macbook or desktop MAC if you want to use Logic. I think Logic is good, but I don’t think it’s good enough to warrant buying a whole new computer just for the software.
Fewer Audio Editing Features
Cubase, especially when using the Pro version and icing VariAudio, has many features to stretch, warp, and repitch audio. Logic, on the other hand, doesn’t have all those great features.
Cubase vs Logic Pro: Which is better?
Both Cubase and Logic are top-of-the-line DAWs. For most users, these are going to do pretty much everything you need in a DAW (assuming you don’t buy one of the cheapest versions of Cubase).
That said, these DAWs do some things better than others. For example, Cubase is well-known for being great at using MIDI and other virtual instruments. I write a lot of music with virtual instruments, and I’ve got to say, after learning the ropes with Cubase, I’m able to crank out track after track because of how easy it is.
Logic is great for beginners. If you want to make beats, or write songs, you can easily get started with Logic without much friction. That isn’t to say that Logic isn’t good for more advanced uses. Many professionals also use Logic and you’ll be able to go from beginner to advanced with Logic without a problem and with fewer headaches than you would with Cubase.
Cubase vs Logic: The Conclusion
If you are trying to decide between Logic and Cubase, the easiest way to decide is to see what kind of computer you have. If you have Windows, get Cubase; if you have MAC, get Logic.
That said, both DAWs allow you to try them out before you buy.
If you have a MAC, try both of them out and see which one you like the most. Otherwise, if you only have a PC, get Cubase or look for another DAW such as FL studio.