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Ableton vs. Pro Tools Comparison: Learn the Pros and Cons

If you’re just dipping your toes in the recording scene, you’ve likely stumbled across a heated debate regarding which DAW (digital audio workstation) you should go with. You may be confused about whether to go with Ableton or Pro Tools, which is understandable. But choosing just one might not be a realistic approach! Many audio pros use one DAW for composing and sequencing and another for mixing and recording. The 1500 studio team uses both Ableton and Pro Tools. Both DAWs offer many features, and each one works better for certain applications. Most would argue that if you are primarily recording instruments and vocals or wish to edit and mix your track, Pro Tools is probably a good fit. On the other hand, Ableton is widely considered great for beat-making and sound design.

Regardless of popular opinion, the experts at 1500 Sound Academy have put together a detailed comparison of Ableton vs. Pro Tools to help you find out what’s right for your musical needs. Continue reading to discover the best DAW for you.

What Exactly Are DAWs?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of whether to choose Ableton or Pro Tools, we’ve got to understand the particular uses of both software.

Both Ableton and Pro Tools are digital audio workstations (DAWs). These are music production software applications used to record, edit and play back digital audio. The beauty of DAWs is that you can use them in both professional recording studios and home studios, allowing you to create music where you choose.

Because both DAWs work with MIDI (musical instrument digital interface) to record, edit audio, and so much more, it can be challenging to decide between Ableton vs. Pro Tools. So, we’ll take a deep dive into what makes these software different.

Ableton or Pro Tools: Battle of the DAWs

Here’s a comprehensive breakdown of both music production software.

Pro Tools

Considered the industry-standard DAW for most recording studios worldwide, Pro Tools is thought to be the most widely used DAW in existence today. Recording and mixing are its strong suits and it’s been used to produce a number of award-winning tracks in the industry. With a mind-blowing capacity for recording up to 64 tracks simultaneously, you have an excellent tool to record live instruments from a handful of different sources.

When looking at Ableton vs. Pro Tools, you’ll find the editing capabilities in the latter precise and easy to use. Pro Tools is also known for its flexibility in audio routing and detailed sound. Try dropping stems from another DAW into Pro Tools. You might be surprised at what you hear! Other key elements in Pro Tools include track playlisting and professional quality plugins. A couple of things to note—Pro Tools requires an iLok key to operate and will only run AAX plugins, which are not compatible with other DAWs.


  • More refined edits than Ableton.
  • Easy and intuitive live recording.


  • Not as easy to use as Ableton.


Popular in the electronic music scene, Ableton is more user-friendly. This makes it a great option for beginners deciding between Ableton or Pro Tools.

It comes with many exciting perks, such as the ability to modify your music in real-time with countless options for MIDI sequencing and effects. For a live electronic performer, Ableton is a clear winner in the Ableton vs. Pro Tools debate. It’s a comprehensive tool that allows the musician to do everything from sampling to warping, all in real-time.

If you’re looking to record, do not go with Ableton. Ableton, like Pro Tools, is fantastic in its particular sphere. Depending on your specific musical needs and what you’re intending to use your DAW for, it will become clearer which system is right for you.


  • Easier to use versus Pro Tools.
  • Excellent sound mixing features.
  • Great support for users.


  • No track comping
  • No pitch fixing

Ableton or Pro Tools?

While both Ableton and Pro Tools are great tools, they’re better suited to different types of producers.


Ableton is better suited for EDM music producers and beginners.

Pro Tools:

On the other hand, Pro Tools is suited for live music producers, audio, and mix engineers.

Expert Advice

When it comes to deciding between Ableton vs. Pro Tools, it’s a good idea to formulate a clear picture of how exactly you want to go forward with your music. Pro Tools and Ableton both offer clear advantages depending on what you’re intending to use your DAW for. Try a demo version of each and see what feels more intuitive for you as a musician. As you evolve, your needs may shift, and you may find yourself in the market for an entirely different DAW several years down the line. Whether you opt for Ableton or Pro Tools, happy music-making, and good luck on your creative endeavors!

The Takeaway

So, which program is the most important to learn when you’re headed for an exciting career in the music industry? At 1500 Sound Academy, we believe having a solid understanding of both Ableton and Pro Tools makes you a more well-rounded musician and puts you more firmly on the path to success. We teach both programs in our school because we find it benefits our students to have an understanding of the distinct ways in which either Ableton or Pro Tools shine. It’s invaluable to be able to switch from one program to the next depending on what’s being asked of you as an artist and engineer. Because knowledge is power, having an understanding of Ableton and Pro Tools will place you ahead of the curve.

While some musicians and audio engineers opt to spend their time learning the ins and outs of one of these programs exclusively, 1500 Sound Academy stresses the importance of approaching the Ableton vs. Pro Tools debate head-on. It’s important to be familiar with all the tools you need to achieve success in this competitive industry, whether you’re partial towards Ableton or Pro Tools.

Having a comprehensive understanding of both tools can help you better craft your individualized creations as a musician and evolve as a creative. Because the two programs are very different and have unique benefits for up-and-coming musicians and sound engineers, we encourage an understanding of both.

Feel free to contact 1500 Sound Academy with any questions regarding our programs, and find yourself and your music career in expert hands. We are passionate about helping you achieve your goals.