Expand your presence

You’re a free spirit. You want more than what you’re given. You yearn to grow beyond your limitations. You crave more sounds than you got with Presonus Studio One or, especially, Studio One Free. That last one is a doozy, because, as I mentioned in a prior post, you can’t expand Studio One Free with third party plugins. 

The good news is you can expand it with third party sample libraries that open right inside the Presence virtual instrument. 

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My (current) DAW

Picking a DAW is a royal PITA. Changing your DAW is an even bigger PITA. That’s what I just went through. I’m not here to trash my old DAW. I want to instead tell you why I ended up choosing the one that I chose, and who knows? Maybe you’ll like it too!

Presonus StudioOne

Presonus Studio One V2

Without further ado, here are the advantages that, IMHO, StudioOne has over other DAWs that I’ve seen. Keep in mind, most, if not all, are not exclusive to S1. It’s the total package that ultimately ends up tipping the scale.

1. VST3 support. You need it to do side-chaining in Waves plugins.

2. Awesome included content that’s wicked easy to find. All the patches in all built-in synths are browsable and searchable directly from the program. The instruments and included drum samples are incredible. One small caveat: when used  at sample rates above 44.1khz, the Impact drum sampler can introduce some clicking glitches at the end of certain samples. I have reported this problem to Presonus. Hopefully this will be fixed soon.

3. Clear division between arrangement and audio. With other DAWs, your arrangement view (aka “track view”) has tracks that have no material on them. They are merely outputs for softsynths. You are trapped between having them sit in your arrangement view, taking up valuable space, or hiding (and then unhiding) them manually. With StudioOne, everything’s much simpler: audio channels/outputs go into the console, MIDI arrangements and audio tracks with audio clips go into the arrangement. To tweak the audio properties of a track you’re working with in the arrangement view, just double-click on the track strip, and the track will become selected in the console. Or, bring up the inspector and edit the audio aspects there. For multi-out multitimbral softsynths, you can use the track inspector to pair an instrument track with an audio channel, and thus access the audio channel’s effects and sends directly from the inspector in the arrangement view. Cubase users should be familiar with this functionality. Also, automation for a multitimbral softsynth can be recorded (or dragged onto) any of the instrument tracks that feed the softsynth. Cool, huh?

4. A picture’s worth a thousand words. A demo’s worth a thousand pictures. The 30-day demo of the current version of Studio One is always available on the Presonus website. This is in stark contrast to many other DAWs, whose demos are made available months after their release, often after a patch or two has been issued to eliminate some of the bugs that were allowed at release. With StudioOne, however, you can always try before you buy.

5.  No track limits in all versions. Even the free version.

6. Wait, there’s a free version? Glad you asked. Yes, there is. The free version leaves out some features (and most of the content) of paid versions and does not allow the use of third-party plugins. However, it’s perfect for many uses, such as trying your hand at music production for the first time, or sharing among bandmates, so that anyone can record or comp, while the person with the more expensive version can process, arrange, and mix.

7. Integrated Melodyne. Not a huge feature for me, but others love it with a burning passion. You can let Presonus explain that one for you in a video. Melodyne is included with the Professional version ($400 street), and can be added onto the other versions.

8. Wicked easy drum replacement. How easy? This easy:

Studio One Gate

Add the Gate plugin to the channel of whichever drum you want to replace. See that “trigger” section there? Click the “Active” box. Then choose the MIDI note you want this plugin to generate and the velocity at which the note should be generated. Voila! Now, you can add any drum instrument on another instrument track, set its MIDI input to this gate plugin, and voila: the other instrument is now playing the replacement sound. 

9. A great forum and user communityPeople are generally very courteous and generous with their advice. Presonus developers visit and contribute to the forum from time to time.

Anywho, these are my reasons for choosing StudioOne. I should mention, that I use the Producer version. Its street price is around $200 USD, but some vendors, such as AudioDeluxe might sell it for less. With no limitations on track count or third-party plugins, I have not found a significant deficit in this edition that cannot be compensated with outside plugins. As always, my choice is subject to change without notice, except I’ll probably write another lengthy post about it. Until then, go forth and explore! And multiply, that always helps.