Explore the incredible power of Arranger Track working in conjunction with Scratch Pads.Studio One 3 comes with a hefty set of VIs, some of which deserve special mention. I found the new Mai Tai polyphonic synth especially versatile and tasty. It produces a wide range of old-school analog synth sounds and effects that should please EDM and groove producers. Of course, it can generate cutting-edge synth sounds too that are as modern as tomorrow’s pop hits. You can use Mai Tai’s two oscillators and sub-oscillator in tandem with Character settings and a host of cool filters to dial in sounds you’ve only imagined up to now. Huge basslines and killer leads are made to order for EDM producers. Dual LFOs, three envelope generators plus a 16-stage modulation matrix that allows you to route modules however you like and up the creativity quotient even further. My Tai comes with its own suite of effects making instrument design a more within-the-synth experience. There’s also a Quality setting with which you can scale CPU usage up and down—a nice enhancement to prevent playback issues when hundreds of tracks are involved. Filters can be applied with virtually no latency, again a nice touch when performing in real time. The other big synth news with Studio One 3 is the completely updated Presence XT. Aside from the huge 15GB content collection bundled with it, Presence XT can read most popular sample formats and supports EXS, Kontakt and Giga. For anybody with significant sample libraries, this is major. PreSonus partnered with Bitwig to co-develop a native sampler format for Presence XT meaning you can also import Bitwigs sample libraries for even more creative fodder. PreSonus also plans to offer its own new sounds that can be purchased and used right within the Presence XT’s window. By the way, the new sampler engine appears to be very powerful. It has articulations and scripting support—a big deal for composers who work with complex scores. Available articulations also appear on the keyboard, making the synth quite performance friendly. Building multi-instruments is just as simple—simply drag new instruments and FX to the synth window. This is ideal for creating keyboard splits and layers. There’s also a full complement of note effects for tweaking your synths. These include a sophisticated arpeggiator that has numerous parameter settings that can turn a non-keyboardist like me into a more skilled performer-producer. The Chorder tool allows you to trigger single-finger chords when working with a small-format hardware keyboard controller. As with most other modules in Studio One, you can map and save any elements of your custom-created instruments for immediate recall. You can also save effects that will be applied only to those song sections you designate.
The Mai Tai analog polysynth has the power to satisfy the most demanding artists and composers.
A huge library, unprecedented control and the ability to work with a broad range of sample formats makes the Presence XT a versatile creativity engine.
Check out Studio One’s awesome FX chains capabilities and intuitive multi-instrument building process.Studio One comes with a generous helping of effects including a couple that are new to the program. Bit Crusher is another way of generating those old-school synth sounds instead of working with Mai Tai. It includes a collection of low bitrate drum machines and other sounds that conjure up the earliest days of electronic instruments. The new Rotor effect gives you a convincing emulation of a Leslie speaker and sounds terrific applied to the B3 and other organ sounds in the Presence XT. I found it to be surprisingly versatile on a range of instruments and voices to create unusual, swirling sounds. Of course, if you’re an old-school guy who loves the harmonic depth of vintage B3s and Wurlitzers, the Rotor is tailor-made for adding that big, ambient sound too. For advanced timing and pitch editing, PreSonus has partnered with Celemony to integrate its Melodyne Essentials software.
A better browserHunting for the right sound or loop can be a huge time suck. Studio One 3 makes the process faster and smarter with a search engine that exploits musical tags, tabs and super-logical folder architecture. Type in “snare,” and the engine returns all results filtered by whether you’re looking for Instruments, Effects or Loops. Vendor, Style and Instrument tabs help you fine tune results. You can drill down further by clicking on the tags icon, which presents lists of Style, Instrument and Character tags. I found the process remarkably intuitive. Searching the core libraries, my computer’s files, the PreSonus Shop and Exchange (more on them in a moment) was intuitive and quick. The browser also lets you accesses the media within your project via the Pool tab. No more opening web browser windows to find a sound. Choose from any of the core selection of sounds built into the program. Or drag external audio files into a Studio One 3 folder then audition them in the window just below the browser. A sync button lets you hear the file played at your project’s tempo—a much more musical way to browse and audition. It’s hard to beat Studio One when it comes to intuitive and flexible drag and drop support. You can drag browser items into channels, tracks or single events. You can also create presets and loops the other way around by dragging them out of other views and dropping them into the browser. The Cloud tab is essentially a means of end-running your usual web browser to access content within Studio One. These include the PreSonus Shop where owners of Studio One Artist can access upgrades on the Cloud tab as an alternative to springing for the Professional edition. Other crossgrades and add-ons are available too and Presonus says more are coming. The PreSonus Exchange, also accessed via the Cloud tab, is another huge trove of extensions, FX chains, grooves and much more shared among members of the PreSonus community. And when you’re ready to share your project on SoundCloud, built-in client software under the Cloud tab makes doing so effortless. You can also import audio from your Soundcloud account using Studio One. This makes a great cloud-based storage solution for stems tracked on the fly with mobile gear. Once you’re back at the studio, the stems are there waiting for you to flesh your ideas out. As far as I know, only Studio One has this functionality. With so many artists and producers tracking on the road these days, it’s evident that PreSonus has been listening to its users.
The newly updated browser streamlines finding, configuring and adding new sounds, instruments and FX.PreSonus has factored in the growing popularity of multi-touch screens in unveiling Studio One 3. For a real hands-on experience without having to spring for a hardware controller or mixer, Version 3 offers multi-touch support on both Mac and Windows computers and displays. The program is also designed to work flawlessly with multiple displays (Presonus says they tested up to six at once!). Of course, if you won’t settle for anything less than a true hardware controller, Presonus has gear that tightly integrates with Studio One. The PreSonus StudioLive CS18AI is a dedicated Studio One mix controller that will answer the call with the highest level of software integration and high-res audio. It’s designed for maximum versatility and integration with other PreSonus software too and features 18 touch-sensitive motorized faders. If you’re looking for a rackmount unit to serve as your interface and studio control center, the PreSonus Studio 192 is just the ticket. It has 26 inputs including 8 remote-controlled XMAX mic pres, and gives you speaker switching and individualized headphone mixes plus zero-latency USB 3.0 monitoring—all controlled through Studio One. Very flexible routing and workflow options make the Studio 192 a powerful adjunct to the software. For example, you can run Studio One’s killer Fat Channel plug-in using your computer’s processor, then when needed, switch seamlessly to the 192’s onboard DSP. The software and the 192 can share the same preamp settings. A DigiMax DP88 preamp/converter will be available in the third quarter of 2015 that adds 8 more software-controllable XMAX preamp channels and even includes ADAT I/O support. Actually, PreSonus has integrated Studio One with its entire line of interfaces ranging from the AudioBox series iOne and iTwo to the pro-level Studio Live AI consoles and RM mixers. Used with either the Audiobox iSeries interfaces or the Capture for iPad, you can transfer music wirelessly from your iPad into Studio One. Just as I was wrapping up this review, PreSonus released its Studio One Remote—a free app with which you can wirelessly control Studio One 3 Professional using your iPad in on-the-go situations. In a workstation setting, you can use it as a second screen. Before you sneer dismissively and say there’s no way you’re going to be mixing on an iPad, you may want to consider all its cool workflow-enhancing possibilities. For starters, it frees performer-producers from their desks or racks when recording. The app lets you control transport and mix console settings including inserts, sends, I/O, and FX. And much, much more. I didn’t have a chance to explore the app, but the feature set on the PreSonus website is impressive, With robust FX control, editing and arranging windows and extensive project navigation cues, it’s clear that Studio One Remote is no mere afterthought.
Buy just what you needPreSonus lets you jump into the Studio One 3 platform at whatever level makes sense for you. Actually, you don’t need to buy anything to get your feet wet with Studio One. The Prime version, which is slated to be offered as a free download in August, 2015 offers much of the drag-and-drop functionality of the versions you pay for. You can build projects with unlimited tracks, effects and instruments in Prime then save and export them. Of course, PreSonus is betting you’re going to want the expanded capabilities of the paid versions. And that’s a good bet, but Prime is a great way to sample the air of the Studio One ecosystem without spending a dime. PreSonus offers complete comparison charts for each version here. Artist is a step-up version that targets the intermediate user not quite ready for all power of the Professional version. As the “Mama Bear” in the lineup, it delivers more editing capabilities such as quantization, groove extraction and transient detection. It also includes the advanced folder structures that help keep your projects well organized. There are 30 very usable effects including the awesome Fat Channel that’s built into PreSonus hardware mixers. You also get that super-editable Mai Tai synth for a massive creativity boost. Professional is what you want if you can’t wait to start using Arranger Tracks and Scratch Pads. The 64-bit mix engine generates wonderfully detailed, nuanced sound. For complex recordings, exploit the power of extended FX chains as well as the robust loops, instruments and effects libraries. The 41 bundled effects include the user-friendly Multiband Dynamics compressor and Open Air reverb that add professional punch and sheen to your projects. Complete mastering and distribution tools means you can take your projects from an initial riff to a sketch to a polished, mastered production ready to distribute via CD, streaming or download. PreSonus is offering a range of upgrade and crossgrade possibilities for owners of earlier Studio One versions and competing DAWs. To lure some of the latter prospects and ease the transition process, the program can even be set up to respond to your current DAW’s command set. At Musician’s Friend you’ll find a complete selection of Presonus Studio One versions and upgrade/crossgrade options.
The three flavors of Studio One 3 explained.