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Studio One 3.0 demo – First impressions review

June 2, 2015

The Beginning

I’ve recently downloaded the demo of Studio One 3.0 and have been mixing some drums to get somewhat of a feel of it, before deciding whether I commit to buy or not. You may have seen (many blog posts ago) that I added screenshots of Studio One 2.0 when I used to use it. As I work in education as a Music Technician, I got this software for free directly from PreSonus. I found that Studio One 2.0 wasn’t as reliable as Pro Tools 11 when I was using it for a session (ironically, everyone else seemed to say the opposite), so I went back to Pro Tools after using Studio One for one project.

Why I may switch DAW

Since Avid have announced that Pro Tools is becoming a subscription-based service with Pro Tools 12, I thought that now is the best time to jump ship to another DAW which won’t alienate its customers/users with ridiculous marketing strategies, I.E announcing Pro Tools 12 and having the promo video just listing everything about cloud collaboration. When I used Studio One 2.0, I found the GUI to be quite lacklustre and uninspiring; it looked cheap and old. That was the biggest thing that caught my attention with Studio One 3.0 – the GUI.

The Look of Studio One 3.0

Whilst other features of Studio One 3.0 seem cool (the scratch pad and various VSTis and effects), it was the GUI that I was most interested in. Using the demo of Studio One 3.0 inspires me to work; the capability to change the background colours to my liking is also a huge feature that I’ve not seen in other DAWs. The ability to resize faders for higher resolution is also another great feature which I’ll definitely be using a lot when automating or fine-tuning fader adjustments during mixing.

Quantizing

I’m also a guy that wants to use quantizing to tighten up a drum performance when needed, but often find that quantizing does more harm than good (flam artefacts, beats not aligning to the grid properly, etc). Although I don’t think the quantizing algorithm has changed in this version of Studio One (besides their elastique pro 3), I’ve found that quantizing drums in Studio One is so much easier than what it is in Pro Tools. Having to work in 4-8 bar loops in Pro Tools is a very time-consuming process and, in my experience, rarely did the job correctly. In Studio One, I managed to quantize a whole 3 minute song worth of drums and the drums were mostly correct to the grid with barely any flam artefacts. Having said this, I have found that the crossfade and merge events feature much to be desired, as the crossfades will often fade on a transient, and the merge events function doesn’t fill in gaps that the quantizing didn’t clear up. This is a feature that Pro Tools has had in Beat Detective for many years, and I think if Studio One incorporated a “fill gaps and crossfade” feature, quantizing in Studio One 3.0 would be an absolute breeze compared to other DAWs.

In Summary

The real ‘proof in the pudding’ for me will be if I can record 16 tracks simultaneously without any errors. This is something that I found happened a lot in Studio One 2.0, which is why I went back to using Pro Tools 11. So if I can record 48kHz, 24bit audio (or higher) onto my 2011 Macbook Pro with an i5, 4gb ram and a 250gb hard drive without drop outs, I will use Studio One 3.0 as my primary DAW from now on. Having said this, my first impressions of Studio One 3.0 are good ones, and I’m sure with the incremental updates that will be released, my personal issues with this DAW could be rectified along with other people’s user feedback.Screen Shot 2015-06-02 at 17.23.25

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