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15 Amazing Things That PreSonus Studio One Pro Can Do

05/12/2022

Is Studio One Professional the best DAW? And if so… why? In this article, we’ll explore 15 incredibly clever features that make Studio One a serious contender.

When PreSonus first launched their Studio One DAW in September 2009, there was some surprise and doubt within the music production community.

Did the world really need another DAW when we already had (deep breath) Pro Tools, Logic, GarageBand, Ableton Live, Cubase, Sonar, Nuendo, Digital Performer, Reaper, Samplitude, Reason, FL Studio, Tracktion, Ardour… to name but a few?

PreSonus certainly felt so.

Fast forward more than 13 years and there’s no doubt that Studio One – with all its unique capabilities – is a formidable player in the field. One of the original advantages of Studio One was the fresh, ‘drag-and-drop’ simplicity it had at heart. It was friendly to use and crystal-clear in sound.

Thanks to its fresh start, there are many more clever little (and big) things that Studio One can do. While you may be able to find some of these features in other DAWs, can you find them all?

Let’s dive in!

1. Studio One Pro can do everything, from idea to recording, from mastering to distribution

The PreSonus Studio One Studio One Pro has everything you need to record, edit, and mix with its own collection of virtual instruments, MIDI editing, and friendly drag-and-drop convenience. But Studio One also aims to make songwriting and setup easier.

Smart templates let you open up Studio One, ready and pre-configured for specific tasks, like band recording or podcasting, so you can get started without delay.

There are features like the input filter (stops you from playing duff notes on your keyboard), scratch pads, an arranger track, Melodyne integration, a chord track (lets you flexibly alter chord progressions), tempo, and arrangements even if you’ve already started recording. These make songwriting faster and more fluid.

Studio One Pro’s project page is a fully featured mastering suite that lets you lay out your EP or album, process tracks individually (or globally), easily re-order them, and check they will sound their best on popular streaming and distribution services.

You can automatically adjust the volume of your track to fit these services.

And if you need to make a tweak to a mix, you can do so in Studio One. It’ll bounce your new mix in place and automatically update the mastering project. Plus, it can create projects for CD duplication or online services, as well as upload directly to Soundcloud.

Do you need to create tablature for guitar or write traditional notation? Studio One does that too.

It also supports the keyboard shortcuts of Pro Tools, Cubase, Logic, and Sonar, making it easy to get started if you’re coming from another DAW.

2. …plus, you can perform live with Studio One

A guitarist performing live with PreSonus Studio One

The Show Page is a special mode that’s designed for onstage performance.

Studio One can control your backing tracks, make your virtual instruments ready to perform with, and display your lyrics and chord changes for the whole show.

You can also remix, repeat, skip, or extend sections on the fly, keeping performances unique and responsive to the audience.

3. You can even edit videos!

If you’re working on a sound-to-picture project, you can drag and drop video files into the program and they’ll appear in the timeline. Any built-in video audio then appears on its own track (very useful for sync).

Rather surprisingly though, you’ll find that Studio One’s timeline editing tools will work on the video file too. And since you can import and export unlimited video files, simple video edits can be assembled and sound mixed in Studio One.

There’s also a traditional video editing tool called Ripple editing. This lets you delete a section of audio and have the timeline to the right of it move automatically left, filling the newly-created gap. It’s incredibly useful for podcast editing or increasing the pace of your arrangement.

4. Completely rearrange a complex 100-track composition in less than 5 seconds

Studio One arranger trackStudio One’s Arranger Track lets you label sections of your arrangement as ‘Intro’, ‘Chorus’, or whatever names and colours you choose, along the top.

Once labelled, these section headers can then be dragged left or right.

All the parts contained in them get moved instantly too.

If you drag a section over an earlier part of the song, for example, and let go, all the later parts will shift right in order to accommodate the section you are moving into place.

You can also drag the section names up and down in the left-hand Arranger Track, delete, or copy them.

This lets you explore restructured versions of a track in literally seconds, avoiding the logistical nightmare of cutting, dragging, copying, and pasting (and likely making a mistake that leads to messing up an arrangement!) in other DAWs.

5. Explore ideas non-destructively with scratch pads

With all other DAWs, there’s only ever one timeline.

In Studio One, you have scratch pads. These are like virtual timelines that allow you to explore different arrangements, edits, and other bold changes within your track ideas, using the parts from your main arrangement.

Right-click, choose ‘move to new scratch pad’, and you have a new no-risk space where you can explore wild ideas without fear of damaging what you like about the existing arrangement.

If you stumble upon an edit or new arrangement you love, you can drag it from the scratch pad and into the main arrangement, making it part of your song. No other DAW has this feature.

6. Edit harmony after you’ve recorded

Studio One allows you to re-pitch arrangements on demand.

This includes arrangements that have polyphonic audio recordings and MIDI.

Perfect for those who don’t want the faff of re-recording, the ability to edit harmony after you’ve already recorded makes life so much easier.

It lets you try totally different chords and hear the results change in real time.

You can completely transform your song into something you didn’t anticipate when you first recorded the idea.

And you never have to re-record!

7. Edit in Melodyne (or other pitch correctors) instantly

PreSonus and Celemony collaborated to create a technology called ARA (Audio Random Access), which allows Melodyne – the popular pitch correction software – to instantly see and edit audio in your timeline without you laboriously transferring it to the plugin first.

This integration technology also works with Antares Auto-Tune Pro and Syncroarts ReVoice Pro and means that pitch correction is much quicker to use than any DAW without it.

Note that Studio One Pro actually includes a license for Melodyne Essential, so you get high-quality pitch and time correction as standard. Not only that, as mentioned, Studio One can slow down, speed up, or re-pitch an entire arrangement too.

8. Apply plugins to individual pieces of audio on your timeline

Studio One lets you use ‘event-based effects’.

These are effects chains applied to individual pieces of audio in your arrangement.

So if you want a reverb hit to appear on just one specific piece of audio, hold Alt/Option and drag a reverb plugin onto that piece of audio.

Maybe you want to add an EQ to sweeten up that one particular sound?

You may, of course, worry about the increased processing power required for this technique – but the opposite is true.

Studio One lets you bounce the audio in place, so that processing power is completely freed up, unlike leaving a plugin live on a track (although, more on that in a moment).

Changed your mind about one of the event-based effects? You can later un-bounce in place to edit the effects again, and then re-bounce!

9. Turn off plugins that aren’t currently audible to save processing

If a plugin isn’t passing audio, Studio One can make it take a nap.

This turns it off so that it frees up CPU power for other things, rather than keeping it live unnecessarily.

Also, dropout protection automatically ensures you don’t hear audio dropouts when lots of demand is placed on your CPU from hungry virtual instruments.

10. Create your own impulse responses

Studio One includes a host of professional effects and instruments, including the OpenAIR impulse response reverb.

This lets you impart the sound of real acoustic spaces (and sought-after hardware reverb units) on your tracks.

Most interestingly of all, it includes IR Maker.

This lets you make your own impulse responses quickly and easily.

Capture the sound of real acoustic spaces for reverbs no one else has, or capture your favourite hardware reverbs and take them out on the road.

11. Your session can auto-save as you go

Ever forget to save? Studio One can auto-save as you go, with a frequency in minutes or hours that you determine.

It’s smart and won’t run an auto-save during tracking or playback.

Plus, it uses cached plugin data so saving is fast and won’t affect your flow.

12. Make it sound like an analogue mixing desk

Console Shaper is a Studio One add-on purchase (or is included in PreSonus Sphere) that captures the spirit and personality of legendary analogue mixing desks.

It literally transforms the otherwise pristine sound of Studio One’s mix engine to something with an analogue vibe, while preserving all the conveniences of in-the-box music creation.

13. Create clever multi-band effects

Splitter is a powerful plugin host within Studio One that lets you blend or split multiple plugin effects on the same channel.

You can apply parallel effect processing, put different plugins on the left or right audio channels individually, or even split the sound into frequency bands and apply effects to them independently!

Imagine applying chorus to the high frequencies, flanger to the mids, and drive to the lows – powerful stuff.

14. You get an iPad/Android Tablet Editor, built-in

Studio One Remote lets you walk away from your desk and still control Studio One, from any part of your studio. For example, go and sit at the piano and still be in control as you record, edit, and layer passages of piano recorded on the computer behind you.

When you perform live, the iPad/Tablet becomes a master controller of the Show Page, so you have intuitive touch control rather than using a keyboard and mouse.

15. Export in multiple formats at once

Instead of laboriously exporting a WAV then an MP3 then stems of your mixes one after another (inevitably as you’re desperate to go to bed), Studio One lets you batch-export your choice of files and formats from your session all in one click, with no additional rendering time.

Find out more

Ready to try Studio One?

Check out our best prices on Studio One Professional, Artist, and Sphere subscriptions at Gear4music!

 

Head of Digital Products

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