What is PreSonus Studio One? Everything You Need To Know…

Studio One
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Studio One is a DAW application that can be used to create, record, mix, and master music and other audio. It was first released in 2009 for macOS and Microsoft Windows. How does it stack up against other DAWs? Today we do a deep-dive into this expansive DAW.

What is PreSonus Studio One? DAW Simplicity

PreSonus is a company that most of us know, in fact their “ERIS” monitors are in my studio! The company has a rich legacy of creating budget audio gear for musicians of all levels. But there is also the “premium” side to what PreSonus has to offer, and that is exactly where Studio One comes in.

Studio One started development way back in 2004, making it one of the “newer” DAW systems. But this gave PreSonus a big upper hand, since the designers had seen the features that did not work with Pro Tools, and other popular DAWs of the time.

This gave the DAW a head start when it comes to adding features that users would want to use, especially when it comes to home recording. All of the mainstream DAWs had already made the blueprint, and provided a path for PreSonus to improve upon the standard.

Not to mention that PreSonus was made up of Steinberg employees, the very same people that had already brought Cubase to life years earlier. Studio One definitely had the upper hand when it comes to design, but what makes this DAW so different?

That is what we are going to answer today, by going over all of the features and specs of this incredible DAW. We will talk about the strengths and weaknesses, as well as the version history up until now. It may not have the history that Pro Tools or Cubase may have, but Studio One is still a great DAW.

This DAW system stands as a testament to innovation, user-centric design, and a commitment to empowering artists to shape their sonic visions. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the journey of PreSonus, its diverse applications, standout features, and the artists who have harnessed its potential to craft musical masterpieces.

A Brief Glimpse into Studio One’s History

PreSonus Studio One emerged onto the scene as a response to the evolving needs of music creators. It was introduced as a fresh contender in the DAW landscape, offering a streamlined and intuitive platform for musicians, producers, and audio engineers.

The inception of the DAW marked PreSonus’ dedication to reimagining the music production process, combining cutting-edge technology with a user-friendly interface. As we have already mentioned, the DAW was designed by former Steinberg employees, so these guys knew what they were doing.

The first version of Studio One was announced in April of 2009, with a fully working version for trade shows, and officially released in September 2009. Studio One received instant praise, and became very successful almost immediately.

The journey of PreSonus has been marked by progressive updates that cater to the ever-changing demands of the music industry. Each version has introduced new features, refined workflows, and expanded capabilities. Let’s delve into the evolution:

Version 1: A Bold Beginning

The first iteration of Studio One (2009) introduced a refreshing take on DAW interfaces, aiming to simplify the music production experience. It debuted with features like drag-and-drop functionality, seamless audio recording, and an extensive sound library. This version laid the foundation for what was to come, capturing the attention of novices and experienced users alike.

Version 2: Elevating the Experience

With the release of Studio One Version 2, PreSonus raised the bar by introducing features like Melodyne integration, extended MIDI capabilities, and a refined user interface. This version resonated with artists who sought a balance between powerful functionality and intuitive design.

Version 3: A Creativity Engine

Version 3 of Studio One saw a significant overhaul, introducing a new interface, advanced automation features, and enhanced instrument and effect options. The integration of Scratch Pads enabled users to explore multiple arrangement possibilities, fostering creativity during the production process.

Version 4: Shaping Sonic Realms

Building on the foundation of its predecessors, Studio One Version 4 brought about improvements in mixing, arranging, and sound design. The addition of Chord Track and Harmonic Editing expanded the creative toolkit, making it easier for artists to experiment with harmony and chord progressions.

Version 5: Pushing Boundaries

The latest iteration, Studio One Version 5, unveiled a range of new features, including Score View for notation, Show Page for live performances, and enhanced collaboration tools. This version solidified Studio One’s reputation as a versatile DAW that caters to diverse musical needs.

The rest of the article will be exploring the latest version, and all of the features that it has to offer to artists of all calibers. Again, PreSonus had years of data to sift through when it came to the features that a modern DAW requires, and the current version reflects that laser-accurate focus on design details.

Version 6: Video And Audio Combined

Studio One 6, the latest iteration of PreSonus’s flagship digital audio workstation (DAW), builds upon the solid foundation of its predecessors while introducing several new and improved features that enhance the music production experience.

The last in line of the Studio One version history is the 6.5 edition, which offers a whole suite of options for both audio and video. The trend of mixing video and audio by artists has never been more important to a musician’s career. Everyone needs Instagram and YouTube these days, and Studio One has those features.

Catering to All: Beginner Friendly Features

The world of digital audio workstations (DAWs) presents a plethora of options, each with its own learning curve. Amidst this landscape, PreSonus Studio One emerges as a guiding light for newcomers, offering a seamless and supportive environment that nurtures their creative growth. Let’s explore why PreSonus Studio One stands as a fantastic choice for beginners venturing into the world of music production.

All DAWs have a learning curve, no matter which one you choose. It is never as simple as “just hit record” and make a song. But the features that you should be looking for in a DAW are exactly what PreSonus gets right with its design. Let’s take a look at why it is beginner-friendly, starting with the most important part-the overall UI:

Intuitive Interface and Workflow: One of the most daunting aspects for beginners is grappling with complex interfaces and convoluted workflows. PreSonus defies this trend with its user-friendly design. The UI is very intuitive, and very simple to understand for beginners.

The single-window interface ensures that all tools and features are easily accessible, eliminating the confusion of navigating multiple windows. This cohesive design streamlines the creative process and empowers beginners to focus on their music, rather than getting lost in the software.

Guided Learning Resources: Learning a new DAW can be a journey filled with uncertainties. PreSonus recognizes this and offers a wealth of guided learning resources. From video tutorials to comprehensive documentation, beginners have access to a treasure trove of information that unravels the mysteries of the DAW. These resources provide step-by-step guidance, ensuring that beginners can confidently explore and experiment without feeling overwhelmed.

Drag-and-Drop Simplicity: Studio One’s drag-and-drop functionality adds a layer of simplicity that resonates with beginners. Importing audio, MIDI, and virtual instruments becomes a breeze, as users can easily drag and drop their desired elements onto the timeline.

This eliminates the need for scrolling through endless menus, trying to find a certain VST or sample. This intuitive approach removes the need for complex menu navigation, allowing beginners to focus on the creative aspects of their music.

Instant Gratification with Sound Libraries: For beginners who may not yet have an extensive library of sounds, Studio One provides a robust collection of samples, loops, and virtual instruments. This instant access to high-quality sound content accelerates the creative process, enabling beginners to experiment with various sonic textures without the need for extensive sound design skills.

There are tons of different sample packs that you can download, and they cover just about every genre you can imagine. Whether you want to use bongo drums, saxophones, or super-saw synths… there is something for everyone.

PreSonus Studio One’s feature-rich nature doesn’t translate to a steep learning curve. Beginners can comfortably start with the essentials and gradually explore more advanced features as their confidence and skills grow. This approach ensures that beginners aren’t overwhelmed and can build their knowledge at their own pace.

Professional Use: A Powerhouse Workstation

Studio One

Studio One is not just for beginners, despite the affordable price and accessible features. This DAW is also found in professional studios all over the world, and it is easy to see why. PreSonus Studio One stands as a fantastic tool for these discerning creators, offering a comprehensive toolkit and innovative features that cater to the demands of the professional music production landscape.

Almost every studio has at least one PreSonus product lurking about, but Studio One is quickly becoming as popular as mainstream DAWs like Pro Tools. Let’s delve into why PreSonus Studio One is a stellar choice for professionals and explore some notable artists who entrust their musical visions to this powerhouse DAW.

Streamlined Workflow for Efficiency: Professionals thrive in environments that foster efficiency and creativity. Studio One’s single-window interface and intuitive drag-and-drop functionality streamline the production process, allowing artists to focus on the essence of their music rather than grappling with complex navigation. This cohesive design empowers professionals to move seamlessly between recording, arranging, editing, and mixing without interruption.

Robust Recording and Mixing Capabilities: Recording and mixing lie at the core of music production, and Studio One excels in these domains. The DAW offers pristine audio quality, advanced automation options, and an array of professional-grade mixing tools. Its dynamic console and built-in effects provide the precision and sonic flexibility that professionals require to craft polished tracks.

3rd Party Software Support: This is a key element of any studio these days, since so many professionals use plugins for guitar, bass, and MIDI instruments. Studio One plays well with most third party plugins, and this is essential for anyone working in a professional environment. Studio One’s compatibility with third-party plugins and hardware ensures a seamless integration with existing setups.

Professionals can harness their favorite virtual instruments and effects, bridging the gap between software and hardware for a personalized production experience. Additionally, the DAW’s cloud collaboration features facilitate real-time collaboration among artists, producers, and engineers, making remote teamwork a reality.

Extensive Instrument and Effect Libraries: Professional music production often demands a diverse sonic palette. Studio One caters to this need with a rich collection of virtual instruments and effects. From realistic orchestral sounds to cutting-edge synthesizers, professionals can access an array of creative tools that enhance their sonic explorations.

Harmonic Editing and Arrangement Tools: Studio One’s Harmonic Editing and Arrangement tools empower professionals to experiment with chords, harmonies, and arrangements effortlessly. This feature is invaluable for composers and producers aiming to craft intricate musical progressions and elevate their compositions to new heights.

Mastering and Distribution: The Project Page within Studio One serves as a robust mastering suite, allowing professionals to refine their tracks to perfection before distribution. This integrated approach streamlines the mastering process and ensures that tracks are optimized for various platforms and formats.

Notable Artists Who Trust Studio One

Studio One has earned the trust of numerous notable artists who recognize its potential to elevate their creative process. Marcus Miller, the legendary bassist and composer, has praised Studio One’s versatility and intuitive design. Richard Devine, a pioneering electronic musician, relies on Studio One to shape his intricate soundscapes. Additionally, James Reynolds, a Grammy-winning producer and engineer, has expressed his admiration for Studio One’s efficient workflow and high-quality sound.

You will also find some artists that switched over time to Studio One, like the band R3hab. You will also find producers like Armin Van Buuren that integrate the DAW into their workflow. Schecter artist Rob Scallon also uses Studio One for his entertaining video productions. Owl City even uses the DAW for his live performances!

Studio One has a vast amount of users that spans all types of genres and styles. This is a real testament to how versatile the PreSonus DAW can be in the hands of a professional artist. The Studio One artist roster continues to grow all the time, with pros often praising the simplicity.

Standout Features of Studio One

Every DAW has features that make it standout among the countless other recording options on the market. Remember, PreSonus didn’t release its DAW until 2009, which means that the company had years of research regarding what users were looking for when recording.

Beyond its intuitive interface and powerful capabilities, Studio One thrives within the PreSonus ecosystem, weaving together a seamless experience that caters to the needs of music creators. Let’s explore the key features that make Studio One a trailblazer and how they harmonize within the PreSonus universe.

Harmonic Editing and Arrangement:

Studio One’s Harmonic Editing feature transforms the way musicians work with chords and harmonies. Musicians can experiment with chord progressions directly on audio or instrument tracks, making it easy to create complex harmonic structures.

Now it can be very easy to write this off as an Auto Tune clone, or Melodyne when it comes to function. But Harmonic Editing goes much deeper than just pitch-correction. Users can change chords and arrangements on the fly, a feature that no other DAW offers. You can test out song arrangements before committing to them, and compose melodies.

This innovative feature isn’t just about pitch correction; it’s about empowering creators to explore new musical territories by effortlessly harmonizing melodies and crafting dynamic progressions. In the PreSonus ecosystem, this feature dovetails with the creative spirit, encouraging musicians to transcend traditional boundaries.

Scratch Pad and Arranger Tracks

This feature goes hand in hand with Harmonic Editing, and it can be a huge tool for commercial artists. Studio One’s Scratch Pad and Arranger Tracks amplify the power of arrangement and experimentation. Musicians can try out multiple arrangement variations, explore different ideas, and seamlessly switch between them.

This feature encapsulates Studio One’s user-centric design philosophy, allowing artists to focus on their creativity without being bogged down by technical complexities. Within the PreSonus ecosystem, this fluidity extends beyond Studio One, facilitating smooth transitions between recording, arranging, and mixing.

The Scratch Pad works with using simple drag and drop mechanics, so you can experiment endlessly with different song structures. The tool is meant to help artists break free from writer’s block, and the fluid mechanic will feel familiar with not only professionals, but anyone that uses computers.

Impactful Sound Libraries and Integration

Studio One comes with an arsenal of impactful sound libraries, samples, and virtual instruments. However, what truly distinguishes it is the tight integration with the PreSonus ecosystem. These libraries offer everything from foley samples, to full instrument panels.

Creators can effortlessly access and purchase additional content from within the DAW, expanding their sonic toolkit with ease. This interconnectedness bridges the gap between inspiration and implementation, ensuring that artists can readily infuse their projects with unique sounds and textures.

Show Page for Live Performances

The introduction of the Show Page further solidifies Studio One’s versatility. This feature caters to musicians who not only create music but also take their creations to the stage. Taking a few notes from the popular Ableton Live, the Show Page works on stage as well as in the studio.

Artists can design live sets with visual aids, MIDI mapping, and flexible routing, enhancing their live performances and captivating their audience. Within the PreSonus ecosystem, the Show Page extends Studio One’s impact beyond the studio, enabling musicians to seamlessly transition from creation to live presentation.

The Show Page is not as extensive as what Ableton may have to offer, but you can easily control backing tracks during a live show with ease. Artists can program a full set that includes MIDI triggers that control everything from your guitar settings, to drum samples.

Cloud Collaboration

By far, this is one of the most popular features that PreSonus has to offer to artists. If you are a one person operation for music or sound design, you can always use a second opinion. In fact, sometimes collaboration is the key to finishing a track if you are stuck.

Studio One’s Cloud Collaboration feature redefines teamwork and remote collaboration. Creators can share projects with collaborators, whether they’re across the street or across the globe.

This real-time collaboration enhances the creative process, allowing artists to receive immediate feedback and infuse diverse perspectives into their projects. Within the PreSonus ecosystem, this feature transforms Studio One into a hub of musical collaboration, where artists can harness the collective power of their network.

This means that you can work with bandmates no matter where they live, and create without bounds. As long as everyone has Studio One, artists can bounce ideas back and forth in real-time, allowing artists to complete full sessions without ever being in the same room.

Integrated Mastering and Distribution

Studio One’s Project Page serves as an integrated mastering suite, allowing musicians to fine-tune their tracks before distribution. This cohesive approach eliminates the need to export tracks to external mastering software. Within the PreSonus ecosystem, this integration ensures that artists can finalize their tracks with precision and present their music in its best form to the world.

This means that tracks will be ready for streaming services, and you can offer songs to your audience as you complete the project! It has never been easier to share your music around the world, and Studio One has tons of presets to help users finish projects that sound professional.

PreSonus Studio One isn’t just a DAW; it’s an integral thread within the rich tapestry of the PreSonus ecosystem. Its standout features not only elevate the creative experience but also seamlessly integrate with the broader PreSonus universe.

From harmonizing melodies to crafting live performances, Studio One’s innovation resonates with musicians of all levels. As Studio One thrives within the PreSonus ecosystem, it becomes a conduit for musical exploration, collaboration, and growth, uniting creators in their pursuit of sonic excellence.

PreSonus StudioLive Ecosystem and Hardware Peripherals

Studio One

As we have mentioned, PreSonus also makes studio hardware devices that are popular with many artists and professionals. Studio One is a great DAW, but it is limited to being a software program. PreSonus is ahead of the curve with adding hardware products that work seamlessly with software.

The marriage of hardware and software is a pivotal element in modern music production, and PreSonus Studio One takes this synergy to new heights through its seamless integration with the PreSonus StudioLive ecosystem and other hardware peripherals.

This integration extends the creative possibilities for music creators, ensuring a harmonious workflow that combines the power of software and the tactile control of hardware. Let’s dive into how the PreSonus StudioLive ecosystem and other hardware peripherals work in tandem with the Studio One DAW.

The PreSonus StudioLive ecosystem encompasses a range of mixers and controllers designed to enhance the music production process. These hardware components serve as a bridge between tactile control and digital precision, aligning perfectly with the Studio One DAW. Through the integration of the StudioLive ecosystem, music creators can enjoy the following benefits:

1. Seamless Control and Automation:

PreSonus StudioLive mixers offer deep integration with Studio One. This enables users to control various aspects of their DAW, from adjusting faders and panning to manipulating plugin parameters, directly from the physical interface of the mixer. This tactile control fosters a more intuitive and hands-on approach to mixing and production.

2. Streamlined Workflow:

The combination of Studio One and StudioLive mixers creates a streamlined workflow that bridges the gap between creation and finalization. Musicians can capture performances with StudioLive’s high-quality preamps and routing options, then seamlessly transfer the project to Studio One for further editing, mixing, and mastering.

3. Unified Preamp Control:

The integration extends to the control of StudioLive mixer preamps from within Studio One. This means that musicians can remotely adjust gain, polarity, and phantom power settings for each channel directly from the DAW interface. This level of control ensures optimal audio capture during recording sessions.

Hardware Peripherals and Studio One: A Perfect Symphony

Beyond the StudioLive ecosystem, Studio One embraces compatibility with a variety of hardware peripherals that enhance the music production experience. This compatibility extends to MIDI controllers, synthesizers, drum machines, and audio interfaces from various manufacturers. Here’s how these hardware peripherals harmonize with Studio One:

1. MIDI Controllers:

MIDI controllers serve as expressive tools for music creation, and Studio One seamlessly integrates with a multitude of MIDI devices. These controllers allow musicians to manipulate virtual instruments, automate parameters, and trigger loops or samples. The MIDI Learn feature within Studio One makes assigning MIDI controls a breeze, empowering musicians to harness the full potential of their hardware.

2. Synthesizers and Drum Machines:

Hardware synthesizers and drum machines can be integrated into Studio One’s production environment using MIDI connections and audio inputs. This integration enables musicians to blend the analog warmth of hardware with the digital capabilities of the DAW, resulting in a rich and dynamic sonic palette.

3. Audio Interfaces:

Audio interfaces act as the gateway between the analog world and the digital realm of Studio One. These devices ensure optimal audio capture and playback quality, allowing musicians to record instruments, vocals, and other sound sources with pristine fidelity. Studio One seamlessly recognizes and interfaces with various audio interfaces, providing a fluid recording experience.

My Whole Studio Can Be PreSonus Products?

Technically, with all of the peripheral hardware products that are offered, yes it can! From monitors to interfaces and audio controllers, PreSonus has most of the products you need to record and refine your projects.

While most artists may already have mixing consoles and outboard rack gear that they prefer, PreSonus really does offer just about everything under the sun. These hardware options work seamlessly with Studio One, and offer several tiers for every level of producer, from beginner to professional.

Studio One’s Video Features and Dual Editing Power

Studio one

This can be a whole article on its own, so we are going to just briefly look at the video editing capabilities. But it is important to note that this is not just an audio DAW, and Studio One can be a multimedia platform for many artists.

In the modern landscape of YouTube and Instagram, the convergence of audio and video has become paramount. While most artists use different programs for video and audio, Studio One can handle both at the same time. This feature can be crucial for artists that use all forms of media for promotion and performance.

PreSonus Studio One understands this synergy and rises to the occasion with its robust video features that enable creators to seamlessly edit both audio and video within a single environment. Let’s delve into how Studio One empowers users to harness the combined potential of sound and visuals, creating a holistic multimedia experience.

Video Playback and Editing: A Multidimensional Canvas

Studio One’s video capabilities extend beyond mere playback; it offers a comprehensive suite of video editing tools. Users can import video files alongside their audio projects, allowing them to edit, synchronize, and manipulate both elements simultaneously. This multidimensional canvas fosters an immersive creative environment where sound and visuals harmonize seamlessly.

1. Video Playback and Sync:

Studio One ensures that video playback is a fluid experience. Users can import video files in various formats, and the DAW provides precise synchronization between the video timeline and the audio timeline. This feature is especially valuable for scoring to picture, where composers can align their musical compositions with specific moments in the video.

2. Visual Editing and Effects:

Studio One allows users to trim, cut, and arrange video clips with the same ease they do with audio tracks. The DAW’s intuitive drag-and-drop functionality extends to video clips, making the editing process intuitive and efficient. Users can also apply video effects and transitions, enhancing the visual storytelling aspect of their projects.

3. Audio and Video Alignment:

One of Studio One’s standout features is its ability to align audio tracks with video frames seamlessly. This precision ensures that audio events, such as dialogue or sound effects, are accurately timed with corresponding visual cues. This synchronization is invaluable for creating immersive multimedia experiences and producing professional-quality content.

4. A Unified Editing Experience:

Studio One’s design philosophy centers on providing a unified editing experience. This extends to its video features, where users can edit audio and video within the same project window. This cohesive approach eliminates the need to switch between different software, enabling creators to maintain focus and flow while working on their projects.

5. Great for Music Production and Film Scoring:

Studio One’s video capabilities cater to a wide range of creative endeavors. Musicians can compose music that perfectly complements video content, enhancing emotional impact. Film composers can score to picture with precision, ensuring that every musical element resonates with the visual narrative.

6. Perfecting Music Videos and Visual Projects:

For artists and content creators, Studio One’s video features offer a powerful platform to craft compelling music videos and visual projects. The ability to edit both audio and video within the same environment expedites the creative process, resulting in more cohesive and impactful multimedia content.

Studio One: Wrapping Up

There are many mainstream DAW systems out there, but Studio One is really in a league of its own. PreSonus is a company made up of former Cubase employees, so these are people that know what artists are looking for in a DAW.

PreSonus spent years working on other DAWs, and during that time, the designers identified features that other DAWs did not offer. On top of that, the Studio One community is robust with users that request features, and report issues regularly.

While DAWs like Pro Tools and Cubase have decades of experience and user dedication, Studio One offers a lot of options that these mainstream DAWs lack. Add to that a large amount of hardware that integrates with the DAW, and you have a brand new ecosystem that producers are starting to notice.

Just a few years ago, Studio One was often looked at as a “beginner” or “basic” DAW system that usually came with PreSonus’ popular recording interfaces. But the recent updates and the release of the fifth version put this DAW in a unique position.

Studio One is no longer the “new” DAW on the block, and it has been shown to be a powerful tool that more and more producers seem to be flocking to, for good reasons. Features like the Harmonic Editing and Cloud Collaboration allow artists to really flex their creative muscles. Studio One is not only legit, but a real contender for one of the best DAWs on the market!

PreSonus Studio One transcends the conventional boundaries of digital audio workstations by embracing the multimedia landscape. Its video features provide a gateway to a dual creative universe, where sound and visuals intertwine to create immersive experiences. From music production to film scoring and beyond, Studio One empowers creators to shape their artistic visions with both auditory and visual dimensions.

From harmonizing melodies to crafting live performances, Studio One’s innovation resonates with musicians of all levels. As Studio One thrives within the ever-expanding PreSonus ecosystem, it becomes a conduit for musical exploration, collaboration, and growth, uniting creators in their pursuit of sonic excellence.

Studio One is really a “do it all” type of DAW, and it caters to just about every genre or style. Its dynamic features, comprehensive toolset, and intuitive design come together to create an environment where sonic visionaries can fully display their creativity. From recording and mixing to composing and mastering, Studio One caters to the demands of professionals, beginners, and anyone that is ready to get serious with their craft.

PreSonus Studio One+

PreSonus Studio One 6 Artist is a DAW built to remove the roadblocks and learning curves of creating music in the digital age, providing you with all the inspiring tools you require to create. Featuring every tool you need to get from idea, to fully-realized project.

  • Slick Tools For Editing Audio & Video
  • Tons of Pro Features
  • Mixing & Mastering Tools
  • Cloud Collaboration
  • Full Library of Instruments & Plugins


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