Studio One version two comes in four flavors: Free, Artist, Producer and Professional. You can get a 30 day, fully functional copy of the Artist version, which at the end of the trial becomes a Free version. The Free version is actually a reasonably full function editor, although it’s limited to eight tracks. Important features that it lacks compared to the Artist version are Folder tracks (which are highly convenient), and a lot of the tricked out plugs. The plugs you get in the Free version consist of a Delay, a Channel Strip with Dynamics and Eq, a Chorus, a Flanger, Reverb, Phaser, Distortion, and Chromatic Tuner. Yeah, never mind the tuner.
The Artist version boosts the number of native plug-ins from 8 to 26. Only a few of these additional plug-ins will be truly useful for production work; there is a very nice 7-band parametric equalizer, a couple of cool compressors including a 3-band multi-compressor, and a limiter. The other plug-ins can be fun, but they tend to be ear candy. However, there is one significant gotcha in the Artist version -- it does not support third-party plug-ins. To use Audio Unit plug-ins or VST plug-ins you have to upgrade to the Producer version. And if you want a free copy of the Melodyne pitch corrector, you’ll need to get the Professional version. The Artist and Producer versions have it integrated into Studio One, but the version of Melodyne included in these is a demo. But that’s how it is. On the other hand, should you decide to pick up one of Presonus’ audio interfaces for your computer, you will get a copy of Studio One Artist version included with the interface. Are you confused yet by all this? Good, then my work here is done.
DO I NEED A NEW DAW?
It’s my opinion that whether or not you make the switch to Studio One comes down to what you’re currently used to. If you’re a relative newbie to multitrack work, or if you only dabble in it from time to time, the free version may be just what the doctor ordered. On the other hand, if you’re a seasoned user of Adobe Audition or Pro Tools, there are missing features and enough inconsistencies to drive you to distraction. For example, you can drag an insert from one mixer channel to another to copy it to that channel, and this will happen regardless of where you drop it on the channel. But if you drag and drop a send, it will only stay put if the destination channel’s Sends pane is expanded and you drop it there. In a similar vein, an application that makes a big deal of its drag-and-drop support should allow you to drag to parallel mono audio clips onto a stereo track and give you the option of having them treated as left and right halves of a stereo file. This is not the case. And at the end of the day, it is little things like these that make radio producers absolutely crazy, especially in the heat of battle.
Presonus’ Studio One has the potential of being competitive with Audition, Pro Tools and Cockos Reaper, among others, and it has advantages like the ability to work with multiple projects open at once. But given the current state of what has become a highly competitive market, particularly in the case of the Reaper whose discounted, noncommercial license is $60 and whose full license is $225, Presonus has a ways to go before it can rightly run with the Big Dogs. It’s a good start and it is getting better, but it may not be Quite There Yet.
Presonus’ Studio One version 2 is available from the company’s website, or at many online retailers (who discount it). Studio One Professional carries a suggested US list price of $399; Producer is $199; Artist is $99; and Free is, well, free. For more information worldwide, visit studioone.presonus.com.