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PreSonus Studio One

Manufacturer: PreSonus Audio Electronics
Disclaimer: The manufacturer provided DigiFreq with a NFR unit of this product for review.
Reviewed by Scott R. Garrigus
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When PreSonus released the first version of Studio One, there was quite a bit of excitement in the audio community because it’s not every day that we see a new major DAW hit the market. Users definitely enjoyed the simplicity of the application and the streamlined workflow, but Studio One also had a limited feature set. Those limitations have been very nicely addressed with the release of Studio One 2 (short for Studio One Version 2).

The most significant addition (or at least the one most talked about) is the integration of Celemony’s Melodyne via the Audio Random Access (ARA) protocol. What this means is that you can now select an audio event, press Ctrl+M, and the selected audio is automatically opened inside of Melodyne, which resides in the lower part of the Arrange page. Melodyne automatically analyzes the audio and allows you to apply all of its wonderful pitch and timing “magic,” while remaining in sync with the original audio. No longer do you need to first transfer the audio to Melodyne (like what was needed when it was used as a VST plug-in). However, you still get the benefits of having Melodyne applied as an effect. Open the Inspector for the audio event and you can easily bypass or remove Melodyne to hear the original audio.

A wonderful bonus of having Melodyne so integrated is the ability to easily convert audio to MIDI, usually with excellent results. Simply put, after you have applied Melodyne to an audio event, you can drag that event to an empty Instrument track and have instant access to a MIDI version of the audio. This works beautifully for doubling or replacing parts. You can even create new melodies by simply singing them into an audio track and then quickly converting them to MIDI for further manipulation. Studio One 2 Professional users will be happy to hear that a license for Melodyne essential comes included in the package. Plus, you can upgrade to Melodyne editor and get access to the polyphonic features that it offers.

But Melodyne integration isn’t the only feature that makes Studio One 2 a worthwhile upgrade. Another significant addition is Audio Bend. Much like AudioSnap in SONAR and Beat Detective in ProTools, Audio Bend detects audio transients and allows you to quantize audio in a variety of ways. Both time-stretching and beat slicing are available, as well as the ability to quantize multiple tracks that remain in phase, such as when working with multitrack drums. You can also groove quantize by extracting timing from one piece of audio and applying it to another.

The new Comping tools, Layers, and Folders provide some great enhancements to the way tracks can be recorded, edited and organized into perfect takes. After you record your tracks in Loop Record mode with the Record Takes to Layers option, you can easily highlight the best sections of audio, double-click to elevate those sections, and tweak them to perfection. You can even work with multiple, grouped tracks to apply the same edits to all the tracks simultaneously.

Other additions include the Ampire XT amp simulator, which provides the usual amp, cab, and stomp-box emulations. Of special note, however, is its ability to import impulse responses so you can create your own cabinet models. Speaking of which, the Open AIR convolution reverb provides an excellent sounding reverberation effect with many high-quality impulse files. But what sets it apart is the IR Maker utility, which allows you to create your own impulse responses. And yes, these can be imported into Ampire XT as well. The built-in mastering editor has been enhanced with PQ coding and DDP image saving, and video support is now provided so you can compose to picture in your projects.

Studio One 2 now comes in three editions – Professional, Producer, and Artist. With Professional you get the entire package, while Producer lacks mastering, video, various plug-ins, and doesn’t include a Melodyne license. Artist is scaled-down even further with the removal of Rewire and VST/AU plug-in support as well as some content. No matter what version you decide to go with, however, there’s no question that Studio One 2 is a significant upgrade and a major player in the DAW market.

For more information, visit PreSonus.com.
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