studio_one-song_page

The very fact that a tool is called a “digital audio workstation” rather than “music making software” tells you something. Historically, these have been tools that do a lot of things in a fairly complex interface. And so a lot of DAWs seem to be counting how many windows and views and tools they can provide.

PreSonus’ Studio One is among a handful of tools that has bucked the trend, putting everything in a streamlined single window view. The notion is to provide the multitude of features producers demand, but keeping everything close at hand and operating quickly.

And now, you can try it free – not as a demo (though there’s one of those, too), but in a surprisingly full-featured version that costs nothing.

First, the bad news: you don’t get VST / AU for instruments and effects, or ReWire support. (Well, they had to leave out something in order to lure away your money.)

You do, however, get instruments that you can play with right away. And beyond that, this software does quite a lot – enough so that you could put it to the test by making some actual music. And there aren’t any pesky limits on the number of MIDI or audio tracks or automation, as in some stripped-down free software. Nor is there a nag screen asking you to buy. (If you want genuinely free software, do check out the fully free and open source Ardour, which also runs on Linux — but its UI may not be for everyone.)

What you do get:
Everything is modern looking and drag and drop is everywhere.

studio_one-arpeggiator

There’s multitouch support, making this very nice indeed on those new Windows machines. It will happily extend across multiple displays, too – not just one or two.

Time stretching and pitch shifting, plus a sampler (complete with 1.5 GB sample library) are onboard. That sampler supports EXS, Giga, and Kontakt libraries, too, in the Pro version.

For recording MIDI and audio, you get pre-record features, easy MIDI routing and multitracking, step record, looping, and more.

So, what do you lose in the free version?
There’s no Arranger Track / Scratch Pads, which I think are one of the cooler features. You can’t do transient detection and groove extraction.

There are basic effects, at least: a guitar amp, tempo-synced delay, a really powerful channel strip, chorus, flanger, MIDI input filtering, reverb, phaser, analog-style distortion.

And, amazingly, you do get the sampler and its library. Side-chain routing, latency compensation, and MIDI mapping are included, too.

The “Artist” and “Professional” editions are worth a look, too, of course.

Each adds a bunch of effects, and the Artist edition has a set of instruments including drag-and-drop sample (an idea borrowed form Ableton, of course), a subtractive synth, a polysynth, and a drum sampler.

The Pro version also adds some powerful workflow features, including a Project page for mastering your project. Finally, you can meter and master in the DAW and even burn CDs ready for production.

There’s also a feature called Scratch Pads that lets you try “what if” scenarios with your arrangement.

studio_one-arranger_track(1)

And there’s digital console style mixing with all the tools you’d want.

In fact, for anyone who ever wished Ableton Live were built around just Arrange view and then made deeper for linear arrangement, this might be what you were imagining.

Here’s an overview of what they added in version 3, added in May:

I think it’s one of the most interesting production tools at the moment; we’ll definitely give it a closer look. But because often making something is a better way to see if a tool is right for you than trying a demo or reading a review, let us know what you think of this free version.

Studio One is available for OS X and Windows.

More:

http://studioone.presonus.com/compare-versions

http://studioone.presonus.com/

Download the free Prime version

Don’t want to test without plug-in support? Look to the 30-day trial instead, which has plug-in support as well as their full “native” suite.

And for more on Studio One: There’s an excellent dedicated site from Russ Hughes and the team known for Pro Tools Expert. Yes – that’s right, I smell a changing of the guard here. (Ahem. You’ll notice a specific mention of the absence of a subscription model…)

http://www.studio-one.expert/

  • Nice effort, but without VST’s I won’t even try…

    • There’s also a 30-day demo with that functionality if you want to give it a shot.

      • Octavio Pineda

        Naw thanks.

  • Nice effort, but without VST’s I won’t even try…

    • There’s also a 30-day demo with that functionality if you want to give it a shot.

      • Octavio Pineda

        Naw thanks.

  • Nice effort, but without VST’s I won’t even try…

    • There’s also a 30-day demo with that functionality if you want to give it a shot.

      • Gustavo Pipeta

        Naw thanks.

  • K W

    Why would you lede an article headlined for Studio One Prime with an image that shows something that you DO NOT get in Studio One Prime? The only virtual instrument you get in Prime is the Presence sampler (as you wrote), but the headline-accompanying image shows the polysynth Mai Tai up on the screen. C’mon!

    • Are you serious?

    • You’re correct, of course. Sorry, this is the free version of CDM.

      – VST plug-ins are not supported
      – Feature images are sometimes not accurate or misleading
      – Some articles have typos
      – Very frequently the editor goes off on unnecessary tangents or gets snarky

      To receive a more accurate and focused version of CDM, purchase the $999.99 CDM Professional Edition.

      • God job you didn’t include a picture of Abbey Road with staff or people would have thought that was part of the deal. 😉

        • To be fair, ideally PreSonus would have a press pack showing this version, specifically, and then this doesn’t happen. 😉 (maybe they do, but I don’t have it)

          • Will

            A class-A snark deliverer *and* a gentlemen? Rare breed indeed.

      • nothingnatural

        ANY1 HVAE CDM PRO ED + PREMIUM LIBRARY ADDON – PARADOX [xx/22] /MSG ME PLZ!!!!!!!!!

        • HA!

          HEY NO WAREZ BLOGZ PLS
          -admin

          • nothingnatural

            *** rdevine2 was kicked by pk_cdm
            Petar you are cute and nice, would you like to make moosic with me and perhaps cuddle aftar?

      • K W

        OK, I get it. Sorry, I’m in the wrong place.

      • Roikat

        Snark. Free. Premium. Edition. You are the savior of capitalism, my friend.

    • BIJ

      start your own blog mr. cool

      • K W

        Thanks, but I already have. And Mr. Cool fits me pretty well. I appreciate that.

  • K W

    Why would you lede an article headlined for Studio One Prime with an image that shows something that you DO NOT get in Studio One Prime? The only virtual instrument you get in Prime is the Presence sampler (as you wrote), but the headline-accompanying image shows the polysynth Mai Tai up on the screen. C’mon!

    • You’re correct, of course. Sorry, this is the free version of CDM.

      – VST plug-ins are not supported
      – Feature images are sometimes not accurate or misleading
      – Some articles have typos
      – Very frequently the editor goes off on unnecessary tangents or gets snarky

      To receive a more accurate and focused version of CDM, purchase the $999.99 CDM Professional Edition.

      • God job you didn’t include a picture of Abbey Road with staff or people would have thought that was part of the deal. 😉

        • To be fair, ideally PreSonus would have a press pack showing this version, specifically, and then this doesn’t happen. 😉 (maybe they do, but I don’t have it)

          • Will

            A class-A snark deliverer *and* a gentlemen? Rare breed indeed.

      • nothingnatural

        ANY1 HVAE CDM PRO ED + PREMIUM LIBRARY ADDON – PARADOX [xx/22] /MSG ME PLZ!!!!!!!!!

        • HA!

          HEY NO WAREZ BLOGZ PLS
          -admin

          • nothingnatural

            *** rdevine2 was kicked by pk_cdm
            Petar you are cute and nice, would you like to make moosic with me and perhaps cuddle aftar?

      • K W

        OK, I get it. Sorry, I’m in the wrong place.

      • Roikat

        Snark. Free. Premium. Edition. You are the savior of capitalism, my friend.

    • BIJ

      start your own blog mr. cool

      • K W

        Thanks, but I already have. And Mr. Cool fits me pretty well. I appreciate that.

  • K W

    Why would you lede an article headlined for Studio One Prime with an image that shows something that you DO NOT get in Studio One Prime? The only virtual instrument you get in Prime is the Presence sampler (as you wrote), but the headline-accompanying image shows the polysynth Mai Tai up on the screen. C’mon!

    • You’re correct, of course. Sorry, this is the free version of CDM.

      – VST plug-ins are not supported
      – Feature images are sometimes not accurate or misleading
      – Some articles have typos
      – Very frequently the editor goes off on unnecessary tangents or gets snarky

      To receive a more accurate and focused version of CDM, purchase the $999.99 CDM Professional Edition.

      • God job you didn’t include a picture of Abbey Road with staff or people would have thought that was part of the deal. 😉

        • To be fair, ideally PreSonus would have a press pack showing this version, specifically, and then this doesn’t happen. 😉 (maybe they do, but I don’t have it)

          • Will

            A class-A snark deliverer *and* a gentlemen? Rare breed indeed.

      • nothingnatural

        ANY1 HVAE CDM PRO ED + PREMIUM LIBRARY ADDON – PARADOX [xx/22] /MSG ME PLZ!!!!!!!!!

        • HA!

          HEY NO WAREZ BLOGZ PLS
          -admin

          • nothingnatural

            *** rdevine2 was kicked by pk_cdm
            Petar you are cute and nice, would you like to make moosic with me and perhaps cuddle aftar?

      • K W

        OK, I get it. Sorry, I’m in the wrong place.

      • Roikat

        Snark. Free. Premium. Edition. You are the savior of capitalism, my friend.

    • BIJ

      start your own blog mr. cool

      • K W

        Thanks, but I already have. And Mr. Cool fits me pretty well. I appreciate that.

  • Stew Day

    Hasn’t there been a free version of Studio One for like …. ages?

    • This is a new version built on their V3 codebase.

      • Stew Day

        Sure … but PK’s article says “And now, you can try it free” with the implication that this is a new thing. V3 may be new, but Presonus offering a free version of Studio One is not.

  • Stew Day

    Hasn’t there been a free version of Studio One for like …. ages?

    • This is a new version built on their V3 codebase.

      • Stew Day

        Sure … but PK’s article says “And now, you can try it free” with the implication that this is a new thing. V3 may be new, but Presonus offering a free version of Studio One is not.

  • Stew Day

    Hasn’t there been a free version of Studio One for like …. ages?

    • This is a new version built on their V3 codebase.

      • Stew Day

        Sure … but PK’s article says “And now, you can try it free” with the implication that this is a new thing. V3 may be new, but Presonus offering a free version of Studio One is not.

  • Michael L

    Studio One always had a free version, but I think they are the only free DAW with no plugin support (!) Not very “powerful.” You are better off with MuLab Free– limited tracks but no limit to racks, all FX and instruments included.

  • Michael L

    Studio One always had a free version, but I think they are the only free DAW with no plugin support (!) Not very “powerful.” You are better off with MuLab Free– limited tracks but no limit to racks, all FX and instruments included.

  • Michael L

    Studio One always had a free version, but I think they are the only free DAW with no plugin support (!) Not very “powerful.” You are better off with MuLab Free– limited tracks but no limit to racks, all FX and instruments included.

  • Studio One Prime (and it’s predecessor Studio One Free) is such a good idea, and frankly I think much better than Pro Tools attempt at a free version “First”. Did anybody else hear that First supposedly can only save sessions to the cloud and not your hard drive? And it will only let you save 3 sessions? And reportedly you can’t open those sessions in full Pro Tools? It makes a good learning module though, I imagine. But if you want a solid free DAW, in my opinion DAW, use Prime.

    As per that “changing of the guard”, did you notice how some of the Studio One 3 trailers have the caption “the NEW standard”? I think that was a shot at Avid’s Pro Tools. And with a free DAW (Prime) that seems to be the only viable free version of any “professional” DAWs, I think Studio One could very well become “the new standard” in time, with a few well placed strategies here and there.

    • PaulDavisTheFirst

      Nothing’s going to become “the new standard”. PT may become less dominant, but nothing is going to have that level of dominance in this field ever again.

      • You said, “Nothing’s going to become ‘the new standard'”

        Do you mean by this that PT will always be the standard? Or that the idea of a standard will be done away with?

        • PaulDavisTheFirst

          I don’t which of those two, but definitely no new standard.

      • I agree with that … and I don’t think anyone is terribly sorry about it, either 😉

  • Studio One Prime (and it’s predecessor Studio One Free) is such a good idea, and frankly I think much better than Pro Tools attempt at a free version “First”. Did anybody else hear that First supposedly can only save sessions to the cloud and not your hard drive? And it will only let you save 3 sessions? And reportedly you can’t open those sessions in full Pro Tools? It makes a good learning module though, I imagine. But if you want a solid free DAW, in my opinion DAW, use Prime.

    As per that “changing of the guard”, did you notice how some of the Studio One 3 trailers have the caption “the NEW standard”? I think that was a shot at Avid’s Pro Tools. And with a free DAW (Prime) that seems to be the only viable free version of any “professional” DAWs, I think Studio One could very well become “the new standard” in time, with a few well placed strategies here and there.

    • PaulDavisTheFirst

      Nothing’s going to become “the new standard”. PT may become less dominant, but nothing is going to have that level of dominance in this field ever again.

      • You said, “Nothing’s going to become ‘the new standard'”

        Do you mean by this that PT will always be the standard? Or that the idea of a standard will be done away with?

        • PaulDavisTheFirst

          I don’t which of those two, but definitely no new standard.

      • I agree with that … and I don’t think anyone is terribly sorry about it, either 😉

  • Studio One Prime (and it’s predecessor Studio One Free) is such a good idea, and frankly I think much better than Pro Tools attempt at a free version “First”. Did anybody else hear that First supposedly can only save sessions to the cloud and not your hard drive? And it will only let you save 3 sessions? And reportedly you can’t open those sessions in full Pro Tools? It makes a good learning module though, I imagine. But if you want a solid free DAW, in my opinion DAW, use Prime.

    As per that “changing of the guard”, did you notice how some of the Studio One 3 trailers have the caption “the NEW standard”? I think that was a shot at Avid’s Pro Tools. And with a free DAW (Prime) that seems to be the only viable free version of any “professional” DAWs, I think Studio One could very well become “the new standard” in time, with a few well placed strategies here and there.

    • PaulDavisTheFirst

      Nothing’s going to become “the new standard”. PT may become less dominant, but nothing is going to have that level of dominance in this field ever again.

      • You said, “Nothing’s going to become ‘the new standard'”

        Do you mean by this that PT will always be the standard? Or that the idea of a standard will be done away with?

        • PaulDavisTheFirst

          I don’t which of those two, but definitely no new standard.

      • I agree with that … and I don’t think anyone is terribly sorry about it, either 😉

  • Liam Donaldson

    Needs Windows 7 + Platform?????

    Won’t run on Windows 8.1 64 bit.

  • Liam Donaldson

    Needs Windows 7 + Platform?????

    Won’t run on Windows 8.1 64 bit.

  • Liam Donaldson

    Needs Windows 7 + Platform?????

    Won’t run on Windows 8.1 64 bit.

  • Thanks for the hype—we appreciate you!

  • Thanks for the hype—we appreciate you!

  • Thanks for the hype—we appreciate you!

  • Séamus Bradd

    If you’re on a budget, just go grab a copy of Reaper. The license cost is extremely cheap, ships with a ton of really useful plugins (plus, if you have a Reaper license, you get a really generous discount on all of Stillwell Audio’s plugins), and it supports almost any plugin you can throw at it out of the box.

    Even with the cut-price ‘artist’ edition of S1, you’re forced to purchase plugin support as a separate add-on. Anything other than the full version strikes me as kind of useless for most producers.

    • Octopus Empire

      agree 100%, Reaper is way too often overlooked.

  • Séamus Bradd

    If you’re on a budget, just go grab a copy of Reaper. The license cost is extremely cheap, ships with a ton of really useful plugins (plus, if you have a Reaper license, you get a really generous discount on all of Stillwell Audio’s plugins), and it supports almost any plugin you can throw at it out of the box.

    Even with the cut-price ‘artist’ edition of S1, you’re forced to purchase plugin support as a separate add-on. Anything other than the full version strikes me as kind of useless for most producers.

    • Octopus Empire

      agree 100%, Reaper is way too often overlooked.

  • Yung Spleen

    If you’re on a budget, just go grab a copy of Reaper. The license cost is extremely cheap, ships with a ton of really useful plugins (plus, if you have a Reaper license, you get a really generous discount on all of Stillwell Audio’s plugins), and it supports almost any plugin you can throw at it out of the box.

    Even with the cut-price ‘artist’ edition of S1, you’re forced to purchase plugin support as a separate add-on. Anything other than the full version strikes me as kind of useless for most producers.

  • celebutante

    It sort of blows my mind how guys cry and bitch about the features of a super-powerful FREE DAW. Really? Maybe I’m an old curmudge, but back in my day, you had to like, pay for stuff. Logic, Cubase, Performer, etc. all hovered around $600.

    “I’m totally entitled, and no one should get paid because I want all my software and music to be freeeee…. “

  • celebutante

    It sort of blows my mind how guys cry and bitch about the features of a super-powerful FREE DAW. Really? Maybe I’m an old curmudge, but back in my day, you had to like, pay for stuff. Logic, Cubase, Performer, etc. all hovered around $600.

    “I’m totally entitled, and no one should get paid because I want all my software and music to be freeeee…. “

  • celebutante

    It sort of blows my mind how guys cry and bitch about the features of a super-powerful FREE DAW. Really? Maybe I’m an old curmudge, but back in my day, you had to like, pay for stuff. Logic, Cubase, Performer, etc. all hovered around $600.

    “I’m totally entitled, and no one should get paid because I want all my software and music to be freeeee…. “

  • inspiral

    Even with this weird (and kinda ugly) VST&AU add-on purchase solution, the Artist package still looks a better offer than Live Standard for example. Little annoyance of course, but who the heck needs a DAW without plugin support?! Just to display a better (entry)price on the main page for Artist package…
    Regarding Reaper.. it just kills my creative flow. Well.. we are different and like different approaches right 🙂

    So i welcome this release of Studio One and maybe go for this rather than upgrading my Live to version 9.

  • Even with this weird (and kinda ugly) VST&AU add-on purchase solution, the Artist package still looks a better offer than Live Standard for example. Who the heck needs a DAW without plugin support?!
    Regarding Reaper.. it just kills my creative flow. Well.. we are different and like different approaches right 🙂

    So i welcome this release of Studio One and maybe go for this rather than upgrading my Live to version 9.

  • Even with this weird (and kinda ugly) VST&AU add-on purchase solution, the Artist package still looks a better offer than Live Standard for example. Who the heck needs a DAW without plugin support?!
    Regarding Reaper.. it just kills my creative flow. Well.. we are different and like different approaches right 🙂

    So i welcome this release of Studio One and maybe go for this rather than upgrading my Live to version 9.

  • vetiarvi

    Platform is a free download. It’s a bit of an annoyance (i actually upgraded to Win 10 before i realized it was terrible and downgraded to 7 and added just platform – latter took 15 minutes)