PreSonus Studio One Pro 1.5 Review

Apr 27, 2010 2:44 PM, By Brandon Hickey

MAJOR UPGRADE ADDS VIDEO, SOUNDCLOUD, WORKFLOW ENHANCEMENTS

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LET'S GET COMFY
Getting comfortable with this simple and intuitive software was a breeze. The interface is visually oriented, with slick-looking graphics. For example, the audio configuration pane operates similarly to Pro Tools’ I/O setups, but is easier on the eyes. The combination of visual ease and advanced functionality also proved convenient in the Mix window. Any of the proprietary Studio One plug-ins provided a set of basic controls and meters right within the channel strip. Subtle tweaks were a snap, and the workspace wasn’t cluttered with plug-in GUI panes.

The keyboard-mapping feature is excellent. Other software lets you define key commands, which is helpful, but requires knowing the terminology of the new DAW and ends with manually replacing key commands, which can be tedious. Choosing the Pro Tools preset keyboard configuration found me quickly navigating between windows, initializing transport commands and zooming. I felt right at home in the software immediately. I like V. 1.5’s new keyboard shortcut editor. The presets still exist, but they can be modified and saved as user presets. Where the Pro Tools preset keyboard shortcuts fell short, particularly with regards to the new video-related features, the shortcut editor picked up.

I had some minor complaints about editing in the original version. This is improved in V. 1.5 with a row of tooltips just below the toolbar, which displays possible key + mouse combinations that can be used for additional editing functions. Some of these are similar to the Logic/Nuendo secondary tool, but with a different approach. Learning the proper edit functions of the software using the tooltips is easy, ultimately leading to efficient editing.

There still is no “strip-silence” function. I also hit a few snags in the relationship of the Mixer and Edit windows. Similarly to Logic, edit tracks and mixer channels didn’t necessarily have the same names and often appeared in different orders between the two windows. This proved a bit distracting.

SOUND FOR FILM

One of the more exciting improvements offered in the V. 1.5 update adds post-production functionality. You can playback QuickTime movies within the software and offset the movie from the timecode start of the session. This is a notable improvement, and makes scoring to picture a reality. Even sound effects editing takes place with some ease. I’d like to see synchronization to external devices in future versions, and surround sound would be another welcome addition.

CAN IT SWIM WITH THE BIG FISH?

Studio One feels professional with clear metering, flexible routing options, well-conceived plug-ins with plenty of controls and high-quality summing. Solutions to classic problems like control surface mapping and hardware insert delay compensation are made simple. Throughout the software, there’s a consideration on the importance of metadata. In addition to tagging files with song info, Broadcast WAV files are used exclusively as they have a metadata time-stamp. Touches such as these make this software a beneficial part of a working studio environment.

Studio One also offers a good amount of virtual instruments, a few dozen plug-ins, an innovative mastering suite and 64-bit operation (which has a very impressive sound). Cubase 5 is about the same price, but trades the mastering and 64-bit processing for surround capabilities. Logic 9 prices out about the same and actually offers quite a bit more in terms of software than Studio One. Surround sound, mastering, more additional programs like Compressor and Mainstage, more instruments and full-on post-production functionality are all included. That said, I know people who have been using Logic for years and still don’t feel like they know what they are doing.

If you’re seeking an efficient, pro means of creating and delivering music in modern times, Studio One is a great choice. You’ll move from start to finish with a great sound and smooth operation. I would certainly suggest Studio One Artist to someone shopping for his/her first DAW, and would definitely recommend Studio One Pro to professionals looking to improve their summing quality or ease their workflow. With the growth demonstrated in V. 1.5, it seems that this software will continue to evolve, only improving upon the solid foundation already established. 


Brandon Hickey is an audio engineer currently working on an independent film and other projects.

Click on the Product Summary box above to view the PreSonus Studio One Pro product page.

Click on the Product Summary box above to view the PreSonus Studio One Pro product page.






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