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Finally getting serious with Studio One!


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I purchased Pro Tools 7 in 2006/7 along with an MBox 2.  The upgrade to v.8 was free (as within 12 months).  The 1000+ page manual was daunting ... the days before YouTube tutorials!  By the time I got around to doing my first home-produced album in 2015, I had fallen off the upgrade path ... you had to have at least v.9 to upgrade to v12.   So I had to pay full price again!  While I managed to be productive, the organisation (AVID) was giving me the sh*ts.  They stopped supporting my Digidesign MBox2. The MIDI 'CC-Learn' feature was dropped, so I was unable to use the faders on my keyboard.  Finally, with just 2 months notice, the customer base was told that the Support Plan (access to new versions) was doubling from $99 to $199 pa.  I was livid. Within a few weeks, Presonus was offering a cross-upgrade to Studio One Professional at half price (equivalent to the cost of ONE YEAR's Plan from AVID), so I bought it in anger.  But, as is always the case, when you have stuff to do, one returns to the familiar. I did another 12-track album in Pro Tools, and a few other small projects.  However, the niggly things in Pro Tools have mounted and kept chipping away at my loyalty ... continuing with AAX only (no VSTs can be used!), random problems with latency and playback, internal instruments (XPAND!2) suddenly producing no sound at all, no renewed Support Plan meant that several of my 'special' bundled instruments were no longer available, etc, etc..  All the time worrying that my little plastic iLok USB might fail or get stolen/lost ... and nothing works without it!

 

Now two NEW projects have come up.  The lack of deadlines has given me the opportunity to switch and try doing a complete production in Studio One (5.5).  These projects are:

  • a cover/rearrangement of a German friend's song Nächster Schritt   for which I translated the lyrics to English a few years ago
  • a cover of Shine on You Crazy Diamond ... both tracks (Parts 1-5 and Parts 6-9).

 

I've already made a start on Nächster Schritt as a reason/test-bed for learning. I have the full production in my head and am taking small steps to implement it.  I've managed to interface my Scarlett 2i4 and test recorded my acoustic guitar to two tracks simultaneously as well as my MIDI keyboard.  I can happily replay, edit, make  MIDI music via different inbuilt instruments, apply effects like Reverb on a bus, use my old friends EZ Drummer and Ozone 9 in this new environment.  I've mapped the stem of the original woman's vocal to a slightly different tempo that I've chosen.   I've used the Arranger, Chord and Marker rulers, which work really well together and provided massive structural benefits.

 

While I am now confident that I CAN do whatever I used to do in Pro Tools, in reality the going is VERY SLOW for several reasons:

  • the interface is substantially different, and many important buttons/edges are hard to see 
  • the shortcuts are different ... simple things like Zooming are a pain
  • a lot of the actual terminology is different ... e.g. a ProTools 'clip' is now an 'event' in Studio One
  • the documentation is truly woeful.  The Reference Manual is a joke at only 450pp, the 4 page index having less than 300 keywords.  Many common DAW terms are totally absent (and Ctrl-F shows they're not anywhere in the Manual), e.g. Clip Gain.  There is NO section in the manual on "MIDI", and the term is completely absent from the Index!!!  [By contrast, the Pro Tools Reference Manual is 1520pp, while its Index alone is 44pp and contains 1500+ keywords).
    I LOVE manuals!  Why spend 10 minutes watching a video when one can get straight to the chase in a manual via the Index.  

 

ANYWAY, I've made a start and will hopefully post new 'learnings' (both plusses AND minuses), as well as the actual music that results.  Fortunately all DAW should allow the basics ... the environment, record, edit, mix, at least EQ/Compress, and bounce.

 

Hopefully, more than just John will be in the Studio One conversation!

 

Greg

 

Edited by GregB
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Welcome! Awesome. :)

 

I’ll be really interested to see what you make of it. It took me a little to get used to it post Cakewalk, but I found the process flows were better and several things were actually more intuitive. Context menus are better. At first mix down weren’t great because of poor visibility on the signal chain making effective gain staging really clunky, but it has improved.

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20 hours ago, john said:

poor visibility on the signal chain

 

yeh ... I  only accidentally found the Send area when moving borders on the channel strip!

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11 minutes ago, GregB said:

 

yeh ... I  only accidentally found the Send area when moving borders on the channel strip!

 

The track inspector is your friend. It will save you a lot of grief when routing anything in S1.

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Tru dat

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  • 3 weeks later...

I've just (and finally) completed my first Studio One project.  WHEW!  It finally became easier and allowed me to focus on the music rather than the mechanics and the interface!

 

 

image.thumb.png.4febc5830f390e3e1a299089cd9edd2a.png

Edited by GregB
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I found some things very easy, but many of my difficulties were because I was used to another DAW. Once I changed I realised a lot of it was not that Studio One was less intuitive. In fact most changes were an improvement, I just didn’t realise it at first. After all, why should Studio One work according to another DAW’s flawed methodology?

 

My main issue with Studio One is more a lack of information, or obvious information, during mixdown.
 

For example, during mixdown, you can introduce a level issue. When it comes to tracking down where in your signal chain you blew the level, Studio One doesn’t (or at least didn’t) tell you where in the signal chain you went wrong. It forces you to go through the gain-staging process, slowly. Really they could make that particular task much much easier.

 

I find that Studio One actually improved and supported both recording and mixdown very well (other than that issue). Contextual menuing works very well. On a couple of occasions issues were more terminology differences than anything else.

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13 hours ago, john said:

My main issue with Studio One is more a lack of information, or obvious information, during mixdown.

 

Exactly - the channel fader strips do not show the OUTGOING levels! With ProTools you can toggle between the faders being PRE or POST ... ideal for recording then mixing.  It's like mixing blind without this.

 

I was also surprised that Studio One was slower than ProTools when bouncing/mixdown. The average never exceeds 3x. ProTools was often 5x or higher.   Hopefully Studio One will soon start using the GPU (if available) for faster/parallel processing.

 

But, hey ho, no DAW is without fault (I assume), and I got a good result from it. And hopefully there'll be no future costs ... or will they charge to go to version 6?

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31 minutes ago, GregB said:

 

 

Exactly - the channel fader strips do not show the OUTGOING levels! With ProTools you can toggle between the faders being PRE or POST ... ideal for recording then mixing.  It's like mixing blind without this.

 

I was also surprised that Studio One was slower than ProTools when bouncing/mixdown. The average never exceeds 3x. ProTools was often 5x or higher.   Hopefully Studio One will soon start using the GPU (if available) for faster/parallel processing.

 

But, hey ho, no DAW is without fault (I assume), and I got a good result from it. And hopefully there'll be no future costs ... or will they charge to go to version 6?


I use Presonus Sphere. At $15 per month for Studio One Professional, plus all Presonus’ other software and sound libraries, and a basic collaboration space it is really a no-brainer. :)

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21 minutes ago, john said:

I use Presonus Sphere. At $15 per month for Studio One Professional, plus all Presonus’ other software and sound libraries, and a basic collaboration space it is really a no-brainer. :)

 

Hey John. 

 

I've opened a support Ticket at Presonus.

 

I see there that Sphere members can ask questions of each other ... is that what you meant?  My perceived issue with Faders SHOULD be covered by the reference manual or in the many available mixing tutorials ... but it is not. Is it just I'm used to the Post Fader mixing option in Pro Tools, and other DAWs don't work that way?

 

We'll see.  I'll post the result if anything arises.

 

Greg

  

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