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  • Upgrading PreSonus Studio One... A User's Journey

    Was it an adventure or expedition?

    By Chris Loeffler | (edited)

    By Russ Loeffler




    I was an early adopter of PreSonus Studio One Professional 10 years ago.  I was introduced to PreSonus with the purchase of my first Presonus product, the Firepod audio interface.  At the time, I was looking for additional audio inputs as I was expanding my home studio from a Roland desktop DAW (digital audio workstation) to a computer based system.  The Firepod came with a copy of Cubase LE which was a great introduction to a computer based DAW.  When I considered an upgrade of Cubase, I auditioned Logic and Pro Tools before I found that PreSonus had just released Studio One Professional.  I opted for Studio One Pro,  a software product that was developed specifically for PreSonus audio interfaces.  Ten years later, I still had the Firepod and Studio One (plus other PreSonus products) in working condition without any issues.  I just kept updating computers, operating systems, and versions of Studio One Professional.  A few months ago, I finally made the move to upgrade to Studio One 4 (version  4.5) and leap past Studio One 2 (released in 2011)  and Studio One 3 (released in 2015).  By coincidence my belated upgrade just happens to fall on Studio One’s 10-year anniversary!   
    What You Need to Know 

    Before I move on to review version 4.5, let’s get a quick history for 10 years of Studio (excerpts taken directly from Wikipedia).

    Version 1 of Studio One was announced on 1 April 2009 at Musikmesse and released on 27 September 2009. The final update for Studio One version 1 (v1.6.5) was released in July 2011.

    Version 2 of Studio One was announced on 17 October 2011, and released on 31 October 2011 (alongside the 2.0.2 update). This release of the software introduced multiple enhancements, including integration with Celemony Melodyne, transient detection & quantization, groove extraction, multi-track comping, folder tracks, multi-track MIDIediting, an updated browser, and new plug-ins.
    The integration of Studio One version 2 with Melodyne was achieved via the creation of a new plug-in extension, known as Audio Random Access (ARA). This extension, developed jointly by PreSonus and Celemony, allows an audio plug-in to appear as an integrated part of the application.

    Version 3 of Studio One was released on 20 May 2015.  The new features included an arranger track, scratchpads for idea experimentation, the ability to chain together different effects and instruments, MIDI note effects, new plug-ins, and the ability to use curves in automation.

    Version 4 of Studio One was announced via a YouTube live stream event on 22 May 2018, and released simultaneously. A year later, on 21 May 2019, this functionality was expanded further with the live stream announcement and simultaneous release of version 4.5.     


    Studio One 4 Professional (version 4.5)
    Downloading the Software
    The system requirements shown below are recommended by PreSonus, but I recommend more than 8 GB of RAM.  If you are going to run RAM hungry instrument and effects plug-ins in Studio One, you will want to additional memory.  The same is true for your hard drive memory.

    • Windows 7 (SP1 + platform update), Windows 8.1 or Windows 10 x64
    • Studio One 4 operates on 64-bit operating systems only. 
    • Intel® Core Duo or AMD AthlonX2 processor (Intel Core 2 Duo or AMD Athlon X4 or better recommended)
    • 4 GB RAM minimum (8 GB or more recommended)
    • Internet connection (needed for installation and activation)
    • Monitor with 1366 x 768 resolution (high-dpi monitor recommended)
    • A multi-touch enabled monitor is required for touch operation
    • 40 GB hard-drive space


    • macOS® 10.11 or higher
    • Studio One 4 operates on 64-bit operating systems only. 
    • Intel® CoreTM 2 Duo processor (Core i3 or better recommended)
    • 4 GB RAM minimum (8 GB or more recommended)
    • Internet connection (needed for installation and activation)
    • Monitor with 1366 x 768 resolution (Retina display recommended)
    • A multi-touch enabled monitor with TUIO support is required for touch operation
    • 40 GB hard-drive space

    Rather than download a Studio One 4 upgrade package,  I downloaded the full software package for Studio One 4 (version 4.5).  After downloading version 4.5, I found that all of my songs and projects could load without any issues.  This included the 11 year old demo songs from my original version of Studio One as well as my first songs and projects from 10 years ago!  (I was fortunate that all of my work was in 64-bit format).  I also found all of my instrument and effects plug-ins were available in the instrument and effects tabs of the browser without any need to search for them.  I did need a little time to set up my MIDI keyboards, but they were up and running quickly. 

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    Navigating Version 4.5

    The three basics environments or “Pages” of Start, Song, and Project in Studio One are still the same.  With the latest version, moving between Song and Project is much easier and quicker.  Editing in Project can also automatically make updates in Song which reduces moving back and forth and saving between the two pages.   I found the look and feel of the new version to be very intuitive and I was able to pull up old songs for editing as well as create new songs without any need to address a manual or support sites.  There seemed to be no time needed for a learning curve and everything was just faster, smoother, and better.  Any new drop down menu items were very intuitive and right clicking on the mouse delivered more options.  If you are moving from other platforms or programs to Studio One 4 now supports AAF (Advanced Authoring Format) for data exchange with Final Cut Pro, Adobe Premiere, and others.  You can even bring over key commands from other DAWs. 

    The browser looks the same with the exception of the Cloud drop down tab which is a welcome addition for collaborating.  The browser is simple and intuitive.
    Instruments and Effects  

    I have an extensive library of instrument plug-ins and my versions of the PreSonus instruments are 10 years.  So, I have to admit that I ignored them at first, but the quality and flexibility of the instruments are much better in Version 4.5.  They include:  Sample One XT (samples), Presence XT (virtual sample player instrument), Impact XT (drum samples in a grid layout), and Mai Tai (a polyphonic analog modeling synth). PreSonus has also developed ways of combining them into “multi–instruments”.   The upgrades to the effects are more impressive with Delay, Expanders, Distortion, and Groove. My favorite addition is Console Shaper which is only available in the Pro version.  Console Shaper is great effect for mastering with drive, noise, and cross-talk functions to get “vintage” or live sounds across multiple tracks.  This is perfect for the home studio user who wants to get the feel of a live analog recording with multiple instruments in the “room”.
    Editing, Arranging, and Mastering

    Studio One Professional treats multitrack recording and mastering as separate processes, but links the two processes so that changes made in a Song page are reflected automatically in the Project page.  Editing song tracks and Projects is straightforward with cust, paste, and nudge functions.  It’s easy to edit one track, multiple, or all tracks.  The biggest improvements and innovations with Studio One 4 are with the editing, arranging, and mastering functions that are only available with the Pro version.  The tools not only improve editing and production they also support and inspire song arrangements and songwriting.
    Studio One Professional includes the Technical Grammy Award-winning Melodyne Essential.  This gives you single-keystroke access to the world’s greatest pitch correction software. 

    Arpeggiator offers multiple modes: Pattern mode, with individual velocity and gate time settings for individual steps; Chord Mode, where the notes of a chord are played through the pattern; Manual mode, where the notes are arpeggiated in the same order as they’re played on the input, creating step-sequencer like effects.

    Repeater can create anything from basic delay/echo effects to complex patterns and glissandi. Individual pitch offsets for each step in Pattern mode give this tool a unique twist. Manual Pitch mode lets you create complex note sequences.

    Chorder creates automatic chords from single notes played on the input. Each note on the keyboard can have a different chord assigned to it. With Transpose, the chord pattern can be shifted to any key.

    Arranger Track is an arrangement tool that lets you move portions of your entire Song as though they were individual Events, and rearrange them quickly and easily. This saves you the time and challenge of traditional editing. Once you define sections, you can freely move them along the timeline, insert them between other sections, copy/cut and paste, or delete them. 

    Scratch Pads is an editing tool in Studio One. Scratch Pads act as quick storage to hold Events, Parts, and entire Song sections for later use or re-use, reducing clutter in the Arrange view as you assemble your Song. Scratch Pads look and act much like the Arrange view timeline, sharing the same editing capabilities and displaying the same set of Tracks. 

    Chord Track is a global track that provides the ability to perform "harmonic editing" of both Instrument and Audio Parts. This restructuring of chord progressions can affect an entire song, or only the Tracks of your choice.  It’s the ideal tool for songwriting by modulating to different keys rearranging chord progressions. 
    Studio One has all the bases covered for publishing: DDP export for duplicators, Red Book CD burning, disc image, and digital releases in multiple formats (including integrated publishing to SoundCloud).

    Studio One 4 is such a powerful recording, editing, arranging, production and mastering tool, it is difficult to find any limitations for both professional or home studios.  I recommend exceeding the hardware specifications necessary to run Studio One to ensure there is capacity to run PreSonus and 3rd party plug-ins.     


    PreSonus has really hit it out of the park with Studio One 4.  They have listened to Studio One users and they have delivered.  Studio One 4 is a complete tool that provides great editing, arranging, and mastering functions at such a high level that it eliminates the need to move your songs and projects to other tools for final production.  If you are downloading Studio One 4 as your first DAW, I recommend taking the time to audition the instruments and effects that are provided before looking for plug-ins.  PreSonus has also made it easy for musicians, engineers, and producers to move from other platforms to Studio One.  The improvements provide everything that is needed for a professional studio as well as tools and automation functions that are perfect for a multi instrumentalist with a home studio.  If that wasn’t enough, PreSonus has sweetened the Studio One 4 offering with a 25% discount until the end of the year.       

    Learn more about the latest version of Presonus Studio One




    Russ Loeffler is a contributing editor to Harmony Central who covers trade shows and live events when he is not fine-tuning his guitar chops. He is also a  gear head with a passion for good music, great tones, and music that is much easier to listen to than it is to play.


    Edited by Chris Loeffler

    Sub Title: Was it an adventure or expedition?

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