PreSonus Studio One 2 – Review


by Gary Wolk

Looking for a new DAW? Well, I wasn’t, but when the time came to by a new interface a few months ago, I picked up the PreSonus AudioBox 44VSL, which came bundled with Studio One Artist version software. I have been using Logic Pro for the past 3 years, and Cubase before that, and have to say I was very impressed with Studio One, right out of the box. In fact I am using it exclusively now for all of the projects in my home studio.

Studio One was developed by the same people who gave us Cubase and Nuendo, so at first glance it has that look to it ( bit more colorful than Logic grey) and is compatible with Windows or MAC. It is also compatible with most 3rd party AU and VST plug-ins. Sampling rates are 44.1, 48.0, 88.2, and 96.0 and resolution at 16,24 and 32-bit float.

It comes in 4 versions:

Studio One Free ( good way to try it out with 8 Native Plug-ins)

Studio One Artist – $99.00 USD (with 26 Native Plug-ins)

Studio One Producer- $199.00 USD (with 26 Native Plug-ins)

Studio One Professional – $399.00 ( includes a full version of Melodyne Essential, 31 Native Plug-ins, and features 32 or 64-bit processing)

Upgrades are available a bit cheaper as usual. I started out with Artist, but soon upgraded to Producer and then Professional. All can be purchased and downloaded on the PreSonus website.

I found working with it very easy from the start. The program is very MIDI friendly and loop friendly for importing and time stretching. Another great feature is that you can drag and drop any effects, or plug-ins right on to the track or mixer page from the bin. No having to search off of the Song Page for them.

As far as the Plug-ins go, the effects processors ( EQ, Compressors, Limiters etc.) are fantastic. The pre-sets are very usable, and I do not have to do much tweaking ,depending on the instrument. In fact for awhile I was recording in Logic and flying my tracks into Studio One for processing, mixing, and mastering. Of course PreSonus has been making great hardware processors for years, so it makes they incorporate those settings into Studio One software.

As far as virtual instruments, this is where I think they fall short. The quality of some of the Strings and Horns tend to sound a bit “synthy”, as do some others. But if you want Synths they have a great selection, as well as drums. And they sound great., as well as their Pianos.

Studio One also features a guitar plug-in called Ampire, which I found to be all right for certain settings (as a guitarist) but like so many guitar software plug-ins, a bit too digital sounding.

So, all in all I find this DAW to be very easy to work with for my projects. As with any new software program, there is a bit of a learning curve. Since I have only been working with it for a few months, there is still much more to learn,, and get deeper into it and from what I’ve seen through tutorials etc. it does offer a lot. For now it allows me to work quickly, easily, and get a great final project. Check it out for yourself.

14 Replies to “PreSonus Studio One 2 – Review”

  1. Just tried out the free version of S1, just to have a feeling what it`s all about. Only played around with it for a couple of hours and so far I like it pretty good.
    Not actually looking for a new DAW, but I`m a bit scared about the future of Logic in the hands of Apple. Nice to know that S1 could be a good alternative if I get Logic with all the ML bugs when I have to upgrade my studio sometime soon.

  2. Heh! You’re welcome Denis. 🙂 Yes, doesn’t have everything but what it does have is excellent, fast workflow and is incredibly stable.

  3. I have not tried S1 myself, but probably will as I hear so much great things about it.

    Just wanted to mention that they give you a kind of crosgrade cupon if you switch from any other DAW. Just email them your registration info for whatever DAW you are using and you’ll get a discount for S1.

    1. I switched to S1 for most writing and mixing (Tx Rob) couldn’t recommend it highly enough. Gary’s review is spot on. Not perfect by any means and missing some features of the big boys but very stable. Download the demo and check it out.

  4. Thanks for info Gary, I have been using Logic for the last few weeks before I get VEPro so I can use Protools again. How does S1 handle Kontact, Omnisphere and other CPU hogs etc. Logic is quite efficient at VIs but I hate everything about it. Totally illogical in nearly everything it does and loads of bugs. S1 is an option for me at this point. I was going to download the free one but if it doesn’t handle 3rd party stuff then there is no point

    1. Denis,

      I’m working on a piece at them moment. 13 instances of Kontakt, 11 of Play, 2 Padshop, 2 QL Spaces and innumerable processors, EQs and creative effects. It’s not missing a beat.

      You can demo the full version for 30 days. I bought it on day 2, IIRC.

  5. Couple years back when I wanted to get serious with music I was looking for a better DAW than the basic one I started with. I trialled a bunch of the popular names but was in love with S1 from the moment it booted up. Really, really stable and incredibly intuitive to use. When it came time to upgrade from v1 to v2 it was a no-brainer as the upgrade of $99 included the built-in Melodyne Essential which is about $90 or so on its own. The technology Presonus and Melodyne collaboratively developed makes it feel as though Melodyne is part of the program rather than a plugin.

    To be fair, S1 is not as feature rich as other DAWs yet but that hasn’t been their focus. The strategy for this is to keep it streamlined, stable and easy to use. I don’t mind that it lacks a lot of stuff because the drag and drop interface, stability and simplicity make it a delight to use. It gets out of the way when I want to make music.

    Also worth mentioning is that only Producer and Professional allow third party plugs.

    I don’t use any of the included instruments and only a few of the effects. The parametric EQ is great, as is the spectrum analyser and multiband compressor. However with Flux plugs in my arsenal I’m really only using the SA these days.

    1. Rob:
      Thanks for clearing that up about the plug-ins. Also one thing I forgot to mention in the initial review was how easy it is to quantize audio if you need to. Within seconds it detects transients and fixes them.

    1. Pat:
      When I switched from PC to MAC 3 years ago I started using Logic. Also because a media firm I was working with them used it in their studio. Now that I am woking pretty much on my own, switching to S1 works out much better for me. That being said everyone’s studio needs are different so it may not be right for some. Can’t really tell you specific differences between Cubase and Studio One, as I haven’t worked in it for a few years.

      1. Cubase was my first one and I stayed with it not because I believe it’s superior to the others for my use which is pretty basic but just the idea of learning a new daw all over again gives me hives.
        I do like to read others experiences with the different daws though. Never know, I might check one out that grabs me enough to consider switching.

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