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New DAW’s to add to our Pro Tools collection. What do you think?

While we’re at it, I have a confession to make.

Presonus Studio One Pro

*I’ve been flirting with other DAW’s*.

I know, blasphemy right. Especially with Pro Tools 11 looking SOOO good.

But it’s a new day. Even here in Nashville it’s not uncommon for the top engineers to all use Pro Tools in the studio, then take the consolidated files back to their Cubase, Nuendo, or now, Presonus Studio One rigs.

While our good friend Joe Gilder @ homestudiocorner.com is a big fan, we’d also like to hear your thoughts. Read the review below, or tell us about your experience branching out from the land of Pro Tools. Are we going crazy?

Most of us are already committed to a DAW package. But if we were offered an alternative that was affordable, simple to use and ultra-reliable, would we switch? Presonus certainly hope so…

via Presonus Studio One Pro.

20 thoughts on “New DAW’s to add to our Pro Tools collection. What do you think?”

  1. I have been using PT MP9 for about 6 months now, and all I can say is that the HARDWARE is what made this the so-called “Industry Standard”, because the software, well, sucks.

    I keep it around for compatibility, but truth be told Studio One 2, Sonar X2, and even Reaper kicks it’s rear, is more cost effective, and…bottom line…WAY more intuitive to use!

    • Reaper has gotten a lot of traction recently, but I hear lots more high end pro’s starting to sniff around the Presonus campgroups. I haven’t seen anyone yet moving to Sonar…most high end sonar users seem to have been with it since they first started (it’s really become insanely powerful in the last 5 years).

      There’s also no debating that Avid’s been a hardware company forever….but with the collapse of the high end hardware business for them, I’m curious whether they’re going to finally jump on the nuclear arms race that is killer-daw-features again. They’ve definitely been lagging for a while.

      Which other DAW do you use most often of those 3, and what advantages have you found?

      • A VERY late reply Adan, but here goes…

        I use a 60/40 Reaper / X2 mix at the moment..

        Reaper for it’s any track can be anything ability, the rock solid VST-VSTi support, Acid killing looping workflow, Routing, and Super Fast operation keeps it my most used DAW ATM. But it’s ability to customize everything makes it impossible to do anything simply. It’s Midi stinks. Since the V4 series it just up and disappears for no reason, no warning, nothing saved

        Plus, and I don’t care what ANYONE says, it does NOT render out what you hear while mixing. Every master mix render sounds duller, like there is a towel over the audio. After a YEAR of trying out EVERY suggestion on the Reaper forums I stand by this, and so do others.

        X2 for it’s sound, midi, and the Skylight interface. Pro Tools is by FAR the best, easiest on the eyes GUI I have ever worked with, but X2 is right up there with it.

        I use to beta test Studio 1, but to tell you the truth I just did not like the workflow OR look of it. The shades of blues & grays are too close to tell apart at a glance in a large project. It IS a good DAW, just not the one I could work with all day, for that PT wins once again.

        On a side note the Kristal Audio Engine (that Studio 1 was supposed to replace) is still a favorite for me, and is what I use for most of my demo work. Simple, slick, and quick. If it would get a few updates I would be back to that for audio only in a heart beat! LOL

        • No worries at all. 🙂
          I’ve got to give Reaper a full on fair shake this summer. Too many folks singing it’s praises for us to not dive in deep.
          Just heard from an acquaintance confirmation of a new Logic…though they were under so many NDA’s they really couldn’t say anything. I’ll be very interested to see what they’ve done there. The current one, though powerful, is quite long in the tooth.
          How have I not heard of the Kristal AE? Googling now… 🙂

  2. Well, I’m a ProTools girl, however, I have started the process of looking at and learning Studio One Pro!

    Reason being, ProTools is great, however, it’s becoming more and more expensive, and in spite of all of the money invested, they keep changing, (which I don’t mind), but the changes eliminates so much of the money and time invested in earlier versions, and it’s harder to keep up these days.

    I’m excited about PT11, yet with my powerful MacPro, 2 quad, 8core mac, because it was built in 2008 its not on the compatibility list! I’m currently using PT 10.5, but can’t afford a new mac in order to get the new software, so there you have it.

    Have all of these great plug ins, but will no longer be able to use them in PT11.

    You guys have helped me learn very well. I have a lot of your videos in my library. I love PT,s but now it’s time to take that learning curve and explore other options. There’s my story!

    • Thanks so much Mariea. I love Pro Tools as well, but pretty much since Pro Tools 8, most of us have wondered what the point of upgrading was. I’d go so far as to say most of the pro Nashville community has Never upgraded if they already had PT hardware.
      That said, I’m looking closely at Studio One now. I’d love to know what about your production workflow does it make significantly easier/faster/better? Any killer features in S1 that you can’t live without now?

      • The drag and drop feature, makes working super fast. I haven’t learned everything yet, but I’m starting to get better.

        I’ve noticed, that all of the drums sound punchier, and tighter as well.

        The mixing component for me as this time, is not as advanced as PT’s for automation, and a few other things, however, I’m still PT’s biased, but am loving the option I have now to learn something new and get totally up to speed.

        Thanks for your feedback as well.

        • That’s been my observations as well. I’m going to dig into it here in the next few weeks with a few producer friends that are intrigued by the possibilities as well. Looking forward to hearing some of what you’re producing that comes out of it Mariea!

  3. Take a look at Samplitude ProX. It’s probably the one I would go to if not for PT.

    I have Harrison Mixbus, Reaper and Logic Pro sitting around as well… but mostly unused.

    • That’s really interesting. I’ve actually taught Samplitude several times over the last few years and found it insanely powerful in many ways. In fact, i did have a video demonstrating how to remap all the main edit keys to act like Pro Tools…but couldn’t find more than a handful of people on the planet using it. That said, it seems like it was most geared for mixers who wanted all the options in the world. What kind of work do you do with it?

  4. I use both Cubase and PT, and I must tip my hat to Steinberg with their Cubase 7 release. They are constantly updating this version with bug fixes and feature add-ons, and it really is way ahead of Pro Tools on many levels. Even with PT11 around the corner, it’s not offering much of anything that Cubase 7 hasn’t already delivered on. Little things too like a search line for plugins. Lots and lots of good things. I like what Studio One has to offer, as well as Reaper, but I’m still digging Cubase 7. I use Cubase 7 to do a majority of my work, and then switch over to PT for tab to transient-like editing (even though I can do it in Cubase 7 now), and for mixing. Although I’m liking mixing in Cubase 7 more and more. It’s a massive upgrade that Steinberg has put out over version 6.

    • I’ve been looking at Cubase as a PT replacement for awhile. Lots of the top guys in Nashville use Cubase/Nuendo on their personal rigs. What type of music are you primarily producing with it? What are the big advantages to you?

  5. Actually you should look at other DAW’s. I have Protools, Cubase and even old Mackie Hard Disk recorders 🙂

    Each and every DAW does have its good points as well as its less useful stuff or even things it simply does badly. Hence one reason for more than one DAW.

    Maybe you should even look at other ‘associated’ stuff like Wavelab or Sound Forge which I use both of for differing reasons but I DO use them both. I agree these are not really DAW products, but they are used I’m sure all the time probably by other visitors to your site.

    And don’t think that those old HD recorders are long gone… there are still plenty out there used every day for sure.

    Anyway, just my thoughts as you asked 😉

    • Thanks Tony!
      I’ve used almost all of them over the years. Really looking closely at both Cubase and Studio One right now though. Doing more remote collaboration and Cubase has the *coolest* new feature for that.

      We moved past wavelab and soundforge about a decade ago, though they’re great for their intended purposes. Huge use in radio.

      As for the HD recorders, I still use an Alesis HD24 in class on a semi regular basis. Hard to argue with rock solid reliability and simplicity.

      Still, went to a sneak peak of PT 11 tonight here at Vintage King in Nashville and gotta say, it makes my mouth water. 🙂 What kind of music are you working on?

  6. Cubase, please! In the meantime, are there tutorials as good as yours that you know of for Cubase out there already? I bought Mixing and I’m loving it, but I’m worried that if I buy others in the series I’m not going to get all I can out of it.

    • Hey Joe!
      Believe it or not, I met with two different Nashville Pro engineers today who want to do their mixing and editing series in Cubase. We are also currently working on some shorter series to make cross platform functions between the various audio workstations very clear and simple. I’ve already completed a logic for ProTools users video, and we’re working on some for studio one and CuBase.
      As it is, I don’t think any function in any of our videos is unique to ProTools. And several of our current videos are already in cuBase, with more on the way! 🙂

  7. Well, I’ll be the odd man and through Digital Performer into the ring. It’s been my primary DAW for years. It has excellent worklflow and is very intuitive. I only use PT for getting sessions from clients, but I’ve always transferred the files to DP for serious work.

    I’m now trying to familiarize myself with it a bit more. I also have Cubase 5 on my drive, but i haven’t used it in years… never really gave it much of a chance, since I’m so much more proficient in DP. Maybe I’ll upgrade to 7 and put some time into it.

    • Not gonna lie, I loved digital performer back in the 3.11 days. It definitely doesn’t get all the love it probably deserves in the pro audio market. And Magic Dave from Motu is a great guy.
      I know at least one of our multiplatinum engineers uses Digital performer exclusively. I’ll see if he’s interested in doing a mixing video using it. Thanks Dave!

  8. I’ve been using Reaper for a few years but recently i bought an Audiobox VSL1818 and with it came Studio One Artist. I got lucky and upgraded it to Professional with the recent discounts promotions, i also own a Faderport so i’m pretty much all set and comfy on S1.

    To be honest though: i love Reaper and all it’s flexibility, there’s some amazing things it can do, just gonna comment on a few that i really appreciate:

    Modulate any plugin parameter anywhere using audio signal envelope from any channel or via a universal LFO)

    Use mutiple channels on the same channel allowing for parallel processing of any sort (including multiband)

    Has the most optimized CPU/Ram/performance out there (FXpansion Etch uses 7% CPU on S1 but on Reaper uses 2%)

    You can pratically create any type of macro or shortcut imaginable in the action list and customize the software to your liking. Also, you can adapt the whole software for your likes/mixing workflow, in other DAWs usually it’s the other way around.

    If you have a mal functioning MIDI device (like my Axiom49 which sends random MIDI CCs) you can use a JS plugin (MB Filter2) that filters specific CCs so you don’t get polution/clutter in your MIDI CC lanes while recording or avoid randomly triggering plugin parameters. Saved me a lot of bucks because here in Brazil it would cost around 300/600 bucks to fix it. Also i can Rewire my “filtered axiom49” from Reaper to S1 so i can use there aswell thanks to this, it’s brilliant!

    You can speed up or slow down audio events (also know as tuning in samplers) really easily by just stretching the loop edges (snapped to grid or not) note: in other DAW this is unnecessarily complicated, Cubase uses an keyboard interface and you can do it in semitone steps or change the audio rate manually by typing on a box. I think on PT you had to use an offline time algorithm to do it, not sure how it is nowadays. Sadly, Studio One can’t do this at all, every stretching operations in Studio One is linked with an elastique algorithm.. bummer for a really basic function! The solution for me on this is to run Reaper via Rewire into S1 using it like a “smart sampler” and i quite happy with that is quite inspiring and fun, like an old school thing.

    I could go on and on about what so many other great things Reaper has but what atracted me to Studio One (and Presonus in general) is that their goal is to make life easier and faster for everyone, in a professional way. S1 It still has a way to go to mature and compete with older/newer DAWs witch are more feature complete, i’m 80% satisfied with it and i know they’ll get it right hopefully no longer then v4 or v5

    I see myself staying with both of these DAWs forever (and if Bitwig is EVER released LOL, i will probably buy it too cos i want a nonlinear sequencer that works for multi-track recording/editing and as flexible as Reaper and the feature list on their site is awesome!)

    • What kind of music genre’s are you producing primarily? I’ve heard so many things about Reapers customizability…and i’ll be honest, I’ve spent a bunch of time remaping other DAW’s to act like Pro Tools.
      Most other DAW’s have fixed their time remapping (you’re right though, it used to be offline and *sucked* ;).
      Looking forward to digging into a couple of these with some new series we’re producing. In the mean time, Swing up through Nashville sometime and give us a good walkthrough of Reaper! 🙂

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