After feeling increasingly frustrated with Ableton Live over the past few years, I’ve recently been playing with PreSonus’ Studio One 3 (which you can download a stripped down free version of). After being impressed and discovering tons of things I *wished* I could do in Ableton were actually possible in Studio One, I decided to take the plunge and make the switch. I’m still getting used to the difference in workflow, but I’m starting to get the hang of it and become productive.
Here are a few things that caused me to switch:
Ability to edit multiple piano rolls for different tracks in a single window (AMAZING)
Much easier and precise tempo change editing
Ability to precisely type in specific values on automation curve nodes
Easier re-arrangement of the song flow with the Arranger window
The scratch pad window for non-destructively trying out different ideas
Visual/thumbnail reference to plugins and instruments
Pinning of Instruments/Plugins so multiple instruments on different tracks open at once
And here are a few things I wish it had (or maybe haven’t learned how to do yet)
Actual looping of clips (rather than duplicating clips)
Ability to create track presets (rather than just instrument/fx chain presets)
Ability to adjust tempo while track is playing without the audio stopping
Overall, I’m definitely impressed with Studio One. After learning the basics, I even created the beginnings of a new track. This track features PunchBox (Kick), Serum (Bass 1) fed through Studio One’s built in Arpeggiator, Predator (Bass 2), BFD2 (Drums) and the Matrix-12 (Lead).
The past couple weeks have been pretty exciting when it comes to Nerve War. Sounds discovered, tracks completed, oh my!
Below are a few samples of some things I’ve been working on and playing with. I’ve got a lot more in the works too, but I gotta save some surprises for the album release, after all 😉
This first track starts out with an arpeggiated bass line generated by the Arturia SEM V, which is an emulator for the Oberheim SEM. Then comes in a light an airy medoly courtesy of the free VST Synth1. And lastly, on top of everything, is an arpeggiated lead from the Arturia JUP-8VJupiter-8 emulator. Overall this track is coming along nicely and will definitely be making an appearance on the upcoming album 🙂
This next one is a noisy as hell experimentation using the free VST TyrellN6 from U-HE. Not sure if this one will go anywhere, but I’m definitely keeping it in my back pocket.
Lastly is a track that’s giving me a bit of problem with synchronization settings (which you will likely hear). the bass line is generated with the Arturia MINI V filtered through the D16 Devastor. Towards the end Prophet V makes an appearance. Overall I’m digging the vibe of this one, I just need to figure out the sync issue (I’m sure it’s just operator errorrrrrr, drrrr).
Hooo boy did I have a good time this evening with a few plugins I picked up from D16 Group. I started out with a pretty simple bass rhythm using the Phoscyon, which is an emulator of the classic Roland TB-303. For the drums, I also picked up D16’s sub-crushing PunchBox. I almost can’t believe how deep the PunchBox’s bass drum generator can sound without turning to mush. In this particular instance it’s also layered in with my good old standby BFD. There’s also a little bit of space phasing thrown in to add to the insanity, via Fazortan. All in all I’m quite pleased with my purchase after drooling over these D16 plugins, and I know already I’ll be utilizing the holy living shit out of them >:)
Tonight I spent a few hours playing with the free VST Synth1 virtual analog synthesizer from Ichiro Toda. I started out with some freeform low-end flanging noise, then layered it with some arpeggiated (is that even a word? I’m using it anyway) high-end for a bit of a creepy sounding transition I’m digging. After the dip down, it comes back in with some slicing and application of noise to the Synth1. The drums are a mixture of a distorted Impulse 808 and BFD. Fun night! I almost feel like this is getting close to having many of the necessary elements for a complete song 🙂
Tonight’s sound experimentation revolved around a couple of free VST soft synths, OB-Xd and TAL-NoiseMaker. OB-Xd is flat out insane for a free plugin. I’ve only begun to scratch the surface, but I can tell I’ll be spending a lot more time with it. It doesn’t have an option to lock the LFO rate to the tempo of the track, which at first was driving me kind of crazy, but realized that’s part of its charm (and again, it’s free, so why the hell should I complain). The clip below starts out with a tone from it I got dialed in that I was feeling good about. Some extra fat low end comes in at about 1:05 via the NoiseMaker. I find this pairing layered on top of each other to be quite delicious. Just gotta spend some time tweaking the mix to allow for the percussion to keep thumping, without this deep madness drowning it out…
Tonight I spent quite a bit of time playing with the free VST Soft Synth Crystal along with Novation’s Bass Station. Crystal is insanely powerful for a free soft synth, I’m finding you can get some pretty hefty sounds out of it. The rhythms are layered in with BFD and Ableton’s built in Impulse 808. Overall I’m digging the vibe of this a lot, so I’ll be developing it further. Take a listen below!