If you want to be promptly ignored, the best way to do it is to try to release a new DAW. Aside from the fact that even most musicians don’t know what the word “DAW” is (hint: it’s a big program that puts all your computer production, mixing, and recording stuff in one place), you’re up against the likes of Cubase, Ableton Live, Pro Tools, DP, SONA… sorry, I get tired even just doing the list.

Here’s how to get some attention: be the first DAW to add Celemony’s crowd-awe-ing direct pitch modification, which lets you change the pitch of polyphonic recorded audio, right in the software.

That’s what PreSonus’ Studio One version 2 does. It’s something we’ve been waiting for ever sense we first saw Melodyne. You can now, without the restrictions of a plug-in, edit recorded audio and change pitch without having to leave your DAW, all in “one click” according to PreSonus.

PreSonus isn’t the first to add transient detection, editing, groove “extraction,” and groove quantization – features that let you make rhythmic modifications to recorded audio. Indeed, these features, once exotic selling points, have almost become prerequisites as DAWs leap-frog one another. But as PreSonus adds these features, they promise more seamless editing: to quantize, just group some drum tracks, and quantize; to do groove extraction, just drag and drop. Some tools require more steps; others promise this kind of seamless operation but don’t always work perfectly. This sounds like one to test – made, again, more interesting by the pitch editing changes.

Now, I have only one concern: Melodyne “Essential” is included, and only with the full-blown “Professional” edition; I hope we see the same degree of integration for people who buy Melodyne DNA, the all-stops-pulled “direct note access” editing. WIthout it, the integration is nice, but with it, I might even use the phrase I hate – “game changer.” Updated: Yep, DNA works. That’s a pretty big deal. Other DAWs have “pitch correction” – but I already see many readers share my comparative disinterest in just correcting pitch. Being able to directly edit recorded sounds gets really interesting, by comparison. And whatever other tools may claim, I haven’t seen anything that works quite like DNA, yet. What you need is just a copy of Studio One “Professional,” and a purchased copy of DNA.

Also in this release:

  • Comping (making finished tracks out of the best bits of different takes) without switching tools – something I’ve found annoying elsewhere.
  • Studio Browser for organizing assets and instruments and effects with search. (Yeah, we’ve seen that in tools like Ableton, Logic, and SONAR; now it’s here, too.)
  • Folder Tracks – organize tracks, group and bus in one click. (PreSonus claims this is “exclusive,” though I’m fairly certain you get something like that group+bus function elsewhere. Anyway, it is nice.)
  • Edit more than one MIDI track at once.
  • New amp models, convolution-based cabinet models, convolution reverb, and an IR Maker for adding your own impulses.

So, the pieces are very similar to what you see elsewhere; PreSonus’ potential here may be how they put it together. I’m certainly ready to have another rival.

I’m always suspicious that fancy pitch and rhythm correction are just there to help you try to perfect imperfect performances. That’s something that can erase the human feel of good musicians, and make for soul-crushingly long editing sessions with bad musicians. (I’ve heard some horror stories on the latter.) But they can also be powerful remix and creative tools, especially if the workflow is improved, and that’s where they can be exciting.

I’ll be watching.

Not So Fast, Copywriter

We’re going to have to have a PR Shame Scoreboard every time a press release says something outrageous. Here’s PreSonus: “Only one DAW on Planet Earth lets you record, edit, mix, master, and distribute your music in an integrated and truly professional environment.”

Uh… no. If you send Studio One to planet Mars, then you can make this sort of claim.

(Maybe because they have SoundCloud export? I don’t know. Maybe “professional” means something that I don’t understand.)

This week:
Moog – I
PreSonus – I
Put a quarter in the jar, please. (I can forgive PreSonus, only because this has the feeling of the sentence you write when you’re exhausted and at the end of the press release: And that’s why we’re just ridiculously awesomely better than anything you’ve ever seen before and now I’m going out for a beer. ###)

So, the hyperbole beast rears its ugly head. But I’ll say this: PreSonus, who entered a category in which it’s nearly impossible to get anyone’s attention, you’ve got everybody’s attention now. And if you pulled it off, Studio One 2 could be the sleeper hit of this week’s AES show.

Because since numerous DAWs let you record, edit, mix, master, and distribute your music in an integrated and truly professional environment, on this crowded planet Earth, you do have to do something to stand out.

Update: PreSonus’ spokesperson responds:

“Oh no? Name another one. The key word is “integrated.” You can master in other DAWs but not using a dedicated mastering suite that’s intelligently aware of and fully integrated with the song editor. You don’t get that with Logic, Pro Tools, Sonar, DP, Live, Cubase, Nuendo, Reaper, or Record. I don’t know what the Martians use, but here on Planet Earth, the statement is true. “

Now, here we’re getting to the point – behind the vague statement is something that gets interesting (i.e., how it’s integrated with the song editor). I still stand by what I said, though – Record, specifically, could claim a fair degree of integration of the mastering tools within their own (different) paradigm. Anyway, I suspect users don’t need to get planetary with this; they care about how it work specifically in their own workflow. So stay tuned as we test this.

  • http://soundcloud.com/ri-caragol Ri Caragol

    Props where props is due! I love Studio One and this upgrade only increases my love for it.

  • greg

    They'd have more of my attention if they could at least spell "trial" correctly in ad copy.

  • http://www.twitter.com/Birds_Use_Stars BirdsUseStars

    The word "Daw" stands for the sound you make when yet another one comes out.

    "Daaaaawwww…."

  • http://i5music.net Jim Aikin

    Studio One has stiff competition, but when I reviewed it I was impressed by all the things they got right. Including Melodyne is cool, but unless my memory is playing tricks on me, the current version of Cubase also has Melodyne-style pitch correction built-in.

  • http://listn.to/theinvalid Seamus

    Dammit, Greg beat me to it regarding the misspelling :(

    This is a pretty nice feature I suppose, Melodyne is rather cumbersome to use as a plugin. Would be much cooler if Presonus experimented a little more with what they could do with such an integration, such as getting audio pitch to conform to MIDI notes, and so on. In all honesty, in its current state it's not a 'game-changer' for me, but I'd be happy to see more DAWs going in the direction of adding various ways to radically manipulate recorded audio.

    In short, I'm interested, but not overly so.

  • http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/pairshare/id424429744?mt=8 Brian Tuley

    The melodyne pitch correction is the only one I use because it doesn't make the human voice sound like a vocoded Keane song..

    I agree with Seamus.  No game changer for me either.  Maybe professional pop production studios might opt for a better melodyne integration into the entire DAW itself, being that they seem to use pitch correction on just about every instrument track they record,

    so as to sell records,

    I suppose,

    to people who really don't like

    music,

    warts and all.  

  • aje

    The SoundCloud integration is something of a first too – you can apparently preview tracks from SoundCloud friends right from within the Studio One browser – cool for collaboration.

    As SoundCloud lets you record (mono) this also means you can capture audio wherever you are, then simply drag and drop it into a project back in the studio. I must admit I like the sound of this a lot.

    I think that as of this update Studio One becomes a genuine contender (as you say, in a crowded market…) and I want to try the demo at least. There's something about this that seems very fresh, just as Ableton have done (in their own, different way) over recent years. So… yeah, bring it on!

  • Peter Kirn

    This isn't a review … yet. I'd just say the Melodyne thing tells an interesting story, and suggests they're willing to try some new things. And I'm intrigued by some of the workflow stuff they're doing. In other words, this merits some serious consideration. Stay tuned.

  • http://noisepages.com/members/gunboatdiplomacy/ justin johnson

    i thought DP used Celemony's engine for its built-in pitch correction…

    anyhoo, i think DP's built-in is really easy to use.  it actually was easier to use than melodyne's plugin (although slightly less feature rich).

  • Ico Bukvic

    Actually, if by "integrated" Presonus spokeperson is referring to having both the compositing and audio editing suite in one, then their statement still does not hold true. Adobe Audition (formerly known as Cool Edit Pro) has had this for ages. Its implementation IMHO is yet to be outdone.

  • geoff smith

    Great stuff

    and due to the copycat nature of software companies we should see this across all daws soon… I wonder what they will call it in Logic 'Flex pitch' ?

    G

  • vaikl

    If the pitch feature works as promised it's more a "milestone" for Melodyne than for Presonus. Melodyne's actual possibilities to manipulate audio inside DAW's are not workflow-friendly and that's why the other big players have chosen other technologies to incorporate them into their up-to-date products.

  • heba

    Well, Ableton Live STILL don't have MP3 export. That is REAL annoyance. When you quit session 4am you don't want to deal with separate program to create MP3 version for client.

    That makes Live not as professional as Logic :D

  • Peter Kirn

    So, friendly prods about the "only" DAW claim aside, I think the main issue here is whether it's relevant that Melodyne is "integrated" with the tool.

    Yes, there are other tools with pitch correction, but aside from respecting Melodyne's specific technology, it's the way in which the plug-in is integrated with the host that I find intriguing. I've written that up separately:
    http://cdm.fm/paoMUH

    As for everything else, well, we've been down this road before – DAWs do largely the same things, partly because us users keep demanding this huge list of things we want. The question is how those pieces come together. Let me see if I can bang out a track in this thing and get back to you. (Any Studio One users out there who want to share your experience or try the upgrade, do get in touch.)

    Also, my interest in the pitch adjustment stuff as I said previously was more in the remix and creative category than "how to fix someone who can't sing."

  • danger

    Peter Kirn: you can use your Melodyne with the same integration if you download the latest release of the plugin ( 1.3< ), whatever version you already have.

  • http://www.soundcloud.com/thevelvetconspiracy thevelvetconspiracy

    i've actually tried it out- great piece of kit BUT it does in fact use more cpu than the previous version- 1.5.

    And melodyne is Not included in the demo.

    And the sfz implementation in Presence Sucks- import an sfz and instead of playing it as any other sampler would, it pitches up/down the samples…. I personally don't think exporting to an mp3 is professional. mp3 is a highly lossy format. i prefer exporting to wave then converting the wave to mp3 in a specialized program.

    –James

  • http://nachbelichtet.com Markus

    “Oh no? Name another one. The key word is “integrated.”

    Samplitude comes with a complete set of tools for mastering – fully integrated … so what!?

  • http://Www.nk-e.com nk:e

    A major advantage of S1 at this point is workflow – particularly for new users. (And since you already start at a higher level of productivity with the software "out of the box" you can achieve higher proficiency over time with less time investment. Important to those of us who don't do this stuff 24/7 and have limited time to invest.) The ARA stuff goes way beyond existing implementation in the likes of DP, LOGIC, or Cubase. Check out the videos on the Presonus and Celemony sites… 

  • http://regend.com Regend

    What may be more of interest here is their pipeline program that allows for hardware to be used as software inserts. To me, VST's and AU's are "integrated" because a click of a button turns these fatures on and off and it's non-destructable. Of course it's nice to not have to install seperate plug-ins. I understand their claim but on the surface, it's still a DAW. It records, it plays back. if you play your tune correctly on the first take…you don't need pitch correction. I think we need to up the ante on our music skills. Two of the best records this year were made in garages on analog tape machines with very little pitch correction necessary (Jane's Addiction and Foo Fighters…you can correct me if I'm incorrect).

    @heba is MP3 a professional format? I think it's Ableton not wanting to pay for a license to export low quality compressed audio. It would make the price of Live increase I think.

  • http://www.sourcedistribution.co.uk SourceDist

    In answer to Peter's open question, we can confirm (as the UK distributor for PreSonus, so have this from the horses mouth!) that Melodyne DNA is supported in all versions –  Professional, Producer and Artist.

    The only catch is you will have to have purchased it separately to have Melodyne DNA – as mentioned, Melodyne Essential is included – but only in the Professional version.

    Of course you could be an Artist user (for example), and buy Melodyne Essential, Assistant or DNA separately, and they will all work with your Studio One 2.

    Really looking forward to doing some music with this – properly integrated Melodyne (and the Event-Based Effects) are something I've wanted for ages!

  • http://www.sourcedistribution.co.uk SourceDist

    To give a bit of a working example for what's cool about the mastering suite being integrated:

    The key here is that you arrange and master your album in the dedicated 'Project' editor – but if you realise you need to tweak the mix on a track, what's cool is you can go back, make your edit, and then 'update mastering file' – once you go back into the Project editor, your album is updated in-place to reflect the changes.

    There's obviously a lot more to it, but that's a working benefit of it all being unified! This is a video made with the previous version, but illustrates the point:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detai

  • Peter Kirn

    @SourceDist: Yeah, the way the mastering integration works I'll agree is pretty cool. I still think the claim is vague enough to take issue with it or describe it as hyperbolic – but to me, the specifics are more interesting, anyway.

  • J

    Finally, the first mastering grade DAW has arrived! Silky, creamy and buttersmooth! Acoustic acuity beyond compare, with mind-blowing detail and amazing definition. Better than analog! When they first showed me the Melodyne pitch editing, I honestly thought I was being Punked. This is so much on another level. It's unreal, man! Trust me, it's like alien technology, not from this world. Nobel price worthy! I am speechless!

  • http://www.djinvisiboy.com DJ Invisiboy

    This looks interesting – but I've been burned hard by PreSonus before. Remember mLan? The Firestation? That was a $500 brick.

    I'm sketchy about DAW makers that don't make DAWs their only business. In the past, these DAWS have arrive only to be discontinued just like their hardware lines.

  • Peter Kirn

    @Invisiboy: You might want to direct that at Yamaha, not PreSonus. ;)

    Longevity, though, is something to watch.

  • http://www.jhhl.net/iPhone jhhl

    Hey Peter: It's hyperbole, not hyperbola.
    http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/hyperbole
    Hyperbolic is OK though.

    I'm happy to see more spectral editing techniques integrated into DAWS.  I don't remember if Melodyne's technology is good enough to unmix a complicated mixed recording, like separating conversations in a party. That's what I'm looking for in audio processing. 

  • http://www.squarelectric.com Steve Pittoors

    You must admit they are at the forefront of something :)

  • Chad

    Great Article! It takes a truly talented writer to sincerely, light-heartedly, and accurately, describe, defend, attack, and apologize, in an article without losing face.

    Well done!

    I jumped on the Studio One bandwagon only partially simply b/c I truly needed a better warping tool. So I've been jumping between S1 and Live 8 for a year now.

    After trying (and owning) PT, Sonar, Logic, Ableton, Reason/Record then…er.. just Reason, the sound engine in Studio One is what kept me. The ARA integration is just unreal though.

    If Presonus came out with a dedicated cell triggering live-esque tool I'd jump ship completely. However my solo tool for compositional work now is Studio One.

  • RandomDude

    Presonus spokesperson was correct. Studio one is the bomb for a complete project. It replaced Cubase and wavelab for me (And even touches of Audition). 3 replaced by 1 and that 1 does the things specific to making music, making an album better in ways of workflow and result. It was hyperbolic I guess but technically correct. The updating from the song edit to the project (master) area is sublime and a REAL time saver and inspiring workflow. Nobody has done that, nobody has a DAW as solid as Studio One AND built in mastering suite.