As you may be aware, guitar giant Fender acquired PreSonus - maker of, among many other things, the Studio One DAW - back in 2021. So, when Fender boss CEO Andy Mooney told MusicRadar last year that he thought that the recording software of the future should be “simpler, more intuitive and less expensive”, there was concern that Studio One might be about to be ‘dumbed down’.
However, Justin Norvell, Executive Vice President Of Fender Products, has now sought to set minds at rest by assuring users that “it’s an and proposition, not an or proposition”.
Speaking to MusicRadar, Norvell goes on to say: “To someone who is fluent in DAWs, many [of those] people want more functionality and more capability. To someone who is new it's the kind of progressive complexity, I would say. But a lot of times, you just get thrust right in where you're just like, 'I don't even know what to click, or how to get started'. And it's the idea of demystifying that way back at the outset.”
Norvell equates the challenge of getting people into recording and ensuring that they don’t give up with that of creating long-term instrument players.
“I think that's a challenge for the whole industry, because guitar itself has a high abandonment rate,” he says. “Piano has a high abandonment rate - every musical instrument does, because it's difficult, and it doesn't make recording any different.
"So it's just another one of those things that you have to do a lot of work to get proficient at it, to the point where you're enjoying it. There's so many different ways to attack that, and there's so much going on in the mobile space – whether tablet or phone.
“Steve Lacy, several years ago, was recording whole albums on his iPhone - where's that going? Sonic quality, processing and all that stuff. So it's a very, very exciting time. I think we're entering into the second renaissance period of that business; the recording industry and where that can go.
Norvell concludes by saying that, just because Fender wants to make recording more accessible, “it doesn't mean by any stretch of the imagination that the full professional DAW is going anywhere, and that's something that we're committed to continuing to expand upon, refine and improve."
In a bid to make it easier for beginners to get started, the latest Studio One release, version 6, includes Smart Templates for specific tasks. These offer preconfigured tracks and channels with a customised interface and automatic download of required content, with options for basic recording, beatmaking, mixing stems, mastering an album, setting up for a live show and more. There’s a drop zone for importing audio, video and MIDI files, and interactive tutorials with instructions and links to related video content.
The Customisation Editor, meanwhile, enables you to show or hide almost all of Studio One 6’s tools and functions, so you can streamline the interface to suit your workflow and for the job at hand. Beginners can strip things back to the essentials, while more experienced users can put power features right under their fingertips.