Could Studio One 3 become your new favourite DAW?

PreSonus's Studio One DAW has been coming to the boil for a while now. Indeed, it rose to fifth place in poll to find the best DAW in the world in 2014.

Now, with the arrival of version 3, it might just be set to make a major breakthrough. Billed as the most significant update to Studio One yet seen, it heralds the arrival of new arranging, sound design and composing features, and adds a couple of extra software instruments, too.

If you're a Studio One 3 Professional user, you'll be able to make use of the Arranger Track, which enables you to move song sections around by dragging and dropping. Then there are Scratch Pads; using a parallel timeline, you can play with arrangements and other song elements without affecting your main project, then drag things back into the primary timeline when you're happy.

Studio One 3 Artist and Professional users also have a new browser to work with, which has a tag-based search system and lets you access additional content online.

Shape your sound

On the sound sculpting front there are now Extended FX Chains, which enable you to chain and combine effect plugins in serial, in parallel, by channel, or by frequency with up to five splits. Multi Instruments, meanwhile, let you combine multiple instruments as layers or splits in a single track. Extended FX Chains and Multi Instruments are Professional exclusives.

There's also a new plugin type in the shape of Note FX, which is used for processing MIDI note data. Arpeggiator, Chorder, Repeater and Input Filter Note FX come included. Professional users also have access to Macro Controls - knobs, switches and X/Y pads - which can have multiple parameters assigned to them.

No DAW update would be complete without a new instrument or two, and that's exactly what you'll find in Studio One 3. Mai Tai is an analogue-modelled polyphonic synth for "modern electro and bass sounds," while Presence XT is a fully equipped software sampler (Professional users get a 14GB content library to load into it).

Other features

There are actually more than 70 new features and updates in Studio One 3 - other notable highlights include support for multi-touch displays, a customisable high DPI user interface, iPad control via the Studio One Remote app, updated time and pitch manipulation tools, and new Rotor and Bitcrusher audio effects.

Studio One 3 Artist and Professional are available now priced at £68 and £279 respectively. Check out the PreSonus website for further information, to download a demo, and for upgrade/crossgrade pricing.

PreSonus has also confirmed that a free version, Studio One Prime, will be released in June

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it.