Studio One’s automation model might not seem very straightforward, but it can be extremely flexible...
One of the most important features in any DAW is the ability to automate. In most DAWs, Studio One included, nearly every aspect of the program can be automated: channel volume, pan, mute, plug-in parameters, and virtual instrument (VI) parameters. However, the model used for automation varies from DAW to DAW, depending on how it is structured.
Pretty much every DAW I’ve encountered allows generation and editing of automation data using the breakpoint curve (sometimes called ‘rubber band’) model, in which automation points are created along the timeline on tracks. In Studio One, breakpoint automation curves are called ‘envelopes’. However, track structure varies a bit between DAWs, creating some differences in where automation data resides.
Studio One’s track structure does not incorporate a one-to-one relationship between tracks in its Arrange view and channels in its Mix view. This leads to an automation model that is perhaps not as completely obvious as in situations where a direct, one-to-one correlation does exist, but one that is nevertheless pretty easy to grasp and quite flexible. To keep things clear as we go along, I’ll review the types of tracks and channels in Studio One, and describe how automation fits into the picture.
Studio One has four types of tracks: Audio, Instrument, Folder, and Automation. Automation tracks must be where automation resides, right? Well, it certainly can live there, but automation can reside on any of the four track types. So what difference does track type make? Let’s take a look at the types one at a time.
Audio tracks are the most straightforward, especially because they are the only track type for which a one-to-one correspondence between tracks and mixer channels exists; every Audio track has one, and only one, Audio channel in the mixer. Thus, an Audio track can contain automation for everything pertaining to that channel, and only parameters pertaining to that channel. Let’s take a look at how it works:
Press A. This sets all tracks in the Song to display automation data, instead of Events and Parts.