Mastering and MIDI get a welcome boost in Studio One's v5.5 update.
In the latest update from PreSonus, we see many developments in the mastering‑focused Project page, some new Digital Release settings, and a few other interesting bits and pieces.
After many years of using Studio One, I still have to check which is the Project page and which is the Song page. Am I working on a project when I’m layering up multiple tracks for a piece of sound‑to‑picture composition, or am I writing a song? Anyway, the Project page is the mastering side of Studio One, where you take your projects, no, where you take your songs (which don’t have to be songs) after you’ve finished writing your project and have a mixdown of the song... or project.
To muddy the situation further, PreSonus have brought two key track‑editing elements from the Song page into the Project page, so that you can continue to fiddle with them after the song is supposed to be finished.
There are plenty of little improvements and tweaks to the functionality and workflow that chip away at the edges to smooth out the whole experience of using Studio One.
Track Automation in the Project page is apparently the most user‑requested feature. It makes a lot of sense, because the one thing you’re doing in the Project page is processing your tracks with mastering plug‑ins, and some parts of your track may need more processing than others. The new track automation feature lets you be more nuanced and reactive with your processing, making dynamic changes to target those areas that a static plug‑in would miss. Before this new feature, a common workaround was to chop up the track and process the bits separately, but that can be labour‑intensive and risks generating noticeable artefacts in the gaps. With automation, you can try out all sorts of settings and timeline changes without taking a knife to your audio.
Automation appears overlaid on the track just as it is in the Song page. You can show/hide it using the little lopsided N icon that you’ll find in a new section to the left of the tracks. When clicked, it reveals the automation options for both that track and the master bus that appears beneath it. Underneath that icon, you’ll find an autoscroll button (which was previously in the toolbar at the top), and then all of the tools usually associated with adding parameter automation lines to your track. You can draw freehand or add lines, curves and waveform modulations to any loaded plug‑in’s parameters.
You can also record automation in real time when playing back the track. Each plug‑in now has an automation mode button for read, touch, latch and write. In write...