Getting the most out of your DAW investment is always the name of the game, and the upgrades between versions is in many cases not enough to make a user step up. Luckily, PreSonus’s Studio One 6 Professionallaunched in late 2022, and there are enough updates to make your head spin. We picked 6 features to share from our favorite DAW (and they’re not even paying us to say that!).
Global Video Track. Content creators that are using different software to do video editing should take note, as it’s now a simple drag and drop to bring in video (and its accompanying audio track) and work in the same mind set and commands as SO6 uses for audio work. There can be unlimited video tracks in a session, and the preset has channels already loaded and labeled for music, FX, and voiceovers already for ease of use. This takes SO6 to a new level in doing video production. There are however no video effects to apply as you would in even iMovie, but the functionality for editing and working with already processed video is excellent.
Vocoder. Not really a new effect, but it’s a new effect plug in with SO6. It’s an easy way to alter a vocal track in a way that could feel like auto tune, but it goes way further into the synthetic in an unapologetic fashion, perfect for creating robot like vocals (like 1970’s Sci-fi movies and Kraftwerk) and applying pitches to drums to tune them in a unique way to the track. There’s also an option to use the pitch reference to be a different sound source with the sidechain option, taking the effect from canned presets to unique sound sculpting techniques. It’s a great way to really create soundscapes and sounds that might only exist in your head without having to know a lot about classic hardware and synthesis. Think of it as a plug-in that could easily be the door into EDM and synthwave without shelling out the cash for an actual vocoder.
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Mixer Channel Overview. With multiple plug-ins and effects sends on multiple tracks, sometimes having to dig into each channel to see what’s being applied to a tracking the console view can be time consuming and tedious — this overview button now opens up a dialog box with a more detailed version of what’s being routed through that track, and what it’s doing. Ever wonder why one track has an issue and can’t figure it out? Well, finding out that you dragged that reverse reverb plug-in to the bass DI track by accident, or that the left side drum kit overhead’s EQ is way hotter than the right is a lot easier to find, without deep diving into every track.
Track Presets. Even a novice can see the benefits of templates and presets for quick setup and workflow. The track preset functionality resides on the browser panel with the loops, effects and plug-in content. Drag an electric guitar preset in, and it’s pre-loaded with a Tuner, Ampire (PreSonus’ modeling sims), and an Analog Delay. These are great for quick work right out of the gate, and with specific presets for drums, piano, vocals and even their Vocoder effect (this was really nice to have as a starting point) it will shave off a ton of valuable setup time that can be used for creating and tracking.
De-esser. The “SSSS” from a vocal, drum cymbals or the high-end sheen from a bright guitar can sometimes be hard to tame; too much EQ, and the track loses life, and now there’s a rabbit hole for solving THAT new problem. The plug-in functionality is quite simple thankfully, and very easy to navigate. Using this on a drum loop that contains a cymbal AND a drum kit on it can easily control that high end that can cause ear fatigue. There’s enough precision to nail down problem areas but isn’t overwhelming to make nuanced adjustments. It’s a good way to “un-can” canned loops very easily.
Global Lyrics Track. SO6’s chord track has been a godsend, allowing users to follow along with a chord track (either generated by Audio or MIDI), great for those moments when players get lost in a song (that NEVER happens, right?), well now they applied that same idea to lyrics, with the words on their own track at the top of the session. There is also a lyrics display option, opening a dialog box with the lyrics being highlighted in a karaoke-like method. Like the chord track, this again is perfect for navigating a session by the lyrics, and not by a time code. Clicking on a line in the lyric display brings the session to that point for really moving quickly in a session. Associating the lyrics with MIDI values, such as a melody the lyrics can be placed accurately, and create quick sheet music with vocal melodies. Yes, a local pub band might not need this feature, but the ability to follow the words in the song easily is a huge plus when producing a complex track. Writers and arrangers for songwriters will appreciate the ability to have everything scored out in a professional manner.
There are a TON more features to unpack in this new version of SO, these are just a cross section of what’s offered, and work for a variety of users, from content creators, songwriters, composers and producers.
The only surprise on this release is with Fender (yes THAT Fender) purchasing PreSonus in late 2021, one would assume the guitar amp/cabinet and pedalboard plug-ins would be heavily favored to the classic tweed/classic Southern California sounds, but not so. However, the guitar and amp plug-in/sim area, Ampire, has the variety of Marshall, Vox, Dual Rec, and Black Panel flavors, along with cabs to mix and match. Bassists are however stuck with just an SVT. Considering Fender’s expansive guitar and bass offerings (past and present), attention to this in future updates or releases would be more than welcome.
Overall, the functionality added is well worth the upgrade, and exploring the new features didn’t take too long to get to know, and realize that these could have made working on some previous recording sessions we had go a lot smoother, right from the get go.
So there you have it, our fave new features in Studio One 6. What are you digging about the upgrade? Let us know in the comments below…