When I get asked which is the best Digital Audio Workstation or DAW for short? I have to ask what do you plan on doing? A lot of people try to just use one DAW and make it work on everything. You can do that, but should you consider using multiple DAWS instead of the old tried and true theory of I know this DAW and works for me? If you are an artist who likes to write music I may suggest that you look into the Presonus Studio One 3 line. My reason is, writing and composing music has different needs then say mixing and editing music. Presonus Studio One 3 is stable and has a great workflow for writing. I prescribe to idea of making the most common things that you do work without a flaw. Make it easy to get around and it operates in musical and intelligent way. I have been using the Studio One 3 for sometime now and I will add that it took me about three hours to get a handle on it. It is worth taking a hard look at. For me when I am writing and composing music, I like a very simple easy to use workflow because when I am creating music my attention has to be focused entirely on the music.
So the big question is, what about Pro Tools for writing music? It seems that everyone who is anyone uses Pro Tools. Yes, this may have some truth to it. So I ask the question, what do you plan on doing? Perhaps even a better question is what are the people who are using Pro Tools doing? Yes Pro Tools is in the bigger studios, but who writes music in the bigger studios? The needs of the bigger studios are really in audio tracking, editing and mixing. For those needs Pro Tools is an excellent option but not so much for writing music. Big studios are drawn to Pro Tools as a stable DAW that provides a lot of great editing and mixing options, which is really important in the big studio environment.
What is the deal on other DAWS? There are a lot of great DAWS out there, Reaper, Cubase, and Logic, just to name a few. Workflow is always king in my view, and if you are comfortable using these DAWS then I say stick with it. However if you are writing music, the Presonus Studio One 3 Professional offers a lot of punch for the dollar and has a fast and intelligent workflow. The more I use it the more I like it. Presonus also gives great customer support as well, this is important to me, are you listening Avid? There are some sonic differences between a lot of the DAWS, especially when listening to 64 bit verses 32 bit ones. The obvious 64 bit DAW will allow you to implement more plug-ins then the 32 bit DAW and could get you a better result when using multiple plugins. But about when I am comparing two 64 bit DAWS and there is a sonic difference, a subtle one, what should I do when the industry standard Pro Tools to my ears seems less pristine compared to the Presonus Studio One 3 Professional. I believe that the Studio One 3 Professional DAW does sound the best out of any DAW that I have listened to including Pro Tools 12.4 and that is a bold statement in the audio industry. Also allowing the concentration to be more focused in the music when writing, or the mix when mixing is indeed the biggest advantage. The overall result will ultimately be better when your working with the best workflow for those specific needs. That being said I want to spend more time comparing the industry giant Pro Tools against Presonus Studio One 3 Professional. As of now I must buck against the industry and go with what sounds best and what allow the most efficient work flow and that is the Presonus Studio One 3 Professional.
So what's the point you may ask? Well, this little article was really about getting you thinking about using a two DAW system, at least try it out. Sometimes we get a bit set in our ways and say, should I really take the time to learn another DAW? Well, my answer is why not? If you already know how to operate any DAW mentioned in this article, an others not mentioned. You already have an advantage because the learning curve for you is much easier then for someone just starting out. In the long run if you write your own music and plan to mix it as well, why not use the best of both worlds. If you put the time in of say a few weeks (or hours) of learning with the result of this action getting you a better workflow which results in a better product then I say consider it. We like to drop money on cool new plug-ins, myself included. But what about the expense of going towards multiple DAWS? I say try out a free demo of one, and open your mind up a bit, give it a spin, but the more that I am using the Presonus Studio One 3 Professional DAW the less that I am missing my Pro Tools 12.4.
I didn't intend to give Presonus a plug here, but it just worked out that way. For writing music I don't recall anything that handles that task better Presonus Studio One 3. I used the Professional version for my testing, which has as street price of about $400.00 USD. The biggest drawbacks to not having the Pro version is in the Artist version cannot load third party VST2, VST3 or AU plugins and it operates in 32 bit as opposed to 64 bit. However, the cost is low in the Artist version, street price $100.00 USD. In the Pro version you get a cool pitch correcting plugin by Melodyne (essentials) which is really good to have, plus a lot more loops, content samples, you can add you third party plugins and several other features. You can update the Artist version to the Professional version for around $300.00 USD. But for mixing and editing I am still a Pro Tools kind of guy for now, but this could be changing. After doing three complete mixes on Presonus Studio One 3 Professional my ears are saying that the overall sound is a bit better on the Presonus then the Pro Tools. I was always taught that in theory a 64 bit compared to a 64 bit DAW should sound identical. But my ears are saying that the Presonus is actually more pristine. The bottom line is always the sound comes first. So is there a coming war between Studio One 3 by Presonus and Pro Tools 12 by Avid. Looks like the audio world just got a bit more interesting.
Drew Puzia is a multi-award winning Mix Engineer at SoundBurst Studios in Las Vegas. Drew is certified in Audio Engineering from the world renowned Berklee College of Music. His experience spans over three decades in the music industry and he has recorded and mixed countless musicians in many genres of music.