PreSonus’ Studio One music production software is one of the newest programs we reviewed. We tested the Artist version because it has an attractive price and includes editing and production tools comparable to those in software that costs twice as much. PreSonus also offers a free version called Studio One Prime and a full-featured Professional version. The Artist version is one of our favorite programs because its effect plugins are among the best we tested, and its loop library has a good selection of material for every musical genre. It doesn’t have quite as many loops as Mixcraft Pro Studio, but the instrument samples sound more realistic and natural.
Our reviewers aren’t qualified Mastering Engineers, but some are professional musicians, so we used their expertise as we tested each program’s tools. Studio One’s quality effect plugins set it apart from the rest of the music production programs we tested. For this test, we built a short audio clip using each program’s loops, then used the effect plugins to bring it up to an acceptable volume to post on platforms like YouTube and Spotify.
Studio One’s compression and EQ plugins have superb presets to help you get started and are very musical. Unfortunately, you have to purchase an $80 add-on if you want to use third-party plugins with the Artist edition. However, you may not need any additional plugins because the ones in the software are high quality.
Studio One doesn’t come with the variety of virtual instruments found in other programs we tested, but those it has sound terrific. The Mai Tai synth was one of our favorites during testing because it created a wide range of usable tones. The controls may be a bit confusing for someone who has limited experience with either hardware or complex software synths, but the presets help you get started. The virtual instrument selection in this program complements a wide variety of musical genres.
We gave each program we tested an ease of use grade based on how easy it was to install and navigate. Studio One received low marks in this category, mostly because of its frustrating installation and registration process. It took us almost 20 minutes to download, install and register the software. All the other programs we reviewed, including Logic Pro X and FL Studio 12, installed seamlessly and only took around five minutes to get up and running.
Studio One Artist is a great low-cost music production software with some of the best effect plugins we tested. The virtual instrument catalog and loop library aren’t the largest we reviewed, but both sound wonderful and are appropriate for producing music in a variety of genres.