Paul Svenson on Why He Left Pro Tools for Studio One
Paul Svenson of Dad’s Songbook Music
[This just in from Paul Svenson, lifelong audio engineer, AV contractor extraordinaire, and mastermind behind Dad’s Songbook Music. Paul runs PS Audio Video in San Diego. He recently made the switch from Pro Tools to Studio One Professional 2.5—within three hours of using the software! I asked for more detail regarding the reason for his decision. His response follows.]
I’ve been recording since 1971, starting when I was 18—mostly projects where I was part of the production, engineering, mixing etc., although I also worked as a staff engineer in studios during the 80s. In 1990 I was a rep for one of the early hard disc recording systems, ProDisk. Our 8-track machine sold for $50,000. The other guys who were always around were the guys from Digidesign, with their very early version of Pro Tools. After all the rest of us vanished into irrelevance, Pro Tools kept growing to become the de facto standard. I made the switch from analog to Pro Tools around 1997 and had used it ever since.
Unfortunately, the pioneering spirit that helped Pro Tools survive and thrive vanished shortly after they were bought by Avid. Customer service was on a payment basis, and each subsequent version became more and more cumbersome and processor-intensive. A couple years ago, I started looking for a real legitimate alternative. Changing DAWs for me was not something I wanted to do more than once, so the experiments were on. Bottom line is that out of them, all I have chosen Studio One 2.5
to be my new DAW.
One of the experiments I tried early on was to abuse the software and make it or my computer fail. The test involved setting up 32 tracks—each with a McDSP Ultimate Compressor, PreSonus EQ, and Waves L1 Limiter—standard plugins from three different companies. 32 tracks was the limit on my native Pro Tools 10 setup, and my machine (a new iMac27″ 3.4GHz i7 with 16GB of RAM) started getting sluggish at that load. Studio One, on the other hand, just seemed to breeze through, so I doubled all the tracks to 64, using the same plugins. I put all the tracks into record mode and punched in/out several times, then went back and put half the tracks in record, and half in play, and punched in/out. No problem. Still breezin’. So I doubled it again—128 tracks with 384 incidents of plugins—same result. This was mind-boggling for me.
The next experiment was to listen. In my opinion, in my very familiar room with my very familiar Quested monitors, Studio One 2.5 simply sounded better, not only on recording, but playing back tracks I had previously recorded into Pro Tools 10! Although hard to quantify, the sound to me seemed to be more open and clear across the spectrum. Another huge point for Studio One.
Finally, the thing that put Studio One over the top was the Project Page and mastering features. All the projects I do still end up on some kind of physical media—usually CD. My clients need something to sell and autograph, so we still make discs. The fact that I can record a project in Studio One, go into mastering and if necessary jump instantly and seamlessly back into the original recording of a song for a last minute tweak was incredible! Studio One Professional 2.5 wins. I imported MS guitar and vocal tracks from an album I started in Pro Tools 10, and am finishing the project in Studio One instead.
Studio One was so easy to learn. It even had a keyboard map for Pro Tools so I didn’t have to memorize new key commands to get started. The online video tutorials and well-written manual are first-rate. The fact that PreSonus hasn’t become impersonal and “corporate” like Pro Tools is huge for me. The projects I do in my studio start and finish here. From now on they’ll do so in Studio One. Thanks PreSonus, you clearly have spent time in a studio and still have that pioneering spirit that makes the recording world a better place!
Dad’s Songbook Music
San Diego, CA