Driven by a one-two combo of user requests and PreSonus Software innovation, Studio One 5.2 boasts over 30 new features and improvements… here’s a quick ten, with a full changelog linked below. This is a free update to PreSonus Sphere members and Studio One 5 owners, and can be obtained from your my.presonus account or by clicking “Check for Updates” on Studio One’s start page.
Use Studio One’s Arranger Track on the Show page to trigger different song sections during playback without missing a beat! You can even control your arrangement from the soon-to-be-updated Studio One Remote… and, actually, multiple Studio One Remote users will be able to control different elements of the same Show simultaneously.
You can also use Live Arranging on the Song Page to experiment with new song structures and arrangements without dropping the beat.
Extensive support for articulations in orchestral libraries has arrived in Studio One via Sound Variations, with a powerful but intuitive mapping editor that provides tools for managing complex articulation maps. Trigger your Sound Variations from remote commands, key switches, hardware controllers, macros, and more. Furthermore, the new Dynamic Mapping API lets third-party developers enable their VST2 and VST3 instruments’ articulations to be queried by Studio One so that Sound Variation maps are automatically generated. Vienna Symphonic Library and UJAM are already on board.
We’ve added Drum Notation and Tablature to the Score view! Tablature supports multiple instruments and multiple tunings, for everything from Strats to baritone ukuleles, and you can even view tablature and standard notation simultaneously. Drum Notation has new symbols for open/closed/half-open techniques to be added as well.
And in standard Score View, notes can be entered into multiple voices for a single instrument; up to four voices can be created per staff.
PreSonus Sphere workspaces are also now available directly from the Studio One Browser for easy bidirectional file transfer. Drag and drop stuff from Studio One’s Edit window to your PreSonus Sphere workspace folders.
The Splitter—our powerful parallel processing tool in the Channel Editor—now lives alongside other Native Effects Plug-ins in Studio One’s Browser. If you haven’t experimented with this powerful processing option in the past, you should—and now it’s hard to miss!
Genius updates to the Arrow tool make it easier than ever to edit Note Events in the Piano Roll.
ATOM SQ and FaderPort 8 and 16 now play better than ever with Studio One. ATOM SQ now supports Studio One’s Autofill command for plug-in control. Furthermore, you now get up to 8 pages of controls in Control Link for up to 64 individual controls. You can also now edit details of individual Pattern Steps with ATOM SQ.
FaderPort 8 and 16 users will be excited to know we’ve implemented grouping! Use multiple FaderPort 8/16s to create a robust mix setup that’s ideal for your space and process! You can also now deactivate Sends from your FaderPort as well as toggle the metronome and control volume level. Lastly, Studio One’s Channel visibility settings will now also be reflected accurately on your FaderPort(s).
Now you can make edits to an Audio Clip that don’t affect every instance of the Clip in your Song; apply clip-based edits in Gain Envelopes or Melodyne independently!
Studio One’s new “Boot with options” menu on launch allows you to troubleshoot problematic plug-ins and other culprits by selectively disabling them after a crash.
Studio One 5.2 is compatible with M1 Macs running Rosetta 2.
Notion 6.8.1 Maintenance Release
Notion 6.8.1 Build 18093 is now available, adding compatibility with the updated Score Editor of Studio One 5.2. It also includes a number of fixes, most notably for: VST instruments; the video window; and how Notion groups rests automatically. Notion 6.8.1 is a free update for Notion 6 owners or PreSonus Sphere members, and it can be obtained by clicking “Check for Updates” within Notion, or downloading from your PreSonus Sphere or myPreSonus account.
Compatible with Studio One 5.2
Studio One 5.2 adds new functions to its score editor, including tablature, drum notation, and multiple voices. These items are supported when you send score data between Studio One 5.2 and Notion 6.8.1. To see more about Studio One 5 and its Score Editor, click here.
New score elements that can be exchanged with Notion from Studio One 5.2:
For a full guide to Studio One and Notion transfer, see User Guide (Chapter 15.7)
Studio One offers multiple diagnostic tools. We covered the LUFS loudness measurement (based on the R128 loudness standard), in the context of creating consistent levels in a collection of songs. But what about that mysterious LRA reading to its right?
LRA stands for Loudness Range. A complex algorithm measures loudness, analyzes how it’s distributed throughout a song, determines a song’s dynamics properties, and represents that with a number. The lower the number, the less dynamics. (Note that this is not about dynamic range, but rather, musical dynamics.)
Dynamics don’t reflect recording quality. Some songs have lots of dynamics, some don’t. Dynamics may or may not relate to whether the music is compressed or limited—heavily compressed music can still have major loudness differences, whereas music with light compression may not have much dynamics at all.
An Artistic Measurement—Not So Much a Technical One
LRA is more interesting from an artistic standpoint than a technical one. There’s really no “typical” LRA reading for various genres, aside from broad generalities: Classical music is most dynamic, so you can expect LRA readings of 9 or more. Country or jazz will have less dynamics; a reading of 6 to 8 is typical. Rock and EDM often hit around 5 to 6, and hip-hop, 5 or less. But again, LRA readings vary all over the place within any specific genre, as well as within an album. On my most recent album, LRA readings varied from 4 for a slamming, full-tilt track up to 10 for a longer, more nuanced song.
My main use of LRA is checking out soundtracks intended to go behind narration or industrial videos, because excessive dynamics can distract from the messaging. If there’s a high LRA reading, I’ll tweak the level automation as needed to smooth out variations. (Of course, I’d hear any problem variations when assembling the video, but prepping a track beforehand saves time.)
Conversely, if I want some sections in a rock track to really pop in contrast to sections that are more sedate, the LRA reading will confirm whether that goal has been met. If not, I might want to re-consider making the parts that are supposed to be quiet quieter, and then supercharge the dramatic sections. This isn’t only about changing levels. For example, the part that’s supposed to hit harder might benefit from a screaming lead guitar overdub, and more drums.
Do Dynamics Really Matter?
People might assume EDM doesn’t have a lot of dynamics, because they think of four-on-the-floor kick drums. But while researching various pieces of music for this post, I found that my favorite EDM artists tended to make music with more dynamic range—often more than typical rock songs. Coincidence? I’m not sure. But it makes sense that if a DJ wants to take you on a journey over the course of a set, that would involve dynamic variations.
Dynamics are a part of music. If all your songs have LRA readings of 3 or 4, there may not be enough changes in dynamics to keep listeners engaged for more than a few songs…but maybe your intention is to create a hypnotic groove, in which case a low LRA reading could be totally appropriate.
Ultimately, LRA isn’t about rules, but about data. How you use that data is up to you, but I hope you now have a better understanding of what that data means.
Luke: I’m a producer / composer and mixing engineer best known for my remixes for Kylie Minogue (a Grammy-nominated Billboard #1), The Killers, Robbie Williams, Bob Marley and Amy Winehouse–to name but a few–I just produced Twenty Five Ten, an album in homage to my late mother.
It has sounds for here and now, rooted in decades of influences and experiences.
Featuring successful collaborations with Kevin Godley (10 CC, Godley & Creme), model Roxy Horner, Nick Tart (Diamond Head), Rachael & James Akin (EMF), Lucy Pullin (The Isle of Man, Robbie Williams), Melanie Taylor, Flora, Phat Hat.
My 18-track album was recorded in various places such as Brisbane (Australia), Tel Aviv, Mallorca, Brussels, Los Angeles, Dublin, Katowice (Poland), and Baton Rouge (USA).
Besides my emotional motivation to get this project done, I really wanted this record to connect genres, eras, and mix generations. Somehow connect the dots between timelines in a unified story, with its joyful and bonkers moments, with its own directions and contradictions, or more simply put: my story.
I have a rock-solid PreSonus eco-system based around a Quantum 2, FaderPort 16, and ATOM, nothing superfluous—they all have a purpose. The FaderPort 16 is giving me the gestures I’m used to when balancing tracks on a console; the vibe is based on even relationships between instruments.
It’s a different experience, and the decisions I’m making helped me to assign a more prominent role to sounds buried in a mix, with fingers on all faders I’m sorta painting a sonic picture based on my impression. With a mouse it’s also achievable, but it’s more cerebral; it’s laser focused, and less expressive.
The ATOM is perfect when I want to jam with drums or synth shots. It’s perfect for fortunate accidents! I come up with ideas I wouldn’t get from a keyboard. In some of my remixes I like to slice vocals that I then drop into impact to create what we call “vox lox” to build new lines, for example that was a centerpiece of my Kim Wilde Kids In America remix. The new chorus idea was all done with Impact XT and the ATOM.
Quantum 2 is just brilliant, it’s been my companion in so many tasks, it’s never let me down. As musical director for a Native American show I’m in charge of, I used this thing on stage in large venues with thousands of people, the sound was amazing and so stable. I also mixed a full season series for a TV network; a short film for Disney; sound mix for HBO; my album and remixes—it’s been so reliable and with a constant, pristine sound. It fits perfectly in my backpack, so I’m super mobile.
I usually work from home, and when necessary I just take my laptop to a commercial studio, plug my Quantum 2 to their system, launch Studio One, and I’m set. I can do the adjustments I feel are needed and go back home.
My album was also mastered that way, I’ve had a reliable listening environment there, and all songs loaded into the project page. The big plus was when I felt that I was doing too much tweak, I could just open the song, fix whatever was needed with one click and go back.
Lately besides my remixes, I’ve been asked to mix a couple of original songs from the ’80s/’90s on which I’ve been given the multi-tracks, such as Fine Young Cannibals, Shakespear’s Sister, or Bananarama to name but a few.
I could really set up Studio One to be ready at all time and nicely organized like a vintage console, and now with Version 5 Professional, I can switch between an SSL or Neve sound in just 2 clicks. That’s fantastic.
What led you to choose Studio One?
Studio One is just another part of me, it never gets in the way. It’s a companion standing in front of me that is always ready for war.
The interface is very clean and soothing in a way, it always feels like some quietness before the storm. It also sounds great, fully-featured and with the Project page, you can virtually do anything within ONE app.
These days as a musician you have to wear so many hats that the last thing you want is distractions and learning curves on different apps. With Studio One I can produce, compose, mix, and master with features located in familiar places.
What Studio One features have proven particularly useful and why?
The drag & drop concept, be it for sounds, presets, instruments, or FX. This thing is a home run. When I feel that I’m not going to be in a productive mood, I spend a lot of time organizing all of the above for future sessions.
How does Studio One compare to other DAWs you have used?
They can be the adult in the room in a world where feature lists to sell new major updates are prioritized over the quality of their achievement.
With backward compatibility, if something is poorly implemented from the start, then you’re stuck with it until the end of days. We all love new features, of course, but it shouldn’t come at that price.
So when I see something not yet available in Studio One, I just tell myself: “If you can’t make music with what Studio One has to offer today, maybe you should just quit.” The kid in me is not a fan of that sentence, but it’s a nice motto to move on.
Which Studio One feature or concept doesn’t get enough spotlight (or isn’t talked about enough) in your opinion?
Without a doubt I’d say macros, they can be really powerful, I remember doing one for a friend of mine, he was new to Studio One, he was looking after a way to slice and map samples easily.
So I came up with one that analyzed the loop, detected transients, sliced at transients and sent them to Sample One XT, it was so good that I’ve added it to a shortcut and ended up using it myself. I’m thinking of sharing it with the community.
Any useful tips/tricks or interesting stories based on your experience with Studio One that would be of interest to our user base?
During the lockdown with friends we’ve had some virtual sessions, we were sending ideas back and forth and it appeared that none of them used MusicLoops, they were saving their ideas or overdubs as songs.
I told them that I have a folder called ideas, so every time I try a new synth or jamming with a virtual instrument, I just drag & drop it to that folder, and it then becomes an asset for my future project. Everything is saved in a single file with an audio version, MIDI, presets, and FX used all in one go.
From time to time, I like to browse that folder to see if there’s anything inspiring or useful.
That’s basically the story of the opening track on my album, I’ve had this nasty groove made with Impact XT floating around for some time, and one day it was the right idea for the mood I was in.
Never lose your ideas, phrases and so on, don’t expect to remember anything two years or two months from now with random or cryptic names… Just drag and drop in a place, where you’ll find your sparkles of ideas at all times!
Any final comments about PreSonus and Studio One?
I always found the name intriguing, now that I see how powerful it’s become over the years, and on its way to become the ultimate DAW, I take it that it was not just a name… it was a plan.
Show us your ATOM or ATOM SQ in action! Tag PreSonus in a video of you performing your sickest beat with the hashtag #ATOMChallenge to be entered to win an ioStation 24c and one free year of album distribution from TuneCore. Contest is held from March 1st – 31st, winner announced April 2nd.
Here’s what you need to do to enter:
START SUBMITTING ENTRIES TODAY!
One winner will be chosen on April 2nd and win an ioStation 24c and one free year of album distribution from TuneCore. Private accounts will not qualify, so set your profiles to public if you want to win! Winners will be contacted directly by PreSonus.
Check out Product Manager, Dom Bazille, accepting the challenge:
Simultaneously an industry giant and a gentle one, Peter Burrows was 300 pounds of motorcycle-riding, upright bass-slapping, River Thames moxy shoehorned into a tweed vest and a newsie cap. He was an engineering marvel, a devoted family man, a history buff, and a well-traveled audio industry vet; simultaneously an impossibly kind soul who took no crap. Pete, wiser than most of us, seemed to have figured out the secret to an anxiety-free life balanced in confidence, love, intellect, and humor—leaving many of us a little jealous about why we couldn’t figure out how to to do that for ourselves. But, you see, figuring things out was just what Pete did. Pete reverse-engineered living.
He came from London to the states (likely by motorcycle, because he would have figured that out, too) in the mid ‘90s to work at Mackie, and it wasn’t too long before he eventually found his way down to PreSonus about nine years ago. He worked with us for a long time in Engineering Services, where his troubleshooting acumen and larger-than-life personality couldn’t have been a better fit. Pete had a tendency to ride his Harleys and Indians to work in sweltering Louisiana summers—but only on the days when he didn’t show up in a hot rod. (The only thing louder than those engines was his laugh, by the way.)
But when Baton Rouge flooded in 2016, Peter Burrows was the one guy who still found a way to come into work. That’s admirable enough to an employer, of course—but Pete, being Pete, chose to come in by kayak.
And that’s the kind of guy he was. What might be a problem to you or I wasn’t a problem for Peter Freakin’ Burrows. It was, in fact, an opportunity for him to show you he had an idea for a fix, and he was sure it was going to work, so let’s just get it started and—hey look, it worked! Wasn’t so hard after all, mate.
As Pete aged, so did his tastes. He maintained a particular musical passion for primal rockabilly. And while his nonmusical interests were diverse, they also tended to skew vintage. He explored classic motorcycles, old guns, pinball repair, and 1930s fashion to their absolute fullest. Of course, that was all going down when he wasn’t spending boardgame time with his wife and two kids. Pete’s family is suggesting donations to Gentleman’s Ride, with friends in the UK encouraged to reach out to the Canal River Trust.
Take some time today to hug your loved ones and raise a glass to departed friends. It’s what Pete would’ve wanted you to do.
Godspeed, Pete. We’re not sure what you’re riding on your trip to the other side, but we can’t wait to see you again so you can show us how it works.
Studio One’s Binaural Pan processor can widen, or narrow, an instrument’s stereo image. Aside from making “bigger” sounds that fill out the stereo spread, it also has practical applications. For example, you can spread out a thick stereo synth pad, or a guitar feeding two cabs in stereo, by turning the width control clockwise from the center position. This opens up more room for vocals, kick, snare, bass, and other centered elements. Binaural Pan can also do the reverse—like narrowing a wide, stereo synth bass part to focus it more—by turning the Width control counter-clockwise from the center position.
For mastering, Binaural Pan can make mixes seem larger than life. However, it’s not necessarily a “one-size-fits-all-frequencies” solution, because you might want to spread the highs as far as possible, but narrow the bass, and add only a little bit of spreading to the upper mids—so let’s make ourselves a multiband image enhancer.
This Quad Image Enhancer FX Chain is ideal for mastering, as well as for working with individual instruments. Fig. 1 shows the modules. The Splitter splits the audio into four bands: Low (below 250 Hz), Low Mid (250 Hz – 1 kHz), Hi Mid (1 kHz – 4 kHz), and High (above 4 kHz). Each of these goes to a Binaural Pan to control the image, and a Mixtool to trim the level (-6 dB to +6 dB).
Figure 1: Modules used in the Quad Image Enhancer multipreset.
The split frequencies are arbitrary. You might want to move them around, although the ones in the default multipreset work well with a variety of music.
The Control Panel (Fig. 2) accesses all the needed parameters. Enabling the Mono button is like turning Width fully counter-clockwise, but being able to switch this provides a convenient diagnostic tool for quickly comparing a band’s sound in stereo or mono. Similarly, enabling Bypass makes it easy to hear the effect that widening (or narrowing) has on a particular band. If you need to mute individual bands so you focus completely on one or two bands while editing them, open up the FX Chain, select the Splitter, and mute the desired output(s) in the edit window’s upper-left corner.
Figure 2: Quad Image Enhancer control panel.
How to Use It
When the Width controls are centered, they don’t affect the sound. You can crank up the widths for a wider sound, but you can also be a little more strategic. The following audio example plays an excerpt of mixed but unmastered audio, followed by the same excerpt going through the Quad Image Enhancer. For this application, the Lo band is narrowed, Lo Mid unchanged, Hi Mid widened slightly, and Hi widened all the way.
Note that unlike some delay-based widening solutions, this FX Chain doesn’t cause any comb filtering-induced “phaseyness” if collapsed to mono.
To widen a sound even further, turn up the Trim control for the Hi Mid or Hi bands by 1-2 dB. Because high frequencies are more directional than low frequencies, emphasizing the high frequencies increases the illusion of width.
Although there are some excellent third-party multiband imaging plug-ins available, you don’t need to go outside the Studio One ecosystem—just download the multipreset, and you’ll be ready to widen, or narrow, your stereo image.
The PreSonus family was heartbroken to hear about the passing of our dear friend, collaborator, and long-time partnering artist, Justin Lassen. During his career, Justin worked with such artists as Madonna, Garbage, The Killers, Lady Gaga, Lenny Kravitz, Robert Miles, Nine Inch Nails, Linkin Park, Evanescence, Apocalyptica, and more. A talented presenter and spokesperson for the democratization of audio production, Justin also worked with many high-profile technology firms, including Intel, Sony, and Konami.
It’s the word that immediately comes to mind when thinking of Justin. His love of it. The sounds around us. The noise of the world that becomes music to those willing to listen. Justin had a unique gift for hearing and capturing that music.
As a composer and sound designer, Justin was passionate about discovering unique sounds for his creations. After the release of his landmark sample library of horror sounds, White Rabbit Asylum, which has been used in such films as Underworld: Awakening and I, Frankenstein, Justin went on the adventure of several lifetimes, traveling to more than 22 countries over the course of ten years to create his masterful ambient industrial sound library, Black Fox Society. Using binaural and ambisonic microphones and field recording equipment, he ventured into caves, castles, jungles, shrines, cathedrals, bone-filled secret passages, waded down rivers, trekked over mountains, and even dove underwater on his relentless quest to collect his sounds.
PreSonus was honored to include his piece, Vulpes Obsidian Sanctum, as a flagship demo in Studio One 5. It provides a glimpse into the way Justin heard the world. Justin was a composer, producer, multi-instrumentalist, and remix artist who worked in film, sound design, and gaming—but most of all he was a friend and inspiring human being who will be deeply missed by all those who knew him.
Listen to Vulpes Obsidian Sanctum.
If you think I have an obsession with converting mono to stereo, well…you’re right. There are still a lot of mono signal sources around (guitars, mics, vintage synths), but we live in a stereo world.
EQ or delay are the two main ways to convert mono to stereo. The August 17, 2018 tip covered how to use multiband dynamics to create stereo from mono. The December 31, 2020 tip (Super-Simple Mono-to-Stereo Conversion) described something similar but used the splitter, along with a Macro Control panel for added flexibility. The advantage of using EQ for stereo separation (compared to delay) is that if designed properly, there are no phase issues if the stereo is collapsed back to mono.
For delay-based stereo, the August 30, 2019 tip (Widen Your Mono Guitar) works with mono or dual mono tracks, collapses very well to mono, and by using FX Channels, provides a variety of panning and level options. However, the more I used this technique, the more I realized that I kept using the same settings almost all the time. So, it made sense to create a multipreset with fixed settings—then all I had to do was drop it into an insert to provide instant mono-to-stereo conversion. (Note that this isn’t about automatic double-tracking; we have a different technique for that.)
How It Works
This process requires a stereo channel, so set the Channel Mode to stereo (i.e., you’ll see two dots to the right of the input field). However, the audio itself can be mono or dual mono. Fig. 1 shows the FX Chain’s “block diagram.” The Splitter splits into left and right channels.
Figure 1: This multipreset’s simplicity belies its effectiveness.
Each split has an analog delay with identical settings (Fig. 2), except the delay time for one is 11 ms, and for the other, 13 ms.
Figure 2: Delay time settings for the Analog Delays. The only difference between the two is the delay time.
I’ve tested this with guitar, vintage mono combo organ, Minimoog, and other mono sources, including voice. However, it’s not really suitable for bass, which you normally center anyway.
The fixed settings are the best “compromise” settings for collapsing to mono, as well as for creating a stereo image that’s not too spread out (or has an undesired slapback effect). The carefully chosen settings are part of what makes this a “plug-and-play” multipreset. But If you want a wider stereo image, increase the Dry/Wet controls equally for the two delays. You probably don’t want to go much over 50%. You can also increase the 13 ms delay to a higher value but the more you increase the wet level or time, the greater the likelihood that the stereo effect won’t collapse as well into mono.
So, between this and the previous blog posts, I think we’ve pretty much covered mono to stereo conversion—hopefully your guitar or vintage synth will thank you.
The first touchscreens could detect a single touch, but modern touchscreens can handle up to ten touch points—which makes sense, because we have ten fingers. Studio One supports ten touch points natively on Windows, and thanks to a built-in TUIO extension, on the Mac as well.
DAW control with touch sounds sexy, but using touch on a large monitor is a different experience compared to using touch on a smartphone or tablet. Furthermore, whether a third-party plug-in supports multiple touchpoints is hit-or-miss. Also consider that a good touch monitor costs around $300—that’s quite a bit more than a standard monitor, so you need to decide how valuable touch would be to you.
Practically speaking, you probably don’t need touch, but it does offer two major advantages when working with Studio One. The main plus for me is being able to use a touchscreen control surface and mouse simultaneously—two-handed operation improves the physical workflow. The other advantage is being able to edit multiple parameters simultaneously with effects and virtual instruments (like adjusting filter cutoff while trimming the filter envelope amplitude, or editing EQ frequency and boost/cut8 simultaneously).
The Ergonomics of Using Touch
To use a touchscreen as a control surface, I lay the monitor down almost flat, at about a 20% angle (Fig. 1). It feels very much like working with a conventional hardware mixer. For this application, it’s vital that the monitor have an adjustable A-frame stand, so that you can adjust it to any angle you want.
Figure 1: The Planar touchscreen is flanked by PreSonus control surfaces—that’s a lot of hands-on control. It’s at more of an angle than I normally use so that the screen is more visible.
Where touch doesn’t work, at least for me, is trying to use it with a conventional monitor placement (i.e., at a right angle to the desk surface, directly in front of you). Reaching out tires your arms; when I’m using the touch screen as a conventionally placed monitor for a project like writing an article, I rarely use touch. However, it can be helpful to move windows around while the mouse is doing something else, or touching a function after the mouse has made a selection. If you have RSI issues, touch can also provide a break from using a mouse all the time.
Also note that it takes a while to develop “touch technique.” You generally need to use the point of your finger to be sufficiently precise, and with the monitor at a low-lying angle, I usually have to aim a little toward the top of what I’m trying to hit. Also, you need to learn a few new tricks. You “right-click” simply by touching, and then continuing to hold your finger down until the context menu appears. And you can zoom tracks horizontally or vertically with two-finger pinches or stretches, which is pretty cool…as well move a project horizontally along the timeline by just swiping left or right.
Integrating a QWERTY Keyboard
You also need to decide how to integrate a QWERTY keyboard. If it’s in front of the touchscreen, then the touchscreen needs to go further back, which diminishes its ease of use because you have to reach further. One option is placing a keyboard on your lap, or adding an under-table keyboard drawer. Then you can slide the keyboard out when needed, and slide it back in when you want to concentrate on the touchscreen.
Another option is using Windows’ onscreen keyboard. Although primarily intended for tablet mode, right-click on the Taskbar, and choose “Show touch keyboard button.” This button will appear on the taskbar and persist; click on it to show/hide the keyboard. (Also for what it’s worth, you can enable a button for an onscreen touchpad.) Note that you have several keyboard options, from a mini-keyboard to one that includes Alt, Ctrl, Windows, and Function keys (Fig. 2).
Figure 2: This shows the full keyboard, set for the option to float anywhere over the window. Note how the faders are stretched to give excellent touch resolution.
So Is It Worth It?
If you miss working on a hardware mixer surface, a gently angled, horizontal touch screen is pretty close to that experience. Studio One’s ability to extend the height of faders is also great—when you mostly want to concentrate on fine level adjustments, you can do so with touch. Multitouch on effect and instrument parameter adjustment is also welcome, especially compared to bouncing the mouse back and forth among parameters. Another factor is that unlike an external hardware control surface, you don’t have to “mentally map” the hardware to what you see on the screen—after all, you’re adjusting what’s on the screen.
If you have a choice between spending $300 on upgrading your speakers or buying a reasonably large touchscreen, I’d prioritize upgrading your speakers. But if you’re looking for a new tool that can give you an edge in certain workflows, a touchscreen may be the answer. And even if it isn’t, it can always serve as a conventional monitor, and provide an extra screen. And we can never have enough screens!