I have been looking at the 'free' versions of leading DAW lately. I owned a PT 11 and have been working in it for my video production requirement though I am only a 'self learned engineer'. However, I could produce outstanding sound track part with the competition or even better. Studio One especially version 3 is a beautiful piece of software. It is light weight compared to many other competitor product. I like it a lot and in some areas it excels it competitors. Even though I would want to continue keeping Studio One as one of my DAWs, I miss few things which makes me think if I have to bring in S1 as my primary DAW. I am comparing Pro Toots | First and Studio One 3 Prime. Below are the major areas making me think.
Included Instruments and Plugins
I have recorded guitar and vocals using a dynamic mic - SM58 and condenser Rode NT1A. Both Pro Tools First and Studio One 3 Prime sounded equally good to my ears. However when I started adding effects, somehow S1 lacked something compared to PT First prima facie. Also when more tracks are added, S1 Prime seem to be bit behind in placing the tracks in its right place compared to PT First.
When it comes to the instruments, PT First has the same Xpand! available which is found in fully paid versions. The quality of instruments and the possibility of tweaking and customizing PT F and Xpand1 is far ahead of S1 Prime and Presence. Individually the many of the instruments sound good but to my ears, comparatively they lag behind the cutting edge pristine quality of Xpand!.
Another thing I struggle is the mixer section compared to PT. Many a times I am lost compared to the ease, clarify flexibility of the mixer section found in PT F. One window concept is good and compact especially when you have limitation of display span. This is my opinion based on the kind of work I do. However, S1 3 Prime, even though it comes free, is good enough for beginners to go forward with their work and later upgrade to S1 pro versions.
When comparing S1 3 Prime and PT F, one things needs to be seriously looked at, in my opinion. Would people prefer S1 3 Prime if PT First remove the restriction on maximum 3 projects? Though I have only pointed out few thing which put S1 ahead of competition, I have no doubt that it is a super piece of software with great functionality, solid performance with minimum to no headaches in small setups like I have.