Studio One Free – A Digital Audio Workstation For Beginners

PreSonus Studio One Free is  – as you might expect – a free version of their Studio One DAW.

Here’s what PreSonus has to say about it:

Intended for beginners who don’t yet need the advanced features in Studio One Artist, Producer, and Professional, Studio One Free provides all of the recording and editing features needed for basic music production—and as its name implies, it’s free.

To use Studio One Free, download the Studio One installer, install, and then click on Run the Free Version when the activation dialog comes up. You can then immediately use Studio One Free, no Internet connection or user account is required, no product key is involved, and Studio One Free will not time out.


  • Elegant single-window work environment
  • Powerful drag-and-drop functionality
  • Unlimited Audio and Instrument (MIDI) tracks
  • Unlimited FX channels
  • Two simultaneous inputs and outputs
  • Unlimited inserts and sends per channel
  • Single and multitrack comping
  • Multitrack MIDI editing
  • Track list with presets and mixing-console link
  • Track Transform (advanced freezing capability)
  • Content browser with search, user tabs, and preview player
  • Automatic delay compensation
  • Easy-to-use sidechain routing
  • Presence virtual instrument with 100+ presets
  • Most intuitive MIDI-mapping system available
  • Real-time audio timestretching and resampling
  • Compatible with any ASIO-, Windows Audio-, or Core Audio-compliant audio interface
  • Works with key commands from Pro Tools, Cubase, and Logic—or create your own key commands
  • 8 Native Effects audio-processing plug-ins:
    • Beat Delay – Tempo-Synchronized Delay
    • Channel Strip – Dynamics Processing and Equalizer
    • Chorus – Mono/Stereo Chorus
    • Flanger – Stereo/Mono Flanger
    • MixVerb – Mono/Stereo Reverb
    • Phaser – Stereo/Mono Phaser
    • Red Light Distortion – Distortion Processor
    • Tuner – Instrument Tuner

Note: Studio One Free was introduced at the end of last year, but is now available.

If you’ve used Studio One – in any of its versions – let us know what you think of it!

35 thoughts on “Studio One Free – A Digital Audio Workstation For Beginners

  1. Well, if I were one of those mobile, iOS types, I’d just laugh and say, Look, everything is happening in the iOS world, all the interesting, exciting stuff is happening in the iOS world, and now desktop software is SO boring and SO devalued that they have to GIVE IT AWAY to try to get people to use their old desktop and laptop machines.

    1. What about all the free apps on IOS? By that same logic it is devalued for the same reasons.

      Also can you name one IOS app that does everything Studio One does?

      1. I have used iOS versions… I enjoyed “playing” around with them but the memory available on my ipad hardly leaves room to take on ecording projects with it. Also the interfaces available for simultaneous tracking leave much to be desired….. so here I am looking for DAW for my laptop.

    2. Music as a whole has been devalued to FREE. Everyone is able to access every secret of every indistrusty, because it is becoming common knowledge. At the same time, Technology is just always going to make everything obsolete… BUT the actual synthesizers themselves that were made at the time with obsolete technology… like… Pulsewidth modulation??? they have other ways of getting slightly the same sound with just detuning the synth alittle tiny fraction. You have no freaking idea how easy it is to just set something a number that gets put into a preset, not having to set up 20 synthesizers, because they’re in the actual computer itself, flawlessly (or so you think) I will use things that are free because they should be meant for people who want to make music, which our voice is an instrument, so technically, everyone should be able to make music, and noone should not, so ooh a free program! That is my response.

  2. Out here in the real world, away from the iOS types, these free versions are all nice and dandy, but I hate that they don’t support VST instruments and effects. It makes these useless in my view.

    1. Out here in the “real world”, huh? So what is basically an evaluation version is useless? If you want to spend hundreds of dollars just to test drive new software, go for it.

  3. If you need vst support then go pay for the privilege. To say that lack of plugin support makes this program useless is unfair. First and foremost, it’s free. What’s there to complain about. Unlimited audio and midi tracks. A set of effects that while basic is really all that you need for most situations. They even allow side chaining. To put things into perspective. Not so long ago a “beginner” would have to drop thousands of dollars to put together a modest studio with 8 to 16 tracks, a couple of inputs and outputs for their computer, a small mixer and some crummy effects (hardware effects, so you could only use each one once unless you actually recorded the effected versions of each and every track). This and other free software out there may not be as fully featured as their commercial counterparts. But they certainly put a lot of capabilities in the hands of people who might otherwise have none.

      1. IMO, this is a great idea. I started out on a newbie version of a DAW, then stepped up to full versions from there. Anyone who is serious at a certain level or above will surely buy something like Digital Performer, but for newbies or portability’s sake, this is very useful, as well as following a smart, good-faith business model. Presonus will probably sell some full versions as a result.

    1. >If you need vst support then go pay for the privilege. To say that lack of plugin support makes this program
      >useless is unfair. First and foremost, it’s free. What’s there to complain about.

      I find your statement unfair and myopic. I got Studio One Artist for free with an interface I bought a while back, and while it was “ok” as software, the lack of plug in support completely negated it’s value to me. These days I compose almost completely in the box and the use of my chosen instruments is key to that. The ones included in Studio One are not up to the task.

      Furthermore, while I’m not a beginner and can see software for what it is and can do, a true beginner getting this software is being corralled into an upgrade path that may not actually suite their needs. They may not even realize they could get more instruments and fx from other companies. I find this to be a shady business approach, especially when free programs like GarageBand offer all the basics, plus the ability to upgrade via third party products, and software like Reaper is so feature packed at only a handful of dollars away. And these are only a couple of the many other options for beginners today.

      “Pay for the privilege” is a really crappy thing to say, dude. Everyone starts out cheap, even people who have been around the block like us, and just because we have an expensive DAW doesn’t mean we are any better musicians, sound designers or people! “Pay for what you need and use” is a far more appropriate take on things.

      1. I can’t get it to record my guitar or mic through my line input in the back of my iMac. I have tried all the audio settings. I have output but no input?

      2. The thing about all these free evals is beginners can try different ones if they want to see which app works best for them. If they had to pay for each and every app they want to try they prob wouldn’t. Money doesn’t grow on trees, as they say. Being free, and even limited, we are able to “test drive” what we want to finally buy they app that works best.

        I see no shady business here. It’s no different than some food places giving free samples. If you like it you buy it. If you don’t you don’t. It’s better than spending money on something your not sure about and being disappointed.

    2. It’s 2012, and VST support is not a privilege and hasn’t been for a long time. Besides, I stated they are useless “in my view”. But good for you that you have a lot of money and enjoy paying for privileges that aren’t privileges at all. Maybe you have some left for some chill pills?

    3. Some of us remember cubase on a tiny black and white screen tenaciously synced to a low fi 8 track.
      This is awesome compared to that and if you are smart you can get around the lack of vst support.
      At least it will stop you getting distracted by having too many plugins.
      I have a producer license on my desktop and the free version on my netbook which lacks the power for lots of vsts anyway. It helps to keep me focused on tracking which all the versions of S1 excel at with their awesome comping capabilities. How much do you want for free?

  4. With unlimited MIDI tracks, you can use a loopback like LoopBe or Hubi (on Windows at least) and a free VST host. But yeah, it seems lame that they left VST support out.

  5. Studio One Free was actually only released today! Yes, it doesn’t run VST instruments, but neither does a tape machine, and that didn’t stop the Radiophonic Workshop from putting out some of the most creative new music of their time.

    VST effects and instrument support are available in the larger paid-for versions of Studio One, along with the special Melodyne integration and many other features.

    Looking forward to seeing music folks create with this!

    1. Yes, and I don’t know why people need these newfangled automotive carriages when people used to travel perfectly well from point A to point B with a horse. And they would pave the roads brown and everything, adding color to otherwise dull places. Jeeez.

    2. Translation: wasn’t it much better when making music was reserved to a few chosen ones way up here on our ivory towers? To the “enlightened”? The rich? The lucky few? The plebe should shut up and settle for sub par or handicapped tools. And it serves them right because they don’t deserve it anyway as they are not like “us”.

      1. Pardon me? Studio One Free has a limited feature set yes, but it is a free product, what it does do will make it useful to a great many people. It might be all somebody needs. Nobody is suggesting that it should replace a larger paid-for DAW, but then again it’s being given away completely free of charge.

        Have you tried it? You might be surprised quite how un-handicapped it is.

  6. First off – the sarcasm!!! Yikes!

    First off – I’m not a S1 Astroturfer. And trust me – they’re a small company that’s devoted to making great stuff… they don’t have the time (or the resources) to be astroturfing… not their style.

    I’m a Studio One user. Got the artist version with an interface I bought. Loved it so much I got rid of my console. No kidding. And that was without VSTs, thank you. (Whiny, much?)

    The free product doesn’t live up to your expectations? Suck it up, spend the money and get the Pro version if VST’s are so important to you – what you’ll get in return is AWESOME workflow, a full suite that goes from recording and mixing straight through mastering and redbook CD creation, plus synced quicktime and Soundcloud integration.

    You won’t be disappointed.

    (And for the record, I have no affiliation WHATSOEVER with Presonus. I just love S1 – so much that after 5 years of looking for a package that replaced the system I’d been using for nearly 20 years, Studio One was the first one to fill the bill.)

    Here’s what I wrote about it on my blog:


  7. Previously had Studio One but lost it when had to reinstall Windows 7
    Downloaded Studio One for beginners. Doesn’t work with Audiobox ro without it. Can’t get
    Keyboard & computer to talk to each other (with or without audiobox)

  8. funny how knobs on here think that only by using vst, and other “fake” instruments could a human being possibly create anything that would be called music. well, although it may come as a surprise, some of use a drummer for drum sounds, and a trumpet player for trumpet sounds, and people whom can sing in tune, instead of pitch-shifters, and real keyboards for organ and piano sounds… and what do we call that? we call it “Real Music”. and when doing that, “Studio One 2 free” takes the place of an analogue recorder, and does it wonderfully, I might add. with no limitations whatsoever. It seems that some are trying to justify why they pais so much for protools, or logic. I wonder what they are even doing on this site, in the first place. kudos to you, Personus, for freely giving what others charge so dearly for.
    Buster Fykes

  9. I love Studio One Free. While I do wish I could use 3rd party VST’s, a totally free offer is going to have a few limits. If you like the Audacity (which is also cool), you will love Studio One Free. It does have: 3 band parametric EQ w/ adjustable frequencies, unlimited tracks, free instruments, full automation, comping & recording to layers, and several effects. It doesn’t have bus channels, but does have FX channels that can be used just like a bus in most situations. Just google “Studio One Tutorials”. A guy named Johnny Geib has some excellent free tutorials that will illustrate the power of this DAW. This is as generous a free software package of any sort I’ve ever come across.
    Here’s what I do: I record in Studio One. If I really must have a certain effect on a track that’s not in Studio One Free, I just import the track to my other DAW, apply the effect, then port the result back to Studio One. *You can use the Pro version, which does support VST’s for free for 30 days. If you don’t upgrade, it reverts to the free version, which works forever. WAY generous.

  10. I have a CTK-631 KEYBOARD.Which I love playing. I got a NEWLINK USB Midi cable INTERFACE, I would like the software to make the computer work and (save work)
    Can you HELP Please JUST TO ADD I am 72 years old.

    So is there any help or am I past it

    Ken Aston

  11. Page says ‘download and use Studio one. I clicked. I get a page full of info, and the only ‘download’ button is for Galaxy maps!!!. I just spent half an hour reading all about the nice simple multi~tracker to spend my evening with!!! ~~~~UNTIL~~~~~ I read ALL the comments, and found the ‘real’ download button hidden at the very bottom of the page. Lot’s of people will miss out thinking that the page is an add, or the download is removed or obsolete!!. Here we go~~click~click! Wish me look!

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