The answer to questions about Studio One’s automation capabilities is “Yes.” Nearly every parameter in Studio One, including virtual effects and Instruments, can be automated using a mouse or a MIDI-mapped hardware controller.
There are number of ways to add automation data to audio and Instrument tracks. One of the easiest methods, and one that exemplifies Studio One’s intuitive work flow, is as follows:
Change any number of parameters in any number of audio and Instrument tracks. Studio One logs all of the changed parameters and displays them in the top-left corner of the screen.
Select a parameter that has been changed and that you wish to further automate, and click the Add button. Studio One automatically creates an automation track and makes it available for editing along with the track to which it belongs. Neat!
Audio Track Automation
Audio-track automation can be created, displayed, and edited right from the Song page; there’s no need to open the Console. The most useful automation parameters for audio tracks are available as default selections: Level, Pan, and Mute. Any parameter of any plug-in that is installed in the Insert or Send device racks can be edited, as well.
Audio-track automation data is tied to the audio events and will follow all cut, copy, and paste operations.
Instrument Part Automation
Any automatable performance parameter, such as Velocity, Pitch Bend, and Modulation, can be viewed and edited as click-and-drag points on a continuous datastream. Furthermore, any automatable Instrument parameter can be added with one click, or from the automatically populated list of available items, and can be created, viewed, and tweaked to your heart’s content.
Instrument Part automation can be viewed by opening the track in Edit mode and selecting the desired automated parameter for display below the note-data panel, and is tied to the track performance and will follow all cut, copy, and paste operations.
In addition to adding automation data to audio and Instrument tracks, you can create dedicated automation-only tracks in the console. Click Add Track and select Automation as the track type to open a new automation track that you can assign to any available audio or Instrument track. You can select automation parameters for that track and independently set automation modes for each parameter.
You may find real-time mixer automation more intuitive than track-by-track editing. No problem. The results are the same.
Every console channel includes automation controls at the bottom of the channel strip. You can turn automation on and off, select the automation mode, and select track parameters for automation, including level, pan, mute, and plug-in and Instrument parameters.
The automation system in Studio One has several modes. Any automatable parameter can be in any automation mode at any time.
This either means that there is no automation track for a parameter, or there is, but you’ve shut it … off.
Think of Write as “record ready” for automation. Once you roll the track, automation is recording, capturing every move you make with the mouse or hardware controller, and overwriting any previously recorded automation data. It’s powerful and potentially deadly. Fortunately, Studio One has ultimate Undo capabilities.
Any automation data for a parameter will be faithfully played in Read mode. Only parameters for which automation data exist can be set to this mode. Conveniently, as soon as automation data for a parameter is created, Read mode will be engaged.
Use this mode to fix automation data that is already recorded. Fancy hardware control surfaces often have touch-sensitive faders and knobs. In Touch mode, as long as you are touching the mouse or a touch-sensitive fader, knob, or other controller while the track is rolling, Studio One will overwrite existing automation data with new data. In fact, you can even use faders and knobs that aren’t touch-sensitive; Studio One simply records over automation data when these controls are moved but not when they aren’t. Cool!
See what all that touching did? Now you are latched.
While playing back in Latch mode, Studio One will begin overwriting existing automation data the instant you move your mouse or controller, and it will keep doing so until you stop playback. When you start playback again, Studio One will resume using existing automation data until you get the nerve to latch again.
Finally, although it’s not an automation-mode option, you can always draw automation moves into an audio, Instrument, or automation track. Paint, Arrow, and Eraser tools let you craft details to your heart’s content. Just don’t forget to eat and sleep.