Questions & Answers

Arranger Track Playlist

+98 votes
asked Dec 22, 2015 in Editing by niles (54,610 points)
recategorized Apr 18, 2018 by niles

I would like to suggest a feature to automatically play Arranger parts according to a playlist. So you can arrange the way arranger parts play simply by reordering the playlist and without the need to physically move, duplicate or remove items on the timeline. For instance when you want to try out how a different progression sounds or how it sounds when you double the chorus, put a sketch in residing in scratch pad, or you just want to try out how the song sounds without a certain part. 

It would be nice if there is an option to loop parts for a X amount of time. And also visual representation of Arranger parts residing in the Scratch pad. Also would it be sweet if Arranger parts in the playlist can be disabled (muted), so they will be skipped on playback.

Finally it would be very cool if the Arranger playlist can be freezed, so the entire playlist structure is parsed as arrangement to the timeline of the current song, or a new song. This is very useful if you want to use the Arranger track as a creative tool.
Additionally an option to export the Arranger playlist from the Export Mixdown dialogue as Export range would finish it.

Not really a priority, but being able to create several Arranger playlists for the same song, would be nice.

As an extra low priority option I would like to suggest a feature to trigger Arranger parts in the playlist by MIDI input.

An example of an Arranger Playlist:

Case study (Cubase Arranger Chain)
This is an example of Cubase's Arranger Chain playing 4 Arranger Parts according to an Arranger Chain, with overlaps and loop.

related to an answer for: Arranger track like in Cubase

9 Answers

+14 votes
answered Dec 22, 2015 by Scoox (16,880 points)
edited Sep 11, 2017 by Scoox

+Ꝏ Currently moving things around on the arranger track results in clips getting sliced in half, and a neat arrangement can quickly become fragmented chaos.

In Cubase, the Play Order Track merely contains a series of markers or jump points, it's essentially a script, so the arrangement stays intact while you reposition these markers. The key differences are:

  • Non-destructive: The original song remains intact, it's only the jump points in the jump to instructions that change.
  • Encourages experimentation: You can have multiple play order "scripts" to switch between allowing you to preview a number of song structures with a couple of clicks.
  • Overlapping sections: Sections in the arrangement can overlap, which means you can have your main arrangement built up of primary chunks (intro, verse, chorus, etc) separated by silence, and then at the end have a number of smaller sections such as "transitions" (e.g. a swoosh rise effect or whatnot) that can be added tastefully overlapping the main parts. Users could even have separate sections for melody and percussion, effectively allowing them to layer various sections.

My idea of how this could be implemented somewhat resembles FL Studio's "Playlist", but please bear with me:

  • The Arrange View would be the place to define the main "song building blocks". For example, the intro, the verse, etc. A building block could be as complex or simple as the user wishes, for example, it could just be percussion, a guitar solo, a vocal section; or it could be the full chorus containing the percussion, the guitar, strings, and vocals.
  • Building blocks essentially define a start point and an end point along the timeline in the Arrange View. Building are represented by colored recrtangles in an arranger track similar to Cubase (see screenshot posted by niles above). Since building blocks can overlap in time, the arranger track in Cubase displays overlapping rectangles of varying heights. In my opinion it would be neater if the arranger track had a number of sub-lanes so overlapping rectangles could be put in different lanes, although both approaches serve the same purpose.
  • Building blocks in the arrange track respond to Arrange View snap settings, and their colour and name can be edited in a way similar to normal clips in the Arrange View.
  • There would be a separate Playlist View (literally a separate dockable window) in which building blocks defined in the arranger track could be drawn. Such blocks could then be moved, copied, pasted, split, shrunk, duplicated just like clips in the Arrange View to create the overall song structure. This would essentially be a "high-level arrange view".
  • Available building blocks could be shown as a list to the side of the Playlist View window, ready to be drag-and-dropped into the Playlist View. Building blocks could also be drag-and-dropped directly from the Arrange View's arranger track into the Playlist View.
  • Playlist View arrangements could be saved (as part of the project) as "arrangement presets" to enable users to switch between arrangement ideas quickly, on the fly. Presets could be shown below the building blocks list in the Playlist View, to enable users to switch quickly between arrangements with a single click.
  • The Playlist View would consist of a number of lanes or tracks (initially just one track, but users could add any number of tracks below as required) to hold the building blocks. Each Arrangement View track would have its own mute and solo buttons, just like in the Arrange View, for full flexibility. This is similar to FL Studio's playlist, but the main difference here is that FL Studio lacks a proper Arrange View, and that's where Studio One could be killer.
  • Double-clicking a block in the Playlist View would simply focus the Arrange View and jump to the corresponding point in the Arrange View timeline.
  • Parameters of the Playlist View (e.g. mute and solo) cannot be automated, for obvious reasons.
  • The Arrange View and the Playlist View would happily co-exist. Users who prefer a very linear workflow (as currently offered by Studio One) would still be able to arrange the entire piece in the Arrange View. Users who prefer to embrace the advantages and flexibility of the Playlist View could arrange the building blocks first in the Arrange View, and then layout the piece in the Playlist View.
  • Naturally, the Playlist View and the Arrange View have independent timelines, and only one of the two can play at any given time. There would need to be a "focus switch" to determine which one plays. When the switch is "lit", Studio One would play the Playlist View arrangement, otherwise the Arrange View. By default Studio One should play the Arrange View to ensure the traditional workflow is pre-selected by default, to keep existing users happy. This settings should be saved as part of each project, and hence as part of templates.

This would make Studio One the most powerful music arrangement tool available on the market.

+9 votes
answered Dec 29, 2015 by Zirrex (9,850 points)
edited Dec 29, 2015 by Zirrex
I need it more than "Global on/off button for effects/plugins". ;)
+2 votes
answered Jun 26, 2017 by AlexTinsley (925,190 points)

Thank you for the feature request. 

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+2 votes
answered Sep 11, 2017 by Scoox (16,880 points)
Bump here, just edited my previous answer to outline a more comprehensive implementation of this request. Vote!
+2 votes
answered Sep 20, 2017 by Scoox (16,880 points)
Holy cr*p, I've just noticed Reaper can do this with the SWS extension, and Digital Performer has a very sweet implementation too. Just been playing with it in Reaper an it's awesome! It is a very powerful tool. Studio One needs this already!
+3 votes
answered Apr 23, 2019 by [email protected] (210 points)
I really miss such a feature and way more for the context of performance mode. I really like Studio one for what it is, but its a DAW for mouse musicians. It's good for these old school Protools mouse freaks, but its a pain when you try to use it as a helper tool for a performance. In my view, this software goes to the wrong direction. They do more or less what all others do. I do not really see whats the point about it. There are many timeline oriented DAWs out there, but it's a concept from the past.
+2 votes
answered Sep 10, 2019 by Scoox (16,880 points)
IMO the 'arranger track' was an attempt to create something like Cubase's 'play order track' which has been around for many years and is a tried-and-tested workflow. Unfortunately, the result isn't even close to usable.

My worry now is that, with the arranger track in place, the developers will be reluctant to get rid of it to make room for a  proper play order track. The more new features they add, the more they have to backtrack.
+2 votes
answered Nov 18, 2020 by Scoox (16,880 points)
Dear Presonus, I'm losing my faith in you. Seriously. You are out of touch with your users. Stop implementing features nobody has requested and start improving the unfinished features that are already there. The arranger track is still work in progress. What people were asking for was something like what Cubase has, not what you gave us. It's frustrating to see your favourite DAW stagnate.
+2 votes
answered Feb 12, 2021 by davlet (5,340 points)
Vote up for this feature! Currently use Cubase as a Backing track DAW for live gigs. Because Arranger Track feature there is what I exactly need. Just jumping between different sections of entire timeline. Tried Show page in Studio One: totally useless, because I can't trim/move/volume trim backing tracks there.