Questions & Answers

Make Studio One a LUNA beater

+11 votes
asked Jan 20, 2020 in Recording by alancloughley (2,950 points)
edited Jan 22, 2020 by alancloughley
UAD's new Luna DAW lets you record and mix with zero worries about latency, it would be awesome if S1 could offer the same level of performance natively.

Modern CPUs offer insane amounts of processing power so should blow UAD's slightly long in the tooth DSP solution out the water. S1 (like most native DAWs) struggles when recording overdubs at a late stage of a mix resulting in pops and crackles.

13 Answers

0 votes
answered Jan 22, 2020 by robertgray3 (38,620 points)

Do you realize that LUNA essentially requires hooking up another CPU that does a lot of extra processing? That’s how they’re able to do that.

S1 is a bit limited by the constraints of operating systems but I agree it still should be better for an end user, check out this feature request below about efficiency in Low Latency Monitoring:

0 votes
answered Jan 23, 2020 by alancloughley (2,950 points)
Hey Robert, UAD with Luna have potentially pulled a blinder. It needs their custom DSP which is additional cost but it solves the low latency problem that Presonus have been unable to crack with Dropout protection for both effects and instruments. S1 is the best all round native DAW but on a busy mix it can't cope and dropout protection sort of works but sometimes makes things worse.

UAD external DSP might be a price worth paying to end the misery of performance issues, I was looking at adding some UAD DSP anyway to help solve the only S1 issue I have which is frequent pops and crackles. I'm a huge S1 fan and have a StudioLive 32 Series III mixer but might shift to Luna if it's any good and I can't resolve the performance issues in S1.
0 votes
answered Jan 23, 2020 by robertgray3 (38,620 points)
edited Jan 23, 2020 by robertgray3
Yeah more and more I’m coming to see that the external DSP model that Pro Tools pioneered and UAD are now using is probably the best way to do this stuff, even though it never really caught on for virtual instruments...

Natively I’ve been hearing since 2008 that “once we have higher clock speeds you’ll be able to do anything natively!” but those cores (especially the first core) seem just as crowded 12 years later as everyone decides they can use more processing power for their plugins.
0 votes
answered Jan 23, 2020 by alancloughley (2,950 points)
Yup now UAD are doing DSP based virtual instruments it might solve a lot of problems. Likely cost to shift over so will wait and see how they price things, am assuming they'll do usual sales promos and bundles etc.though.

S1 is more mature and has many cool features but the most fundamental thing for me is to be able to hit record and have everything work without stuttering, S1 and other native DAWs just can't do that yet.

Might have one last go with a 16 or 32 core AMD PC see if that solves things but I think you may be right it might never end! Doesn't seem to phase many users though and unlikely Presonus will make fixing this a priority so if UAD have cracked this they might well get my money instead. Needs a lot of thought though as I've invested a fair bit in Presonus hardware and software and know it inside out.
0 votes
answered Jan 23, 2020 by darrenporter1 (790 points)
Presonus can't do anything about the latency between your audio interface and the computer, which is totally dependent upon the interface's drivers and the transmission protocol used. The reason UA can claim "zero latency" (which is not even true - but they can and do clarify that the LUNA system adds no additional latency) is because it requires a closed-system where UA has control over every piece of the system, including the interface and its drivers, and especially the SHARC processors they use for DSP.
0 votes
answered Jan 23, 2020 by alancloughley (2,950 points)
Latency in any native DAW with any decent interface is no problem until there's reasonable load on the CPU. The idea of Luna is to solve latency issues under load. I was suggesting Presonus direct development effort into coming up with a working native equivalent. Dropout protection helps a little and I think they could get significantly closer with some lateral thinking applied to that feature. At present though Luna looks very attractive as due to the performance issues I have on most projects I was considering some UAD DSP anyway.
0 votes
answered Jan 28, 2020 by artisan002 (160 points)

Well, given the added DSP chip UAD are using, a bit of this kinda sorta already exists in StudioLive series. They have FatChannel plugins running natively on the mixer. Plus, it's not just a mixing desk, it's also an audio interface. So, yeah.
Now, it doesn't run all Studio One plugins from there. And it doesn't really off-load all the Studio One compliant plugins to a peripheral CPU. So, it's not a 1:1 thing. But, it's kinda close.

I will say this, though: If PreSonus were to approach this issue at all, I'd like it if they delivered a PCI connected daughter card (ideally PCI 4, for speed/latency gains)  for distributed computing on some kind of open DSP standard. But, this is bigger chore than it sounds like and it's hardly a solution on it's own. Quality of design at a motherboard level is an issue across the computing spectrum. And that matters as there is a controller chip involved with PCI lanes; I'm simply preferring it because of superior throughput speed and it has the fewest potential points of failure before factoring devices you would attach. In service to this idea, I'd suppose this is where a multi-core FPGA would come in super handy. Let it reprogram itself for processing jobs relatively on demand. Audio DSP might be somewhat redundant, but not by that much; plus, it allows for adaptability to future DSP instructions/standards.

I've side-tracked myself a fair bit here. It all boils down to the fact that your suggestion is tricky, it's expensive, and ─ no matter how much I love Studio One ─ I'm not sure they've quite hit market share big enough to make it worth their effort. But, if they start planning for it as a what-if, the day it's worth the effort, they could have the platform code more prepared. Always build for the future.

0 votes
answered Jan 28, 2020 by alancloughley (2,950 points)

Yes onboard StudioLive DSP support integrated with S1 would be pretty awesome, I high hopes but have given up expecting this to arrive, who knows fingers crossed but breath not held. Even basic integration and control of native fat channel is horribly frustrating which would be much simpler to implement has never arrived. These things were supposed to work hand in hand but it's a disaster I never use the fat channel in a mix any more although I do like some of the plugins, it needs fixed it's just not usable and I have other plugins which are easier to control from the desk. If Presonus fixed the control integration issues and added DSP support at the same time that would be tremendous!! 

That said I was thinking more of a native PC based DSP solution to the age old marketing nonsense spin that you can actually overdub without pops and crackles at the late stage on a busy mix. Even automatically disabling plugins as required to run at a low buffer would be perfect just stop it freezing, stuttering grinding to a halt, juddering etc.. adding this and the ability to run plugins remotely to create a S1 native DSP farm would make my decade. If S1 distributed load across cores more efficiently that would alleviate the issue a little too.  

+1 vote
answered Feb 1, 2020 by alancloughley (2,950 points)
Hey Robert, looks like AU plugin formats are swapped over while recording vitrual instrument tracks to use hardware DSP when you record arm a virtual instrument track in LUNA. Might be what you need for tracking instruments and you could use S1 to mix maybe?

I'm assuming that this all works like a hardware assisted Studio One Dropout protection and UAD have stolen the idea from S1. Sounds quite impressive.

I upvoted your feature request to optimise low latency monitoring as that might solve some problems but it won't make S1 a LUNA beater in terms of tracking on a busy mix it still struggles badly even on maximum buffer settings under load.
0 votes
answered Feb 2, 2020 by robertgray3 (38,620 points)
Is that what they mean when they say AU uses Virtual Channels? I haven’t definitively seen anywhere that this will reduce CPU load since they still reference “running as many AU instruments as your cpu allows” which makes me think that AU still just uses a dual buffer and isn’t hardware accelerated. But I could be wrong. I didn’t go over and ask at NAMM because it was wall to wall crowded and you know how optimistic those booth guys always are ;) “Yes it does everything, anything you ask”

If it actually did this then that really is a game changer. I don’t think I’d switch DAWs for it but it certainly could shift everyone competitively which would be a great thing. A couple limited effects on a hardware DSP wouldn’t be enough to compete anymore.
0 votes
answered Apr 7, 2020 by doukies (140 points)
UAD has a limit on "what" and how many things you can use in a mix and its starts disabling the effects on tracks. Either way you will have to commit to a mix down sound of a track in both programs to reduce the CPU usage. If you can't make those hard decisions you will have problems in both programs . There is no better DAW its how you use the tools you have in the best way possible.
0 votes
answered Apr 8, 2020 by alancloughley (2,950 points)
Hi Doukies, there are better and worse DAWs. Presonus isn't as efficient at balancing heavy CPU load as Reaper for example there is no contest there. S1 has better workflow and integrated hardware ecosystem than Reaper also no contest there. These are simple facts.

Dropout protection is a great idea (Luna has borrowed from this) but could do with an overhaul or some creative thinking to make it work better that's all I'm suggesting.

Your suggestion is to accept workflow killing clunky behaviour, you're probably more patient than me ;) I think technology should work well not kinda well with messy workarounds affecting creativity.

DAWs can and do improve so it makes sense for us to mention issues like this so they can be addressed.

Who knows though I'm looking at a 16 or 24 core PC which should help and might be enough to compose and mix without annoying workflow issues.
0 votes
answered Apr 17, 2020 by aka_busker (24,600 points)
Hi.  Just my two cents.  I use a Studio 192 via a USB 3 connection.  The studio 192 has onboard DSP which switches between CPU and on board dsp via the Fat Channel.  This allows fat channel processing on the DSP, alleviating CPU load.  It's not that Presonus need to do this because it is already a feature.  This is controlled by UC.