When comparing Ableton Live vs Studio One 4, the Slant community recommends Studio One 4 for most people. In the question“What are the best DAWs? ” Studio One 4 is ranked 2nd while Ableton Live is ranked 9th. The most important reason people chose Studio One 4 is:
All components are laid out in an understandable fashion and almost everything is drag and drop.
Ranked in these QuestionsQuestion Ranking
Pro Great creative DAW workflow
Ableton's session view gives a much quicker, more flexible way of experimenting with ideas than a typical linear interface. In session view, each instrument part is a separate entity that can be mixed and matched with other parts without having to rearrange anything. Any and every effect is consolidated into one clean looking interface.
It allows users to experiment with effects and other manipulations very quickly. Because of this, Ableton is known as one of the most creative DAWs out there.
Pro Advanced automation
You can add curves to automation. Additionally, Ableton lets users duplicate certain automations quickly.
Pro Optimized for playing live music
While all DAWs are capable of playing music live, Ableton Live is the most DJ friendly DAW out there as it allows mixing and mashing various MIDI or audio clips together in real-time while still making sure that they're in sync.
Pro Great for sampling
The Ableton DAW offers a great sampling experience, which can be approached in many different ways. Audio can be directly chopped, quantized, warped, and even chopped into MIDI clips. Ableton's built in sampler also allows clean pitching along with useful loop functions.
Pro Max for Live lets users build custom tools
With Max for Live, users can create custom synthesizers, audio effects, sequencers, samplers, and more. Max for Live is a feature that is available starting with Live 9 Suite.
Pro Outstanding EQ
Ableton's new EQ includes an integrated spectrum analyzer so users can see exactly which frequencies need to be adjusted. Additionally, this EQ cuts by 48 db. Up until Ableton Live 9, the EQ only cut by 12 db.
Pro Advanced content browser
The browser lets users choose from live Sets, tracks, clips, devices, presets, samples, etc. There is also an auto-play function for audio clips that enables users to browse samples quickly. The search function is also handy, but only for clips that are labeled appropriately.
Pro Many software specific controllers
Many MIDI controllers have been developed for the exclusive purpose of being used with Ableton. Some popular Live controllers include Push, APC40, and Launchpad.
Pro Minimum skeuomorphism
Skeuomorphism is described as retaining antiquated aesthetic features on an updated version of a device. For DAWs, this happens when an interface is littered with analog nobs, wires, and other things that are reminiscent of older technology. While this can be considered a stylistic choice for some DAWs, it tends to block progress towards better practices in music production.
Pro Endless creativity
After some training this daw can be used for doing anything. There are basically no limits.
Pro Multiple "workflows" or ways of achieving an outcome
Not everyone realizes this, but anything can be done in multiple ways in Live. Multiple ways of playing samples, multiple ways of slicing samples, multiple ways of sequencing MIDI, etc.
Pro Comes with 70GB included sounds, 15 software instruments, 55 audio effects and 17 midi effects.
Pro Dual monitor support
Starting with Live 9, users can see session and arrangement views at the same time with dual monitor support.
Pro Exemplary time stretching facilities
Not only can the time stretching can be done in real-time, there are about a dozen of TC/E algorithms to choose from.
Pro MIDI notes can be forced to a scale
With a simple plugin, Ableton allows the user to pick from a wide variety of scales when triggering notes.
Pro Can play a midi note from the middle
In Live V10, you can trigger MIDI notes without having to do so from the start.
Pro Widespread Online Support
The amount of well-versed tutorials and guides online can help you master Live in a few hours. Secret tips and tricks are also widespread. Forums are filled to the brim with support for any issue you can think of.
Pro VST3 support as of Ableton 10.1
VST3s now run smoothly in Ableton 10.1 and up. However, be careful when loading in CPU-heavy plugins.
Pro Able to to download own skin/theme
You can make your own skin/themes online and use it in "preferences" tab!
Pro Easy to use DAW interface
All components are laid out in an understandable fashion and almost everything is drag and drop.
Pro Efficient DAW workflow
The Studio One DAW doesn't expect users to deal with a lot of windows, answer questions, or use the mouse excessively. This DAW is known for lettings users be creative without getting in the way.
Pro Melodyne built-in
The Real Melodyne is integrated in the actual DAW. No other DAW is set up to streamline Melodyne.
Pro Creative songwriting and arrangement tools
Use the 'scratch pad' work on multiple versions for your song without leaving the main window.
Pro Automatic delay compensation
When a plugin takes time to process a sound, the Studio One DAW detects the gap and compensates.
Pro Bounces MIDI in place
When bouncing from MIDI to audio, a new track won't be created, the clip will stay in the same place. When bouncing a specific part of a MIDI clip, it will be placed in a new track.
Pro Awesome smart tool
Hovering over different parts of the events in the arrange window activates different tools.
Pro Insert plugins on actual events, not just tracks
Have you ever wanted a delay on just a word or so. No need to automate or move to a separate track. No need to print it to the clip and run out of room on the audio file. Simply amazing feature.
Pro Good interface compatibility
Works great with interfaces, and doesn't fight with ASIO drivers.
Pro Dedicated mastering page
Studio one has a page dedicated specifically to mastering which can be very useful when trying to finish your song
Pro Very stable DAW
Performance is rock solid and very efficient, even on lower spec computers.
Pro Multiple key command templates
Possible to use key commands from Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase, etc.
Pro Drag and Drop feature is quite flexible and allows for massive free form modification on the fly
Pro Vocalign built in
Vocalign Project is can be integrated with the option to upgrade to Vocalign Pro.
Pro Chord Track
Chord track can be used by inserting chords or getting them from an inserted track.
Pro Available with a rent-to-own option from Splice
For those that can't afford to pay for a full professional DAW in one swoop, this is an amazing opportunity to get Studio One 4 Professional in monthly payments.
Pause and resume payments when you want or cancel at any time.
Pro Working with your iPad makes it easier
Pro Lightweight on lower CPU
At 749 USD, Ableton Live Suite (the most fully-featured edition) is more expensive than other DAWs.
Ableton Live Standard can be bought for 449 USD.
Ableton Live Intro can be bought for 99 USD.
Rounding up, all three versions will set you back triple digits. That's before you get into additional sample and plugin packs, which also cost hundreds of dollars. Consider the price of the software before you enter the Live ecosystem.
Con No comping / playlist feature when tracking
Confusingly, Ableton's comping abilities (or lack thereof) cannot hold a candle to other industry standards like Pro Tools, Logic, Cubase, etc.
Con Plugins on frozen tracks are loaded and unloaded as the session opens slowing down opening and creating DSP limitations
For example: If you freeze more than the allowed number of plugins on a UAD DSP device, when you open your session, Ableton will open and close all the frozen plugins on every channel even though they are not active in the session. The UAD control panel application displays the DSP usage of the hardware. During loading the levels (bars) will fluctuate by extreme amounts and typically will produce errors once the Ableton session is loaded.
After the session is loaded, UAD plugins that should be running are disabled because there wasn't enough DSP available during load.
The user then has to open and look at each UAD plug in to see if they are disabled and turn them off and on again to enable them. This illustrates there is enough room for the DSP load for unfrozen plugins, but that the loading process was at fault.
Con Can't save keyboard shortcuts globally
There are no global keyboard shortcut editing mechanisms in Live. You are only able save keyboard shortcuts per project. This makes production a long-winded endeavor.
To edit shortcuts on Live, use Ctrl + K, or CMD + K.
Con No SF2 support
Soundfonts need to be imported as samples, and they don't work as intended since the zoning is lost.
Con No 32 bit VST support on newer
The ability to load 32 bit VST was dropped for some godawful reason. At $700 - a hefty price tag - and most of the code already in the software, you'd think they would be able to keep that functionality, but no.
Con Not very stable
Live has been known for its hilariously bad stability on weaker systems. But this is only when it is under enormous strain. It will be under enormous strain, too.
Most people that work in this software love to fill their projects up with tons of cool ideas. Ableton should bear this in mind when continuing to update Live.
Con no LV2 support
Does not support the LV2 plugin standard
Con Non-Free Software
It's not free. Worse yet, there's no source code. This can be a privacy concern for some.
Con You can’t comp your tracks
Con Limited routing
Tracks can go into groups and sub-groups (as of Live 10), and sends are available, but that's the extent of routing.
Con Sometimes very slow reaction, if you switch from one track to another with APC- or Push-Controller
Con Max makes startup longer
Con No real support for synth hardware
SO3 cannot control your synth. You cannot see/control or access patches, their names, or SysEx. It seems that everything is centered around use of virtual instruments, and not hardware synth.
Con No score sheet
There is no built-in score sheet for MIDI tracks, not even a basic one: you must do everything with the Piano Roll. The program may interface with Notation to do that, but you have to buy it separately and it is still clumsy.
Con Works out quite expensive
The full version of this DAW may justify its price by including VST and VSTi plugins, but the 'affordable' version does not support VST plugins out of the box. So you can't purchase the affordable version of this DAW and simply add VST plugins, either freeware or purchased ones.
The interface Graphical is comic bookish. While the DAW is useful there are better interfaces out there. One of the biggest issues is how the signal path is selected. Other DAW's work more like a patchbay allowing for a more visual interaction with the program. Studio One is different and a little obtuse. For example, Digital performer 11, Protools 11, Sonar Producer provide a better experience.
Con Bad customer service
Con The DAW can't be used as a ReWire component
The DAW can be used as a ReWire host, but cannot be used as a ReWire component. This is frustrating if you like some of the instrument sounds and virtual synths in Studio One, but prefer another DAW to do your main work in.
Con Non-free software
Does not respect your freedom. Does not provide source code.