PreSonus has introduced Studio One 4 Prime, an updated version of their free digital audio workstation based on the flagship Studio One music production software.

I often recommend Studio One Prime as one of the best free music production platforms for beginners. Its biggest drawback is that the free version of the software can’t load VST or AU plugins (you’ll need Studio One Artist with a paid add-on or Studio One Pro for that).

On the other hand, Studio One Prime’s selection of built-in effects, its intuitive user interface, and a hassle-free recording workflow, make it a perfect fit for recording demo songs and learning the basics of mixing.

See also: Studio One 3 Review

Studio One 4 Prime introduces several improvements which were also added to the Artist and Pro editions of the software in the latest update. These include an improved instrument editing workflow with a dedicated drum editor, the introduction of drum and melodic patterns, along with support for MP3 encoding when rendering a project and MP3 encoding when importing audio files.

The new drum editor makes MIDI drum programming more intuitive, substituting note events with “drum hit” events which are easier to visualize in a rhythmic context. As for the addition of MP3 rendering, it’s a welcome improvement for users who want to share their finished tracks online as quickly as possible.

As before, Studio One 4 Prime includes a set of nine high-quality effects (channel strip, distortion, delay, phaser, etc.) and comes with over 1 GB of sample and loop content to help new users get started. If that’s not enough and you absolutely need VST plugin support, check out the Artist (separately paid add-on required for VST/AU plugin and Rewire Support) and Pro versions of Studio One or consider some of the popular freeware options like SONAR Platinum or Tracktion 6.

Please note that Studio One 4 Prime is only compatible with 64-bit operating systems.

Studio One 4 Prime is available for free download via PreSonus (135 MB download size, EXE installer, 64-bit software for Windows & macOS).

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About Author

Tomislav is a music producer and sound designer from Belgrade, Serbia. He is also the founder and editor-in-chief at Bedroom Producers Blog.


  1. Thanks Tomislav for this article.

    Yes, I agree that lack of VST/AU/ReWire support in Studio One Prime Edition is its biggest drawback. This is also true for Studio One Artist Edition. This feature has to be purchased as add-on in Artist edition-not possible to buy in Prime edition. Needless to say, it is available in Professional version.

    While biggest advantage compared to other entry level, introductory versions of DAWs is unlimited audio tracks, MIDI tracks, virtual instruments, and FX channels.

    If they allow VST/AU/ReWire support, it can be a true competition to Traction/Cakewalk by Bandlab as freeware DAWs.

    Just my opinion! :) Again thanks, have a nice day..!

    • Tomislav Zlatic


      You’re completely right, sorry for the confusion. I’ll correct the info in the article. Thanks for your comment! Indeed, if Studio One 4 Prime had plugin support it would be an amazingly powerful free DAW, but it makes sense that they’re keeping this functionality for the Professional edition.

    • Tomislav Zlatic


      I agree. Cakewalk Sonar is the top freeware pick if you need plugin support. I still recommend Studio One Prime to absolute beginners, though, if they have absolutely no experience with plugins. It’s a good free program to get started with recording and mixing.

  2. Soulful Mind


    Presonus is ridiculous they added things in the free version of 4 thats not in the the pro version 3. I just bought 3 right before the 4 release but right before the cutoff. Also Presonus is behind the times they just added stuff even fl Studio and Garage band have always had . you call it pro and yet no drum sequencer !! wow Sonar free has that all paid versions even 2 and 3 should of had most of the things they just added to 4. and 4 is buggy . They are one more mistake away from losing me to Ableton Live

    • Tomislav Zlatic


      Perhaps you could try contacting PreSonus asking for a free upgrade if you purchased v3 literally days before the v4 release. Might work!

  3. I downloaded this last week when they released I was super excited about the unlimited tracks. I also love the interface and it’s super intuitive. However the lack of VST support makes it absolutely unusable. I have a huge library of virtual instruments that I make music with so what would somebody do with unlimited tracks and just factory sounds? That’s just dumb, honestly. They should of made it 8 or 16 tracks with vst support. Nobody wants to make music using only a stripped down version of Presence XT lol.
    Cakewalk blows this out the water being able to support everything from vst3 to 32 bit and dx plugs. Reaper is killing both of them. And Traktion 7 is really good and comes free with any cheap Behringer digital product.

    • Tomislav Zlatic


      Indeed, plugin support is essential for music production nowadays. The free versions of Tracktion and Cakewalk Sonar definitely shine in that regard. Still, I tend to recommend Studio One Prime as the starting point for absolute beginners who don’t have any experience with recording, mixing, or using plugins. It’s just so simple to install and get started with S1 Prime that I believe it’s the perfect free DAW for novice users.

    • Have you considered, not using either / or but using this free program IN ADDITION to other software? It provides so much functionally and could easily save you 200 bucks for a Wave-Editior or some like that. As I don’t want to update my Studio One 3 – Professional atm I will probably install Prime 4 side-by-side to use some of the new features. ;)

  4. It could be me :) but i swear when i use this vs other daw’s somehow it sounds better. I would think the HW ect.
    would determine that, but possibly their vst’s ect. and how it processes the sound on a mix at the software level
    does this. Not saying its better than other DAWS, but it you want something basic like i did, its great.

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