Guest Blog: Choosing Software with Mats Nermark

Today we have a special guest blogger, our great friend Mats Nermark from Sweden! Mats is a long time PreSonus user and has led the way in his area with his approach to education! Let’s hear what Mats has to say this week!

Important Points to Consider When Choosing Software

There are a number of points to consider when choosing what software to use in your educational endeavor.

This list is not in any order of importance as your situation is probably different from mine. But please don’t disregard a point as irrelevant until you’ve really thought about it as it may become important at a later point.

  • Does it have all the functions you need to use for all the people involved in your classes? Students, teachers and other contributors?
  • Is it easy to teach? I have been working with most of the bigger name DAWs and find Studio One with almost everything being drag-and-drop or editable with the mouse scroll wheel being so easy to teach and for my students at all ages being able to grasp.
  • Is it platform independent? Your DAW should work on both PC and Mac.! Why? Overall it’s not smart to shut anyone out who doesn’t happen to have access to a certain computer platform. For me it’s a matter of democracy. In Sweden, where I live and work, Mac computers are more expensive than PCs and PCs are also much more used in corporations. So it’s much more usual for students to have access to a PC at home than a Mac.  But I certainly don’t want to shut out Mac owners either as the Mac is a nice computer.
  • Is it made by a stable and reputable company? Freeware always seems to be a good deal at first glance, but freeware means that the people making it may find themselves in a situation where they have to focus on other things leaving you in a bind. When a larger company offers freeware, it’s often in the hope that you will get into the product to a degree that you will want to pay at a later date.
  • Is it expensive? Studio One is available in three versions. Studio One Professional is on par with the other professional DAWs with the added bonus of Melodyne included in the package. Studio One Artist is less than $100 and contains all the functions, audio processors and virtual instruments I need to teach a class at almost any level. The really cool thing is that if you buy any PreSonus audio interface you’ll get a license for Studio One Artist for free. This license is valid for installation on five computers. Then there’s Studio One Prime that’s absolutely free and includes unlimited MIDI and instrument tracks and a virtual instrument covering all the basics. So all the students can download it for free and use for homework and their own musical enjoyment.
  • Can you buy it? This may seem a stupid question but it really isn’t. I personally don’t like subscription models, as they are a cost that may be hard to estimate over time.  Managers and budget decision makers usually want a firm number.
  • Is the license transferable? If the computer breaks down, can I transfer the license to another computer? If a teacher quits, can I transfer the license to another teacher’s computer?
  • Is material and knowledge portable between the different levels of the software? Can a student take what he/she has done during class in Studio One Artist and bring it home to work in Studio One Prime. Yes, with a little planning, this is easy. If the student has used a fx or instrument plugin not available at home then the Bounce function is very easy to use and renders instrument tracks and fx to audio which can be played in all versions.

In Kungsbacka, Sweden, we have decided to use PreSonus Studio One as it fulfills all our requirements and ticks all the boxes in the list above. So in our classes in Music Production and Computer As A Musical Instrument our students get to learn with Studio One Artist in a class room environment and they take that knowledge with them back home to work with whatever setup they have. Once they have reached a certain level of proficiency they also have the option to book our studio where we have Studio One Professional and a number of plugin packages.

I will be back with more posts about what, how and why I love teaching in this field. Hope to see you then!

Mats Nermark

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