Studio One features a powerful Native Low-Latency Monitoring system that provides low-latency monitoring for audio recording and virtual instruments, without compromises in system performance. Hardware Low-Latency Monitoring is also available when using a compatible DSP-enabled audio interface. In this section, we will discuss how to take advantage of these features to create low-latency cue mixes for monitoring while recording or composing.
Creating a Cue Mix Output
In Studio One, it is possible to quickly and easily create multiple cue mixes. A cue mix is separate from the main mix and is usually provided to musicians for monitoring purposes during recording.
For instance, when recording vocals, the engineer and vocalist often need to hear different mixes. Many vocalists want to hear their vocal boosted in the mix, possibly with some reverb to make it sound natural, while the engineer might want to focus on how the performance balances with the rest of the mix. The cue mix functionality in Studio One makes this task easy.
The first step in building a cue mix is to create an additional Output Channel. To do this, open the Song/Song Setup/Audio I/O Setup window in a Song, switch to the Outputs tab, and add a new Stereo Output Channel. Next, specify that this output is a Cue Mix output by clicking on the Channel’s Cue Mix checkbox. You can create as many cue mixes as your audio interface has available stereo outputs.
Now that you have created a Cue Mix output, you can see special Send objects (called Cue Mix objects) in the Channels of the Console. In the Small Console view, Cue Mix objects appear in the right column when a Channel is expanded. In the Large Console view, Cue Mix objects appear below the Send Device Rack on each applicable Channel.
Each Cue Mix object features an Activate button, horizontal level and pan faders, and a Lock to Channel button.
The “Cue mix mute follows channel option" has to be engaged in the preferences in order to use Cue Mixes for FX Channels.
Mixing the Cue Mix
Cue mixes are built using Cue Mix objects. By default, the level and pan values are locked to the channel level and pan faders. This means that each Cue Mix is identical to the main mix in the Console. Changing the level or pan in the Cue Mix object unlocks both settings, allowing independent control of level and pan for each Channel in each Cue Mix. Thus, the level and pan for Channels in a Cue Mix can be completely different from the related level and pan in the main mix.
At any time, you can toggle the lock state of the Cue Mix level and pan back to the Channel settings by clicking on the Lock to Channel button. (The lock icon.) To completely remove any Channel from a cue mix, simply deactivate the Cue Mix object for that Channel.
Double-clicking the Cue Mix object will bring up a larger pop-up interface for fine adjustments.
These pop-ups display The Cue Mixes for the currently-selected channel. With the left/right arrow keys you can navigate to the Cue Mixes of other channels across the console.
Monitoring Live Input in a Cue Mix
Cue mixes are normally used in a recording situation in which one or more live inputs need to be monitored. This is where the Cue Mix feature in Studio One is very useful. Monitoring with very low latency can be achieved using the Native Low-Latency Monitoring system in Studio One.
You can also achieve low-latency cue mixes by using Hardware Low-Latency Monitoring with a compatible audio interface that provides that feature, such as a PreSonus Studio 192, Studio 1810, or Studio 1824 interface. These interfaces feature internal hardware mixers that provide low-latency monitoring. While these mixers are easy to use, Studio One makes it even easier by allowing you to control the mixers from within the software.
Let’s return to our example of recording live vocals. For a vocalist to be comfortable and perform well, it is important that the performance sound as natural and as polished as possible. Vocalists need to hear themselves well, with no audible delay of their voices in the mix. Adding some reverb provides a little ambiance so the voice is not dry and lifeless.
Here’s how this scenario would look in Studio One:
- Set up a Cue Mix output for the vocalist.
- Record-enable and monitor-enable the vocal Track.
- Engage the Enable Low-Latency Monitoring (or "Z") button below the level fader on the Cue Mix output being used by the vocal channel. This enables Native or Hardware Low-Latency Monitoring for that Cue Mix output (depending on what is in use).
- Note: Channels that are able to be monitored using Native or Hardware Low-Latency Monitoring display a "Z" mark at the bottom of their channel strip.
- Create a Send on the vocal channel to an FX Channel with your favorite reverb effect.
- The vocalist hears the live low-latency input, as well as the rest of the cue mix, including the output of the reverb. Adjust the level of the vocal and other Channels in the Cue Mix to the vocalist’s liking, and you’re ready to record.
In a few seconds, you can ensure that vocalists hear their voices with low latency, in a custom mix that includes effects. Simultaneously, you can listen to a completely independent main mix, allowing you to focus on engineering while the artist focuses on the performance.
Note that when monitoring with Hardware Low-Latency Monitoring engaged, you do not hear Insert FX on that channel, as you are monitoring the signal before it is processed in software. If you need to hear Insert FX, use Native Low-Latency Monitoring instead. To do this, navigate to Studio One/Options/Audio Setup/Processing (macOS: Preferences/Audio Setup/Processing) and enable the "Use native low latency monitoring instead of hardware monitoring" option.
Low-Latency Monitoring on the Main Output
The Main output always acts as a Cue Mix, and any Audio or Instrument Channels routed to it can be monitored using Native or Hardware Low-Latency Monitoring (if enabled). To engage Native or Hardware Low-Latency Monitoring for the Main output, enable the "Enable Low-Latency Monitoring" (or "Z") button, found below its volume fader. When enabled, the "Z" button is green (when using Native Low-Latency Monitoring) or blue (when using Hardware Low-Latency Monitoring).