How to Record Your First Song: Recording in Studio One 101

You never know when inspiration might strike. Need to record a great song idea before you forget it? We’ve got you covered! Follow along as we walk you step-by-step through the process of recording your first song in Studio One.

What You’ll Need

Before you can start recording your masterpiece, you’re going to need a couple of things:

But most importantly, you’ll need to have Studio One installed.

Software Setup

Now that you’ve gathered up your gear, it’s time to make sure it’s all correctly set up in Studio One.

First, select your interface. Open Studio One and double check that your interface is selected in the “Setup” window. Clicking on your interface in Studio One will open the Audio Setup window, where you can select your interface as both the Playback and Recording device. Then select 128 for the Device Block Size and click “OK.”

Next, click “New Song” and type in the new song’s title (“My first song” or “greatest song of all time” are both great choices). Congratulations, you’ve officially created a blank song in Studio One!

Then, add a track. For the purposes of this demonstration, we’ll be starting with a guitar track. Click on Track, then Add Tracks, then name the tracks something really clever like “guitar” and choose your color and input (input one is where the microphone is plugged in). Then click okay.

How to Record Your First Song

1. Microphone Setup

Now that your tracks are in place, it’s time to set up your microphone.

Plug the microphone cable into the microphone, then connect the other end of the cable to channel one on your interface. Then, put on your headphones, plug them into the headphone jack, and turn them up about halfway (you can always adjust this later as needed).

Back in Studio One, you’re ready to record and enable this track. Just press the record button, and you should see some signal coming from the microphone.

2. Microphone Level

Next, we need to set the level of the microphone. That’s as simple as turning up the volume knob for channel 1 on the interface, and making sure that the level meter isn’t going too high. A good rule of thumb is setting it halfway to 2⁄3 of the way up without clipping (clipping is when it gets to the very top and the red light goes off).

Now you’re ready to record guitar. As nerve-wracking as it might seem, it really is as simple as pushing the red record button and playing until you get it right.

3. Creating Additional Tracks

When you’re happy with your first track, you can start adding more layers, like vocals.

To record a vocal track, disengage the record enable button on the guitar track, then right click on the track and choose “duplicate track” to create a new track with the same audio settings as the first one. Then keep recording until you’re happy with it.

4. Mixing Your Tracks

Once you’ve recorded several tracks, you’ll want to adjust their levels to create a cohesive mix that sounds like the song in your head.

Open up the mixer and click the mix button. This will give you access to faders for each of the channels so you can dial in your mix.

5. Setting Your Markers

Before you can export it, you need to tell Studio One where your new song begins and ends. Click on the marker and drag the blue “Start” flag to the start of your song and the blue “End” flag to the end of your song.

6. Exporting Your Music

Now that you’ve recorded your song, you’ll want to export it so you can share it with others.

●  First, click on “Song” in the menu bar, then select “Export Mixdown” from the drop down menu.

●  Give your name a file name or song title and choose your file format(s) from the “Format” section.

●  Select “Between Song Start/End Marker” from the “Export Range” section, then select okay.

Congratulations, you now have an mp3 of your first song that you can listen to, play in the car, and email to friends!
When you’re ready to share your song with the world through digital service providers (DSPs) like Spotify and Apple Music, TuneCore and PreSonus make it easier than ever with our fully-integrated “creation-to-DSP” pipeline. You can read all about it here.

Final Words

These are the absolute bare essentials of recording in Studio One, and there’s a lot more you can do on top of this – but even what we learned today may feel overwhelming to you if you’ve never done it before, and that’s completely normal and totally okay. Just follow these steps along with the video, and you’ll be on your way in no time.

Once you feel more confident, you can continue to experiment with different elements that will help enhance your songs But with every step comes an added layer of complexity and new things that you have to learn, which can seem overwhelming – that's why PreSonus has created so many resources on their channel to help you learn the process. We want to meet you where you are and help you get better and better at recording and mixing.

PreSonus x TuneCore

PreSonus made its name by making it easier than ever for musicians to achieve end-to-end music creation. With Studio One – featuring Apple Spatial Audio and direct distribution through TuneCore – that goal is a full-fledged reality.

As the above video illustrates, PreSonus x TuneCore users can get their music across the proverbial finish line and into TuneCore’s capable hands for distribution without ever closing out of Studio One.

The hardest part was learning the basics of music distribution. Now that you have, you can get back to creating and releasing music.

We’ll handle the rest.