Ohm My God! Ohm Studio details revealed
Ohm Force has announced a release schedule and pricing details for Ohm Studio, their hotly anticipated collaborative DAW for Mac and Windows.
The company’s current beta testing programme will end in October, with users able to transfer to a limited free account or pay €9 per month for full functionality. Alternatively, a six month subscription will be available for €39. At this stage the software will still be in beta. Users will be able to purchase a lifetime subscription for €149, rising by €25 every month until the software is fully released, at which point the lifetime subscription option will be withdrawn. If we ignore the audacity of expecting users to pay for incomplete software, it seems like an interesting approach.
Ohm Studio will join the the newly announced Bitwig Studio and the impressive PreSonus Studio One in the massed ranks of DAWs attempting to break the stranglehold of the big boys such as Logic, Cubase, Reason, FL Studio and Ableton Live. Only time will tell whether Ohm Studio will break into the increasingly congested and competitive market, but Ohm Force will hope that the DAW can follow in the footsteps of Ableton and Reason in terms of competing directly with much more established products. Live in particular was a true game changer when it was released back in 2001. Home computer technology had reached a level of maturity which allowed real-time audio warping to become a reality, and Ableton exploited that potential in a way which other DAW developers still haven’t matched.
As a relatively new product, Live’s impact has been undeniable, whether you judge it in terms of the improvements it’s made to so many producers’ workflows, the number of great tracks which have been produced using it or just how often we’ve heard the Beat Repeat effect used and abused over the last few years. But, despite its success, anyone who’s used Live will know that it can also be infuriatingly unstable at times and that, for all its bells and whistles, Ableton forums are still full of feature requests. The more established DAWs such as Cubase, Logic and even FL Studio tend to err on the other side of the development curve, prioritising stability over new features.
All of which raises the bigger question of whether it’s actually in the long-term interests of producers to have more options to choose from. More DAWs fighting it out for market share can lead to inconsistencies and incompatibilities between platforms, which in turn can make cross-DAW collaborative work difficult or third-party plugins unreliable. Smaller user bases also mean fewer options for support via forums and message boards. Perhaps most worryingly of all, there’s a much greater risk of abandonware.
This isn’t to suggest that Ohm Studio won’t end up being a good product; we’ve tried the beta and we think it can genuinely bring something original to the table. But the understandable demand for exciting new products isn’t necessarily in the best interests of producers.
Rather than demanding new bells and whistles from developers, perhaps many of us would be better off sticking to a single program and learning it inside out – weaknesses, omissions, bugs and all?
What are your thoughts on this one? Is there still room in the DAW market for even more competition, or should we just be happy with the choice we’ve already got?