Born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica, Jeremy Harding is a man of many talents. Formal musical training during his upbringing led Harding to learn the electric guitar, electric bass, and keyboards but when he discovered DJing and electronic-music production, he knew he'd found his passion.
After relocating to Toronto, he graduated from the Trebas Institute of the Recording Arts and spent years DJing in house, hip-hop, and reggae clubs in Montreal and Toronto. Harding eventually returned to Jamaica and established his studio/label, 2 Hard Records, which was responsible for crossover reggae/dance-hall hits like “Sim Simma (Who Am I)” by Bennie Man, "Give it to Her'” by Tanto Metro and Devonte, and "Log On" by Elephant Man.
Harding also successfully groomed and launched the career of Sean Paul, who went on to sell over 10 million albums—including three Billboard #1 hits. Shortly thereafter, the rapidly expanding 2 Hard Records found itself on the cover of Mix magazine. As a result, Bob Sinclar, Diplo and Switch (Major Lazer), 12th Planet, and Congorock all set up shop at 2 Hard Records.
Harding has chosen PreSonus Studio One Professional 2 as the backbone of 2 Hard Records. His main reason for choosing Studio One Professional 2? Audio quality above and beyond that of the competition—and Harding's done the research! “I’ve been producing music with DAW systems as early as the Atari 1040ST platform,” Harding tells. “So I’ve seen them all grow from infancy to maturity and have been through all the growing pains as the needs of users like myself grew over the years.
“The audio quality and headroom is tremendous,” Harding states. “Tracks seem to almost mix themselves! It feels open and punchy, and the dynamic range never feels squashed. Recently, I have been producing a lot of MIDI-programmed music, requiring lots of plug-in automation and virtual instruments and very little audio recording. Pro Tools has never been ideal for extensive MIDI work, so I had been handling MIDI in Apple Logic Pro. I was frustrated with the workflow and mix bus audio quality in Logic, which seems to lose headroom very quickly in mixing situations. Previously I had also tried Nuendo/Cubase, Reason, and Ableton Live. I eventually decided to have a look at Studio One Professional 2, which I was starting to hear great things about on various forums and blogs. After seeing a few YouTube videos. I decided to check out the demo. After hearing the audio quality in the mix bus, I was sold.”
The best-sounding DAW in the world isn't a lot of good if it's difficult to use. Harding champions Studio One's ease of use—and the resultant boost in his efficiency and creative output. “The speed of the workflow is very musician-friendly,” Harding states. “Drag-and-drop of everything is fast, very creative and efficient. I just think of an instrument, find it, drag it in, and play it immediately. Need a loop or a REX file? Drag it and drop it, and it works in the session immediately. Same with effects. I don't need to switch my brain into organization mode to create tracks or buses. I don't need to select from drop-down menus to configure the screen for routing or anything. There's no need to do offline processing of audio loops to fit to tempo or to use special VSTi’s for REX loops. And all of this can be done without stopping playback or switching to different views or different screens!”
Studio One allows Harding to focus on the music, not on being a computer whiz. “Studio One Professional 2 makes me excited to make music again,” he says. “The technical side of operating the software is out of the way. I can just be a musician instead of being a DAW operator trying to compose music. Very big difference. This is the first time I feel a DAW manufacturer has finally understood that creativity should be the ultimate goal of any user experience in music software. Studio One feels like my production partner, helping me realize my musical vision for a project, instead of being an unwieldy tool that requires technical mastery for me to implement an idea.
“Studio One has the most intuitive workflow for music creation I have ever experienced. Every feature is fast: drag-and-drop, looping, time-stretching, audio transpose, grouping, and bus creation, as well as editing audio and MIDI events. And to top it off, there's Melodyne integration! All of this comes with less menu scrolling, fewer windows to open and close, and less clicks to get the job done.
“Other DAWs seem to present themselves as a programmer's triumph,” he states, “But they eventually prove to be a musician or producer's nightmare. Sometimes other DAWs require another engineer in the room just to focus on the software. Still others find me searching the Web for workarounds from other users to accomplish seemingly ordinary tasks. “I’m 100% over all of that!
“Most producers and musicians I know want only one thing: the ability to get creative ideas out fast and efficiently… to spend time making music and feeling creative. Studio One has done it, not only with its amazing, intuitive workflow, but also with an audio engine that sounds musical, with more headroom, dimension, clarity and punch than other systems that really seem to be more focused on adding more features while sacrificing musicality.
“I've made the switch to PreSonus Studio One, and I hope I never have to look back.”