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Few things have ignited interest from the music technology community in recent times like Ohm Studio – the upcoming collaborative DAW being developed by Paris based company Ohm Force.

This innovative new music production tool, which is due to go beta later in the year is described by its creators as “a standalone real-time collaborative music making application in addition to a web based collaboration platform and a music driven online cohmunity”. In real terms it will allow musicians and producers to seamlessly work together using audio and MIDI – it also appears to be cross platform and will allow Mac and PC users to collaborate together as well.

I’ve scoured various sources for a round up of the features that Ohm Force have been confirmed or strongly hinted at and also listed some features I’d personally like to see Ohm Studio include.

What we know so far?

Clear & simple interface

Screenshots of Ohm Studio have hinted at a well laid out and fairly simplistic front end – especially compared to standard DAW’s like Pro Tools and Cubase. Ohm Force have already confirmed that it will not have many of the more in depth features of these applications and have hinted that ease of use and fluidity will be more of a priority here.

Record/Edit and collaborators can see results in real time and leave notes

As demonstrated in a recent video Ohm Studio updates some session changes in what appears to be real time. So far we have only seen evidence of this using MIDI, which is of course very minimal data to be shared. Hopefully audio will be quickly synchronised once a part is recorded as its unlikely it could update in the same way.

Third party plug-ins

In what is quite a surprising but highly welcome move, Ohm Force have confirmed that users can include third party plug-ins in their projects that all collaborators can use as long as they have a valid license. They have also mentioned that some of their own plug-ins will be provided and we’re hoping this included some of their rather excellent existing ones such as OhmBoyz and Hematohm

Chat interface & comments

Needless to say, any collaborative project is going to get a bit confusing without the means to actually communicate ideas and so for this purpose a chat interface will be included. The ability to leave notes on audio and MIDI clips has also been promised. It’s not known if any Skype style tools for verbal communication will also be introduced, would be nice though.

Cohmunity Spirit

Much like the existing communities around online DAW’s such as Indaba and Tracks and Fields, Ohm Studio will have its own means of identifying possible collaborators as well as artist profiles and public forums for open discussion.  Whether elements of this will be accessible from within the application itself rather than just being web based remains to be seen.

Installed application

Ohm Force confirmed early on that their new DAW would need to be installed locally rather than work as a cloud based system. Bearing in mind how ambitious the tool is shaping up to be its unlikely that, at least for the time being they could do this any other way. This local application appears to cohmunicate (sorry couldn’t resist!) with a central hosted server which presumably manages file and data transfer, as well as provide a constant backup of users projects.

Required specs

An internet connection speed of at least 512kbps downstream and 128kbps upstream has been confirmed as the minimum here and thankfully that should be within the reaches most users worldwide. All Ohm Force have confirmed in terms of workstation specs is that a PC or Mac that could run a standard DAW will be required.

Beta version

Ohm Force have confirmed that the requests for beta testing have well exceeded the expected 5000 they originally planned for. This is great news, not just because it proves that Ohm Studio has a viable market but also because from the launch of the beta there will be a good number of people available to collaborate with. Sadly still no date for either the beta or full releases yet though.

…and what we’d love to see

New Ohm Force FX- We’ve already seen what Ohm Force have done with delay, modulation and distortion, since Ohm Studio is going to need other FX like compression and reverb we’d like to see them produce tools up to the level of their previous creations – and if possible just as dynamic and sonically distinctive.

…and Virtual Instruments – Of course we’d like to see their existing softsynth’s included but it would be interesting to see what other VSTi’s Ohm Force might create for their fledgling DAW.
Personally I’d like to see a Kontakt style sample player with the kind of filtering and modulation options available in their existing FX.

Subscription based service – Surely this is a great chance for someone to challenge the standard payment model for music production tools. Since Ohm Studio is service based a subscription would be the best way forward even if it included a small upfront fee for the software.

Streaming to social media – The possibility of streaming finished tracks to Facebook and blogs is an exciting one for those of us that want to share the moment. At the very least we’d like to see some kind of easy integration with Soundcloud.

Mobile apps – How great would it be to access tracks from your mobile or tablet? Much like the social media element this is dependent on how much Ohm Studio operates in the cloud and whether the sound files can be compressed for easy streaming. Probably not likely for a while but hey…we can dream!

A huge thanks to Ohm Force for being so open about their new tool to the global music tech community and also to Peter Nelis whose superb interview with them in Click magazine provided a good many of the facts here.

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