Bitwig Studio 5

Bitwig Studio Screenshot small

The new version introduces five different MSEGs, new capabilities for our Clip Launcher, an overhaul to our browsers, and upgrades to the entire modulation system, such as the ability to control track- and project-level parameters and to expand modulators with pop-out windows. These new devices and features offer the ability to draw your own envelopes and LFOs as well as innovative possibilities for live performance.

A multi-segment envelope generator (MSEG) is a tool for drawing custom signals for envelopes, automation shapes, looping patterns, oscillator curves, waveshapers, sequencers etc. We created five different kinds of MSEGs that can be used as Grid modules, and two of them are also available as modulators. Separate devices means each one is focused on and optimized for its particular task.

Bitwig Studio MSEG Curves

Segments is a customizable envelope that can be used as a Grid and Polymer module or as a modulator that controls any parameter. Four Play Mode op­tions are avail­able for Segments:

  • One-shot - Plays through the en­tire shape (while the voice is alive) when a note is triggered
  • Hold  - Can use any one of the curve's points as the hold/sus­tain lev­el, which also acts as the re­lease start
  • Loop­ing - Can loop forwards between any two of the curve's points on sus­tain; the loop end point is also the re­lease start
  • Ping Pong - Can loop forwards and backwards between any two of the curve's points on sus­tain; the loop end point is also the re­lease start
  • Curves is an LFO modulator and Grid module that can sync to the beat time or groove.
  • Scrawl is a draw-your-own oscillator for The Grid and Polymer Bitwig’s hybrid modular synth. Its anti-aliasing helps make any shape work and sound good.
  • Slopes is a pattern sequencer for The Grid with stereo phase options.
  • Transfer is a waveshaper for transforming incoming audio or other signals in The Grid.

Clicking any curve display opens the curve editor in a Pop-out Editor window that allows for easy freehand drawing. There are also shortcuts for jumping to double time or triplets. All your designs can be saved as a BWCURVE file and loaded in another MSEG. A visual browser displays all presets and user content at a glance.

Bitwig's modulation system sets itself apart with a powerfully simple approach: Any control source - including audio or CV signals - can affect any device or plug-in. In Bitwig Studio 5, our modulators are no longer limited to devices - they can grab the mixer and project controls as well. That means one LFO can modulate any device on the same track, as well as the track's panning, sends, and other parameters. Move that LFO to the project level to add modulations to all devices, channel strips, and transport targets. Furthermore, MSEGs aren't the only 5.0 modulators with Pop-out Editor windows. The Steps and Keytrack+ modulators, as well as The Grid's data sequencers, also got resizable panes for cleaner editing and some helpful new functions.

Performing live with Bitwig Studio just got more exciting with updates to the Clip Launcher. Users can now set Next Actions to occur when a key or pad is released in addition to when it's launched. ALT triggers offer a second option for activating scenes or clips. These features allow performers to decide how their set will unfold in the moment, as they can (for instance) tap a clip to launch it at the next bar line, or ALT-trigger to immediately swap to the new clip. Thavius Beck demonstrates this improved live workflow in a new explanatory video.

Project-wide normal and ALT-trigger gestures can be set in one place, and you can customize any clip or scene to have its own settings. That includes release options for both normal and ALT gestures, legato options for following the playing clip or the project transport, and a revamped Next Action section with simple loop counts.

Since all tracks now have their own remotes, the mixer offers a bird's-eye view of the most important parameters. That way, building a customized set of mix and performance controls is easy. And new mapping options allow users to launch scenes and clips with any hardware.

Bitwig Studio 5 also introduces overhauled browsers for a more streamlined experience and a visual way to access content. Now, search results for plug-ins, presets, and wavetables (etc. etc.) all live in one place. There's also a customizable shortcuts pane that allows users quick access to their favorite sound packages, content types (e.g. wavetables, drum hits, or samples) or folders.

The foundations got some attention as well, with a new onset detector that makes audio work better from the moment you drag it in. We're also introducing Spanish and Korean language support for Bitwig Studio.The Keytrack+ modulator has an embedded curve editor so you can simply draw your settings or save/load them as BWCURVE files. And for morphing control signals, there's a new Wavetable LFO modulator/Grid module, equally suited for irregular shapes.

v5 is the 20th major release of Bitwig Studio, which currently has 112 native instruments, note FX, and other devices. The semi-modular Polymer synth now has 270 combinations (9 oscillators × 6 filters × 5 envelopes). With the new MSEG family, Keytrack+, and Wavetable LFO, there are 42 modulators for controlling everything from the project mixer to CLAP/VST plug-ins. And The Grid now has a fleet of 199 modules, including all five MSEGs, Wavetable LFO, and some other helpful new additions. Check the comparison chart to see which features, instruments and effects are available in the different Bitwig Studio versions.

Bitwig Studio 5.0 is now in beta and can be tested by anyone with a Bitwig Studio license and an active Upgrade Plan. The installers are available in the user profiles. The official release is planned for Q2 this year. This is a free upgrade for all license holders with an active Upgrade Plan at time of announcement

Bitwig will be exhibiting Bitwig Studio 5 at NAMM Show April 13-15 in Anaheim, California. Come by the Bitwig booth (10606) for a demo and a chat.