The first half of 2019 saw the release of Bitwig Studio 3, which delivered our new modular sound-design environment, The Grid. After Bitwig Studio 3 was about expressing new sound design ideas, Bitwig Studio 3.1 extends the idea of pitch, a fundamental part of music that often goes untapped.
In addition, they’ve included various workflow improvements that make editing and understanding easier, all while staying in a music creation mode.
Expanded Pitch Features
New Note FX Device: Micro-pitch. Micro-pitch is a new Note FX device for re-tuning note streams in a variety of ways. By making the world of tuning accessible, a world of sounds can be loaded or crafted.
The initial beta release already includes over thirty presets, showcasing myriad possibilities. Some are theory-based, using overtones, undertones, quarter-tones, or even tuning A4 to 432 Hertz. Some represent historic temperaments, like those of Kirnberger, Werckmeister, and Broadwood, bringing an out-of-time feeling to any passage. Some are cultural (from instruments of China or Java), and some were made by artists (like Charles Ives, Harry Partch, and Wendy Carlos) for their own unique works. And a few presets reshape the keyboard, coaxing new and unexpected outcomes from even an experienced player.
But this only scratches the surface. Bitwig’s heart is modulation, and animating the parameters can make a musical phrase ever more dynamic and expressive.
In addition, certain Scala (SCL) files can be loaded by dropping them onto a Micro-pitch device. The settings are all imported, and any comments will be inserted as the preset description. And beyond Bitwig Studio’s instruments, hardware (via control voltage) and any plug-in instrument that supports MPE or VST3’s note expressions can also be tuned in this fashion.
New Modulator: Pitch-12. The new modulator, Pitch-12, provides a modulation signal when any note type is being pressed (C, D, etc.). This could trigger a unique effect on “out” notes, or take classic ideas in a new direction (like the Constant Portamento preset, where every note glides from the same root pitch).
New Grid module: Transpose. Extending pitch control to The Grid is the new and deceptively simple Transpose module. It improves a range of tasks, like stacking oscillators into chords, or creating just intonation intervals. Since every signal is stereo in The Grid, Transpose has three stereo configurations, and while it’s a processor, it can even create chords when no input is provided.
Window Footer Shows Frequency + Pitch: Since version 3, the window footer has featured a wealth of helpful information. Now when any frequency parameter is hovered over or edited, the equivalent note value (and whether it is in tune, sharp, or flat) is shown right beside the frequency. Because with a filter frequency or an EQ band, sometimes it is easier to think in pitch.
Editing and Workflow Improvements
Quick Draw: With Quick Draw, you can swiftly and effortlessly paint notes in the note editor. Simply hold the Alt key while using the pen tool to draw a series of notes on the current beat grid (for example, 16th notes, 8th notes, etc.). Quick Draw locks to one pitch by default (think hi-hats, etc.), but it can also be used freehand to drag each note to any pitch, kind of like inputting notes with a step sequencer.
Quick Slice: With Quick Slice, cutting clips, notes, and events is easier as well. Just select the knife tool and hold the Alt key. Now on click and drag, lines will appear at every interval of the beat grid, showing where cuts will be made on release. And then go straight to drum editing or whatever else you had in mind.
Slice In Place: The new function Slice In Place allows you to slice selected clips, events and notes either at detected audio Onsets, at inserted Beat Markers, or at a set beat interval.
Interactive Help View is coming to all devices: The Interactive Help View is now available for all devices throughout Bitwig Studio. This puts documentation and notes of every instrument, effect, and modulator parameter right in the program. Select any device and hit F1 on the keyboard (or click Show Help either in the Inspector or from the Device menu) to focus on that one device, still fully interactive and with full descriptions in sight.
And in the process of editing our 120+ devices, we are making interfaces a bit more consistent and parameter names more clear. So more visual interfaces use our latest style, and the window footer itself provides fuller parameter descriptions before even entering the help view. Try it with the Polysynth, Arpeggiator or Treemonster today.
Cue Volume and Mix Control: The Studio I/O Panel now sports a dedicated — and mappable — Volume control for Cue output level. And an added blend knob lets you blend your cue buss and the master output. This is similar to a DJ mixer, which will be familiar to many. (Even if you aren’t using cue output for monitoring, this provides a level setting for clip previews from the Browsers.)
Wavetable WAV file Importing: Back in version 2.4, our Sampler introduced a new approach to wavetable playback with Cycles mode. With version 3.1, WAV files coming from other wavetable synths (like Serum) can now be imported directly into Sampler, including proper root settings for perfect alignment. So whether using the regular instrument or the Grid module version, Sampler import is just a drag and drop away.
Note Chase: With this new note playback option, starting the transport in the middle of a note will sound the note. While the alternate behaviour is good for some situations like performance, editing a project with the occasional long note is much easier when you can hit play anywhere in the timeline.
New Grid modules: Bitwig Studio 3.1 brings the module count in The Grid to 159. In addition to Transpose, there are four new entries to the Envelope category. Pluck is an envelope generator modelled after a plucked string, with a built-in amplifier for easy connection. Slope ↗ and Slope ↘ are modifiers for changing the curve or rising and falling signals (kind of like our unique Transient Control audio device, but for any Grid signal). And Follower provides a symmetric envelope follower.
More Controller support: Many more controllers now work out-of-the-box in Bitwig Studio, such as Novation Launchpad Pro (using our new beat repeat API function), Arturia KeyLab MkII 49/61 and KeyLab Essential 49/61, and the PreSonus Atom, as well as the PreSonus FaderPort 8 and 16 as well as Nektar SE25, SE49, GX and LX+.
Bitwig Studio 3.1 beta is now available to all customers with a Bitwig Studio license and an active upgrade plan. The expected release date of Bitwig Studio 3.1 is in the next few weeks.