For Bitwig Studio fans, ‘The Grid’ has attained almost mythical status. A modular sound design element for the DAW was promised from the start, and now, finally, it’s here. This is because Bitwig Studio 3, which contains The Grid, has just been released. This is a free update for all Bitwig Studio customers with an active Upgrade Plan.
The Grid is an open modular environment that’s built into three new devices: Poly Grid, Mono Grid and FX Grid. Each of these is designed for a different purpose: Poly Grid can be used to build polyphonic synths; FX Grid is for creating audio processors; and Mono Grid could be used for designing drones and the like.
The Grid gives you a variety of modules to work with and enables you to patch them together in no time at all. Bitwig says that Grid devices can be accessed in a variety of ways:
- Grid devices can be nested or layered along with other devices and plug-ins, and they are controllable via MIDI mapping and from the Open Controller API.
- Song position is available as a sample-accurate signal, locking a patch in The Grid to the project’s timeline.
- Arranger or clip-based automation can be added for any parameter in grid patches, even in combination with Bitwig Studio’s existing modulators.
- Grid modules like envelopes, LFOs, and sequencers all have modulator outputs as well. And just as Bitwig Studio’s modulators can control any parameter in The Grid, any grid signal can be used to modulate child devices.
- With dedicated grid modules for sending any control, trigger, or pitch signal as CV Out and receiving any CV In, hardware can be seamlessly integrated with The Grid.
Other things you need to know about The Grid:
- In The Grid, all signals are created equal – and 4x-oversampled for the highest sound quality. All signals are interchangeable so any out port can be connected to any in port.
- Every signal is stereo. That includes control signals, which indirectly affect audio. And plenty of modules can Stereo-ize signals, adding variety where needed.
- With The Grid’s quick workflow gestures, new modules can be dropped directly onto ports, automatically wiring them into your patch. And for signals that are needed regularly, we have the option of pre-cords. These clickable icons appear beside in ports, allowing common connections to be made wirelessly.
- Phase is the place. After pitch, timbre, and loudness, phase is the essential element of sound, capable of driving basic time functions, complex modulation synthesis, and so much more. With a dedicated category of phase modules, we have made these concepts freshly accessible and newly relevant for modern music production.
Other new features in Bitwig Studio 3 include an optional realtime ruler for when you need to plan in minutes or hours; signal meters within each input chooser for seeing the signal you are looking for; and general display and style improvements to aid common workflows.