Meta: Is Bitwig "Too Good"

Official support for: bitwig.com
KVRist
55 posts since 13 May, 2021

Post Thu Jul 15, 2021 8:56 am

This is something I have been mulling over for quite a few months now.

I am starting to wonder if Bitwig is literally too good for the mass audience.

Not to be elitist but I do wonder if there is an inherent problem in the idea you need to think outside of music to drive the thing.

My personal experience with music goes back to longer than I care to think about, but certainly Trackers in the 80's, and much earlier than that with home built audio interfaces.

From my perspective now, Bitwig is so evolved I wonder how approachable it might be to let's say even FL Studio elites (and for good reason)

I see problems from the development camp trying to explain the simplicity of the concepts. Especially anyone who assumes a sequencer is the basic building block.

Also from the other side where classical musicians look at it and think, "I can never understand the modulation model".

I would like to help with fixing this perception.

I know there are others in the community who have gone through this process too.

If there are things we can do to help I'd love to help, as I am sure are others.

It's a breakthrough technology that provides breakthrough creativity. It would be a shame to lose people through perceptions of over technicality.

Best regards

KVRAF
3246 posts since 3 Oct, 2013 from Budapest

Post Thu Jul 15, 2021 9:18 am

it's too specific, strong in some areas like modulation, sound designing etc. but its overall point number is still pretty low
https://www.admiralbumblebee.com/DAW-Chart.html
I don't care about the subjective ones but worth checking the recording/automation/MIDI/audio (scoring ofc. 0) tables, so IMO Bitwig is best as secondary DAW or in pair with another one, for ex. now it can import FLS projects (FL works better anyway as an 8 bar loop song starter then the projects can be continued in BWS ) so I'm happy with it :)
"Where we're workarounding, we don't NEED features." - powermat

KVRist
488 posts since 6 Sep, 2003 from Baltimore, MD

Post Thu Jul 15, 2021 9:24 am

Maybe what you're talking about is innovation vs familiarity. Is Bitwig too innovative? That might be a bit easier to answer haha.

Right now Bitwig looks similar enough to Ableton that I think a lot of EDM producers will feel at home enough to get it.

When I first got into Bitwig at version 1.x it was the easiest DAW for me to get a hold of personally, even though I'd never gotten used to Ableton or used it more than a few times. I think Bitwig does a good job tucking away the details, which makes it approachable for newcomers. If you want to dig into the deeper features, they are there but they don't overwhelm or hit you in the face forcefully during basic usage of the DAW.

The only exception to this especially after 4.0 release, is the info panel, which is getting quite information heavy with the additional operators and spread functions.

That's just my view!
http://www.youtube.com/reflekshun
Audio Engineer / Music Producer

User avatar
KVRAF
2294 posts since 9 Dec, 2011 from falling

Post Thu Jul 15, 2021 10:13 am

Bitwig is opinionated, which is a breath of fresh air

User avatar
KVRAF
5734 posts since 9 Dec, 2008 from Berlin

Post Thu Jul 15, 2021 10:20 am

How's humanity to evolve if everything is dumbed down or same-same?
I hate it how I constantly get confronted with more and more stupid stuff that makes no sense to me, but is "easy to use".
The whole phone and app culture brought that about and now it seems the ultimate in usability is the one-button plugin "LOUDER".

I personally find Bitwig the only DAW on the market worth using.
I love how the team constantly comes up with new clever and well thought out things to do it better.
Starts with installing plugins while Bitwig is running and it finding them instantly, refreshing Midi devices on the fly, all the sandboxing options, free order and number of devices etc. and goes on with all the routing, modulation, Grid, now comping and operators goodness.

In a market as saturated as the DAW market, where you can get feature complete DAWs for free or almost free, I don't see how they could do any better as they are doing.
For years now I see all this backseat driving on this forum about how they do this wrong and that bad and how the whole thing will drive against a wall next week.
The first weeks on this forum after the initial release were a slugfest that still makes me shudder. People were raving mad and sputtering at the mouth with the most brutal dismissals and how this is the end of all mankind.
Sure there were a lot of things missing or not yet fully complete, but even then it was the most interesting DAW for me.
Over the years most issues were fixed, missing things implemented, it runs steady as a rock for me for quite a while, and many new features were introduced that made it into the fantastic app it is today. Especially since they almost never were just a copy job, but usually quite amazingly well thought out and different in interesting ways.
Is it right for everybody or everything? Of course not!

But I do not think they would be where they are now if they would just have copied other tools. They may easily have gone under with just another "normal" DAW - like many others actually did.

And I love it when I see Ableton copying Bitwig features now ;-)
That is the only way to improve the world - have clever people compete, otherwise we'll all just stare at the ever same cat videos on antisocial media and die out without noticing.

And what's wrong with one needing to sit down and get into a software and learn how it works?
That is part of the fun. Your brain needs exercise just as much as your body does, otherwise it atrophies.
And we can see the result of that plenty all around us already.
Just click and wipe and walk against a wall.
Dead easy.

And at the same time, Bitwig - for all the features it holds - is still very slick and consistent and well rounded. You can start easy with just the top layer stuff and then dive in over time deeper and deeper.
Some areas you may never use - I think I've never used a drum machine in my life (other than when looking at the work of others) - and others you may use to death - like I use the routing options in every project I do to do surround audio in Bitwig.

I went through the same with 3D software. I started with Cinema 4D when it came out for PC, it was very easy. Then I went to Lightwave 3D - still easy but much deeper. Then came Softimage XSI - pretty darn deep. That got killed and then I got into SideFX Houdini, which is pretty much the top tier of 3D. Should last me a lifetime, they're not afraid to innovate or change the rules either... :-)

There not only needs to be stuff for the "masses", we also need tools that still keep our brains alive when we already have seen a rodeo or two.
Bitwig does that for me on the audio side, Houdini on the 3D side.

So my claim would be: "No, it's exactly right and I pray they keep on going for a long time being clever!" ;-)

Cheers,

Tom
"Out beyond the ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there." - Rumi
ScreenDream|Thomas Helzle 8) Twitter

KVRist

Topic Starter

55 posts since 13 May, 2021

Post Thu Jul 15, 2021 10:56 am

Fascinating responses so far, and I can relate with what people are saying.

Funny you should mention XSI Tom, it really is quite similar huh. Shame that disappeared.

I really think Bitwig could be for the masses. And to be honest even talking about it in this sense is really hard for me. In that latest sonicstate video the guy said, "This release seems very math oriented". As much as it may be true for the operators, I found it quite an unsavory comment that does a bit of a disservice. I hope we can get past that.

Bill, yes, *very opinionated*, and in a good way. Curiously, despite as much as it is opinionated, the flexibility makes it superbly "how do I approach this???". It just seems too free coming from "recipe" based construction.

But ya know, a lot of us struggle with the possibilities where "New Project" seems to be much easier than finishing a track, it's almost too addictive to mess around.

Reflekshun, maybe you are right. The innovation is totally wild as compared to familiarity. On the surface it does look an awful lot like Ableton. Otoh, the gap to say FL is a giant chasm. I can see FL folks having a very hard time. It's maybe good BW tried doing FL import although I really have no clue how successful that might be as a bridge.

Xbitz, I wish I was in your position to have the diligence to make Bitwig a secondary DAW. That might really be the best thing for a true professional. I just can't. I got hooked and lost in the beauty to the point I overlook its shortcomings.

Woe is us.

The whole thing continues to amuse me and concern me, and I often think about it. How hard it is to be on the leading edge with such a small team and limited revenue.

I'm sure the Bitwig team sometimes have sleepless nights over it too.

It's a nice topic I think distinct from "I wish it had"

Best

User avatar
KVRAF
19410 posts since 3 Feb, 2005 from in the wilds

Post Thu Jul 15, 2021 10:59 am

animed wrote:
Thu Jul 15, 2021 8:56 am
I am starting to wonder if Bitwig is literally too good for the mass audience.
For the mass audience, Garageband is already too good.

User avatar
KVRAF
19410 posts since 3 Feb, 2005 from in the wilds

Post Thu Jul 15, 2021 11:02 am

animed wrote:
Thu Jul 15, 2021 10:56 am

But ya know, a lot of us struggle with the possibilities where "New Project" seems to be much easier than finishing a track, it's almost too addictive to mess around.
That is a common human condition and has nothing to do with this or that software and so on.

KVRist
90 posts since 26 Apr, 2018

Post Thu Jul 15, 2021 12:06 pm

Wow, I didn't expect to see other people mourning XSI, in a forum about Bitwig of all places. I guess though the sense of doing something different, but massivly powerful, and to an extent non-destructive and againt the grain is here in Bitwig, although I know it less than I knew XSI, which wasn't all that much either. I guess The Grid would be the equivalent to ICE, although only being a Foundation user (4-6) I never got to try that. I'm still a bit bitter that I have no way to install, activate and run purchased lisences of XSI Foundation on modern computers due to Autodesks policies.
I suppose Pixolgic ZBrush would be another good example, creating massivly powerful tools, but striking out in their own direction, even though there are things that people have been asking for for a very long time (although adding 3D Connexion support finally is a huge one to strike off my list after over a decade of asking(and even kludging together workarounds with old drivers to add limited navigation support using it)). Maybe even more so would be 3D Coat, as the even smaller guy compared to ZBrush. They would be the David and Goliath to Bitwig and Ableton Live. Lol.
I've no idea where I'm heading with these analogies, it just got me thinking.
I still miss XSI. I guess it appealed to people who were a little more techy and experimental by nature.
Would love Pixologic's upgrade pricing (like FL's), but to be fair ZBrush costs a heck of a lot more to buy now than it did at V2, and their innovation has brought on many, many customers and studios, bringing in new revenue, which Bitwig may not be at that point yet.

User avatar
KVRAF
2294 posts since 9 Dec, 2011 from falling

Post Thu Jul 15, 2021 12:35 pm

animed wrote:
Thu Jul 15, 2021 10:56 am
Fascinating responses so far, and I can relate with what people are saying.

Funny you should mention XSI Tom, it really is quite similar huh. Shame that disappeared.

I really think Bitwig could be for the masses. And to be honest even talking about it in this sense is really hard for me. In that latest sonicstate video the guy said, "This release seems very math oriented". As much as it may be true for the operators, I found it quite an unsavory comment that does a bit of a disservice. I hope we can get past that.

Bill, yes, *very opinionated*, and in a good way. Curiously, despite as much as it is opinionated, the flexibility makes it superbly "how do I approach this???". It just seems too free coming from "recipe" based construction.

But ya know, a lot of us struggle with the possibilities where "New Project" seems to be much easier than finishing a track, it's almost too addictive to mess around.

Reflekshun, maybe you are right. The innovation is totally wild as compared to familiarity. On the surface it does look an awful lot like Ableton. Otoh, the gap to say FL is a giant chasm. I can see FL folks having a very hard time. It's maybe good BW tried doing FL import although I really have no clue how successful that might be as a bridge.

Xbitz, I wish I was in your position to have the diligence to make Bitwig a secondary DAW. That might really be the best thing for a true professional. I just can't. I got hooked and lost in the beauty to the point I overlook its shortcomings.

Woe is us.

The whole thing continues to amuse me and concern me, and I often think about it. How hard it is to be on the leading edge with such a small team and limited revenue.

I'm sure the Bitwig team sometimes have sleepless nights over it too.

It's a nice topic I think distinct from "I wish it had"

Best
Is Bitwig really for the masses?

It seems to me that Bitwig is for a certain type of creator, who is interested in more experimentation. Bitwig gives you the tools. The real trick is making this accessible, if you want the masses.

I'm not sure Bitwig is made for the masses, much like Eurorack is not necessarily foe the masses. However, those who love Eurorack really love it. I see Bitwig much the same way.

To get the most out of Bitwig you have to leave the traditional DAW mentality behind to some extent. It requires a new way of thinking, and that can help free up creativity.

For some, the Bitwig way might be overwhelming. This is why many who own Bitwig might not even open up the grid. Yet. Quite frankly, a lot of the grid videos out there focus on making super complex things in the grid, and that might turn off the masses. Sharing small useful things built in the grid might be more effective at drawing people into that deep ecosystem.

Bitwig is putting some real effort into creating Bitwig Trainers, and I think this will pay off in the long run.

KVRAF
3477 posts since 30 May, 2006 from Hollow Earth

Post Thu Jul 15, 2021 12:42 pm

Even close is Alias and Rhinoceros
Some of the developers left Alias and started Rhino which is a joy to use for its free structure.
And similarly Rhino implemented a kind of Grid called Grasshopper.
Diva - Dune - Omnisphere - Serum - Spire

User avatar
KVRAF
5734 posts since 9 Dec, 2008 from Berlin

Post Thu Jul 15, 2021 12:50 pm

Hehehe - yeah, Autodeath almost made me quit 3D - I stopped paying maintenance for my XSI network licenses in 2012 when it became clear that it's not going anywhere.
And yeah, ICE and the Grid have a lot in common.

But back on topic: I'm always looking for truly innovative companies who aren't afraid of breaking the mould.
I hate paying tons of money for tools that just stagnate along.
There are many dumb or "normal" tools out there, why try to compete with those?

I simply don't see any other way for Bitwig as being themselves. If it's a bit on the nerdy side, that's fine with me. And Dave sure is a tiny bit on the nerdy side - still I'd rather watch one of the devs show the tool instead of some marketing mouth blubbering along, we see enough of these all day long.
Authenticity is a value, not a weakness.

There are thankfully enough clever people out there who enjoy a tool to have a tumble with, bruises and all. That's the whole fun :-)

Mass markets are overrated.

Cheers,

Tom
Last edited by ThomasHelzle on Thu Jul 15, 2021 1:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.
"Out beyond the ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there." - Rumi
ScreenDream|Thomas Helzle 8) Twitter

KVRAF
3477 posts since 30 May, 2006 from Hollow Earth

Post Thu Jul 15, 2021 12:58 pm

It’s not much about the merchandise but the salesperson ability (leveraging the Marketing machine)

There is still room for BW to improve the latter.
Diva - Dune - Omnisphere - Serum - Spire

User avatar
KVRian
817 posts since 20 Apr, 2005

Post Thu Jul 15, 2021 4:06 pm

xbitz wrote:
Thu Jul 15, 2021 9:18 am
it's too specific, strong in some areas like modulation, sound designing etc. but its overall point number is still pretty low
https://www.admiralbumblebee.com/DAW-Chart.html
I don't care about the subjective ones but worth checking the recording/automation/MIDI/audio (scoring ofc. 0) tables, so IMO Bitwig is best as secondary DAW or in pair with another one, for ex. now it can import FLS projects (FL works better anyway as an 8 bar loop song starter then the projects can be continued in BWS ) so I'm happy with it :)
that chart is bs...
says 1/10 for the bitwig manual - which is just wrong, it's quite a good manual...
also 3/10 for change logs... when they usually list everything quite clearly...
etc

and why do you actually think FL works better over an 8 bar loop?

User avatar
KVRian
1438 posts since 10 Oct, 2018

Post Thu Jul 15, 2021 4:11 pm

Of course. Otherwise I would not use it.

Return to “Bitwig”