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Bitwig Studio 5 now available - introduces Essentials and Producer editions


Bitwig has announced that Bitwig Studio 5 is now officially released. The new version comes with five different MSEGs, new capabilities for the Clip Launcher, an overhaul to the 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 or LFOs and innovative possibilities for live performance. They've also added a new sound package and a full song by bass music producer and DJ Chee that's available as a Bitwig project file.

Freeform Sound Package

Any shape can make a sound: a squiggle, a line, a curve. That's the idea behind Freeform, a Bitwig sound package that contains curves for the MSEG devices, wavetables for the Wavetable LFO, presets for instruments and FX, and note and audio clips.

Freeform's curves can be used in a broad range of musical and sound design contexts: They can be modulators, oscillators, waveshapers, sequencers etc. Dozens of Freeform's curves were specially designed for specific MSEGs, such as custom oscillators or distortion shapes. But since they're BWCURVE files, they can be loaded into any of the MSEG devices and used for your own modulations or patches. Freeform also has more than 100 presets that include MSEGs and Wavetable LFOs for a variety of Bitwig instruments, from pad sounds to bass voices and drums. You'll also find some more experimental applications of curves in audio FX, selectors, and note FX presets that generate rhythmic patterns and sequences.

New Demo Song: "Hey You" by Chee

The new demo song included in Bitwig Studio 5, Hey Now, is an example of advanced sound design, clever use of Bitwig devices, and songwriting by South African producer Chee. His music spans bass-oriented genres like drum & bass, trap and future beats, and it has been released on outposts like Zeds Dead's label Deadbeats. In addition to his solo work, Chee also produces and performs alongside fellow South African artist Jon Casey as It HZ.

I wanted to showcase a few of my favorite Bitwig features, like the MSEG modulators, the Spectral Suite, and some custom drum synths on 'Hey Now, '" Chee told us. "I'm eager to see how Bitwig will continue shaping the future of music production. They're onto something here.

Hey Now is a dramatic composition that references broken beat genres like golden era 2-step, OG dubstep and grime with a hard edge. Glance under the hood by opening the project file and you'll find custom-made drum synthesizers, Drum Machines, Samplers, synth voices, and cleverly designed Note FX. Some of these patches are also included as official Bitwig presets in Freeform.

Hey Now is available as a project in Bitwig Studio 5, so download the latest version and open the demo song in order to hear the whole composition and see how Chee made it.

Version 5 Key Features

MSEGs: Beyond Envelopes

A multi-segment envelope generator (MSEG) is a tool for drawing custom signals for envelopes, automation shapes, looping patterns, oscillator curves, waveshapers, sequencers etc. Bitwig 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:

  • 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.

Modulation, Elevated

In Bitwig's modulation system any control source — including audio or CV signals — can affect any device or plug-in. In Bitwig Studio 5, the 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.

New Performance Gestures

The Clip Launcher has been updated. 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.

Updated Browsers

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.) 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.

Some More

The foundations got some attention as well, with a new onset detector that makes audio work better from the moment you drag it in. Bitwig is 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.

Read more in the Bitwig 5.0 release notes: bitwig.com/5.0/Release-Notes

Pricing & Availability

Bitwig Studio 5.0 is out now and free update for anyone with a Bitwig Studio license and an active Upgrade Plan.

With the launch of version 5, Bitwig introduces Essentials and Producer, two new editions alongside our flagship product, Bitwig Studio. Bitwig Studio Essentials and Bitwig Studio Producer provide curated versions of Bitwig Studio's feature set, offering customers more choices to fit their needs. Read the full feature comparison at: bitwig.com/feature-list/

Bitwig is running a Summer Sale until July 31, 2023:

  • Bitwig Studio Essentials: 99 EUR / USD 79 EUR/USD.
  • Bitwig Studio Producer: 199 EUR / USD 149 EUR/US.
  • Bitwig Studio: 399 EUR / USD 299 EUR/USD.

With the introduction of Essentials and Producer, Bitwig Studio 16-Track has been discontinued. For a limited time, Bitwig is offering Bitwig Studio 16-Track users with an active Upgrade Plan a free upgrade to Bitwig Studio Producer. There are also special offers for those who own older versions of 16-Track.



Discussion: Active
30 June 2023 at 9:29am

Big up bitwig. The new features are amazing.

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