0. Welcome to Bitwig Studio

Welcome to Bitwig Studio! We are glad you have joined us and are excited to help you create, compose, polish, and perform your music.

And welcome also to our Bitwig Studio 16-Track and Bitwig Studio 8-Track users! Most of Bitwig Studio's functions and resources are available in all of our products so this user guide applies equally to all programs.

If you are reading this user guide as a web page, the table of contents along with a search function and language selector is available either on the right of this text or at the bottom of this page (hello, mobile interface). And if you are viewing the PDF version, use your program's normal features for browsing sections, searching, etc.

The purpose of this document is to walk you thru most of Bitwig Studio's functions and show you how to operate the program. The chapters and topics are arranged progressively, with basic concepts appearing first and advanced ideas showing up later. And although this document does not attempt to explain fundamental audio and musical concepts, it is written for users of any stripe who want to use software to make music.

In addition to this document, other resources will be mentioned when appropriate, and you can always visit Bitwig's website for the latest information. And please share any feedback you have or issues you encounter by visiting our support portal.

In this chapter, we will begin with links to sections that have changed in this version. We will move on to the Dashboard, which is more or less the command center of Bitwig Studio. Finally, we outline a few conventions that will be used across this document. But you will not make sound in this chapter; that is what the rest of this document is for.

What's New in Bitwig Studio v4.3 & v4.4

For those of you who are recent Bitwig users, hello! Here are some pointers to new and changed sections of this document.

Most recently, Bitwig Studio v4.4 includes Spectral Suite, four new audio FX and a package of sound content for all Bitwig Studio customers.

All four devices work in the frequency domain, slicing incoming audio into hundreds of frequency bands for analysis. The bands are then grouped based on their musical role, and placed on channels with volume, panning, and chains for loading different plug-ins, etc.

This includes:

  • New device: Freq Split (Spectral), divides the incoming audio into frequency groups and sorts them into one of four channels, with myriad split controls for modulation joy (see Freq Split).

  • New device: Harmonic Split (Spectral), tracks the fundamental of the incoming sound, for splitting Nonharmonics to one channel and dividing harmonics between Harmonics A and Harmonics B channels (see Harmonic Split).

  • New device: Loud Split (Spectral), uses two thresholds to separate the Quiet, Mid, and Loud portions of the incoming sound (see Loud Split).

  • New device: Transient Split (Spectral), separates the Transients (short, unstable sounds) and Tones (periodic or pitched sounds) with fluid algorithms (see Transient Split).

And new features of the v4.3 release include:

  • New device: Convolution (Reverb), straightforward device with quick adjustment controls for reverb, coloring, or anything else convolution can do (see Convolution).

  • New device: Delay+ (Delay), souped-up delay with hardwired modulations and a pre-stocked feedback loop that eats the latency of other devices/plug-ins (see Delay+).

  • Bundle of Polymer and Grid module updates, mostly analog-inspired:

    • New Polymer/Grid module: Union (Oscillator), a pulse / saw / triangle blending oscillator with some DC-drift when any Level or the Pulse Width changes (see Union).

      • The Polymer default preset now uses a Union oscillator, for its immediate, modulation-friendly controls and warm sound.

    • New Polymer/Grid module: Low-pass MG (Filter), a Moog-inspired classic filter, with mix buss saturation via the Drive control (see Low-pass MG).

      • The Polymer default preset now uses a Low-pass MG filter, because it sounds good and familiar.

    • Polymer/Grid envelope module updates: AD, ADSR, and AR each now have three Model options, including classic Analog, adjustable Relative (previously the only mode), and precise Digital options (see ADSR).

      • The top left of each module shows capital letter icon (either A, R, or D) to reflect the mode, and is clickable to switch modes via pop-up menu.

      • The Polymer default preset now uses an ADSR envelope set to Analog mode, for its classic response and ease of use.

    • Polymer/Grid module update: Sallen-Key (Filter; previously "Low-pass SK") now has 16 Filter Mode options, including low-, high-, and band-pass configurations (see Sallen-Key).

    • Polymer/Grid module update: Comb (Filter) now has a low-pass filter in the feedback loop and a Dampening Frequency control, which is relative to the module's Cutoff Frequency (see Comb).

    • Polymer/Grid filter module updates: Low-pass LD, Low-pass MG, Sallen-Key, SVF, XP, and Comb each have a Resonance Limit parameter (sometimes shortened as Q Limit), defining the point of clipping/saturation within each filter's resonance stage — and contributing to the color of its sound (see Polymer).

    • Polymer/Grid oscillator module updates: Pulse, Sawtooth, Sine, Triangle, Union, Wavetable, Phase-1, and Swarm each have an extended Phase Modulation Amount range, going up to 800 % for a broader range of digital phase/frequency modulation sounds (see Polymer).

    • Polymer/Grid module update: Sub (Oscillator) now has a Sawtooth option for Waveform, offering six settings (see Sub).

  • Comments can now be added to any track, layer (within one of our Layer devices), drum chain (within our Drum Machine device), Launcher scene, or Arranger cue marker:

    • Comments can be added/seen in the Inspector Panel for any of these objects (see Meet Inspector Panel).

    • All track and layer comments are available in either Mixer Panel (see Comments Section).

    • All Launcher scene and Arranger cue markers are available in the Sections tab of the Project Panel (see Sections Tab).

    • Comments are for you — for lyrics, recording settings, performance notes, whatever you need — and can be written in any language that Bitwig can display.

  • FX tracks now have sends, allowing FX tracks to be sent to any other FX track (see Inspecting FX Tracks, and FX Track Sends).

  • FX sends can now be disabled (see Send Section).

  • FLAC files can now be directly played back across Bitwig — in clips, with stretching, by Sampler, etc. etc.

    • Converting FLAC files to WAV is no longer necessary, saving space and time AND staying lossless.

  • Modulator sources assigned to a single destination tell you that destination in the window footer, when mousing over the modulation routing button.

  • Support for CLAP plug-ins (see the CLAP website ).

  • General modulator mapping improvements:

    • When setting a modulation range of a linear parameter, the unit will be shown while mapping.

    • When setting a modulation range of a logarithmic parameter (such as the Rate scaler for the LFO modulator or Grid module), positive modulations will be shown with × and negative modulations with ÷, since the modulations are multiplicative of the current setting.

    • When setting a modulation range of a cubic parameter (such as any envelope time setting, or module attenuator, etc. etc.), the modulation shows the maximum modulation value based on the parameter's current set value, along with an asterisk (*) since changing the set value will change the effective modulation range.

  • Device update: Bit-8 (Distortion) now has an Anti-alias switch, offering a more harmonically-friendly form of audio mangling (see Bit-8).

  • Device update: Spectrum (Analysis) now has Frequency Range options, for showing the extended Human Hearing range or scaling based on Bitwig's current Sample Rate (see Spectrum).

  • Device update: Test Tone (Utility) now has seven additional Waveform options, and a Bipolar toggle (see Test Tone).

  • Grid module update: Audio Out (I/O) now has higher-quality clipping algorithms, and an Output Clipping Level setting for the threshold (see Audio Out).

  • Grid module update: ADSR (Envelope) now has a Bias Out port, providing an offset envelope signal that always produces zero in the sustain segment (see ADSR).

  • Grid module update: Oscilloscope (Display) now has built-in scaling options, including a Y Maximum level and toggle for Y Bipolar (see Oscilloscope).

  • All Add Track functions now create tracks within the group, when a group track is expanded and focus is within it.

  • Controllers that target the Clip Launcher now use a rectangle to highlight the current targets from each active controller, and can optionally scroll Bitwig's GUI when the controller scrolls its targets.

  • The top of the Inspector Panel for devices has been simplified and given a fuller range of icons.

  • Modules (for The Grid and Polymer) now have a revision system, for managing updates and maintaining compatibility with previous use work:

    • When an UPDATE button appears on the top right of a module, mouse over it for a tooltip of the changes that clicking UPDATE would bring.

  • Device categories have been lightly reorganized, (see chapter 7: Introduction to Devices) better matching common plug-in categories:

    • New Distortion category — replacing the former Destruction, with all devices moving there.

    • New Modulation category — with Chorus+, Chorus, Flanger+, Flanger, Phaser+, Phaser, Rotary, and Tremolo moving there.

    • Comb is now in the Filter category.

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