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 Producer and Bitwig Studio Essentials 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 v5.1

For those of you who are recent Bitwig users, hello! Here are some pointers to new and changed sections of this document. New features and some of the updates in Bitwig Studio v5.1 include:

10 New Filters & Waveshapers

  • New Grid/Polymer/Filter+/Sweep module: Fizz (Filter), a modern Character filter for spreading harmonic nodes around (see Fizz).

  • New Grid/Polymer/Filter+/Sweep module: Rasp (Filter), a modern Character filter that can scream or whisper (see Rasp).

  • New Grid/Polymer/Filter+/Sweep module: Ripple (Filter), a modern Character filter with hyper-resonance (see Ripple).

  • New Grid/Polymer/Filter+/Sweep module: Vowels (Filter), an Inspired filter that produces vowel sounds (see Vowels).

  • New Grid/Filter+/Sweep module: Push (Waveshaper), a Character soft clipper with a detailed curve (see Push).

  • New Grid/Filter+/Sweep module: Heat (Waveshaper), a Character S-shaped clipper that starts soft but can drive hard (see Heat).

  • New Grid/Filter+/Sweep module: Soar (Waveshaper), a Character soft wave folder that makes the quietest parts loud (see Soar).

  • New Grid/Filter+/Sweep module: Howl (Waveshaper), a Character wave folder that puts different parts of the signal into loud focus (see Howl).

  • New Grid/Filter+/Sweep module: Shred (Waveshaper), a Character non-linear wave folder for subtle cancellation or big-time artifacts (see Shred).

  • New Grid/Filter+/Sweep module: Diode (Waveshaper), a Parametric shaper modeling the classic circuit in a modern way (see Diode).

Two New Grid-powered Audio Effects

  • New audio effect: Filter+ (Filter), a dead-simple FX box, for deploying any waveshaper and filter from The Grid directly onto a track (see Filter+).

  • New audio effect: Sweep (Filter), a performable effect device, combining and blending a waveshaper and two filters from The Grid (see Sweep).

Voice Stacking Expansion

  • Voice Stacking can now provide up to 16 voices, a creative approach to sound design that is also available to certain audio effects, note effects, and CLAP plug-ins (see Voice Stacking).

  • Individual voices can be soloed, for clear and easy sound programming (see Voice Stacking).

  • The old Voice Stack modulator has been replaced, with two new, focused modulators taking over and expanding its functions in the new Voice Stacking category:

    • New modulator: Stack Spread (Voice Stacking), offering 12 spread modes including standard splits, special distributions, and randomize options (see Stack Spread).

    • New modulator: Voice Control (Voice Stacking), for direct adjustment of any of the up to 16 voices within a voice stack (see Voice Control).

    • Projects using the old Voice Stack modulator open with the new modulator(s) instead, preserving modulation connections and all.

  • Three new Grid modules have been added, offering direct access to individual Voice Stacking signals and more:

    • New Grid module: Voice Stack Info (I/O), provides both the polyphonic Voice Stack Index for creating your own spread functions, and the current Voice Stack Size (see Voice Stack Info).

    • New Grid module: Voice Stack Mix (Mix), a modulatable processor with standard mix controls for each voice in the stack, at any point within a patch (see Voice Stack Mix).

    • New Grid module: Voice Stack Tog (Mix), a modulatable processor to toggle the signal for each voice in the stack, at any point within a patch (see Voice Stack Tog).

Audio Quantize and other Onset Controls

  • Audio Quantize is now available, a high-level function that creates beat markers based on certain onsets and slides them toward the beat grid (see Event Menu Functions).

  • Onset visualization and threshold controls are now in several function dialogs, including Quantize Audio, Slice In Place (see Event Menu Functions), Slice to Multisample, and Slice to Drum Machine (see The Slice to Multisample Function).

  • Onset-aware stretch algorithms now have an Onset Intensity Threshold, letting you exclude weaker onsets from affecting playback (see Stretch Section).

Mixer Improvements

  • Channel strips have been improved, both in the mixer and other interfaces (see Channel Strip Section).

  • Track headers have been redesigned, showing connecting various layers visually and providing more color (see Track Headers).

  • Devices with an Expanded Device View can now be opened from various mixer and Inspector Panel interfaces (see Devices Section).

  • Mixer panels become scrollable when possible while still adapting to the available space as necessary (see The Mixer Panel).

Other new things include:

  • Creation and support of DAWproject file format, a modern interchange format for taking project files from one music software to another (see Exporting Projects).

  • New Grid/Polymer module: Bite (Oscillator), a Techniques-driven oscillator, offering exponential FM, hard sync, PWM, and ring mod from dual oscillator feedback (see Bite).

  • Make Legato function now takes chords into account, treating notes that start within a short time of one another as entities that should be extended together (see Event Menu Functions).

  • Updated FX Grid (The Grid) device: now has an Auto-gate option (and accompanying Auto-gate Release Time parameter) to make an FX Grid patch note-activated without editing the patch (see Voicing "FX Grid").

    • Auto-gate is on by default for FX Grid, as well as in the Grid-powered Filter+ and Sweep (Filter) devices.

  • New Grid module: Toggle In (Mix), a switch between two incoming signals, with a button directly on the module (see Toggle In).

  • New Grid module: Toggle Out (Mix), a switch between two outgoing paths, with a button directly on the module (see Toggle Out).

  • New Grid module: Pitch Buss (Pitch), a pitch summing buss with semitone-based attenuators, for up to six inputs (see Pitch Buss).

  • New Grid module: Invert (Math), gives a button to reverse polarity (× -1) of the incoming signal, with Stereo-ness option (see Invert).

  • New Grid module: Reciprocal (Math), gives a button to flip (1/x) the incoming signal, with Stereo-ness option (see Reciprocal).

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