Recording Clips

Since we can now edit Arranger clips in the most fundamental ways, it is a good time to examine recording new note and audio clips. This begins with getting the right signals routed into our tracks.

Before we deal with this on a track level, make sure that any audio and MIDI interfaces/controllers you are using have been set up properly (see Settings Tab).

Track I/O Settings

To assign input and output paths for each track, we must first have access to the Track I/O section within each track header. This section's visibility is toggled by clicking the Track I/O view toggle.

This section contains the following controls:

  • The input chooser lets you select which signals are getting routed into the track.

    For instruments tracks, the options are incoming MIDI sources. The default selection is All inputs so that every MIDI source should make it to the track.

    For audio tracks, the options are both incoming audio sources and the audio outputs of all other tracks. The default selection is No input.

    [Note]Note

    If a desired MIDI source is missing, select the Add Controller… option, which will open the Controllers tab on the Settings page of the Dashboard (see Controllers Settings).

    Similarly, Add Buss… can be selected from any audio input or output chooser, which goes to the Audio tab instead (see Audio Settings).

  • The output chooser lets you select where the track's final audio is getting routed to. The default selection is Master, which will serve us well in nearly all situations.

  • The monitor button is now a three-state toggle on the left of the input chooser.

    An empty icon represents monitoring set to Off.

    An filled icon represents monitoring set to Auto.

    An encircled icon represents monitoring set to On. Or you can right-click on any monitor switch to see a list of all modes.

    The default setting for all tracks is Auto.

Recording Note Clips

A few steps are needed to successfully record a note clip. First, we need a sound source for our audio. Second, we need a MIDI source to record as notes. And then, we can hit record.

Loading an Instrument Preset

Note clips in Bitwig Studio — not unlike MIDI — are really just instructions to be interpreted by an instrument device. Notes themselves do not produce any sound. So before we record any notes, we should load an instrument preset so that our notes can be realized.

To load an instrument device: go to the Browser Panel and select the Presets tab. Under the Devices area, browse within the Bitwig container and pick one of the instrument subheadings, such as Keyboard or Synth. From the selection pane, drag any preset into the Arrangement Timeline Panel.

If you do not like the first device preset you load, repeat the above steps until you find one you appreciate.

Setting a MIDI Source

If you have a MIDI keyboard connected and already made Bitwig Studio aware of it, then it should be working already. By playing the keys, the instrument track's level meters should start showing audio.

[Note]Note

By default, all incoming MIDI channels will be received and written on record. A couple Channel settings are also available from the Inspector Panel when you select the header of the instrument track in question.

If you want a track to receive messages From a particular channel and/or want to record all incoming data To a single channel, just change these track settings here.

If you do not have a MIDI controller — or your MIDI device is all knobs and no keys — press CAPS LOCK to temporarily transform your computer keyboard into a MIDI keyboard. Pressing letters in the top two rows should trigger notes and cause the audio meters to dance.

[Note]Note

While CAPS LOCK is active, most key commands will not work.

Recording Notes

To record an Arranger note clip: enable the track's record arm button, enable the Global Record button, and then activate the transport and begin playing notes.

Recording Audio Clips

Unlike notes, the audio events that make up audio clips do not require any devices. They are already audio. So once we determine the audio source to be recorded, we should be good to go.

Setting an Audio Source

Whether you are using an external audio interface or the internal interface of your computer, you first need to set the desired input source in the track's input chooser (they will be at the top of the chooser list). If you enable the monitor button of the track and then send audio to this input, you should see the input in the track's audio meters.

Before recording, you probably want to disable the record arm buttons on all other tracks. Otherwise, you could trigger multiple tracks to record at once and alter or erase other clips in the process.

Recording Audio

To record an Arranger audio clip: enable the track's record arm button, enable the Global Record button, and then activate the transport.

Comp Recording in the Arranger

If the Arranger Loop is enabled, this does affect playback as previously described (see Playing Back the Arranger). But it also affects recording, enabling a "cycle recording" mode that is ideal for capture audio for comping.

To do cycle recording in the Arranger: enable the Arranger Loop toggle, with the desired period set (by the Arranger Loop Selector). Then enable the track's record arm button, enable the Global Record button, and then activate the transport.

[Note]Note

Regardless of the Arranger Loop being on or off, there are two possible recording behaviors when the playhead encounters Arranger audio clips:

  • If the audio clip was actively looping (with its Looping parameter enabled and with some amount of looping on the timeline), the section where recording happens will remove the old clip and record a new one.

  • If the audio clip was not actively looping, new audio recordings will be added into the clip as comping takes and selected for playback.

So if you want to record new comping takes into a looping Arranger clip, you might consider using Consolidate for the relevant portion of that clip before recording.

[Note]Note

For information on editing comping expressions within a clip, see Comp Editing Workflow.

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