6. The Mix View
For the past three chapters, we have dealt exclusively with the Arrange View, and more particularly with the Arranger Timeline Panel that is housed there. And while we are not done with the Arrange View (it will be back), it is time to see another of Bitwig Studio's views.
In this chapter we will take up the Mix View and its central Mixer Panel. As the purpose of each view is to provide tools organized around a musical task, the clear task of this view is mixing, the necessary art of adjusting and blending your tracks so that they play well together. This happens first at the master track, and then on to the real world, in headphones and on speakers.
We will begin by taking stock of the Mixer Panel, examining various functional details along the way. We will also look at places outside of the Mix View where mixing functions crop up. Finally, we will see how the master track's output can be easily controlled with the Studio I/O Panel.
The Mixer Panel
We will begin our examination with the Mixer Panel itself. Within the Mixer View, the Mixer Panel is the lone central panel.
The Arranger Timeline Panel was oriented horizontally, which is perfectly sensible for viewing the left-to-right timeline of your music. Just as sensibly, the Mixer Panel is laid out vertically like a traditional mixing board, with each available section stacked one atop the other.
The first and next to last sections (track headers at top, channel strip sections near the bottom) will always be visible. The View Toggles on the bottom right allow you to decide whether each of the six other sections are shown or hidden, with another two options for whether the FX tracks or deactivated tracks should be displayed.
We will take the sections of the Mixer Panel in order, starting at the top.
The track headers in the Mixer Panel contain the same information as the track headers of the Arranger Timeline Panel.
Each track header consists of at least three parts:
Track Color stripe: A swatch of the track's assigned color.
Track Type icon: An icon to indicate the kind of track (see Track Types).
Track Name: The title assigned to the track.
Track Fold button: Available for tracks whose primary signal path includes certain container devices (such as Drum Machine, Instrument Layer, or FX Layer). These devices all contain layers, which have some of the attributes of tracks — channel strip elements when appropriate (volume, pan, sends, etc.) and comments. When a fold button is enabled, the track's channel strip expands to the right, exposing all layers in the top-level of the container.
Clip Launcher Panel
The Clip Launcher Panel contains all of its usual elements and functionality when loaded into the Mixer Panel (see chapter 5: The Clip Launcher).
Its elements have just been rearranged to fit the vertical orientation of tracks in this view. Also note that each track can be resized horizontally to provide more screen space for viewing the track's clips.
Big Meters Section
These high-resolution stereo audio meters — aka the big meters — show each track's current output level.
The meters themselves display two values:
The top of the filled bars indicates the current average level (roughly, the track's current power).
The dashed line above the bars indicates the momentary peak level.
Along the left side of the meters are units of decibels (dB). The values at bottom are negative (beginning with negative infinity), eventually rising to zero, and ending in positive decibels at the top.
Beneath each meter on the right is a running record of the track's peak hold level.
To reset a meter's peak hold level: click on the peak hold level.
To reset the peak hold levels of all meters: hold SHIFT and then click on any meter's peak hold level.
The meters section will take up as much window space as is available so hiding other sections will grow these meters and enhance their resolution.
The devices section provides a list of all the top-level devices on each track.
This is not to be confused with the Device Panel (see The Device Panel), where parameters can be accessed and edited. This section can be used to call up the Device Panel, move/copy the devices present, and add new devices.
To focus on a track's device within the Device Panel: double-click the device.
To move a device: click and drag the device to the desired location.
You can also hold ALT to copy the device.
To layer a device with another:SHIFT-click and drag the device over top of the device where the layer should be inserted.
To add a device: click the track's Add Device button (the + icon) to pull up the Pop-up Browser (see The Pop-up Browser).
Also note that certain devices include mini displays within this interface. This includes EQ curves (for EQ+, EQ-5, and EQ-2) or gain reduction amounts (for Compressor, De-Esser, Dynamics, Gate, and Peak Limiter).
The send section provides a level knob for each FX track in your project. Other than the master, this section is available on all tracks and any visible layers.
The send section is the block of right-aligned knobs beneath the device section. In the image above, there are four FX tracks present, with corresponding send knobs on each track. These sends allow us to pass a portion of each track's audio into the various FX tracks. Using a send does not affect a track's main output level.
For each individual send, you can decide whether the audio being sent is taken before the track's volume fader has been applied or after. Since this setting is relative to the track's fader, the settings are called
Pre (for pre-fader) and
Post (post-fader). A third choice of
Auto is selected by default, permitting the FX track targeted to decide whether
Post should be used (see Inspecting FX Tracks, and FX Track Sends). To make this immediately readable on the mixer, the indicator ring around each send knob is painted correspondingly — normal
Post sends are colored yellow, and
Pre sends are blue.
To set a send's source setting: right-click the send, and then select the appropriate setting from the context menu.
Finally, each send can also be disabled. This can be a useful way to 'bypass' a routing without losing your level setting, and it is also a CPU saver.
To toggle a send: click on the name of the particular send. It will toggle between bright text and a regular knob (when activated) and dim text and a dim knob (when disabled).
To toggle all sends on a particular track:SHIFT-click any send of that track. If the particular send you clicked on was activated, then all of the track's sends will be disabled, and vice versa.
There is also a Disable All Unused Sends function, to save CPU — and to make the mixer easier to read. (For assigning shortcuts to functions, see Shortcuts Settings.)
New projects started in Bitwig Studio v4.3 or later have all sends disabled by default. The first adjustment of any send knob (even clicking on it) will automatically activate the send. This keeps all sends available with just one click, and keeps CPU usage to a minimum until each send is needed.
Track I/O Section
The Track I/O section allows you to assign the input and output paths for each track. This is exactly the same as it appears in the Arranger Timeline Panel (see Track I/O Settings).
Channel Strip Section
The channel strip section contains most of the same control items as the track headers of the Arranger Timeline Panel.
This section contains the following controls:
Pan knob: A stereo placement control for the track.
Record Arm button: Record enables the track.
Solo button: When any track has its solo button enabled, only tracks with solo enabled will output their audio.
Mute button: Disables the track's audio output.
Level meters: Stereo audio meters that display the track's output level.
Volume fader: A final level control for the track.
The crossfader section contains a Global Crossfader on the master track. Every other track has a Track Mix Selector, which allows you to designate whether that track belongs to the Amix, both mixes, or the B mix, respectively.
When a track mix selector is set to the A position, that track will be unaffected when the Global Crossfader is anywhere between the leftmost and center positions, but that track's level will be gradually faded out as the Global Crossfader moves from the center position to the far right.
When a track mix selector is set to the B position, that track will be unaffected when the Global Crossfader is anywhere between the rightmost and center positions, but that track's level will be gradually faded out as the Global Crossfader moves from the center position to the far left.
When a track mix selector is set to the both mixes option (the diamond button at center), that track is completely unaffected by the Global Crossfader.
Realize that the crossfader settings are active regardless of whether the crossfader section is visible or not.
In addition, the Global Crossfader's current position is also available as a modulator signal for any device on any track to use (see Globals).
- 0. Welcome to Bitwig Studio
- 1. Bitwig Studio Concepts
- 2. Anatomy of the Bitwig Studio Window
- 3. The Arrange View and Tracks
- 4. Arranger Clips and the Browser Panel
- 5. The Clip Launcher
- 6. The Mix View
- The Mixer Panel
- Other Mixing Interfaces
- Master Track Routing
- 7. Introduction to Devices
- 8. Automation
- 9. Working with Audio Events
- 10. Working with Note Events
- 11. Operators, for Animating Musical Sequences
- 12. Going Between Notes and Audio
- 13. Working with Projects and Exporting
- 14. MIDI Controllers
- 15. Advanced Device Concepts
- 16. Welcome to The Grid
- 17. Working on a Tablet Computer
- 18. Device Descriptions
- 19. Credits
The comments section shows all track and unfolded layer/drum chain comments side-by-side. These could be used for recording settings, content reminders, mixing notes, or keeping track of to-do items — it is your choice.
Clicking in the comment area allows for adding comments on that object, or you can select and edit text as usual.