Out Now: Bitwig Studio 3.3
Just as real instruments offer expression without distraction, Bitwig Studio 3.3 aims to extend and focus the musician's workflow. For professional sound design, a hybrid modular synthesizer. For permanent access to scenes and markers, a new project Sections page. For cleaner editing, free content scaling and transient-preserving behaviors. Oh, and a world of wavetable.
Polymer: Hybrid Modular, Fun and Quick
Polymer starts simple: pick an oscillator, a filter, and an envelope generator. Swapping out Grid modules within a dedicated synthesizer is both fast and quick, helping you craft production-worthy sounds from minimal controls immediately.
Beside the three modules are a streamlined set of support parameters, providing ease of control and playability. And from this deceptively small package, a bouquet of synthesis is available: subtractive, FM/PM, hard sync, PWM, phase distortion, and now wavetable (more on that below).
Of course, Polymer lives within Bitwig Studio and its open modular philosophy. Add a modulator to make any parameter move. Turn on Voice Stacking to layer a sound with unique variations. Group any Polymer, and add another synth or plug-in beside it. Even right-click Polymer to convert it to Poly Grid if you need full control.
The Sounds of 3.3
Accompanying the update and as a hands-on introduction to our new synthesizer Polymer, we’ve designed the Polymerics sound package. And since a wavetable synth and module needs, um, wavetables, we've also created an additional Wavetable utility package.
The new Wavetable module brings another method of synthesis, and does it Bitwig-style. True to The Grid, this oscillator can be read by stereo control signals, accessing different parts of a wavetable at once. It offers three unique unison modes for making a small universe out of each note played. And it looks good, both in The Grid and Polymer.
Since a wavetable synth needs, um, wavetables, we've created and cleaned up 139 of those in five categories. Plus any WT file can be read directly, and Serum- and WaveEdit-compatible WAV files can be imported. And browsing is a visual joy.
And don't forget the new Vibrato modulator. This musical LFO is controlled by mod wheel by default, but can also be switched to poly pressure or manual control. Another five clicks saved every time. Use them on sound instead.
Finally, since you sometimes just want to push through a wavetable, a new Ramp modulator has joined the team. Just set the time, curve, and direction. Something so simple and predictable (and with a looping option) will likely find a place in many of your sounds.
Editing, Workflow, and Then Some
Some editing and workflow features have come along for 3.3 as well.
Free Content Scaling. Whatever is selected in the timeline can now be stretched directly. Just select a bunch of notes, and then ALT-drag the right-hand boundary to scale them relative to the left edge (or vice versa). Same deal with audio events or clips or any time selection. Or type in a percentage, if you need precision.
Project Sections Page. The Project Panel has gained a new Sections page, which lists all of your Arranger cue markers and Launcher scenes side-by-side. So now there's a reserved space for scenes and markers, even when a huge mixer, Grid patch, or whatever takes over the screen.
Trim your clip, not your sound. Bitwig aims to preserve your transients. Version 3.3 extends this thinking to fades, allowing you to fade in from where your audio starts or to go back before it begins, automatically extending the clip and keeping the sound as edited. And adjusting crossfades, sliding edit boundaries, and adjusting gain only take one click now.
Modulation enhancements. While modulators could always control each other, any single modulation routing can now be scaled by a modulator. And each modulation routing now has various curves, either for shaping the signal or making it responsive across only part of a knob range.
And those devices. Since Arpeggiator can sequence pitches, a Skip Step option is a nice way to evolve those lines. As Polymer makes use of The Grid, it was a good time to add a Sub oscillator, a one-channel Pan knob, Octaver for octave offsets, and Velo Mult for velocity sensitivity. Because Wavetable is uniquely interesting in stereo, five Grid modules gained stereo processing options. And Micro-pitch got a new EDO mode, dividing any musical interval into a set number of pieces. (Yes, that happened.)
By The Numbers
v3.3 is our 14th version of Bitwig Studio. Polymer is our 94th device, which includes the instruments, effects, and fancy containers that are part of Bitwig Studio. With Vibrato and Ramp joining the squad, there are now three dozen (that's 36) modulators for taking control of our devices or VST plug-ins. If you use The Grid for building or preset exploration, there are 175 Grid modules there. And if you think about it, Polymer's three slots provide 140 possible combinations (7 oscillators × 5 filters × 4 envelopes). Just from setting those three menus, and before you turn a single knob. #science
And by the way, you can read the Bitwig Studio 3.3 release notes by following this link...
Bitwig Studio 3.3 is available now. It is a free upgrade to everyone with an active Upgrade Plan for Bitwig Studio. Polymer and the new modulators (Vibrato and Ramp) are also part of Bitwig Studio 16-Track. View the full Bitwig feature comparison chart here...