We've previously brought you news of the beta version but now Bitwig has officially released Bitwig Studio 3. Here’s their press release with the full details:
Released in 2014, Bitwig Studio 1 was the first music production software to combine linear and non-linear sequencing on Windows, macOS, and Linux. It paired cutting-edge technologies—like plug-in crash protection, nested devices chains, and a highly flexible user interface—with a lightning-fast workflow for keyboard, mouse, and touchscreen.
Bitwig Studio 2 arrived in February 2017 featuring modulators, which could be added to any device or plug-in. Along the way, version 2 added additional audio-stretching algorithms for various situations, an advanced phase-modulation synthesizer (Phase-4), our Sampler reborn with wavetable and granular options, and native integration with modular hardware via control voltage (CV) and gate signals.
Today, we are releasing Bitwig Studio 3, which opens a new window for working with sound: The Grid.
As was hinted at from the start, Bitwig Studio was always intended to provide a fully-modular sound design option, and this has become a reality with The Grid. The Grid is a modular sound-design environment. With a library of 154 modules, an assortment of editing gestures, and interactive assistance always on hand, modular patching is now easier for the professional and completely accessible to the newcomer.
Two new devices make use of The Grid to various ends:
Poly Grid is for instruments. That could mean simple, playable mono- or poly-synths. But it could also mean sequenced patches that play their parts whenever the transport is active. Or cascading drones that are controlled on faders for performance. Maybe a sample-based instrument that uses the note played for timbre instead of pitch. “Instrument” has a broad meaning, and so does Poly Grid.
FX Grid is usually an audio processor. The default patch connects the audio in buss straight to the audio out, waiting for any process added in between. That often means an audio effect—with optional voice stacking to thicken and vary the sound. But it could also mean pitch tracking the audio input to tune a modulating oscillator. Or even using note input as well to build a fully polyphonic, responsive audio processor. Most anything imagined can be built.
Natively Part of Bitwig Studio
As a new native element in Bitwig Studio, The Grid is accessible in myriad ways.
- Grid devices can be nested or layered along with other devices and plug-ins, and they are controllable via MIDI mapping and from the Open Controller API.
- Song position is available as a sample-accurate signal, locking a patch in The Grid to the project’s timeline.
- Arranger or clip-based automation can be added for any parameter in grid patches, even in combination with Bitwig Studio’s existing modulators.
- Grid modules like envelopes, LFOs, and sequencers all have modulator outputs as well. And just as Bitwig Studio’s modulators can control any parameter in The Grid, any grid signal can be used to modulate child devices.
- With dedicated grid modules for sending any control, trigger, or pitch signal as CV Out and receiving any CV In, hardware can be seamlessly integrated with The Grid.
Under the Hood
The technology powering The Grid is as it should be: working, felt, and transparent to the user:
- In The Grid, all signals are created equal—and 4x-oversampled for the highest sound quality. All signals are interchangeable so any out port can be connected to any in port.
- Every signal is stereo. That includes control signals, which indirectly affect audio. And plenty of modules can Stereo-ize signals, adding variety where needed.
- With The Grid’s quick workflow gestures, new modules can be dropped directly onto ports, automatically wiring them into your patch. And for signals that are needed regularly, we have the option of pre-cords. These clickable icons appear beside in ports, allowing common connections to be made wirelessly.
- Phase is the place. After pitch, timbre, and loudness, phase is the essential element of sound, capable of driving basic time functions, complex modulation synthesis, and so much more. With a dedicated category of phase modules, we have made these concepts freshly accessible and newly relevant for modern music production.
A particularly helpful feature of The Grid is that documentation of each module is built into the program. Every module in The Grid has an interactive help view that both describes every parameter on the module and allows you to manipulate the settings. And simply selecting a module will display all incoming and outgoing signals in the Inspector Panel.
The Grid Tutorials
With Bitwig Studio 3, we are starting two new tutorial series. Modular Concepts looks at universal ideas in sound synthesis and programming. And Let's Build A… starts with an idea and then makes it. Both primarily use The Grid, but the topics are relevant to sound programming on any platform.
The initial episodes are available here, with more to come every few weeks.
Beyond being a platform for new content creation, Bitwig Studio 3 also comes with 200+ Grid presets. These show the diverse possibilities of The Grid to create production-ready content.
On the Poly Grid side, these range from basic basses and pads, to arpeggios that harmonically adapt based on how many notes are being played, to physical models of wind instruments, and full grooves controlled from one knob. Also, a pile of synthesis techniques are on display.
As for FX Grid, there are plenty of adaptive audio effects, which adjust their own controls based on the incoming signal. Harmonizers built from modulated delays. Plus hand-crafted compressors and reverbs and resonators. And a variety of tools to color any incoming audio signal.
What Else Is New in Bitwig Studio 3?
- Redesigned Instrument Inspector, for all Bitwig devices that support polyphony. A consistent way of accessing our three voice modes (polyphony and two flavors of mono), voice stacking, and more.
- Automatic Project Backups, keeping a copy of the most recent project file nearby whenever you hit save. If data corruption ever strikes, this just might save the project.
- Realtime Ruler, showing timelines in minutes, seconds, etc., on any time-based display. Sometimes seeing the duration is easier.
- VU Meters in Routing Choosers, because seeing the right signal is easier than remembering port names.
- Ableton LINK version 3, supporting start/stop synchronization. This is optional, in case the session would benefit from it.
- Reworked Audio Backends, sporting timing improvements for ASIO & WASAPI (PC), CoreAudio (Mac), ALSA & PulseAudio (Linux), and Jack (everybody).
- Global GUI Contrast Settings, for fine-tuning the interface on monitors of any resolution and vintage.
- General UI Overhaul, including some redesigned dynamics devices, a better pop-up style when editing parameters, and cleaner readability across the board.
- Updated User Guide in English available to download in the Help Tab of Bitwig Studio.
Pricing and Availability:
Bitwig Studio 3 is available from selected retailers worldwide and in the Bitwig webshop. A free demo version is ready for download.
Bitwig Studio 3 comes as a free update for all customers with a Bitwig Studio license and a valid upgrade plan.