Bitwig Studio Announced: Ableton’s New Competition?

Ableton Live has long been the the major player in DAWs that allow for use in both production and live contexts, but this morning Berlin-based Bitwig has announced their premiere software that aims to directly compete with Ableton as a solution for performance, studio work, and DJing – Bitwig Studio. After the jump, we’ve got the details on what’s different, and explanation why some fresh competition can only be a good thing. 

Features That Make Bitwig Studio Stand Out

As with any new software launch, there are tons of features to note, but we got excited by the following features that Ableton users have been clamoring for at least the last two major releases of Live.

  • 64-bit compatible
  • Native Linux support
  • Dual monitor support
  • Split view between Arrangement and Session views
  • A resizable clip matrix
  • Overlaid automation on clips
  • Automation on a per-note basis in the piano roll

Bitwig Team and What Competition Means

According to the Ableton forums, four members of the Bitwig Team are ex-Ableton employees, meaning that this release won’t be something to be taken lightly. We’re not entirely sure of the background here and what their current relationship is, but it’s certain to be an interesting story.

It’s also worth noting that Ableton prices don’t seem to be currently dictated by price accessibility or to compete with other industry alternatives, so a competitor like Bitwig Studio that’s bound to put a lower price on their software will only help breed innovation in the Ableton camp. That being said, everyone’s expecting something big from Ableton at NAMM – stay tuned next week as our coverage goes into full swing starting Wednesday!

Updated: One of our writers and friends, Hedgehog, called Bitwig this morning and got a chance to get a few more details from them. 


He got a chance to speak with Bitwig CEO Placidus Schelbert for a couple of minutes – thanks for talking with us, Placidus!

When asked about their relationship with Ableton, he said that they (Bitwig) admire Ableton a lot, and want rebuild some good parts of it and extend upon them. Live is a big chunk of software nowadays, and Bitwig wants to create a more focused experience and added features they consider important. They’ve been working on Bitwig Studio for two and a half years already, having invested their own money and being partially backed by a Berlin-based investment bank.

When asked asked if they’re concerned about legal issues arising with Ableton, Placidus assured us that the Bitwig Studio team wrote all the code themselves and that they don’t think they’ll be sued-  but he was careful to note that he couldn’t tell for sure that it won’t happen.

Hedgehog also asked about the promised feature of working together via LAN or internet, and learned that while on LAN you all use the same audio-output,  collaborating on internet every user will have his own audio settings. That means while your friend has one channel muted you can have totally different settings. Seems like a great way to not have to be emailing project files back and forth, though!

As of right now, there’s no firm release date, but Beta testing will begin in a few weeks. Try as he might, Hedgehog wasn’t able to get any information regarding the price (not even hints!).

For more information on Bitwig Studio, including a full feature list and a beta signup, visit their website here!

Excited about a bit of  DAW competition, or vastly underwhelmed? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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