At NAMM we got first-person looks at Bitwig Studio’s integration with controllers from Novation, Livid Instruments and Nektar, whose Panorama P1, P4, and P6 models should be deeply entwined with the software from Bitwig’s launch day.
At first glance Bitwig’s layout looks extremely similar to Ableton Live, the program Bitwig’s founders worked on before splitting off five years ago. However, the development team sets it apart by sampling some favorite aspects of other DAWs. For instance, Bitwig’s clip looping uses a similar style to that of Apple Logic. Bitwig’s drum machine is similar to Ableton’s drum rack, however, it includes a drum synthesizer and a wide variety of great-sounding presets. What would be Ableton’s session view is integrated into the arrangement, creating a seamless layout that eliminates the need to switch back and forth between the two.
The goals for Bitwig workflow are to be extremely intuitive at first use without requiring frequent trips to a user manual. For example, Bitwig users can click and drag modulation to instantly map modulation to many parameters such as a filter or LFO. Modulation can be applied to multiple effects at once, which can lead to drastic changes with just the turn of a knob.
Each audio device can contain more devices through a concept called “nesting.” That allows Bitwig users to directly apply effects to the feedback loop instead of in a chain, and these device nests can be dragged directly to other modulation devices, such as a step sequencer. For instance, you can start with a synth, add a filter that will be applied directly to the feedback loop, add an arpeggiator, and then this nest of devices can be placed into a step sequencer or other modulation options.
As rumored, Bitwig looks extremely intuitive and has many unique and impressive features allowing for faster workflow than any other DAW. Although the software hasn’t been released yet, the attention it’s garnered is well deserved. Bitwig Studio is successfully combining many different aspects of other popular DAWs and improving upon them.
Bitwig studio is set to launch on March 26 – with a street price of $399 in the US.