The new re­leases at NAMM 2017

Bitwig Stu­dio heads up the huge sto­ries from this year’s in­dus­try show

Computer Music - - News -

The re­lease of Bitwig Stu­dio in 2014 meant that, for the first time, neo-DAW Able­ton Live had some di­rect com­pe­ti­tion. Here was an up­start DAW straight outta Berlin, com­bin­ing brazen recre­ations of Live’s sig­na­ture el­e­ments with its own in­no­va­tions, such as the bril­liant Uni­fied Mod­u­la­tion Sys­tem, and a poly­phonic au­toma­tion fea­ture, Note Event Ex­pres­sions. Our 9/10 re­view in 203 con­cluded that “Bitwig Stu­dio is a fan­tas­tic, for­ward-think­ing DAW in its own right – and this is only ver­sion 1!” Well, it’s time to pre­pare our test­bench once again, be­cause Bitwig Stu­dio 2 has ar­rived!

The range of De­vices has swelled, with a whop­ping 24 new Mo­du­la­tors, in­clud­ing Ran­dom, Se­lect-4 and Math. New au­dio De­vices are Spec­trum An­a­lyzer, Pitch Shifter, Phaser, and Treemon­ster, an “or­ganic ze­ro­cross­ing am­pli­tude con­trolled ring mod­u­la­tor with a life of its own”. For note pro­cess­ing, there’s Multi-Note (a “chorder"), Note Echo, Note Har­mo­nizer, Note Latch, Note Length and Note Ve­loc­ity.

The new MIDI CC and MIDI Pro­gram Change units should be handy for con­trol­ling ex­ter­nal MIDI hard­ware, and the DAW can now trans­mit MIDI time­code. But what if you’re more into barmy CV-con­trolled ana­logue good­ies? Well, the ’wigs have got your back with HW Clock Out, HW CV In­stru­ment and HW CV Out – these send CV clock, note and con­trol sig­nals re­spec­tively.

Many pre-ex­ist­ing De­vices have also been re­fined for ver­sion 2. Most notably, Polysynth sports new os­cil­la­tor and wave­shap­ing modes, im­proved uni­son, and a high-pass fil­ter.

Other ad­di­tions in­clude fades/cross­fades, VST3 sup­port (in­clud­ing per-note ex­pres­sion, which most DAWs out­side of Cubase don’t sup­port), slicker tool-switch­ing, a front-end Dash­board screen, no­ti­fi­ca­tion sys­tem, and more.

A new li­cense model has been adopted, pro­vok­ing heated fo­rum dis­cus­sions. Bitwig Stu­dio 2 costs $399 (up­grade, $169), in­clud­ing free up­dates/up­grades and pri­or­ity sup­port for 12 months. The soft­ware will work af­ter this point (it’s a per­pet­ual li­cense), but you’ll need to re­new your plan for fur­ther up­dates. It’s out Fe­bru­ary 28.


As well as new fea­tures galore, Bitwig Stu­dio 2 has had a sub­tle vis­ual makeover

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