Needless to say, I had to play with polyphonic pitch control, gliding between various major and minor chords. While I wouldn’t want to do this for dense musical passages, I was quite taken with the effect for long, ambient notes, especially in concert with other modulation. A couple of other kinds of device complete the selection on offer. The Routers provide links to external MIDI and audio hardware. Clips are aligned so that their left-hand boundaries coincide, regardless of where the clips are in the Arranger — they can even be in different parts of the same track.
The views labelled Samples and Multisamples allow you to browse installed packages, or your own specified directories, for audio files or multisample setups. The Music view provides access to another set of directories categorised as ‘music’ as opposed to ‘samples’, the distinction apparently just for convenience. Clips browses individual clip files, and also seemed to pick up MIDI files, including in my case some I didn’t even know I had, while Files provides a general-purpose heirarchical view of everything. As you would expect, audio files, presets, clips and so on can be dragged in either direction between a Browser view and the current project. The only information that wasn’t immediately apparent is how clips are linked to their audio files. This is especially useful if you want to record Launcher clips into the Arranger, or just drag clips between the two.
Switch to the Edit Panel Layout, and you can edit a single track full-screen, which is handy for those microscopic tweaks. While Live associates a single audio file with a clip, Bitwig allows a clip to contain multiple audio segments or ‘events’, so a single clip can be treated almost as a self-contained audio track in its own right. Audio events can be sliced, dragged and resized, allowing for fine-grained alterations or even radical changes. For instance, you can take a drum loop, slice it on beat divisions and then shuffle them around in time to create something completely new. The closest Live comes to this sort of feature is the ability to apply automation to the clip’s playback position, which is not supported in Bitwig. The Stretch view lets us add, remove and shift the beat markers , warping the audio playback to match sonic events against the beat.
Wherever there’s a choice of panel content, a group of icon buttons is provided to switch between the alternatives. I tested Bitwig Studio (which, for the sake of brevity, I’ll just call ‘Bitwig’ from now on) on an Apple MacBook, but there are also versions for Windows and, curiously, Linux. If you need to capture your Mac screen, choose one of the programs listed in the guide below. These apps are easy to master and you can choose the one which best suits you. For the most part, you’ll find the same high-resolution files at all of these sites, and only have to choose between whether you’d like the 96kHz or 192kHz versions. Once you’ve downloaded the files, you’ll need to find a media player that can play music at its native resolution. I recommend VLC media player, which is available on Mac and PC.
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Onsets is an editing view for the onset markers, which can also be added, removed or shifted. Pitch, Pan and Gain provide access to a clip-level pitch-modification, audio panning and gain envelopes respectively. We should emphasise that these envelopes are not true automation in the usual sense, but are lower-level modulations applied to sections of a clip. This should become more apparent when we look at note editing, later.
Launcher clips can also be layered, but a mix of Launcher and Arranger clips is not allowed. An icon button in the left margin switches between this mode and the more familiar single-clip editing mode. This is in fact what Live does as well, but Live doesn’t have this single-track editing view to cause any confusion.
Overall, I was very impressed with the performance and stability of Bitwig, especially given that this is a version 1 release. It did occasionally drop out on mouse-clicks on my old and slow MacBook, but unless I was trying to use it over a networked screen connection from another machine, I found it to be basically uncrashable. Some of the click-and-drag response was a little glitchy, but I suspect that’s fixable in future releases — or on a decent computer. One nice feature of Bitwig’s devices is that modulation is animated in real time in the interface. The visual feedback almost made me feel that I was working with actual hardware.
- List your requirements and buy software that is a right for, not only your skills, but your budget as well.
- If you’re a musician at an intermediate level, you should also do the same as above.
- Now let’s move on to different music softwares for different skill sets.
- So, if you’re a solo musician who wants to have an entire orchestra Chrome backing you, you have to buy the right DAW for you.
- This software usually enables you to arrange an almost unlimited number of music tracks.
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It has a few rough edges, and a few holes in its feature set, to be expected from a version 1 release. As a long-time Ableton Live user, I initially found the roughness a little frustrating, but soon warmed to features like the multiple editing modes and versatile device configuration. Even if you don’t feel a compelling need to jump to Bitwig in this early incarnation, it’s certainly something to keep a close eye on.