Issue 93


Ableton Live 12
What’s in. What’s out. What to expect.


Bitwig Studio 5

An array of new features announced.


12 April 2023

Bitwig Studio 5 introduces five new MSEGs. Developing this family of modulators and modules led to a major upgrade for our entire modulation system. In version 5, modulators can do more, like control track- and project-level parameters and expand into pop-out windows. Bitwig also created new ways to perform live with its software, and overhauled the browsers to make it easy to find what you need.

Beyond Envelopes
A multi-segment envelope generator (MSEG) is a tool for drawing custom envelopes, automation shapes, looping patterns — and just about anything else. We created five different kinds that can be used as Grid modules, two of which are also available as modulators.

Segments allows you to draw your own envelope with as many points as you need and loop it if you want, while Curves enables you to paint geometric patterns onto a changing beat grid for a unique LFO. And if you can draw your own control signals, why not draw oscillators, too? That’s a job for Scrawl, an MSEG with clever math to make handmade waveforms sound good at any pitch. You can even make custom waveshapers with Transfer, or use the phase-driven sequencer Slopes for a deeper level of control.

Segments. An envelope with global time-scaling and loop modes. Use it as a Grid and Polymer module or as a modulator controlling any parameter.

Curves. An LFO modulator and Grid module that can sync to the beat time or groove.

Drawing. Drawing in the MSEGs’ Pop-out Editor windows is a breeze, with tools for freehand entry or shapes, and shortcuts for jumping to double time or triplets — even while still holding the mouse.

Scrawl. An anti-aliasing oscillator for The Grid and Polymer.

Slopes. A pattern sequencer for The Grid with stereo phase options.

Transfer. A waveshaper for transforming incoming audio or other signals in The Grid.

All your designs can be saved as a BWCURVE file and loaded in another MSEG. And a visual browser lets you see your content (and stock presets) at a glance.

Modulation, Elevated
Bitwig’s modulation system sets itself apart with a powerfully simple approach: Any control source — including audio or CV signals — can affect any device or plug-in. Now its modulators aren’t limited to devices — they can grab the mixer and project controls as well.

You can now animate your entire mixer with any of Bitwig’s 40+ modulators, from step sequencers to audio sidechains or envelopes. One LFO can modulate any device on the same track, as well as the track’s panning, sends, and other parameters. And if you move that LFO to the project level, you can add modulations to all devices, channel strips, and transport targets, too. Want to sidechain the Fill button, or MSEG the project tempo? Now you can.

MSEGs aren’t the only 5.0 modulators with Pop-out Editor windows. The Steps and Keytrack+ modulators and The Grid’s data sequencers also got resizable panes for cleaner editing and some helpful new functions.

New Performance Gestures
In Bitwig’s Clip Launcher, you press a clip to launch it. But what should happen when you let go? Maybe this clip should stop when you pick up your finger, or it could return to whatever was playing before. In fact, any of the Next Actions can be used, so just pick what you want from the clip’s On Release menu.

And now you can choose between two ways to trigger clips and scenes with a new ALT trigger option. The defaults are simple: tap a clip (normal trigger) to launch it at the next bar line, or ALT-trigger to immediately swap in the new clip, legato style. So decide in the moment and perform freely.

Project-wide normal and ALT-trigger gestures can be set in one place, and you can customise any clip or scene to have its own settings. That includes release options for both normal and ALT gestures, legato options for following the playing clip or the project transport, and a revamped Next Action section with simple loop counts.

Now that all tracks have their own remotes, the mixer offers a bird’s-eye view of your most important parameters. That way, you can build a customised set of mix and performance controls. And new mapping options allow you to launch scenes and clips with any hardware.

Browse Better
The browser improvements are more than just a fresh coat of paint. Now, search results for plug-ins, presets, and wavetables (etc. etc.) all live in one place. The updated browsers also provide better ways to find Bitwig’s devices, customisable shortcuts, and a more visual way to browse your content.

The new browsers implement a modern, flexible approach that does away with hierarchies. You can search through devices, presets, and everything else — including different types of media or content — all in one screen.

  • All Sources — including sounds by type, packages, your folders etc.
  • Current Source — including hybrid sources, like Drum Hits (drum presets + samples)
  • Quick Sources — customisable by drag‑and‑drop
  • Minimise option
  • Favourites view filter
  • Filters
  • Recent searches and snapshots
  • Free search entry
  • All search results
  • Favourites & collections indicators
  • Current selection
  • Show presets for devices, plug‑ins

And Then Some
The foundations got some love too, with a brand new onset detector that makes audio work better from the moment you drag it in. We’re also introducing Spanish and Korean language support for Bitwig Studio. A dead-simple Keytrack+ modulator has an embedded MSEG editor window so you can draw your settings or load and save curves. And for morphing control signals, you’ll love the new Wavetable LFO modulator/Grid module, equally suited for irregular shapes AND instant techno. Yes, please.

By The Numbers
v5 is the company’s 20th major release of Bitwig Studio, which currently has 112 native instruments, note FX, and other devices. The semi-modular Polymer synth now has 270 combinations (9 oscillators × 6 filters × 5 envelopes). With the new MSEG family, Keytrack+, and Wavetable LFO, there are 42 modulators for controlling everything from the project mixer to CLAP/VST plug-ins. And The Grid now has a fleet of 200 modules, including all five MSEGs, Wavetable LFO, and some other helpful new friends.

Bitwig Studio 5.0 is now in beta and can be tested by anyone with a Bitwig Studio license and an active Upgrade Plan. You’ll find the installers in your user profile. The official release is planned for Q2 this year. This is a free update for all license holders with an active Upgrade Plan at time of announcement (April 11, 2023).


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Issue 93


Ableton Live 12
What’s in. What’s out. What to expect.