Bitwig Studio 5 is Now Available – Here’s What’s New


Bitwig has announced that Bitwig Studio 5 is now available, a major update to the DAW that features a new sound library, expanded modulation options, improved Clip Launching capabilities and more.

Bitwig Studio 5.0 is available now and is a free update for anyone with a Bitwig Studio license and an active Upgrade Plan. With the launch of version 5, Bitwig also is introducing Essentials and Producer, two new editions alongside their flagship product, Bitwig Studio. Find out details on the Bitwig website.
New in Bitwig Studio 5:

Freeform Sound Package

Any shape can make a sound: a squiggle, a line, a curve. That’s the idea behind Freeform, a Bitwig sound package that contains curves for MSEG devices, wavetables for the Wavetable LFO, presets for instruments and FX, and note and audio clips.

Freeform’s curves can be used in a broad range of musical and sound design contexts: They can be modulators, oscillators, waveshapers, sequencers etc. Dozens of Freeform’s curves were specially designed for specific MSEGs, such as custom oscillators or distortion shapes. But since they’re BWCURVE files, they can be loaded into any of the MSEG devices and used for your own modulations or patches. Freeform also has more than 100 presets that include MSEGs and Wavetable LFOs for a variety of Bitwig instruments, from pad sounds to bass voices and drums.

You will also find some more experimental applications of curves in audio FX, selectors, and note FX presets that generate rhythmic patterns and sequences.

MSEGs: Beyond Envelopes

A multi-segment envelope generator (MSEG) is a tool for drawing custom signals for envelopes, automation shapes, looping patterns, oscillator curves, waveshapers, sequencers etc. We created five different kinds of MSEGs that can be used as Grid modules, and two of them are also available as modulators. Separate devices means each one is focused on and optimized for its particular task.

  • Segments is a customizable envelope that can be used as a Grid and Polymer module or as a modulator that controls any parameter. Four Play Mode op­tions are avail­able for Segments:
    • One-shot – Plays through the en­tire shape (while the voice is alive) when a note is triggered
    • Hold – Can use any one of the curve’s points as the hold/sus­tain lev­el, which also acts as the re­lease start
    • Loop­ing – Can loop forwards between any two of the curve’s points on sus­tain; the loop end point is also the re­lease start
    • Ping Pong – Can loop forwards and backwards between any two of the curve’s points on sus­tain; the loop end point is also the re­lease start
  • Curves is an LFO modulator and Grid module that can sync to the beat time or groove.
  • Scrawl is a draw-your-own oscillator for The Grid and Polymer Bitwig’s hybrid modular synth. Its anti-aliasing helps make any shape work and sound good.
  • Slopes is a pattern sequencer for The Grid with stereo phase options.
  • Transfer is a waveshaper for transforming incoming audio or other signals in The Grid.

Clicking any curve display opens the curve editor in a Pop-out Editor window that allows for easy freehand drawing. There are also shortcuts for jumping to double time or triplets. All your designs can be saved as a BWCURVE file and loaded in another MSEG. A visual browser displays all presets and user content at a glance.

Modulation, Elevated

In Bitwig Studio 5, modulators are no longer limited to devices — they can grab the mixer and project controls as well. That means one LFO can modulate any device on the same track, as well as the track’s panning, sends, and other parameters. Move that LFO to the project level to add modulations to all devices, channel strips, and transport targets.

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

New Performance Gestures

Bitwig Studio is adding new performance options, with updates to the Clip Launcher.

You can now set Next Actions to occur when a key or pad is released in addition to when it’s launched. ALT triggers offer a second option for activating scenes or clips. These features allow performers to decide how their set will unfold in the moment, as they can (for instance) tap a clip to launch it at the next bar line, or ALT-trigger to immediately swap to the new clip. Thavius Beck demonstrates this improved live workflow in a new explanatory video.

Project-wide normal and ALT-trigger gestures can be set in one place, and you can customize 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.

Since all tracks now have their own remotes, the mixer offers a bird’s-eye view of the most important parameters. That way, building a customized set of mix and performance controls is easy. And new mapping options allow users to launch scenes and clips with any hardware.

Updated Browsers

In addition, Bitwig Studio 5 introduces overhauled browsers for a more streamlined experience and a visual way to access content. Now, search results for plug-ins, presets, and wavetables (etc. etc.) all live in one place. There’s also a customizable shortcuts pane that allows users quick access to their favorite sound packages, content types (e.g., wavetables, drum hits, or samples) or folders. Details on all the new features are available in the release change log.

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