Bitwig Studio 4 brings Operators, comping, Ableton Live and FL Studio file import

Plus, support for Apple Silicon and an emphasis on expression and chance

Bitwig has announced the fourth iteration of its modular DAW with Bitwig Studio 4. The new version introduces audio comping in the Clip Launcher and Arranger; Operators to dictate randomisation and recurrence; Spread for expressive parameters; native support for Apple Silicon Mac machines, and more.

Audio Comping in Bitwig 4 enables you to combine multiple takes of a recording for one perfect part. It’s made easier with colour coding for each take, the ability to swap in a new take by simply tapping it, and swift cycling through takes with up and down arrows. Comping is achieved within the audio clip itself so that you can comp in both the Clip Launcher and Arranger view.

By right-clicking any audio clip and selecting Fold To Takes, an eight-bar comp unpacks into take lanes, where you can instantly start comping. Alternatively, drag audio in to add a new take and mash up various sources. Check out a video on Audio Comping below.

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Operators are Bitwig’s latest modulators, featuring four modes to manipulate audio and MIDI events, which the brand says brings “new musical timelines”.

Chance is an Operator mode that alters the probability of an event. Repeats let you retrigger an event at a defined rate or divide them into any number of pieces, with a Slice at Repeats option to commit to individual events.

Occurrence and Recurrence are the other two Operator modes; Occurrence lets you create conditions for an event to decide whether it plays or not – you might only want a new part to follow a specific event, for example. Recurrence allows you to set an event to play on a particular cycle length, such as playing once every four loops of a clip. Clips can be expanded, too, meaning you can commit to any number of cycles of the original clip.

Bitwig’s new Spread function can be applied to any expression point. This means you can randomise note velocities and can pan individual notes within a chord, or make notes gradually drift out of tune to a random pitch. All random values are visualised in the editor and refresh when the next loop cycle begins.

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Apple Silicon Macs, such as the M1 MacBook Pro, can now natively run Bitwig 4. Plus, Intel and ARM-based plug-ins can run together, thanks to Bitwig hosting plug-ins separately outside the DAW – this is also what allows Bitwig Studio to continue running when a plug-in is forced to crash. Bitwig 4 also runs on Windows and Linux, with native CV and MPE support.

Bitwig 4 Expression Spread
A glimpse at Bitwig Studio 4’s Expression Spread

For dual-DAW users, Bitwig 4 now allows you to import data from FL Studio and Ableton Live as FLP and ALS files, respectively. According to the company, clips, arrangements, and plug-ins will all transfer over “pretty cleanly”. Auxy files can also be exported as a Bitwig Studio Project. New export options enable you to export projects as lossless WAV and FLAC files, lossy OGG and MP3s files, plus OPUS files. Further improvements include Chinese, Japanese and German language settings, and general workflow improvements.

Bitwig Studio 4 Beta is available to download today. Active Bitwig Studio owners with the Upgrade Plan can access the installer from their account. Otherwise, the updated DAW is slated for release in late Q2/early Q2 2021 as a free upgrade to Upgrade Plan owners. Minus comping, all features will be available for Bitwig Studio 16-Track and 8-Track.

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