Bitwig has announced version 5 and the big news is that it has 5 new envelopes. Why is this news?
I’m a huge fan of Bitwig, and it’s my go-to DAW and performance software, especially when running on a Surface Pro. It’s colourful, full of interesting synths and performance features and is very very modular. So when they announce a new version, it’s a very exciting thing. But what’s boggling me at the moment is why the top new feature is a bunch of envelopes. Why would we care about envelopes?
Bitwig calls them MSEGs which stands for multi-segment envelope generators. The idea is that you can draw your own envelope a bit like you would for automation on a track. But then you can use these shapes to control all sorts of things. You can loop them or bits of them to create custom LFOs. Bitwig’s modular nature means that you can drop these envelopes into all sorts of places.
The five types are Segments for drawing and looping, Curves is for LFOs, Scrawl for generating waveform oscillators, Transfer is to do with waveshaping, and Slopes is a pattern sequencer.
These all need further investigation to uncover why this is awesome – because it will undoubtedly be awesome. But the idea of having a few envelopes is not awesome to me at the moment.
Other cool things include being able to modulate the mixer. Now, this is fantastic – they should lead with this. I’ve never really been into automation but I do like modulation and it’s seemed like an obvious thing to be able to do. You can now direct LFOs and modulators to level, pan, sends and so on – brilliant. However, I wish they had worked on the look of the mixer because it’s always been rather underwhelming.
There some new stuff going on with the clip launcher. There are all sorts of clip trigger modes that you can allocate either individually or globally. Using an “Alt” system means that you can give everything two modes, a regular mode and then an alternate mode that might do something more interesting.
This means that you can launch regular clips and then throw in other bits instantly or with some other action in Alt mode while holding Shift, and then the clips behave again when you release. I’m looking forward to getting into that and seeing how well it works with touchscreen control on the Surface Pro.
There’s other stuff and Bitwig comes fairly packed with instruments and processors.
I hope to have a good dig around soon as I’m preparing to do a deep dive into the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 and Bitwig will no doubt feature quite heavily. If I can find the time I’ll do a proper Bitwig review – but reviewing a DAW is no small task!
- Bitwig website.