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Test Tone - Audio FX Bitwig Guide

Bitwig Guide | Mar 03, 2023

I used the Test Tone device in Bitwig Studio to demonstrate how it can be used for testing speakers, effects chains, or other sounds. I showed how to use the oscilloscope to view the waveform of the sound, as well as how to adjust the frequency, gain, and bipolar modes. I then demonstrated how to use the Test Tone to create a monophonic synth by modulating the gain with an ADSR and adding a vibrato with the mod wheel. I also showed how to use the Test Tone to create a polyphonic synth with the instrument selector. Finally, I demonstrated how to use the Test Tone to create a ring modulator with a source effect.

You can watch the Video on Youtube - support me on Patreon

Questions & Answers

Maybe you dont watch the video, here are some important takeaways:

How to create a synthesizer?

The Test Tone device can be used to create a synthesizer by setting the wave shape to a sine wave, dialing in the frequency to the desired note, and then bringing in a Key Track modulator to modulate the frequency by 64 semitones. You can then add an ADSR modulator to the gain, and use the mix knob to blend in signals from before in the chain. You can then put the device in a container and add macros to the ADSR. Lastly, you can duplicate the device multiple times and set the playback mode of the instrument selector to Free Robin.

What is the purpose of the Dirac waveform?

The Dirac waveform is meant for creating impulse responses. It is a small burst of noise with all frequencies in it. It can be used for testing speakers, testing systems, and testing effect chains.

Tone device combined with a Ring Modulator?

The Test Tone device can be used with a Ring Modulator by setting the wave form to a square wave and then setting the Test Tone as the oscillator in the Ring Modulator.


This is what im talking about in this video. The text is transcribed by AI, so it might not be perfect. If you find any mistakes, please let me know.
You can also click on the timestamps to jump to the right part of the video, which should be helpful.

[00:00.000] This is the test tone device of Bitwig Studio.
[00:04.240] It can generate all kinds of sounds and tones just for, you know, testing speakers or testing
[00:09.720] your system or maybe testing effect chains or whatever you want to test.
[00:14.820] So you can use this to just, you know, play out some kind of static tone.
[00:20.200] So we have your multiple wave shapes we can select from, sine, triangle, square, saw up,
[00:27.120] down, Dirac, which is nice for creating impulse responses because it's just a small
[00:33.320] burst of noise with all frequencies in it.
[00:36.160] I think that's the main purpose of that.
[00:38.080] And we have white noise, which is all frequency equally loud.
[00:42.960] You can see equally power per frequency.
[00:45.640] So it's technically every frequency the same loudness.
[00:48.720] And then we have pink noise, which is equal power per octave.
[00:52.000] So it's more, you know, how you perceive sound, it's a more tone down version of noise.
[01:00.480] So this is also nice to have.
[01:03.000] And we can switch this here to sine.
[01:04.840] And we have a frequency knob where you can dial in the frequency of the oscillator here.
[01:08.800] We have a gain knob.
[01:17.400] And again, of course, changes the loudness of the oscillator and we have a bipolar selector
[01:22.680] here where we can select between only positive values of the oscillator and positive and
[01:29.440] negative values of the oscillator.
[01:31.280] So we can switch between bipolar and unipolar if you want to.
[01:35.080] And we have a mix knob here where we can mix in some signals from before in the chain.
[01:42.800] Maybe you have a synthesizer there and you want to mix the test tone here with the synthesizer
[01:46.840] sound.
[01:47.840] You can do this with a mix knob if you, yeah, if you kind of want to do that.
[01:52.200] So a fairly simple device also.
[01:57.360] But because we have Bitwig Studio, we can also use this in creative ways, right?
[02:05.600] So first of all, I want to show you how this looks on our oscilloscope.
[02:08.800] This is a lower sound, the bass sound.
[02:11.840] You can see we have only positive values and switches here, the bipolar mode.
[02:16.040] And now we have also positive and negative values.
[02:19.400] So this is a correct signal.
[02:23.240] Let's put it that way.
[02:24.240] So this one here is just a sine wave, as you can see, and also maybe here of heel, just
[02:30.440] because it's a deep bass.
[02:35.520] So what we can do with this is we can first up dial in here a frequency of C3.
[02:42.640] So we can type in the number or the note number or the note notifier, note, what's the name?
[02:52.280] The note name, C3, so we can type this in.
[02:56.160] And we land on 262 Hertz, which is correct, of course.
[03:00.680] And we can bring in here a key track, key track modulator.
[03:06.240] And with the key track modulator, we start here on C3 also, what we just dialed in here,
[03:11.600] C3, so that's correct.
[03:13.440] And we have a spread or note spread of 64 semitones.
[03:17.240] So we just modulate this here by 64 semitones, or maybe just type it in here on the left
[03:24.760] side.
[03:25.760] That's most of the times a lot faster.
[03:29.160] And now when we play something on the keyboard, you can see we change the frequency as we
[03:34.840] change the notes on our keyboard.
[03:37.480] So we can just play this as a synthesizer, a monophonic synthesizer.
[03:44.200] The only problem is that we have to change your manuality gain, but you can also change
[03:55.800] this with a modulator.
[03:57.040] So we use an ADSR here and modulate the gain with this, maybe by, let's see.
[04:06.480] Okay, so now we have an envelope here, we can change how the loudness changes over time.
[04:20.640] Can also change it to square wave.
[04:25.160] So this is also possible.
[04:28.080] So this is now a small monophonic synth, if you want to use it in that kind of way.
[04:33.560] But you can also put this here in a container, and maybe we just call up here an instrument
[04:39.520] selector, an instrument selector and put this in there.
[04:43.920] So we have now one layer of this test tone.
[04:47.960] And what we want to do now is probably to add some macros here.
[04:52.160] Let's use a macro.
[04:54.960] Once we modulate with this macro here, the attack and also the decay and sustain.
[05:05.240] This is how we did instruments before the grid, before we had the grid.
[05:11.520] At least this was my kind of hobby, creating interesting devices with just a modulation
[05:16.600] system.
[05:17.600] So now we have basically mapped all these macros to the ADSR so we can change this on
[05:23.040] the parent container on the instrument selector here.
[05:27.960] And what else?
[05:33.520] Maybe we introduce here a vibrato.
[05:36.840] The vibrato is basically just a small LFO that we can dial in with the mod wheel on the keyboard.
[05:44.640] So we can bring in a mod amount here with the mod wheel on the keyboard and we modulate
[05:51.840] here the frequency by maybe 20, let's say, 22, 23 semitones.
[06:06.800] And now when we play this, we have to introduce the sustain and release decay.
[06:22.800] It's maybe a bit too much modulation here.
[06:26.040] Let's bring this back.
[06:33.200] Something like this.
[06:34.200] So now we can just duplicate this layer here, which is the test tone device, of course.
[06:52.240] Duplicate this multiple times, let's say four times, we have four or five voices now.
[06:58.120] And then select the instrument selector and change the playback mode to free Robin.
[07:03.960] So now this device basically selects the next three layer to play on.
[07:09.480] So when you play one note, you play one free layer.
[07:15.360] And then you play another note polyphonically, you just take the next three layer.
[07:21.640] So we have a polyphonic synth now with five voices you can play with.
[07:34.320] So we can create some kind of interesting or simple polyphonic synthesizers with this.
[07:42.560] The edge here, let's say a delay to that delay to maybe a chorus plus a typical, you know,
[07:53.360] typical classic subtractive synthesizer.
[08:23.320] So for that, it's, yeah, it's something you can do.
[08:31.440] So you can create synthesizers with the test tone and there's also this, um, this Dirac
[08:40.480] thing here, which gives you this kind of sound, but when you turn the frequency down, you
[08:51.760] get this one click sound here.
[08:57.200] And this click sound is basically all frequencies at once in just one single click.
[09:06.080] And you send this through your reverb or effect chain, sample it, and then you can use it
[09:12.640] as an, as an impulse response in the convolution reverb of the studio, just track the wave
[09:21.920] file into this and you can use it as a convolution or impulse response if you want to.
[09:29.720] Another way you can use a test tone is in certain places like, for instance, let's use
[09:36.240] here a Polysynth and it's just a random sound.
[09:42.960] Okay, so we close this down and there's, for instance, here a ring mod device and it uses
[09:51.040] here also an oscillator in there where you can ring modulate the oscillator with the
[09:57.520] source material.
[10:02.840] Let's pull this up with the loudness.
[10:13.040] But instead of the oscillator here, you can also use a source FX, put the test tone in
[10:17.640] there and do the same thing, but here you can now change the waveform so you can use
[10:22.720] a square wave and then use the test tone and ring modulate the test tone with the source
[10:40.000] sound.
[10:42.680] So it's maybe a nice effect in certain use cases.
[10:50.800] So you can combine the test tone here with the ring mod and the source sound.
[10:54.440] So this is also possible.