Tags: posts bitwig-guides Bitwig Audio-FX

Pitch Shifter - Bitwig Audio FX Guide

Tutorial | Mar 07, 2023

I love using the pitch shifter device in Bitwig Studio to create creative sound effects in my productions. You can dial in the amount of shifting with a big knob in the middle, and the maximum number is 12 semitones up and 12 semitones down. The grain control allows you to change the update rate of the internal buffer, which can result in a grain delay effect. The mixed knob lets you blend in the dry signal with the pitch shifted signal to add some shimmer to the sound. I find that the lower values of the grain size work best for creating unique and interesting sounds. You can also use the pitch shifter in parallel with different settings for each layer to get a variety of different sounds.

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Questions & Answers

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

What is the pitch shifter in Bitwig Studio?

The pitch shifter in Bitwig Studio is a device that allows you to shift the incoming live audio by a certain amount, up to 12 semitones up or down. It has a grain control that allows you to change the update rate of the internal buffer, and a mixed knob at the bottom which lets you blend in the dry signal with the pitch shifted signal.

How can I use the pitch shifter creatively?

The pitch shifter can be used creatively by adjusting the grain control to create a grain delay effect, or by using it in parallel with different settings on each layer. It can also be used to add a shimmering effect to sounds, or to create metallic effects.

What is the maximum amount I can shift the audio by?

The maximum amount you can shift the audio by is 12 semitones up or down, which equals to an octave.

How does the pitch shifter affect the sound?

The pitch shifter affects the sound by sampling the incoming audio into an internal buffer and playing it back at a faster or slower speed, depending on the


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.

[00:00.800] The pitch shifter of Bitwig Studio
[00:02.760] shifts the incoming live audio by a certain amount.
[00:06.560] You can dial in the amount here with this big knob
[00:08.920] in the middle, and the maximum number is 12 semitones up
[00:12.360] and 12 semitones down, which equals to an octave.
[00:18.120] And we also have a grain control here
[00:20.040] where you can change the update rate
[00:23.600] of the internal buffer of this pitch shifter device.
[00:27.720] So I imagine this kind of works like a delay.
[00:31.320] You have a delay buffer and you record incoming audio,
[00:35.000] and then you speed off the playback speed of that buffer
[00:40.000] in a certain amount with the grain rate here,
[00:42.840] and then you get the pitch shifting effect up or down.
[00:46.640] And the more you change this rate here,
[00:51.440] it affects the sound.
[00:53.080] And I can show you this in a minute
[00:54.920] how you can use this creatively in Bitwig.
[00:58.480] And at the bottom here, we have a mixed knob
[01:00.200] where you can blend in the dry signal
[01:01.920] with the pitch shifted signal
[01:03.720] so you can just add some kind of shimmer
[01:06.520] on top of your sound if you want to.
[01:09.360] So these are the three knobs.
[01:12.000] And I want to show you this here in a real life environment.
[01:16.000] So we have a piano sound.
[01:20.360] You can see nothing happens
[01:22.200] because we have no shifting here dialed in.
[01:25.400] Also, we can change the grain size
[01:27.240] and nothing really happens to the sound.
[01:34.360] Okay, the magic begins when you at least dial
[01:37.600] in your small, tiny bit of pitch shifting.
[01:56.760] And maybe you can hear it in the sound itself.
[01:59.320] There's a small little fluctuation in volume.
[02:02.720] And that's basically the buffer
[02:05.000] laying back the sound it records from the input here.
[02:12.160] And then you pull the screen rate down,
[02:15.440] then you basically update the buffer less and less.
[02:19.400] So it becomes more like a grain delay almost.
[02:36.600] So you can really hear the pitch shifter
[02:39.120] basically samples the sound into the buffer.
[02:42.520] And then it tries to play it back at a higher speed.
[02:45.800] And because we don't update the buffer that often,
[02:49.040] you basically have just one burst of sound
[02:52.400] recorded from the live audio here.
[02:54.600] And then when you shift audio up,
[02:57.080] it becomes, of course, shorter.
[02:59.160] So it sounds like you have multiple taps or delay taps
[03:05.320] because this audio was so short
[03:06.880] because we shift here by 12 semitones up.
[03:11.520] So to counter this, and if you want to behave this more
[03:15.960] like a real pitch shifting effect,
[03:18.640] we have to increase here the update rate.
[03:26.960] So the incoming audio is sampled more often.
[03:31.480] But there's also a sweet spot for this.
[03:33.600] You can see it sounds much straighter and cleaner now.
[03:43.040] But at certain higher frequencies, it becomes almost metallic.
[03:57.600] So there's no real point in here
[04:00.960] where it sounds really, really nice and clean.
[04:04.480] That's not really the purpose of this device.
[04:07.320] This device is more aimed at creative uses.
[04:11.280] So as you can see, we have now a piano.
[04:13.840] And with the grain update rate here up here,
[04:19.520] it sounds metallic.
[04:28.560] Almost like a comp filter.
[04:37.040] So you can use it for that, or you pull this all the way down
[04:39.880] and it sounds like a delay.
[04:44.360] And then you mix in the dry signal.
[04:54.840] Right, and you get this type of grain delay effect.
[04:58.840] So this is how I use it, at least.
[05:01.880] I don't use it really as a pitch shifter in that sense
[05:05.120] that I use it on vocals and shift by one semitone
[05:09.360] or two semitones.
[05:10.400] I use it more like an audio effect,
[05:12.720] like a creative effect to make something more grainy
[05:18.040] or add some kind of tonality on top,
[05:21.240] like with this metallic effect here, right?
[05:31.720] Also shifting something down can be really nice.
[05:49.440] So as you can see, I'm a big fan of lower values here
[05:52.760] of the grain size.
[05:54.120] And I always use this with rewraps and delays in Bitwig.
[05:58.280] So when we have rewrap here, which sounds really basic.
[06:09.480] So using this here, the tank effects, of course,
[06:11.400] it's really not really nice.
[06:12.840] So maybe lift this up.
[06:39.520] You can also use this on the bed effects, of course,
[06:41.600] if you just want to put this here.
[06:50.880] It can also be nice.
[06:53.480] And sometimes I do stuff like, let's take your pitch shifter,
[06:59.640] pitch shift everything up by one octave and use a second one
[07:03.480] and shift everything down by 12 semitones.
[07:07.960] So we shift up one octave and shift one octave down.
[07:10.880] So it's basically, we land on the same octave as before.
[07:19.120] But we also gain here these grain effects.
[07:27.280] Right?
[07:28.120] This is our current pitch.
[07:30.040] We shift up.
[07:31.440] And then we shift down.
[07:33.160] And we are on the same note again.
[07:40.960] And we do this here multiple times, something like this
[07:45.240] or this.
[07:46.560] We get all these grain effects here.
[08:05.680] So this is something that's really nice to do sometimes.
[08:09.640] I also did some presets or some rewrap presets with this here.
[08:14.120] Because it sounds really nice sometimes in the Tank FX
[08:17.440] or on the Wet FX box.
[08:20.440] We can also use this here on a delay, something like this.
[08:24.840] Delay one, we have also your feedback FX box.
[08:28.800] And use a pitch shifter here and there.
[08:35.040] More feedback.
[08:36.000] And maybe use seven semitones.
[08:41.920] So now every time we surpass this feedback loop,
[08:45.600] we pitch shift the audio up by seven semitones.
[08:48.600] Maybe make this lower.
[09:09.360] So this can be also be nice to use inside of a delay one.
[09:15.680] Another cool idea is to use the pitch shifter in parallel.
[09:22.000] So basically use seven semitones.
[09:26.760] We'll just select the pitch shifter itself, use Control NG.
[09:31.240] Put this here in a FX layer and duplicate this.
[09:35.160] And here use different settings for each layer.
[09:43.240] And maybe also here, let's go with that, maybe dial in different grain sizes here and see
[09:55.880] all the sounds.
[09:57.640] Maybe mix them up.
[10:26.800] So there are a lot of use cases for this pitch shifter device.
[10:32.760] And one use case I don't use it for is for actually pitch shifting.
[10:37.040] So I use it more like creative device in my productions at least.
[10:41.720] But you get some decent quality out of this here with certain sounds and it can be helpful.
[10:50.160] So that's the pitch shifter device for you.