Tags: posts polarity-music Bitwig Sketch Presets Automation VSTs

Creating Tracks with Pre-Made Sounds and Presets in Bitwig Studio

Tutorial | Aug 12, 2019

In this video, I wanted to share my approach to creating music in Bitwig. Rather than getting overwhelmed by the thousands of possibilities in the software, I prefer to rely on presets and sounds I've already created. I use Bitwig as a canvas to paint tracks and automations, without getting too caught up in building instruments or complex modulations. I demonstrate this by dissecting a recent sketch I made, showing how I use presets and automation to bring the track to life. I also discuss the use of different VSTs and samples that I incorporate into the project. Overall, my goal is to create a practical and enjoyable process for making music.

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

Questions & Answers

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


  1. What approach did the video creator take in making their tracks?

    The video creator took a practical approach to making music in the video. They focused on using preset sounds and instruments rather than creating new ones or going into detail with modulators. They treated Bitwig as a canvas and painted tracks and automations using the tools and presets available to them. The goal was to quickly get their ideas out of their head and into the sequencer.

  2. How did the video creator handle automation in their tracks?

    The video creator primarily used automation lanes in Bitwig to handle their automation. Instead of relying on modulators and complex modulator chains, they found it more practical and easier to just open the automation lanes and paint in the desired automation. They emphasized that they were not very precise with it, but instead focused on just having fun and creating a natural feel to the tracks.

  3. Did the video creator use any external plugins or presets in their tracks?

    Yes, the video creator mentioned using both Bitwig presets and VST plugins in their tracks. They relied on presets they had already made beforehand and used VSTs they already liked and felt the track needed. They specifically mentioned using plugins such as Cool Force, EOS 2 reverb, and Crane Space to enhance the sounds in their tracks.

  4. How did the video creator handle the composition and arrangement of their tracks?

    The video creator used a combination of recording with their keyboard and editing with the mouse to handle the composition and arrangement of their tracks. They mentioned playing in melodies and rhythms with their keyboard, and then making corrections and adjustments as needed. They also mentioned cutting recorded clips and looping them to create patterns and loops that sounded natural to their ears. Overall, they emphasized the importance of starting with a sketch or idea and then building on it over time.


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.

[00:00:00] Hey, welcome back to another video.
[00:00:07] This time I wanted to select one of my tunes or one of my sketches I recently made, in
[00:00:12] fact yesterday.
[00:00:14] And I used some, just some instruments and I try not to build something inside Bitwig,
[00:00:22] more like I try to rely on some presets I made, some sounds I made and just use Bitwig
[00:00:29] as a canvas and yeah, paint some tracks and automations.
[00:00:38] And the reason for that is that I see sometimes people struggle with creating new tracks or
[00:00:44] new songs.
[00:00:46] And the reason for that is maybe that they go into Bitwig and have a lot of possibilities,
[00:00:54] in fact thousands of possibilities.
[00:00:58] And yeah, they go into certain instruments or into the grid and then they'll lose control
[00:01:06] over the whole situation and just come out three hours later with some random noise or
[00:01:13] something like that.
[00:01:15] And when I try to create some tracks, like in this case here, I'm more like Bob Ross.
[00:01:22] I have my colors, I have my brushes and then I go in and boldly paint all over the canvas
[00:01:31] and don't care for anything.
[00:01:34] So I don't try to create instruments.
[00:01:36] I don't go into detail with modulators.
[00:01:39] I just use them to practically get something done or out of my head, basically.
[00:01:49] So it's more like a practical approach to making music.
[00:01:55] So for instance, when we have this piano here and I have some automation painted in here,
[00:02:03] I can do that with a modulator below in maybe with an ADSR and use a long attack time or
[00:02:14] something like this.
[00:02:16] But it's not practical to use it that way.
[00:02:21] It's much easier to just open here the lanes and paint it in.
[00:02:26] And I am not very precise with it.
[00:02:28] I am just painting, yeah, and have fun.
[00:02:32] So as you can see here, down here, I have an arpeggiator with an synth and I just painted
[00:02:39] in some stuff here just to have something going on to make it more alive and yeah, make
[00:02:49] it feel more natural.
[00:02:51] And I'm using here the filter envelope depth to change basically the cut off and yeah,
[00:03:00] it works most of the times.
[00:03:04] And when I'm done with this stage, as you can see, I have all our tracks here in notes
[00:03:11] or in MIDI, I have all the note informations, all the automation informations available
[00:03:17] and it can change it anytime.
[00:03:20] But when I'm done and I say, well, this sounds okay, then I'm going to the bouncing stage
[00:03:25] where bounce everything down to audio and then is everything integrated into the wave
[00:03:31] and the complexity goes away.
[00:03:34] And most of the times I am going then to disable the tracks to have it available in a later
[00:03:42] stage but I never going back to be honest, I am staying with the wave files and yeah,
[00:03:50] that's how I approach it basically.
[00:03:54] And yeah, this is draft here, a sketch I've done and I'm going to probably save it to
[00:04:03] disk and open it two months later or weeks later and try to add some stuff and change
[00:04:11] some stuff and that's it.
[00:04:15] But sometimes like yesterday, I had to get something out of my head into the sequencer
[00:04:21] and that's where I'm when I'm in that mode, I don't don't care for modulators or complex
[00:04:28] modulations modulator chains or something like that.
[00:04:35] I don't go into the grid.
[00:04:37] I just paint in automations and rely on old presets.
[00:04:58] Some handsaw back cushions here.
[00:05:07] These vocals are by me with a bit of autotune.
[00:05:33] I'm going to do a little bit of a
[00:05:59] quick
[00:06:44] So yeah, that's the sketch.
[00:07:07] And for the piano here, I use the piano book preset more or less.
[00:07:13] And this piano book presets are made from this piano book project here, which are basically
[00:07:22] user on the internet that have pianos at home.
[00:07:25] And they try to sample different pianos.
[00:07:30] Not so extremely good samples, it's just two layers of velocity as you can see here.
[00:07:37] And yeah, some parts of the octaves.
[00:07:41] But for this for this track here, I found it's enough.
[00:07:47] Sounds good enough to me.
[00:07:49] And I just added a bit of cool force to correct some frequencies and bring in some bass with
[00:07:56] the boost here.
[00:07:58] And I use the EOS 2 reverb.
[00:08:03] And I use the crane space here to get some kind of sparkly texture on top.
[00:08:11] That sounds very nice.
[00:08:14] Very nice.
[00:08:20] So it's just mixed in a little bit.
[00:08:23] And I have to tape machinia, which is a preset by me.
[00:08:27] And you can download this in the factory presets, bit big 3.0.
[00:08:32] And yeah, as you can see here, I rely on some presets I already made.
[00:08:37] It's not what I made exactly for this project here.
[00:08:41] That would take too long.
[00:08:44] And I just put in here a piano I had and added some VSTs I had and the preset I already made
[00:08:50] beforehand.
[00:08:53] And yeah, that's also the case here with the bass.
[00:08:57] I use an Reactom Monark because I think it sounds pretty great.
[00:09:02] I even think it sounds better than the emulations by Arturia.
[00:09:08] And yeah, use an arpeggiator here with the polyscent and also a more magnetic VST, which
[00:09:17] I really like.
[00:09:19] It's by Serial Machines.
[00:09:21] It's not expensive and it sounds great.
[00:09:26] So it's a nice little mixture of bit big presets, modulations, automations and VSTs.
[00:09:32] So just stuff I really like and think the track needs at this point.
[00:09:39] So you have a voice pad, which is also a preset by me.
[00:09:45] And you can see I modulated the output here because I made this preset more or less a
[00:09:56] infinite.
[00:09:57] So there's no note cut off at some point.
[00:10:01] So I was lazy and I just used the automation here to fade it in and out.
[00:10:09] And when I bounced this down the audio, it's not so...
[00:10:13] I don't care for that, basically.
[00:10:15] So I bounced this down the wave and I have a nice fade in and a fade out at the end here.
[00:10:19] So it's perfect.
[00:10:21] And the Voxia is sung in by me.
[00:10:30] And I used the M Auto patch here by Melda, which is a free plugin.
[00:10:36] And you can use it like AutoTune, basically.
[00:10:40] I used here the minor and the A. So I'm selecting all the A minor keys, basically.
[00:10:48] And this plugin tries to correct all these, my wrongly sung notes into right notes.
[00:10:56] And also I used the format shift here to make it so it sounds more like a woman that's singing.
[00:11:06] And I used a bit of With here, which makes kind of different frequency shifts, I think,
[00:11:14] in the left and the right channel.
[00:11:15] So it sounds a bit more wider.
[00:11:18] Yeah, this is how it sounds.
[00:11:37] Also this half time plugin here, which just slows down the audio two times.
[00:11:44] And I mixed in the original signal, which also sounds pretty great.
[00:11:51] Okay, then we have the percussions here, which is on similar percussions in a contact patch
[00:11:58] just played in with my keyboard.
[00:12:00] I first tried to hammer in this rhythm here with just one finger.
[00:12:08] And after that, I correct basically all the some notes I corrected some are just off the
[00:12:18] grid.
[00:12:19] So it's not so straight on the grid.
[00:12:22] And I added some additional hits here to accentuate basically some of the bars and small fall in
[00:12:30] as you can see, also a lot of changes here in the velocity.
[00:12:51] Some of the velocity values are straight played in and I don't change it afterwards.
[00:12:57] So it's more natural.
[00:13:01] And these fill in here I just painted in basically with a pen tool.
[00:13:08] So I have a straight ramp going up.
[00:13:12] And yeah, that's it for the percussions, basically.
[00:13:16] And here at the end, I used a different pattern, a slightly different pattern, a shorter pattern.
[00:13:21] So it's small, you know, more pumping.
[00:13:33] Also some kind of snare.
[00:13:43] So that's that's the groove at the end.
[00:13:46] And then I've also a second layer of percussions here at the end just drive it even more to
[00:13:54] the dance floor.
[00:14:03] And also I use the penning here slightly to the right one of the tracks and the other
[00:14:08] one is slightly to the left.
[00:14:11] So it's not that center, right?
[00:14:13] So it's when you are sitting basically in front of an ensemble, nothing is exactly straight
[00:14:19] in the center.
[00:14:20] So you have some percussions on the left and some string samples on the right and the trumpet
[00:14:24] trumpets maybe in the middle or something like that.
[00:14:27] So I'm trying to pen all these instruments to different sides.
[00:14:35] And then we have the horns here and you can see there is a lot of modulation here, which
[00:14:40] is the mod wheel.
[00:14:42] And I'm usually trying to play this also in with my keyboard and yeah, some of the notes
[00:14:50] are corrected because they are not exactly on the grid and some of them are just off
[00:14:55] the grid.
[00:14:57] And the mod wheel is completely recorded.
[00:15:00] There's nothing changed here by me with the mouse.
[00:15:02] It's just so how I moved my mod wheel basically and recorded that.
[00:15:09] And yeah, then you can duplicate it as you can see here.
[00:15:12] This is basically recorded and duplicated to this and you also duplicate the modulation
[00:15:19] with this clip.
[00:15:20] So that's why it looks so strange here.
[00:15:26] Also the timbasi is also recorded and some notes are corrected.
[00:15:32] Yeah, and it's much easier that way.
[00:15:36] And if you look here at the first example at my piano, this main melody basically, I
[00:15:49] think I just recorded this bit here, this one.
[00:15:55] And I used my fingers on my keyboard to try to find some keys I like that maybe work.
[00:16:03] And then I try to come up with a pattern which note I press at which time.
[00:16:10] And sometimes I record just longer patterns where I accidentally hit different notes.
[00:16:18] And then I cut this notes clip basically up until it loops nice to my ears.
[00:16:27] And yeah, I added the baseline here, a bass note as you can see.
[00:16:38] So it sounds like it's changing all the time basically, but in real life, it's basically
[00:16:44] just this small pattern which I recorded with my keyboard in my hands because I can't play
[00:16:50] a keyboard, but this is something I can do.
[00:16:55] And you also get a lot of additional information into the track like velocity and the mod wheel,
[00:17:02] for instance.
[00:17:11] Now also use here the cutoff, which I used the automation for just to have it the piano
[00:17:18] at the start a bit smoother and then it opens up here at the end.
[00:17:23] So it's a small automation.
[00:17:27] Okay.
[00:17:31] Then at the end here, we have some strings.
[00:17:42] And you can see there is a straight single note here and I used basically inside contact.
[00:17:51] I used to the Austin atum, which is more like an appreciator.
[00:17:57] And you can see I can define here some notes which should be played and I used the multi
[00:18:03] note, which just puts out a minor chord, go straight into the diatonic transpose, which
[00:18:10] gives me an A minor chord.
[00:18:12] And then here I used Austin atum to play in a pit arpeggio.
[00:18:17] Basically you can see I can change here the notes.
[00:18:20] It's the root note and the third note and the second note.
[00:18:30] And I just plain use the tool here to fade it a bit in.
[00:18:39] And the horns.
[00:18:54] As you can see, I'm straight on the white keys here.
[00:19:14] I already made a tutorial about how you can play with the piano if you are absolutely
[00:19:21] new like I like me.
[00:19:25] And yes, I'm staying straight on the white keys here all the time.
[00:19:35] So it's pretty, pretty new bush, but it sounds okay to my ears at least.
[00:19:44] And I'm happy with it.
[00:20:09] So yeah, the plan is maybe to bring in some additional synthesizers to give the track
[00:20:15] more character.
[00:20:17] So melodies may be a quiet part or make it more epic in some areas.
[00:20:22] But for now, that's a pretty nice sketch.
[00:20:25] And when I save this and open it later in some weeks or months up, I have something
[00:20:30] to start with.
[00:20:32] And the last step, basically what I do now is to bounce everything down to audio.
[00:20:38] Sometimes you deinstall some or uninstall some VSTs or some libraries and then you can open
[00:20:46] up the project or as you can see, I have a lot of contact libraries that are really,
[00:20:52] really big.
[00:20:53] And it takes some time when you open up the project, right?
[00:20:57] And that for I'm bouncing everything down to audio and then it's safe and I can work
[00:21:04] with it later in this year.
[00:21:07] This piano here at the start, which is called Piano Book Raw, is available in my GitHub
[00:21:14] repository, which is called Bitwig Piano Book.
[00:21:17] And I try to convert all the samples on all the pianos from this website here, which is
[00:21:24] called pianopoc.co.uk.
[00:21:29] And people out there are trying to sample their pianos at home and save them as contact
[00:21:36] patches and I convert this to Bitwig Sampler patches, basically.
[00:21:43] And so it's not my single effort, it's just in my service basically to convert this to
[00:21:51] Bitwig.
[00:21:53] And yeah, I use this here.
[00:21:56] And also some of the patches I used here, for instance, this voice pad is also available
[00:22:02] in my Prolality Music Tools repo, as you can see here at the bottom voice pad 1, voice pad
[00:22:10] 2, is available in my GitHub.
[00:22:15] Okay, that's it.
[00:22:18] So I wanted to dissect this tune here and just show that you don't need always to make
[00:22:24] complicated modulators, complicated instruments or chain up thousands of instruments.
[00:22:32] If you want to do something, just go in, use it as a canvas, take your colors, take your
[00:22:38] presets, take your samples and just paint something.
[00:22:43] Save it and then open it up later on and continue.
[00:22:48] And at some point at the weekend, when you're not feeling it to create a track or more in
[00:22:54] like an experimental phase, then you can go to Bitwig and just create presets that you
[00:23:00] can use when you are in the mood of making a track.
[00:23:05] It's very handy to just track in some very complex sounds or pads, like this voice pad
[00:23:11] here I created with the polygrid, just to have this kind of stuff ready when you need
[00:23:19] it.
[00:23:20] And if you look at it, all our stuff that's in this track here is basically pre-made.
[00:23:27] There's nothing I created on the fly besides maybe this vocals here I just sang in with
[00:23:35] my voice and the notes I played.
[00:23:41] Yeah, that's maybe something to consider when you try to make a track.
[00:23:46] And before I close down this video, I have three small tips for you.
[00:23:51] And these tips are not ads.
[00:23:52] So it's just something I used for myself.
[00:23:56] I bought it and I want to give this out.
[00:23:58] I don't get money for this to add, advertise this.
[00:24:02] Okay.
[00:24:03] So the first tip is loom two I recently bought.
[00:24:08] It's $14 or 12 euros, which is pretty cheap.
[00:24:13] It's an additive scent and maybe I do some tutorials in the future for this one because
[00:24:19] I really like the scent.
[00:24:22] And yeah, when you buy it, you also get just at the moment, this Iris 2 VST for free, which
[00:24:33] is awesome.
[00:24:34] Pretty interesting scent and for free.
[00:24:37] And this one for 12 euros, it's pretty much a no brainer.
[00:24:40] As you can see, you can make some spectral operations here and you can maybe use it to
[00:24:46] extract vocals from songs or something like this.
[00:24:51] So it's nothing you can do in Bitwig at the moment.
[00:24:55] Yeah, it ends at 31th of August 2019.
[00:25:01] So yeah, you have some time to think about it.
[00:25:05] And also the sample packs from Intimate Noise are currently at 14%.
[00:25:11] And I already made a tutorial where I used the free sample pack by Intimate Noise and
[00:25:16] made a track out of it.
[00:25:18] And as you just saw in this tutorial, I used a lot of pre-made sounds, presets, samples,
[00:25:27] different sources, right?
[00:25:28] And it's always more interesting when you have different sources in your project, not
[00:25:33] just only synths or only samples, something like this.
[00:25:38] So it's very important to have some nice, interesting samples on your hard disk.
[00:25:45] And these packs are really, yeah, pretty interesting.
[00:25:51] It's not just your generic 808 sound sample pack.
[00:25:56] And it's currently at 14%.
[00:25:58] So also a no brainer.
[00:26:00] Yeah, that's it for this video.
[00:26:03] Thanks for watching.
[00:26:04] And I hope to see you soon in the next one.
[00:26:06] And also a big thank you to all my Patreons.
[00:26:10] And I already uploaded a track that is free to download for all the Patreons.
[00:26:15] So enjoy that.
[00:26:17] And yeah, until next time, see you and bye.