Tags: posts polarity-music Bitwig Modulators Generative Track from Scratch Synthesis Tips-Tricks

Bitwig Studio: Unison and Modulation Intensity Control

Tutorial | Jul 05, 2023

In this video, I share two tricks for Bitwig Studio that can be used in certain situations. The first trick is about creating unison in devices or synthesizers that don't have a built-in unison feature. By duplicating the input notes and assigning them to different MIDI channels with slightly different pitches, you can create the effect of unison. I demonstrate how to do this using the note grid and show how to adjust the pitch and panning for each duplicated note. By using this trick, you can achieve a chorus-like effect and stack multiple voices. The second trick is useful for performing with generative patches or creating evolving sounds over time in Bitwig Studio. I show how to modulate the intensity of modulation parameters using the intensity output of a macro. By selecting the modulation target in the synthesizer and clicking on the modulator handle, you can access a second amount slider that allows you to control the modulation amount. This can be helpful for adding dynamics and variation to your performances or arrangements. Overall, these tricks can expand your creative possibilities in Bitwig Studio and I hope you find them helpful.

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Questions & Answers

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

How can I apply unison to devices or synthesizers in Bitwig Studio?

To apply unison to devices or synthesizers in Bitwig Studio, you can use a trick demonstrated in the video. If the device you are using does not have built-in unison, you can create multiple voices by duplicating the input note and assigning them to different MIDI channels. By detuning these voices using the transpose function, you can achieve an unison-like effect. Additionally, you can apply modulation to parameters such as pitch, pressure, timbre, loudness, and panning to make the unison effect more interesting and dynamic.

Why do I need to use multiple MIDI channels for unison in Bitwig Studio version 5?

In Bitwig Studio version 5, using multiple MIDI channels is necessary to ensure that the notes played in unison persist over time. If you use a single MIDI channel, some of the voices may disappear over time, which could be a bug or an unintended behavior. By assigning different notes to multiple MIDI channels, you can bypass this issue and maintain the unison effect throughout your composition.

Can I implement unison on any synthesizer in Bitwig Studio?

Yes, you can implement the unison effect on any synthesizer in Bitwig Studio, regardless of whether it natively supports unison or not. The trick shown in the video can be applied to any synthesizer or device, such as the Polymer or Organ device, allowing you to create multiple voices and achieve a unison-like sound. This provides more flexibility and creative possibilities when working with various synthesizers in Bitwig Studio.

How can I dynamically change modulation intensity in Bitwig Studio?

You can dynamically change modulation intensity in Bitwig Studio by using the trick demonstrated in the video. By selecting the modulation handle in Bitwig Studio and clicking on the synthesizer or effect where the modulation is applied, you can access a secondary amount slider for that specific modulation. This allows you to control the intensity of the modulation in real-time. By using this technique, you can easily adjust the modulation amounts of various parameters during live performances or when creating generative patches to add more expressiveness and variation to your sound.


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] So into this video it's about two tricks for Bitfic Studio.
[00:00:05] It's not specific for Bitfic Studio version 5, but it can help in certain situations.
[00:00:11] So the first one is about unison.
[00:00:13] So you can apply unison to different devices or synthesizers without having actually unison
[00:00:21] available.
[00:00:22] So this becomes pretty handy here when you have some kind of polymer patch and most of
[00:00:28] these oscillators you can choose inside of the polymer don't have unison at all.
[00:00:35] The only one that supports unison is the wavetable and you can create up to 16 voices.
[00:00:41] So when you have the scroll it's just one single voice and that's it.
[00:00:48] What you can do of course is you can select the device itself and then you can use here
[00:00:52] on the left side and the inspector can use voice stacking.
[00:00:56] So you can create five voices and then you use the voice stack modulator, right?
[00:01:01] Switch this to minus one to plus one and then you modulate the pitch.
[00:01:11] Then you get something like this so it's kind of also chorus, but that's not what I'm talking
[00:01:17] about in this video.
[00:01:19] So here we have one single voice and to create now multiple voices it's actually pretty easy
[00:01:25] inside of the note grid because here we have a note input that's what we get from the keyboard
[00:01:33] or from the piano roll and then we can modify the signals and then we output here one single
[00:01:38] note.
[00:01:39] What we do now is we instead of outputting one note we output two notes and the second
[00:01:44] note you'll get the MIDI channel 2.
[00:01:47] And I do this for two purposes.
[00:01:49] The first purpose is it's actually needed to hold these voices over time.
[00:01:56] I found if you don't do this or if you just leave it on MIDI channel 1 or 2 notes on MIDI
[00:02:03] channel 1, some of these voices disappear over time for some reason.
[00:02:10] I don't know what's the reason behind this is maybe that's a bug.
[00:02:14] I have no idea.
[00:02:15] I think it worked before in some of the earlier versions but in Bitwig Studio version 5 you
[00:02:21] have to use multiple MIDI channels for some reason to persist these notes over time in
[00:02:28] your older note.
[00:02:30] So here we have now two notes as an output MIDI channel 1, MIDI channel 2 and for unison
[00:02:35] of course we have to use a transpose to actually detune these voices right.
[00:02:43] So what I do here is I use a macro and I want to go here in this direction to 20.
[00:02:52] I think 20 semitones is the maximum value before it starts to getting too detuned or
[00:03:00] too out of tune.
[00:03:02] So that's my rough number always when I just want to slightly detune something but want
[00:03:07] to stay in pitch.
[00:03:08] So this is 0.20 semitones.
[00:03:14] So now you should have two voices but we actually only have one voice.
[00:03:26] Oh it's still in voice technology.
[00:03:29] So you can see playing voices here on the left side in the inspector, only one.
[00:03:35] And the reason for that is that you have to disable here still same key.
[00:03:40] It's basically some kind of CPU save mode.
[00:03:44] So every time you press the same note twice on the keyboard maybe fastly one after the
[00:03:49] other right in sequence then Bitwig tries to stop the first voice and then you play
[00:03:57] the second voice so you can save some CPU power with this.
[00:04:01] But in this case we don't want to save CPU power.
[00:04:04] We want to play actually multiple voices so we disable still same key.
[00:04:09] And now we have two voices right you can see this here.
[00:04:21] So the trick here is basically we duplicate the input note, our keys on the keyboard,
[00:04:28] duplicate each note we are pressing to multiple keys and each of these keys get a slightly
[00:04:33] different pitch and a different MIDI channel and then you get basically multiple voices
[00:04:39] from just once and you basically play in some kind of chord but the chord is just one note
[00:04:48] basically and all these notes are slightly pitch banded.
[00:04:59] At the same time you can also do something here maybe move this over here.
[00:05:05] You can extend this by using also here pressure and timbre and also loudness and panning which
[00:05:15] is also interesting.
[00:05:17] You can use a value button here switch this to bipolar mode on the left side so we have
[00:05:23] minus and plus because it's panning right the center left right and so on.
[00:05:29] And we connect this here to the panning output duplicate this over here and then we also
[00:05:39] maybe go here to full 100% left side 100% to the right side.
[00:05:48] So now we have two voices you move this over here and now we can just duplicate this again
[00:05:56] and here we say this is MIDI channel 3 this is MIDI channel 4 here we modulate instead
[00:06:03] of go to what's that here that's plus 21 that's plus maybe 15 and this is minus 15.
[00:06:24] And here we also go to maybe 50% and also here to 50%.
[00:06:33] Now we should have four voices playing.
[00:06:46] And with this knob you can change the amount of the unison in some kind of way.
[00:06:51] And now you can do the same thing here just duplicate all this stuff again and here we
[00:06:58] go to that's 21 maybe 10.
[00:07:04] Let's go to 10 here and this is maybe five.
[00:07:20] And yeah here we go to this amount this amount this amount this amount four this is five
[00:07:32] this is six seven eight.
[00:07:42] You can see here now on the playing voices indicator we have now eight voices playing.
[00:07:49] At some point you have to increase here the maximum number of voices of course if you
[00:07:53] want to play chords.
[00:07:57] And you have to switch the note grid also here from mono mode to I want to play with
[00:08:03] the voices.
[00:08:05] Now you can play just chords and each of these notes of the chords get these eight notes
[00:08:12] basically.
[00:08:18] And to make this a bit more interesting you can also use your random modulator.
[00:08:23] I'll switch this to herd so it's not bound to the bbm and let this free running here
[00:08:31] and then modulate in this direction.
[00:08:53] So with this trick you can basically implement unison on any bitwig synthesizer whatsoever
[00:09:01] it doesn't matter you don't need to use the polymer you can also use organ device all
[00:09:05] these old devices that don't support unison.
[00:09:08] What you also can do is you can multiply this when you use a wavetable right?
[00:09:18] We have already unison here with the note grid you can then switch here to unison settings
[00:09:23] in the wavetable and add additional voices so 16 voices so now we have basically 8x16
[00:09:32] but then you can murder your cpu pretty again.
[00:09:38] Alright so you have to be careful with all the voices you can create with this kind of
[00:09:48] trick it's basically the same thing I did in some of my recent videos where I showed
[00:09:54] you how to create unison voices with the moody note.
[00:10:01] So you have to be careful right?
[00:10:03] But you can stack this up if you want to.
[00:10:06] So let's go back here to sawtooth.
[00:10:19] Ok so the second tip or the second trick I did recently that's when you have some kind
[00:10:26] of generative patch or maybe if you want to perform something in bitwig studio itself
[00:10:34] with your track over time there are some kind of parameter you can modulate that's pretty
[00:10:40] interesting actually for this kind of stuff.
[00:10:43] So if we have some kind of drony sound here something like this here the first track is
[00:10:49] basically let's remove this here the first track is basically a step sequencer here it's
[00:10:57] a note grid playing some notes and then it's playing here on this polymer and I also use
[00:11:05] CC1, CC2 and some modulations here to create a sound and maybe we can also use here a random
[00:11:12] mod just to get some more modulations here and maybe we modulate here the filter.
[00:11:24] So we have some kind of automation applied here to this filter right?
[00:11:29] And also on the second track here I have some kind of drone it's a polymer synthesizer also
[00:11:35] playing notes and the notes are generated here with a note grid it's just a drone outputting
[00:11:41] note grid so some notes I like.
[00:11:44] And we have also a lot of modulations we have here random modulators modulating all kinds
[00:11:52] of targets okay so and this forms kind of the sound.
[00:12:02] And when you want to perform this you probably have to create some kind of project modulators
[00:12:11] maybe a macro to change some modulations in on some of these tracks or some of these synthesizers
[00:12:19] or effects you also can use a curve here like I showed you in some of my recent videos where
[00:12:25] you use some kind of curves modulator dial in your bars and say maybe this is 16 bars
[00:12:32] long switch this to unipolar mode here we set this and then create some kind of modulation
[00:12:41] or some track arrangement stuff where you say always at the end of 16 bars I want to
[00:12:45] raise here the signal and then use the signal to open up filters or to bring in sounds or
[00:12:54] mute sounds so you have this kind of like 16 bar progress progressive modulation happening
[00:13:03] without using automation to create some kind of longer arrangement or micro arrangement.
[00:13:10] So you can also use of course here the macro for this to change certain things right you
[00:13:16] can say it's maybe intensity then you increase maybe here you open up the filter also here
[00:13:30] right so you can increase the intensity of the whole track by using a global modulator
[00:13:46] and open up filters and stuff like this but that's just normal I showed you this in some
[00:13:51] of our recent videos but there's one parameter you can use also additionally to that to change
[00:13:57] the intensity and this is if you select your intensity output and then you go to the drone
[00:14:03] synthesizer here and you click maybe on the synth itself you see on the left side all
[00:14:07] the modulation that are applied on the synthesizer you can see here we have a random mod modulating
[00:14:13] the index we have a random two modulator modulating the cutoff so now when you have selected here
[00:14:20] the modulator handle of this macro you can just click on this and then you get the second
[00:14:28] amount slider here right for this specific modulation so now with this knob here we can
[00:14:35] change the modulation intensity of this modulation so the random mod modulates the index of the
[00:14:45] wavetable and at the moment nothing happens but when we increase this here you can see now the
[00:14:51] amount of modulation from random modulator one to the end to the index is at 100% you can decrease
[00:15:00] or increase the modulation amount of modulators and all you have to do is basically click on these
[00:15:06] buttons here right on this synthesizer and on the first track here we can also go to this or here
[00:15:12] to this polymer synthesizer and see we want to change here all the modulation amounts of all
[00:15:19] these connections now you can see or you can hear that it's pretty quiet nothing nothing really
[00:15:27] happens because the intensity slider is at zero so all the modulations are zero zero percent and
[00:15:34] then you can slowly increase all these modulations at the same time so this is something that's
[00:15:56] probably pretty helpful in cases where you want to create some kind of live performance and you want
[00:16:06] to quickly change the amount of all these modulations it's basically the same thing as if you know phase
[00:16:14] four here when you apply basically cross modulations you modulate here with the blue operator the red
[00:16:24] one right you can see here we have some kind of global modulator slider and here you can bring
[00:16:31] all the modulations down so we have basically a sign when you when you bring this in you bring
[00:16:41] also here the modulation in so it's some kind of global modulation amount you can use here with
[00:16:52] this macro button or you can use of course the curves here for that if you want to and it's super
[00:16:58] easy actually because it's just select the handle go here to the synthesizer you want to change the
[00:17:04] modulation amounts and then you click on all here the mappings on the left side let's go back here
[00:17:10] to this one click on that click on polymer you can see all the mappings right it's pretty easy
[00:17:16] pretty powerful and fast to do because you have just to click once so these are basically two tips
[00:17:23] and tricks I want to show you in this video so yeah I hope it's kind of helpful I have a lot of
[00:17:32] more things to come on this channel I have some more ideas I want to show you just have to slowly
[00:17:37] roll it out of course and yeah that's it if you found it helpful please leave leave a like every
[00:17:43] interaction on YouTube is actually helpful for me so leave a like also maybe if you just watch the
[00:17:50] video leave a smiley in the comments I have no idea just ask some random questions subscribe to
[00:17:55] the channel and I hope to see you back in the next video thanks for watching and bye