Tags: posts polarity-music Bitwig Grid Sampler Modulators Presets Wave Table

The Wishlist: Small Changes to Make Bitwig Studio Even More Awesome

Tutorial | Aug 24, 2023

In this video, I talk about some small changes I would like to see in future versions of Bitwig Studio. I acknowledge that Bitwig Studio is already amazing and I have no complaints about it. However, there are some features that I think could be improved upon. One feature I feel needs some love is the recorder module in the grid. It lacks persistence, meaning that when you save and reload a preset or project, any recorded data is lost. I suggest adding a feature to persist data or introduce a module similar to the sample and hold that can save values.

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Another issue with the recorder is that it has a short recording time and lacks options to change playback speed or direction. I believe these features are essential for a recorder module.

Additionally, I propose making the sampler recordable or adding a recording feature to it. This would open up more possibilities for creative use, such as recording audio while playing a synthesizer and using granular synthesis.

I also discuss the idea of scale highlighters in the piano roll, suggesting that it could be improved by showing the interval between notes when clicked and providing visual indicators for intervals relative to the root note.

I suggest adding shortcuts for moving notes in harmonic intervals, such as fifths or fourths, as it would be more efficient than counting semitones.

Another feature I imagine is the ability to load presets into modulator handles instead of devices. This would allow for easy morphing between different presets and states.

I also propose the inclusion of presets for modulators to save time and streamline the workflow. Another idea is to add a modulator for scales, allowing for octave, fifth, or fourth switching.

A feature I would find useful is the ability to make modulated values static, so that when a desired sound is achieved through modulation, it can be easily persisted as a static value without manually adjusting knobs.

Finally, I mention the missing link between scroll and wave tables, as it would be great to have the ability to draw custom wave shapes in the wave table oscillator or morph between wave shapes in the scroll module.

Overall, these are just my personal ideas and suggestions based on my use of Bitwig Studio. I understand that Bitwig is free to choose what features to implement and this video is not meant to pressure anyone. It is simply my wishlist for small improvements to make Bitwig Studio even more awesome.

Questions & Answers

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

What are some requested changes for Bitwig Studio in future versions?

Some requested changes for Bitwig Studio in future versions include improvements to the recorder module, such as adding persistence to recorded data and increasing the record time. Additionally, users have suggested adding features like playback speed and direction control to the recorder. Another requested change is to make the sampler recordable, allowing users to record audio directly into the sampler module. Users have also expressed a desire for additional features within the sampler, such as a slicing mode for drum breaks and the ability to save recorded data with presets or projects.

Why are these changes important to the user?

These changes are important to the user because they add functionality and flexibility to the recording capabilities of Bitwig Studio. By providing persistence to recorded data, users can save and recall their recorded audio without losing any information. Increasing the record time allows for longer recordings, making the recorder module more versatile for different musical purposes. The ability to control playback speed and direction adds new creative possibilities for manipulating recorded audio. Making the sampler recordable expands the range of use cases for Bitwig Studio, allowing users to record audio directly into the sampler and then manipulate it using various synthesis techniques.

How do these requested changes improve the overall user experience?

These requested changes improve the overall user experience by enhancing the functionality and efficiency of Bitwig Studio. By adding persistence to recorded data, users can easily recall previous recordings without the need to re-record every time they load a project or preset. Increasing the record time eliminates the limitation of short recordings, making it easier to capture longer musical ideas. The ability to control playback speed and direction offers more creative options for working with recorded audio. Implementing a slicing mode for drum breaks in the sampler allows for more precise and efficient editing of drum samples. Additionally, the ability to save recorded data with presets or projects streamlines the workflow and ensures that all relevant data is stored together.

Are there any potential limitations or challenges to implementing these changes?

While it is difficult to speculate on the specific limitations or challenges of implementing these changes without insight into the development process of Bitwig Studio, it is worth considering potential technical complexities and the need for extensive testing to ensure the stability and compatibility of these new features. Additionally, implementing these changes while maintaining the overall performance and usability of Bitwig Studio may require careful optimization and consideration of system resources. However, as a user-requested feature, it is possible that the Bitwig development team has already taken these factors into account and is actively working on implementing these changes in a future


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 Bitwig Studio is already pretty awesome and when I recall what I had back in 20 years ago,
[00:00:08] Bitwig is like heaven. I could, I can do everything and I have no problem. I could easily switch two versions back in Bitwig Studio and could still make super nice music easily.
[00:00:23] So I have no complaints whatsoever about Bitwig Studio, how it is at the moment. Sure there are a lot of bugs like in every software and there are a lot of features I could imagine that could be implemented.
[00:00:37] And for this video I want to pick out some things I think could change in a future Bitwig version, some small changes, right? I don't want to turn Bitwig Studio into a completely different DAW or completely different concept.
[00:00:53] It's like some small little changes right on top of what we already have to make it really awesome in my opinion. And of course this is heavily biased from my perspective, what I use every day in Bitwig Studio and what I think could be nice.
[00:01:11] So it's also not a video to put pressure on anyone so Bitwig is free to choose whatsoever. It's just my, it's not, you know, my personal personal kind of wishlist.
[00:01:23] Okay, let's put it this way. I think that's perfectly fine word. So switching here to Bitwig Studio.
[00:01:33] So for instance, inside of the grid, we have a lot of modules already, but there's one module in particular that I think it's really, it needs some love and that's the recorder, right?
[00:01:49] And it's also in a real place. So recorder is the only device that basically features some kind of memory where you can record something into it. I mean you have the array here, you can also record small bits of audio into an array.
[00:02:08] But it's not really like a recorder in that sense. So these two devices we have here. So the first, the first problem I have for the recorder is that it's not persistent.
[00:02:20] So when you record something into recorder, save the preset, recall the preset, reload the project, it's empty. So it's not saved with the preset itself. So that's my first problem.
[00:02:30] And that's also a feature request in itself. If the recorder doesn't feature something like persistent data, that's completely fine. But there needs to be some kind of module like the sample and hold.
[00:02:46] We can put a value in, save it with the preset itself and every time you read the preset, you read the project, it's back on the same value that you saved it on, right? So something to persist the data.
[00:03:02] So this is something, this is another feature request, but the recorder itself could be also featuring some kind of permanent data that you can save with the preset itself or with the project itself.
[00:03:14] Another thing is the record is way too short. You can record up to, I don't know, six seconds or something like this, which is not very long. It's like this, right? And then it stops. So it's maybe six or seven seconds, which is not, yeah.
[00:03:35] It's useful for small bits of delaying audio or playing back audio. But if you want to sample something longer, then yeah, it's not really great.
[00:03:47] Another thing is you can't change the playback speed. So you can't play playback. The audio is slower or faster. You can pitch it up or pitch it down.
[00:03:57] And I think for a recorder, this should be a must, right? So playback speed is a must, in my opinion. Also, playback direction. You can only play forward. You also need to play backwards. So like a real tape recorder could do, right?
[00:04:14] So these are basically my basic feature requests for the recorder. And the recorder is at this state at the moment for years now. So it's never touched again.
[00:04:25] So I need something like the sampler. So speaking of the sampler, the sampler is basically that what I would like the recorder to be. The problem with the sampler is you can't record audio.
[00:04:43] So the recorder can record audio, but you can't change the direction. You can't change the playback speed.
[00:04:50] With the sampler, you can change the playback speed. You can also reverse the audio and all that stuff you want to do. You can even switch the engines, use the textures, but you can't record.
[00:04:59] So either implement all the things on the recorder or make the sampler recordable, which would be even better to have a record feature inside of the sampler.
[00:05:12] But then because then you could maybe in the chain use the sampler after after maybe a synthesizer record some stuff on the fly while you're playing the synthesizer.
[00:05:26] You record something into the sampler switch here to playback mode, trigger the sampler maybe with the note grid.
[00:05:32] It makes some granular synthesis fuckery. So this could be a nice thing to have to open up Bitwig to much more different use cases.
[00:05:43] So just by adding maybe to the sampler a recording feature, this would be massive in my opinion to have this in Bitwig Studio.
[00:05:54] I don't think it's that much hard to implement. And while we are at the sampler, please add a slicing mode for drum breaks. This would be awesome.
[00:06:09] So yeah, then with the sampler, of course, it's probably also needs then if you can record something into the sampler, it needs some kind of saving feature so you can persist the data, which then again leads me back to the first feature request for persisting data.
[00:06:23] So why not make the sampler recordable input audio record stuff and then maybe hit the use a save button or when you save the preset it saves the buffer within the preset or the project would be really, really awesome.
[00:06:42] This would be massive in my opinion just to have this.
[00:06:46] So I talked recently about scale highlighters and how I think they are not really that helpful. I mean, they are great in a way, but you know, I think in my opinion, it's not that interesting.
[00:06:59] But I could imagine for the piano or something like where you paint in notes and then you paint in a second note and it shows you when you click on the note and you hold down the mouse button, it shows you some kind of ruler,
[00:07:14] where you see the distance, the interval between these two notes, right, chose to maybe here, oh, this is now seven semitones or this, this is seven semitones right in between here.
[00:07:25] And it shows you also that this is now here, the fifth to the root note because this is the lowest note. And maybe if you have multiple notes, it also shows you not only the distance between this note and this note, also between this and the root because the root is always
[00:07:43] the bottom, bottom note, most of the times the base note, right?
[00:07:47] So you click on this, you hold the mouse down and then you see some kind of ruler, you see, oh, this is here a fourth, this is a fifth and so on.
[00:07:57] And this is seven semitones, this is five semitones. And then you know exactly where to stop here with your, yeah, with your note, where to paint in stuff.
[00:08:08] So this could be really interesting. Another idea I had is when you click on the note itself, you can move the note around with your cursor keys, right, which is great.
[00:08:20] And when you hold down shift, you skip basically one octave here or you move in octaves.
[00:08:27] So there could be an option in the shortcuts where you can just dial in a shortcut for moving in fifths or fourths or thirds or whatever.
[00:08:39] This could be also interesting. So now when I want to move up basically a fifth here, I'm going one octave higher and then go one, two, three, four, five down, or I use one, two, three, four, five, six, seven.
[00:08:51] I count basically all the time in my head. So this could be a nice option to have in the shortcuts just to jump in different, yeah, harmonic intervals.
[00:09:02] So let's imagine you have your pulley synth and usually you take the pulley synth and then you can open up a preset and can load in the preset to this device.
[00:09:11] And then it basically takes on a new state. Every parameter in here gets a new value.
[00:09:19] You can switch between different values, right? So this is great and it's pretty awesome.
[00:09:27] My idea would be instead of loading the preset into the device, you load the preset into the modulator or the mapping of the modulator.
[00:09:36] So you add, for instance, one macro, for example, and then you right click on the modulator handle here and then you load in the preset for the device.
[00:09:46] This modulator is attached on into the modulator mapping.
[00:09:51] Okay, so we load in the preset here for the pulley synth in here and then everything is mapped.
[00:09:56] So everything that the preset changes to this default init state here, so you figure out what kind of parameters change to what kind of value from this value to this value, right?
[00:10:09] And then everything is mapped automatically here to this handle.
[00:10:14] And then you just increase the amount here with the macro.
[00:10:19] You increase the amount and you slowly dial in the changes from your default or from an init preset from your current state to the state of the preset.
[00:10:30] So you can morph between your current state and the preset state.
[00:10:36] Of course, there's a problem because with presets, we get here the audio effects in these boxes here.
[00:10:43] But in my opinion, when you load in the preset to this modulator handle here, you could just leave out the FX box.
[00:10:51] Just leave it empty and only apply basically the mappings to this current device where you have this modulator attached to.
[00:11:02] This could be already pretty awesome.
[00:11:06] So you can morph between different sounds, right?
[00:11:09] Yeah, this would be nice to have.
[00:11:12] Then you could also instead of using a macro, you could use different macros.
[00:11:20] You can use two ones, right?
[00:11:21] You have preset A here and preset B here.
[00:11:24] And then you can dial in maybe the flute sound and you can slowly back and dial in the bass sound.
[00:11:30] So you can morph between different states of the whole synth or device these modulators are attached to.
[00:11:39] And a bit because already a modulation powerhouse and this would be really, really awesome.
[00:11:45] It's already pretty great.
[00:11:46] Don't get me wrong.
[00:11:48] It's pretty awesome how it is at the moment.
[00:11:50] It's just an idea I have in my mind sometimes when I play with all these devices.
[00:11:55] It could be great to have this.
[00:11:57] Another problem is probably with the morphing thing that you have switches here on devices, right?
[00:12:03] So you can't morph between this and this state, right?
[00:12:06] We have a hard switch at some point.
[00:12:09] So it's switching from this to this.
[00:12:10] There's no slow morphing thing happening here.
[00:12:15] And also here with the filter types.
[00:12:18] But yeah, what gives would be still interesting to have on different devices also the grid itself.
[00:12:26] And when you have maybe a grid preset and some of these modules are not present in the current presets,
[00:12:33] we can't map to it, right?
[00:12:35] Because there's no module from in this grand state from the to the preset state.
[00:12:41] And you just leave the mapping out.
[00:12:43] You don't do anything, right?
[00:12:46] So this would be pretty interesting.
[00:12:47] I think loading presets into the modulator handles also using your maybe a four stage or how is called select for right?
[00:12:57] You load in a preset here, preset here, here, here, and then you morph slowly through four different states of the synthesizer.
[00:13:07] You can already do something like this with let's say with the channel 16 here, right?
[00:13:15] When you say when I play a note with channel media channel one, then I want to apply these kind of different settings.
[00:13:23] When I play a note with a channel two, then I want to have this kind of thing, right?
[00:13:29] But the problem here is you have to dial in everything manually at the same time.
[00:13:34] And I have already a preset ready.
[00:13:36] That sounds great.
[00:13:37] And I want to map this basically to channel two and then have a base sound.
[00:13:41] I want to map to channel one.
[00:13:43] So why not just load in the presets here with the right click, right?
[00:13:48] And then apply everything to just just this modulator handle.
[00:13:52] This could be pretty awesome in my opinion.
[00:13:54] And while we are talking about modulators, presets for modulators are pretty important in my opinion.
[00:14:00] So let's take here the curve modulator we got in the last update.
[00:14:04] Every time I want to use this modulator here, I have to do the same steps.
[00:14:08] I have to switch this here to groove.
[00:14:10] I have to switch here maybe to bar.
[00:14:12] I have to open this up, right click.
[00:14:14] I have to reset the curve because I don't like this curve.
[00:14:17] I do this, then most of the times I switch this here to unipolar.
[00:14:22] And yeah, then I'm good to go basically.
[00:14:26] But I want to have this as an init preset or maybe allow me to load in or save presets for modulators
[00:14:36] or maybe complete groups of modulators.
[00:14:40] So you can just apply one group of modulators to one device and everything is ready to go.
[00:14:46] Without me, you know, going in here and doing the same steps over and over again.
[00:14:52] Yeah, another thing would be to add a modulator for scales.
[00:14:59] So we can switch in octaves, maybe in fifth and fourth and so on.
[00:15:04] Again, do something like this with the quantizer.
[00:15:07] I made a video about this, but it's not straightforward to use.
[00:15:12] Maybe extend here the quantizer a bit more to note scales or note intervals.
[00:15:22] Could be great, in my opinion.
[00:15:24] Just when you modulate here the pitch of something, right?
[00:15:28] Could be pretty handy to have.
[00:15:31] So you all know that I'm a pretty generic guy, pretty generative music making guy.
[00:15:38] And I use randomizations a lot.
[00:15:41] So imagine you have a pulley synth and you use a random mod
[00:15:46] and you switch this to note.
[00:15:48] So every time we hit the note, we retrig out the random modulator
[00:15:51] and then you switch this to hold and then you maybe modulate here some things on the synth itself.
[00:15:58] And every time you press a key on the keyboard, you get a different modulation value here.
[00:16:06] And it changes the sound of the synthesizer completely.
[00:16:09] So you generate basically random presets.
[00:16:14] But when I found something here, there's no way for me to actually persist these modulated values.
[00:16:22] You can see there's the blue modulation amount here.
[00:16:26] But for me to actually make this then persistent, I have to go manually in here and move the knob to this position.
[00:16:34] Because I like the sound, I like what the random modulator did to the to the synth at the moment, right?
[00:16:40] So it would be nice to have a right click option here and say make modulated value to a static value.
[00:16:47] So when you click this, the knob here just snaps to the new position.
[00:16:54] And then you could just save the synth in its grand state and save it as a new preset.
[00:17:00] It would be also nice to have this, of course, here on the mapping itself and say maybe right click here,
[00:17:07] make all mappings to static values or maybe on the synthesizer itself, right click and say apply all modulations
[00:17:16] at the grand state and make it static values.
[00:17:19] And then you could easily create multiple presets per second and just save the best ones.
[00:17:29] Could be nice to have. So there is a lot of stuff like this in Bitwig where you can do a lot of dynamic things,
[00:17:37] which is really great. But then when you found something while exploring, there's no way for you to persist the data in some meaningful way.
[00:17:46] It's the same thing with the recorder in the beginning, right?
[00:17:49] You can record, but you can't persist the data.
[00:17:53] Or you can load in data, but you can't, you know, can't reuse it in a meaningful way.
[00:18:00] So there's some kind of shortcoming in Bitwig, in my opinion, is this that you can't persist data in a meaningful way.
[00:18:08] Another thing in Bitwig is a missing link between scroll and wave tables.
[00:18:14] So with the scroll here, you can draw in your own wave shape, right? But you can't morph between different wave shapes.
[00:18:23] So you can do this with the wave table oscillator, but here you can't draw your own oscillator shapes, right?
[00:18:31] So this is again a missing link, in my opinion. The same with the recorder in the grid and the sampler.
[00:18:38] They have one on the other, but you can't combine the two.
[00:18:44] So yeah, here's also a missed opportunity. Maybe they're already working on it. I have no idea.
[00:18:50] So scroll in itself could be a nice wave table editor, where you can apply different paintings to different stages of the wave table,
[00:19:01] and then you can morph between them. Would be nice to have.
[00:19:05] Also here for the scroll itself, it's nice that you can draw in the shape itself,
[00:19:11] but most of the times you want to target different harmonics.
[00:19:15] So you need to draw in maybe the first harmonic, the second, the third, the fourth, and so on.
[00:19:20] Just maybe the first 10 harmonics also would be enough, in my opinion.
[00:19:27] It's like here, Serum does this pretty great in the editor, right?
[00:19:32] You have here the wave shape, and then you have here the harmonics.
[00:19:35] And when you clear all the harmonics here, the wave shape is basically zero.
[00:19:40] Then you draw in the fundamental, you have a sine wave, and then you draw in here the third harmonic, right?
[00:19:46] And then you get this wave shape and so on. And this goes up here to, I don't know, up to 512 harmonics.
[00:19:55] In my opinion, this is too much. You never need to paint up here, right?
[00:20:00] It would be nice to have for scroll maybe here the first 10, 15, 16 partials available as draws.
[00:20:12] So it could be nice to have here basically this editor, and then you switch to a different tab,
[00:20:17] and then you have this, and then you say, I want to add here the third harmonic.
[00:20:22] And then you end up with a wave shape like this in here, right?
[00:20:26] So I don't want to make this video too long because I have a long list of these kind of features.
[00:20:31] As many as you do, I read daily the forums in the comment section, but I don't want to, you know,
[00:20:39] force everyone to implement this stuff. It's just some small little things where I see some opportunities
[00:20:46] to make it more awesome than it already is. And for me, it's not a must, must have.
[00:20:52] These are all features that would be cool to have. And yeah, I want to make a video about this
[00:20:58] and highlight some of my ideas and to see what you guys are up to if you like it.
[00:21:04] And yeah, let me know in the comments, leave a like if you liked the video and put all the feature requests in the comments.
[00:21:12] Thanks for watching, and I'll see you in the next video. Bye.