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Exploring Bitwig 5.1: New Audio Features & BPM Detection for Classic Drum Loops

Tutorial | Oct 25, 2023

In my video, I discuss the new audio features in Bitwig 5.1, specifically focusing on the ability to import and manipulate audio clips. I demonstrate how to find the BPM of a drum loop using the DJ method, adjust the tempo while maintaining the loop's integrity, and utilize quantization and normalization features to enhance the audio. Overall, Bitwig 5.1 introduces valuable tools for manipulating and refining audio clips within the software.

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

Questions & Answers

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

What are the new audio features in Bitwig 5.1?

The new audio features in Bitwig 5.1 include the ability to import WAV files with different stretch modes, the option to change the default stretch mode, and the addition of onset detection markers for transient points in audio clips. There is also a new feature to normalize audio clips without destructive editing.

How do you determine the BPM of an audio clip in Bitwig 5.1?

To determine the BPM of an audio clip in Bitwig 5.1, you can use the DJ method by finding the first onset marker of the kick drum and setting it as the clip start. You can then adjust the project tempo until the audio clip fits into one bar. This allows you to determine the original BPM of the drum loop.

How can you quantize and normalize audio in Bitwig 5.1?

In Bitwig 5.1, you can quantize audio by using the new audio quantize feature, which aligns the onset markers to a specific grid, such as 1/8 notes. You can also normalize audio clips by right-clicking on the clip and selecting the normalize option, which adjusts the gain without altering the audio file itself.

What are some improvements or future wishes for the audio features in Bitwig 5.1?

Some improvements or future wishes for the audio features in Bitwig 5.1 include the ability to customize the onset detection threshold, add low cut and high cut options for analyzing parts to remove artifacts, and make the pop-up windows, such as the normalize feature, movable for better visibility.


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 5.1 has some new audio features and I want to talk about this in this video
[00:00:05] and I have prepared here some kind of classic drum loop.
[00:00:11] And if we want to use this as an example, you can see I don't know the BPM or the tempo
[00:00:16] of this clip.
[00:00:17] I don't know if this is a loop or not.
[00:00:19] It's probably not normalized.
[00:00:22] So we want to use this pretty wonky drum loop to show some examples.
[00:00:27] So here, first, when you import a WAV file or audio loop inside of Bitwig Studio, you
[00:00:33] have usually on the left side some kind of stretch mode already defined.
[00:00:38] It's the default stretch mode.
[00:00:40] For me, it's raw.
[00:00:42] And you have to select, of course, the audio clip to see this.
[00:00:45] So you can see mode raw.
[00:00:47] But you can change default stretch mode by going into the settings here and then behavior,
[00:00:53] default stretch mode, long samples raw, short samples raw on record balance, stretch HD.
[00:00:59] And you don't need to change this.
[00:01:01] I just want to show you this that you can change it here.
[00:01:04] And it depends on how you use Bitwig Studio, what kind of music you do and what kind of
[00:01:09] samples you use most of the times.
[00:01:11] So for me, it's raw.
[00:01:13] It's basically unstretched, but you can change it here to all kinds of different stretch modes
[00:01:19] we have inside of Bitwig Studio.
[00:01:21] Okay, so this is now raw.
[00:01:24] And you want to fit this to our tempo, to our project tempo with just the default BPM
[00:01:28] here, one on the 10 PPM.
[00:01:30] And we go into the detail editor of the audio clip here.
[00:01:36] You can do this by maybe double clicking to see it in the bottom half, or we can use shift
[00:01:42] tab.
[00:01:43] Or for me, it's actually just tab.
[00:01:45] While selecting this here, they go into this detail editor, or you can use down here.
[00:01:50] You can switch from a range to edit.
[00:01:53] You can see here everything in detail, right?
[00:01:57] So now that we are in this audio clip here, you can see we have audio events selected.
[00:02:02] And this is only one audio event in this audio clip.
[00:02:05] You can have multiple audio events in one audio clip.
[00:02:08] This is kind of specializing, I think, inside of Bitwig.
[00:02:12] But here we have just one audio clip.
[00:02:15] So also on the top, you can see some triangles here in blue, which basically are the markers
[00:02:20] for the onset detection or the transient.
[00:02:24] So every time you drag in an audio file into Bitwig, it tries to find transients and mark
[00:02:30] them with these triangles or with these onsets.
[00:02:33] You can also switch here to onsets to see that better.
[00:02:38] You can see triangles are now bigger and we have this line here to see where the transients
[00:02:42] are.
[00:02:43] We also have here different intensity of the color, right?
[00:02:47] We have a deep blue.
[00:02:48] We have a lighter blue and then you're mostly opaque blue.
[00:02:54] And this kind of marks the intensity of the sound, right?
[00:02:57] The kick drum is probably the loudest, then the snare drum is a bit quieter, and then
[00:03:00] the hi-hat is almost super quiet.
[00:03:03] So that's what you can see here with these kind of brightness levels.
[00:03:09] You can also select these onset markers here and can head over to the left side in the inspector
[00:03:16] and can see here the intensity is 7%.
[00:03:20] You can also see here the position inside of the wave file or the wave clip or the audio
[00:03:24] event, you want to call it.
[00:03:27] This audio, this onset marker here is 26% and this one has 69%.
[00:03:34] So it's the kick drum is probably the loudest one.
[00:03:37] So what we want to do is we want to find out the BPM of this and we want to do this by
[00:03:43] using the DJ method, right?
[00:03:44] You find the first kick drum inside of your vinyl record.
[00:03:49] So we head over here and right click on this onset and say set clip start.
[00:03:55] And now it switches basically the first onset, which is the first kick drum to the beginning
[00:04:00] of this audio clip.
[00:04:03] It doesn't actually cut here this offset or this padding of this wave file.
[00:04:08] And this is a problem, I think, and it needs to change in the future versions, maybe enable
[00:04:14] live.
[00:04:15] It's like this when you click right or right click on this and you can say, warp from here
[00:04:19] or start clip from here or something like that.
[00:04:22] And it basically takes this beginning now here as a kind of a route or as a kind of
[00:04:32] reference point for everything that you do to the wave file.
[00:04:35] So when I change here the BPM of this, maybe I have to change here also the stretch mode
[00:04:40] first.
[00:04:41] So we use a stretch mode slice here.
[00:04:43] Slice is perfect for drums.
[00:04:45] It's the same algorithm like beats like you if you come from able live, it's the same
[00:04:52] thing as beats.
[00:04:53] It tries to preserve the transience.
[00:04:56] So slices perfect for drums.
[00:04:58] We use that.
[00:05:00] And when we change now either tempo, you can only change the tempo when you choose a stretch
[00:05:05] mode, of course.
[00:05:06] So it takes the tempo one on 10 BPM, which is basically just a project tempo because
[00:05:11] Bittwick doesn't know anything about the BPM of this wave file or of this drum loop.
[00:05:17] And there's also no automatic beat BPM detection inside of Bittwick studio.
[00:05:22] So we have to do this for ourselves.
[00:05:24] So here it's it's it's chosen one on 10 BPM.
[00:05:28] And when you change this, you can see the clip or the audio event becomes longer or shorter
[00:05:34] dependent on what kind of BPM we are choosing here.
[00:05:38] But you can also see the initial kick drum moves actually away from the beginning of
[00:05:43] the clip.
[00:05:44] We can still right click here and say clip start and it moves it back here to the beginning.
[00:05:49] But every time we change the BPM here, it changes the whole offset with kind of is is
[00:05:56] is not what we want.
[00:05:57] We want to have the kick drum stay in place here at the beginning.
[00:06:02] And what you can do to change this actually right click here, say set clip start and then
[00:06:07] remove the padding.
[00:06:09] And now we can change the BPM and the kick drum stays in place.
[00:06:12] And it's now our new reference point, which makes it much easier to find out the BPM.
[00:06:18] So now we can say we want to just use one bar here.
[00:06:23] This is one bar right inside of our 110 BPM project.
[00:06:28] And we can now change the BPM of this until we fit maybe the whole thing in there.
[00:06:36] It could be that when you import here a drum loop that the drum loop actually is not cut
[00:06:41] exactly on the BPM of this drum loop itself.
[00:06:44] So maybe if a kick snare kick and then the next snare is missing, right?
[00:06:50] So you have to find this out.
[00:06:51] So here's a kick snare kick snare.
[00:06:54] It's basically two bars or two, two halves of a bar.
[00:07:00] Okay.
[00:07:01] So now we can fit this here into one bar.
[00:07:03] So let's listen to that.
[00:07:08] Maybe go back here and also loop this.
[00:07:17] So it already fits.
[00:07:18] So it's probably 87 BPM.
[00:07:21] That's the BPM of the original drum loop.
[00:07:24] And we can now change the tempo of BitRigStudio and this track stays in place, stays exactly
[00:07:31] in one bar and changes how it sounds.
[00:07:48] And when you put the tempo here pretty much to 20 BPM, you can see some of these samples
[00:07:56] are not that long, right?
[00:07:58] So BitRig tries to fake here the tails and you can change this here in the slicing mode
[00:08:04] at least with the tail setting.
[00:08:06] So we change this to none.
[00:08:07] So now there's no tail.
[00:08:14] It just plays or slices these individual single hits and then plays these hits in its original
[00:08:21] tempo.
[00:08:23] But then it becomes shorter because we have now 21 BPM here.
[00:08:27] So there's a lot of space in between the beats, right?
[00:08:30] So there's something missing and with the tail setting we can say what BitRig should
[00:08:36] do to actually fill that space.
[00:08:38] We can use ping pong which is basically just using the last bit of this sample and play
[00:08:44] it back and forth until the space is filled.
[00:08:50] But you can hear it playing it back and forth or you can use granular.
[00:09:03] And with the format you can change the setting of the granular setting.
[00:09:07] So the tail basically tries to fill the space when there is a gap when you pull the BPM down
[00:09:14] and there's space between the onsets or the slices.
[00:09:19] Okay, maybe bring this back here to 87.
[00:09:24] We can also now with the slice mode we can head down here to the pitch setting and can
[00:09:28] change the pitch.
[00:09:30] So again here there is the tail setting important when we put this to none and pitch it up.
[00:09:37] BitRig basically shifts each of these slices up.
[00:09:44] And you can already hear again the sample becomes shorter because you pitch every sample
[00:09:49] up or every slice up and then there's a gap between these onsets.
[00:09:57] And now we can again use your granular to fill the space.
[00:10:13] And you can also pretty much hear that BitRig uses here for the slice method kind of a traditional
[00:10:21] pitch algorithm.
[00:10:23] So it basically speeds up when you change the pitch here.
[00:10:26] It speeds up these individual slices or samples like you used to in a sampler.
[00:10:33] So if you don't like how all the other slicing modes sound when you pitch it up, this one
[00:10:40] is basically or the slice mode is basically like sounding like a traditional sampler pitch
[00:10:48] up and down in my opinion.
[00:10:50] There's probably a lot of different things happening there but for me it sounds like
[00:10:55] very traditional.
[00:10:56] So you pitch up and down these samples.
[00:10:59] Okay, so maybe put this back here to granular and maybe put the pitch down to zero.
[00:11:08] So now the problem is some of these slices are on sets as you can see are not exactly
[00:11:18] on point here.
[00:11:20] The snare drum is a bit earlier.
[00:11:22] It just needs to be on one two, right?
[00:11:26] And one four here needs to be also the snare.
[00:11:29] So it's a bit off and that's pretty normal because it's a drummer.
[00:11:33] A drummer blade is in so the drummers are usually not that precise.
[00:11:37] Some drummers are but these are classic drum loops.
[00:11:40] They are probably also recorded from a vinyl record which is not that precise and a bit
[00:11:45] wonky here and there.
[00:11:47] So we can use here the stretch mode to put in some stretch markers.
[00:11:54] So we can use here with double click in the bottom half of this.
[00:11:58] It works also in the top half.
[00:12:01] You can put in slice markers here at any point and then put these slice markers in then move
[00:12:09] them around, right?
[00:12:10] And you can basically offset the whole audio clip or audio event.
[00:12:18] Then it tries to play this back in a different way so you can stretch out different individual
[00:12:29] sounds here.
[00:12:30] What you also can do is right click now with the new update and can say quantize audio
[00:12:34] here, quantize audio or quantize audio dot dot dot which gives you an overlay like this.
[00:12:40] In my opinion this needs to move in a different position because you don't see what's happening
[00:12:45] in the background here.
[00:12:48] Maybe it's better to make this here moveable, this window.
[00:12:52] I don't know.
[00:12:53] So what we can do now is here select some onsets.
[00:12:57] We want to choose maybe these two, right?
[00:13:01] And then we want to use these two to actually quantize them to a 1/8 note grid which is
[00:13:07] straight.
[00:13:08] You can also choose your editor or maybe bring in some humanization, shuffle and so on.
[00:13:14] But we don't want to do that.
[00:13:16] So it's okay and it uses these two markers here and put them exactly on the grid.
[00:13:23] We redo this.
[00:13:25] Can see they are pretty much a bit off on the grid, off the grid.
[00:13:31] So this is what the audio quantization does.
[00:13:34] So right click, audio quantize audio here and then you have that.
[00:13:40] So with this you can easily quantize audio here.
[00:13:44] Maybe we can take all these onset markers, use 16 notes and then puts all these onsets
[00:13:52] on the grid.
[00:13:53] Sounds like this.
[00:13:56] Okay.
[00:13:59] So back to the arranger here.
[00:14:09] Then we have on right click on this audio clip, we have also new normalize which normalizes
[00:14:15] the audio file.
[00:14:16] Takes the biggest peak and then puts it to 0 dB on the line of 0 dB.
[00:14:28] And what's also new is that it's not destructive.
[00:14:32] So it's not calculated into the wave file.
[00:14:34] It just changes here on the left side the gain setting.
[00:14:38] So right click normalize.
[00:14:40] You can see it's now a 0.5.
[00:14:42] You can change the volume at any time and repeat that.
[00:14:45] Right click normalize.
[00:14:47] You can also define a hotkey for this of course in the settings or you can select this, go
[00:14:53] here to clip, use normalize or you can pin it to the main menu.
[00:14:58] This is what I did here.
[00:15:00] Can see now here this normalize button.
[00:15:02] So every time I select the audio file or audio clip, I have this button here.
[00:15:06] When I hit this and can change the volume, normalize, change volume, normalize.
[00:15:13] So finally after seven years, I'm quite emotional about this that we have finally some normalization
[00:15:19] options for audio clips inside of Bitwig studio.
[00:15:23] I could cry to be honest.
[00:15:28] So back here in this detail editor, we can also do something like now slice in place and
[00:15:36] we can use onsets to slice actually this one big audio event into multiple audio events.
[00:15:42] You can also use here the threshold if we just want to select some of them slices, what
[00:15:48] I want to select your all slices.
[00:15:50] So I hit OK.
[00:15:51] And now you can see instead of one audio event here, we have multiple audio events.
[00:15:56] And with this, you can select all these audio events and can say right click normalize or
[00:16:02] use your the normalize button, I think event, pin it.
[00:16:07] Yeah.
[00:16:08] Use normalize here.
[00:16:09] You can see it now because we have multiple audio events, it takes each of these audio
[00:16:14] events separately and tries to normalize them.
[00:16:18] So it's not like one big file, one big audio event and then take the biggest peak of that.
[00:16:24] No, now it takes each individual drum hit and normalizes this drum hit individually separately.
[00:16:32] So here it makes no sense because these are kind of ghost notes, so they need to be a
[00:16:40] bit quiet so I can do on this down a bit here.
[00:16:49] There you have it.
[00:16:55] We quantized BPM matched and normalized classic drum break inside of Bitwig Studio with just
[00:17:02] Bitwig internal features.
[00:17:06] I'm quite happy about the normalization.
[00:17:09] I was missing this a lot over the years and I'm finally happy we have this.
[00:17:14] This for me actually was one of the big features of this 5.1 update.
[00:17:20] With the onset detection, I hope we get something like that we can change the onset detection.
[00:17:28] At the moment, it's automatically, so every time, like I said in the beginning, automatically
[00:17:32] when you drag in an audio file, it's all it's mapped out already that you have these
[00:17:38] onsets in place and you can't change it.
[00:17:40] What you can do is of course you can change it manually so you can disable here by using
[00:17:46] a double click or bring in additional ones.
[00:17:50] But in my opinion, there should be also a slider or threshold for this, maybe a low
[00:17:54] cut and a high cut also for the analyzing parts.
[00:17:58] We can move out certain clicks and pops from the file so these onsets don't get falsely
[00:18:07] detected with these artifacts inside of an WAV file.
[00:18:13] So this is my wish for the future to have some kind of threshold for that.
[00:18:18] Normalization is great.
[00:18:20] Also here, the popups maybe make them movable in the future so we can move this around or
[00:18:27] maybe make it on a different position maybe on the right corner or something like that.
[00:18:33] I have no idea.
[00:18:34] So nice features all around in this new update and that's it for this video.
[00:18:38] Leave a like if you liked the video, subscribe to the channel and ask some questions in the
[00:18:44] comments below or tell me where I'm wrong.
[00:18:47] Thanks for watching, see you in the next video and bye.