Tags: posts polarity-music additive Bitwig Poly-Grid synthesizers Tutorial Bitwig-5.1

Additive Synthesizer in Bitwig Studio 5.1

Tutorial | Dec 06, 2023

In this video, I demonstrate how to create a simple yet powerful additive synthesizer using Bitwig Studio 5.1. By utilizing the new voice stacking feature, which allows up to 16 voices, I show how to create unique and dynamic sounds by manipulating parameters such as pitch, volume, decay, phase, and even velocity. With the ability to save presets, this versatile synthesizer is perfect for producing a wide range of sounds, from bell-like tones to pad sounds with the help of effects like reverb and resonators.

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Hey everyone, welcome back to my channel! Today, I'm excited to share with you the process of creating an additive synthesizer in Bitwig Studio 5.1, taking advantage of its new voice stacking feature. Here are the key moments:

Questions & Answers

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

How does the new voice stacking feature in Bitwig Studio 5.1 improve additive synthesizers?

The new voice stacking feature in Bitwig Studio 5.1 allows for up to 16 voices to be played simultaneously, resulting in a fuller and richer sound. This implementation is considered the best and simplest additive synthesizer to date, making it easier for users to create complex and layered sounds.

What is the basic setup for creating an additive synthesizer in Bitwig Studio 5.1?

The basic setup for creating an additive synthesizer in Bitwig Studio 5.1 involves using a sine oscillator, an AD envelope, and an audio output within a polygrid. By utilizing voice stacking and step modulators, users can modulate parameters such as pitch, volume, and decay for each partial individually, resulting in a dynamic and customizable sound.

How can the sound of the additive synthesizer be further modified and enhanced?

Apart from modulating pitch, volume, and decay for each partial, users can also modify parameters such as phase, skew, and velocity to further shape and enhance the sound of the additive synthesizer. Additionally, users have the option to incorporate effects such as reverb and utilize different oscillators like the SVF for more experimentation and versatility.

What are some potential uses and applications of the additive synthesizer in Bitwig Studio 5.1?

The additive synthesizer in Bitwig Studio 5.1 can be used to create a wide range of sounds, from traditional additive synthesis textures to unique and experimental tones. It can be utilized in various genres of music production, such as creating bell-like sounds, drone sounds, evolving pads, and resonators. Additionally, the simplicity of the setup and the persistence of the step modulators make it easy to save and recall presets or use it in live performances.


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 folks, welcome back.
[00:00:02] Bitwig Studio 5.1 finally released and I want to use this video to show you how to create
[00:00:09] a nice additive synthesizer in Bitwig Studio with the new feature of voice stacking going
[00:00:14] up to 16 voices.
[00:00:16] I think it's the best implementation of an additive synthesizer yet.
[00:00:20] I think it's also the simplest one.
[00:00:23] So I want to show you this.
[00:00:25] This is an empty project here, Bitwig Studio 5.1 and we have just one instrument track.
[00:00:31] Use one polygrid in here.
[00:00:36] And inside of the polygrid, we create the simplest setup for synthesizer ever.
[00:00:41] That's just a sine oscillator.
[00:00:44] It's an AD envelope and it's an audio output.
[00:00:50] So nothing more.
[00:00:51] Maybe we use an amplifier here to change the volume a bit to bring it a bit down.
[00:00:58] So this is the easiest setup for synthesizer.
[00:01:00] I think it's also already the default preset for the grid.
[00:01:05] If I'm not wrong.
[00:01:07] So it's a monophonic sine synthesizer.
[00:01:10] So how do we create now an additive synthesizer?
[00:01:13] Well, first up, we need to switch the grid into voice stacking.
[00:01:17] We have one voice stack here at the moment, but we need to have 16 because we want to
[00:01:22] have 16 partials.
[00:01:24] So now this one here plays 16 times because that's why it's so loud because we play the
[00:01:31] 16 times at the same time with the same frequency.
[00:01:35] So we have to change that.
[00:01:37] We need to use here a step modulator and the step modulator already has 16 steps, which
[00:01:44] is perfect.
[00:01:45] It's exactly what we need.
[00:01:47] We switch here the timing to hold.
[00:01:50] So nothing plays right.
[00:01:52] If you play here, the step modulator basically stays in place.
[00:01:57] Perfect.
[00:01:58] Now we need to use.
[00:02:00] Oh, yeah, we need to switch here.
[00:02:02] Actually, this step modulator into per voice mode on the left side.
[00:02:06] It's very important actually because we need this per voice.
[00:02:12] Then we need another modulator as stack spread modulator here going from zero to one.
[00:02:21] And with this, we modulate inside of the step modulator here, this phase modulation amount
[00:02:27] by exactly one.
[00:02:30] You can see now every step in the sequence here is white, which means everything is correct.
[00:02:39] We changed basically here for each voice the phase modulation amount.
[00:02:44] And then we can use this year to change something inside of this patch for each voice differently.
[00:02:51] So now with this year, we want to change the pitch.
[00:02:54] So we want to have for each voice.
[00:02:56] So we have 16 voices and for each voice, we want to have a different frequency.
[00:03:00] So each voice plays a different frequency with the oscillator, right?
[00:03:04] And instead of using here this pitch offset, we use the ratio and we go up here to 36.
[00:03:13] So it's basically 36 to one, which means we can now dial in here for each voice different
[00:03:21] ratio.
[00:03:22] The first frequency here is zero, which means we have just one one.
[00:03:28] So it's the root or the fundamental.
[00:03:30] And then we can slightly go up in frequency the higher we get with the voices.
[00:03:37] Sounds like this.
[00:03:40] It sounds a bit ugly because each partial at the moment is still the same loudness,
[00:03:45] but we changed this soon.
[00:03:46] So we call this here pitch or let's say ratio.
[00:03:53] And we just duplicate this and we call this here volume.
[00:03:58] Okay.
[00:04:01] And now we want to change the volume for each partial and we can do this by just utilizing
[00:04:05] here amplify, pull this down and then maybe modulate this here to the max volume of let's
[00:04:12] say this.
[00:04:14] So now we can say the first fundamental frequency, which is one one, right?
[00:04:20] It's zero here.
[00:04:22] This one should be the loudest because it's the fundamental, the root note or the root
[00:04:26] frequency.
[00:04:27] And then we go slightly down in volume.
[00:04:30] Now it sounds like this.
[00:04:40] Something like this.
[00:04:42] And basically that's that's already it.
[00:04:44] That's a nice additive synthesizer you can use dial in here also attack settings differently.
[00:04:53] So we can change the pitch and the ratio for each partial and they can change the volume
[00:05:02] for each partial.
[00:05:04] But you can do more of course.
[00:05:06] We can say we want to change the decay setting here for each partial differently.
[00:05:14] So we call this decay, bring this down here and modulate here.
[00:05:19] And now we can say the root, the partial order, the fundamental frequency has the longest decay,
[00:05:24] right?
[00:05:25] And then the higher we get the less decay we have.
[00:05:32] Now it sounds already like a plucked string.
[00:05:45] So now at the moment it's still a monophonic synthesizer because we only use voice stacking.
[00:05:51] We can now use here voices and can say we want to have 10 voices.
[00:05:55] So now it's polyphonic.
[00:05:57] So we can play this now with multiple keys at the same time or we can play chords with
[00:06:03] this.
[00:06:04] It's maybe still too loud here.
[00:06:27] Sounds pretty nice.
[00:06:30] Okay, another thing we can do now is we can change the phase.
[00:06:35] If you are familiar with zero mode with the partial editor in zero, you can change the
[00:06:40] phase per partial.
[00:06:43] So we say we want to have a constant here, constant of one, and then duplicators.
[00:06:51] We can say this is the base.
[00:06:54] And now we can rotate here basically the phase for each partial differently and get different
[00:07:02] sound.
[00:07:12] You also can say we want to change the skew setting here to get different sounds.
[00:07:19] Maybe not the best idea but we can do it.
[00:07:28] So we can bring in a more metallic sound here in the higher partials with this.
[00:07:43] So this could be an idea.
[00:07:45] What else can we do?
[00:07:47] Oh yeah, we can bring in velocity.
[00:07:50] So there's below mode.
[00:07:53] That's how it's called.
[00:07:55] It's basically just a volume change.
[00:07:57] And the volume change is based on the velocity you are using for your current note.
[00:08:03] So if you pull this down, velocity has no effect.
[00:08:07] It's basically just the same volume for each key press.
[00:08:09] And if you bring this all the way up, you need to press the keys pretty hard on the keyboard
[00:08:15] to bring it to the max volume.
[00:08:24] And because this is now here the same setting for each partial, we can of course use here
[00:08:29] again a step modulator, all this velocity and change this for each partial differently.
[00:08:40] So we can say the lower partials are not that sensitive but the higher partials are sensitive
[00:08:47] to velocity.
[00:09:00] Let's bring this more up here.
[00:09:22] So you can play around with this idea here.
[00:09:24] You can extend this to all kinds of parameters.
[00:09:27] You can use it for the tuning here.
[00:09:30] That's also something I did lately.
[00:09:32] So maybe activate this.
[00:09:34] So here this is basically the frequency offset for the left and the right channel.
[00:09:37] So we have a different pitch for the sign oscillate on the left and the right channel.
[00:09:41] So mixed more stereo.
[00:09:44] So we can call this here the tune.
[00:09:49] Then bring this here up to certain frequency, maybe 16.
[00:09:54] We can change now here the frequency offset for each partial.
[00:10:04] It gets a different sound here and there.
[00:10:11] So the best part about all of this is that these step modulators are actually persistent.
[00:10:17] So when you save this as a preset in the current state, you can load it perfectly fine.
[00:10:23] Again, the next time and it sounds exactly the same.
[00:10:27] You can also use this inside of project.
[00:10:29] Save it as a project and next time you load this project, it sounds exactly the same.
[00:10:35] You can utilize here, let's say at the randomized button and for everything.
[00:10:42] But I think that the most drastic change is of course when you change the pitch ratio settings
[00:10:48] here in the volume and maybe decay.
[00:10:51] That's where it sounds or where it changes the sounds the most.
[00:10:57] So let's try this.
[00:10:58] So we change here pitch ratio.
[00:11:01] It sounds like a bell or metallic sound.
[00:11:17] Most of the times you want to have the volume here to create a bit with the higher partials,
[00:11:21] but you can also try out drastic changes like this.
[00:11:29] So it gives you all kinds of bell sounds, probably also off pitch because you change
[00:11:35] here the root or the fundamental frequency to something, but you can always bring this
[00:11:40] down here.
[00:11:41] First partial and maybe the second partial down to zero.
[00:11:45] So you have like a root or correct tuning for the sound, something like this.
[00:11:54] And maybe also try to bring up the volume for these partials.
[00:12:13] And yes, this is pretty CPU intensive.
[00:12:17] You can see we have a lot of voices at the moment.
[00:12:20] You can see it goes slowly down because we have the high decay settings.
[00:12:25] So you need to be aware of that.
[00:12:26] So maybe bring this a bit more down here so the voices fade out faster.
[00:12:41] Okay.
[00:12:43] So this is just an idea and easy setup for you that you can replicate easily in Bitwig.
[00:12:50] You can also exchange here the AD for maybe an ADSR or maybe a Segments or Curves Modulator
[00:12:57] or whatever.
[00:12:58] You can exchange this here for a wave table oscillator if you want to.
[00:13:01] So you can change this up in all kinds of different directions.
[00:13:06] What I did lately is to use this plug sound actually for reverb sounds.
[00:13:12] I really liked to use what's the name of this.
[00:13:19] I always forget the name of the synthesizer.
[00:13:22] I use some reactor synths for that.
[00:13:26] So let's say I put here a Valhalla reverb on that.
[00:13:29] We can basically make out of this plug sound a nice pad sound.
[00:13:34] So we use here a preset.
[00:13:36] So let's say here the Sleo Maximillism.
[00:14:06] So then you can let's say use a Paul Stretch here which is just a buffer, recording buffer.
[00:14:13] And then record some sounds.
[00:14:16] So let's say we open this up here and use root note.
[00:14:21] This one here and the fifth and the fourth.
[00:14:29] And then we play between these notes and then we change up here the racial settings while
[00:14:35] we are recording.
[00:14:36] So let's try this.
[00:14:39] [Music]
[00:14:45] [Music]
[00:15:09] So we get some different sounds out of this and because we have the Sleo reverb and we
[00:15:13] put this here into the buffer, we can just hit play and we have some kind of drone running
[00:15:19] here.
[00:15:20] [Music]
[00:15:25] Then you can change up here the delay.
[00:15:33] Something like this.
[00:15:49] We can also pitch this down here by minus 12.
[00:16:06] [Music]
[00:16:27] So you can create sounds with this on the fly.
[00:16:31] Maybe you do a live stream or live set or whatever and you need some different sounds.
[00:16:36] You just hit this randomized button here and then you know pull these two down to have
[00:16:40] a fundamental.
[00:16:41] [Music]
[00:17:08] [Music]
[00:17:28] It's the easiest and simplest additive synthesizer you can do inside of Bitube Studio, at least
[00:17:33] what I know of.
[00:17:36] The big benefit is like I said it's persistent.
[00:17:38] You can save it as a preset.
[00:17:40] You can save it with your project and it's even easy to set up.
[00:17:44] You even don't need to make a preset for that.
[00:17:47] You just can create it on the fly.
[00:17:50] It's not that hard to do.
[00:17:52] It has some similarities with Ableton Live's operator.
[00:17:55] It works kind of in the same way.
[00:17:58] It's maybe not that CPU friendly.
[00:18:02] But yeah, it works and it's a nice idea to create random sounds by just hitting the dice
[00:18:08] button.
[00:18:09] It would be actually nice if you could use here a button and call this maybe randomized
[00:18:17] and map this here to all dice buttons on each of these step modulators.
[00:18:23] But it's not possible.
[00:18:24] I mean I'm getting used to it but it would be nice to have.
[00:18:28] So this is my idea for an additive synthesizer.
[00:18:32] Oh yeah, also important.
[00:18:33] You can exchange the sign or the letter here for let's say an SVF.
[00:18:42] And then basically do the same thing and use an audio input here.
[00:18:49] Something like this.
[00:18:50] And then switch this here to convert to FX grid.
[00:18:56] And then more or less this is now a resonator that you can play with the keyboard.
[00:19:01] So you put some noises in there and then everything goes through a band pass.
[00:19:06] You increase the resonance and then you have more or less like resonator.
[00:19:10] That's polyphonic and yeah, additive.
[00:19:14] So that's my idea for the setup.
[00:19:17] For this video leave a like if you like the video.
[00:19:20] Subscribe to the channel.
[00:19:21] Leave me some comments if you have some questions and I probably also put this here onto my
[00:19:26] Patreon where you can download it.
[00:19:28] And it's also not hard to replicate so you don't need to subscribe actually.
[00:19:32] But if you want, I'm not mad.
[00:19:36] So thanks for watching.
[00:19:37] See you in the next video.
[00:19:38] Bye.
[00:19:38] (soft music)