Tags: posts polarity-music Bitwig Generative Sound-Generator Tutorial Note-Grid

Generate Presets in Bitwig and Fade between them

Tutorial | Dec 13, 2023

In this video, I share an idea I had to generate presets on the fly using a note grid and MIDI modulators in Bitwig Studio. By assigning different CC numbers to each voice in the note grid, I can generate random CC values and use them to modulate various parameters of synthesizers or effects. This approach allows for dynamic and unique sound variations within a song or live set.

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

Yesterday, I had an idea about synthesizer preset generation that I think you'll find interesting. Here's a summary of the concept:

This method offers a new way to dynamically generate and vary synth presets, providing more flexibility and creativity in sound design.

Questions & Answers

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

Why is the idea of generating presets useful?

Generating presets allows for the quick creation of different sound settings, providing flexibility and creativity when producing music. It also allows for easy experimentation and variation within a song or live set.

How does the method in the video work?

The method involves using a note grid in front of a synthesizer or other devices, and then using CC out devices and value knobs to generate and control different parameter values. Step modulators and MIDI modulators are used to further modulate and change these values, allowing for the creation of diverse presets on the fly.

What are the benefits of using this method?

This method allows for the creation of unique and varied presets, providing options for different versions of a sound within one song or live set. It is also modular, allowing for easy customization and the ability to save and recall presets. Additionally, it works with both Bitwig Studio devices and VSTs or other external devices.

How can this method be applied in music production?

This method can be applied to various elements of music production, including synthesizers, effects, and even MIDI and note effects. It allows for the generation of different sounds, patterns, and effects, which can enhance creativity and add variety to music compositions.


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 I had an idea yesterday and I want to show you this quickly here.
[00:00:03] Maybe it's interesting for you.
[00:00:05] So I want to just generate some kind of synthesizer and I want to lay down some notes.
[00:00:11] Just a basic chord.
[00:00:14] Something like this.
[00:00:17] It's just a chord with the sound inside of the polymer synthesizer.
[00:00:22] So instead of changing here these values and creating some kind of preset,
[00:00:27] I want to generate presets.
[00:00:29] So maybe just delete this here for a moment.
[00:00:32] So I want to generate presets and I did something like this with my Rendo Rambo preset for the
[00:00:37] Poisoned a few years ago.
[00:00:39] But it has some drawbacks because you can't save actually the preset with it.
[00:00:44] So you can generate presets but then you can't save it because you can't persist the data
[00:00:50] that you generate within the grid.
[00:00:52] So I had this idea yesterday.
[00:00:54] It's nothing special but it's fun to use.
[00:00:57] So we use a note grid here in front of the Poly Polymer synthesizer.
[00:01:02] And by the way, you don't need to use a Bitwig synthesizer.
[00:01:05] You can also use VSTs and you can use Audio Effects or MIDI Effects or Note Effects also.
[00:01:12] So it's not only, you know, it's not bound to Bitwig synthesizers.
[00:01:18] So we have Polymer here.
[00:01:19] We have a note grid.
[00:01:20] We switch the note grid here actually to note through.
[00:01:24] So we pass the notes through the note grid.
[00:01:27] Inside here we just delete everything.
[00:01:31] And what we want to use here is a CC out device to send out controller data.
[00:01:38] And we also need a value knob here to actually change the values of the CC channel.
[00:01:45] So we call this here maybe just data.
[00:01:49] Connect these two.
[00:01:50] And we want to go to channel 16 here.
[00:01:53] We can also use different channel.
[00:01:56] But for me, this is kind of a special thing here.
[00:01:59] I want to implement in front of the synthesizer.
[00:02:02] So 16 is maybe to get out of the way of any other controller data that you may use with
[00:02:09] your MIDI controllers and so on.
[00:02:11] So I just use your channel 16 for that.
[00:02:15] Then on the note grid itself, I want to use, of course, voice stacking.
[00:02:20] So we have multiple voices now and use a stack spread controller here from zero to one.
[00:02:28] And now we modulate here the CC controller number to up to 16, of course.
[00:02:35] So now each voice has different CC numbers.
[00:02:38] So voice one has CC one, voice two has CC two, voice three has CC three and so on.
[00:02:46] Then we want to implement here a step modulator, of course.
[00:02:49] It's the same idea like I did on my recent videos.
[00:02:53] We have 16 steps here.
[00:02:54] We switch this to per voice mode and we switch this here to hold rate and we modulate here
[00:03:01] the face modulation with the stack spread modulator by exactly 100%.
[00:03:07] So I type this in here one.
[00:03:10] So this is now CC one, the value of CC one, the value of CC two, the value of CC three.
[00:03:17] Okay.
[00:03:18] And this is really great because we can now here generate random CC values on each of
[00:03:24] these CC channels.
[00:03:28] Now we can go to the Polymer here and implement a MIDI device or MIDI modulator.
[00:03:34] That's the name of it.
[00:03:35] We go here to channel 16, of course, and we have CC one here.
[00:03:41] With CC one, we want to maybe change here the index of the wave table.
[00:03:45] Maybe we switch the wave table here to something different, something like this.
[00:03:49] Then we duplicate this.
[00:03:51] We go to CC two.
[00:03:53] With CC two, I want to change maybe here the face modulation.
[00:04:00] Then I duplicate this.
[00:04:01] CC three is let's say the sub.
[00:04:04] We want to mix in here the sub oscillator.
[00:04:08] CC four changes the shape of the sub oscillator.
[00:04:15] CC five changes.
[00:04:18] Let's say, what else do we have?
[00:04:21] Maybe the frequency here of the filter.
[00:04:26] We bring this down here to let's say C two, let's see one.
[00:04:32] So let us, let's go to C two.
[00:04:35] So we open up here the filter with that.
[00:04:38] We maybe also want to change with CC six here.
[00:04:42] With the modulation amount of the filter envelope.
[00:04:48] Then we duplicate this CC seven changes the case settings.
[00:04:55] Maybe also here.
[00:04:56] So something like this.
[00:04:58] We can change a lot of things with these CC devices here or CC modulators.
[00:05:05] And now we can go here to our initial note grid and can change this randomly.
[00:05:17] We actually have to see CC the sense out.
[00:05:22] Oh yeah, we have to modulate here the value knob of course.
[00:05:33] So each press of this dice button here changes basically the sound of the polymer in exactly
[00:05:40] that range that you defined.
[00:05:42] So maybe sometimes you want to have more drastic changes from preset to preset.
[00:05:48] And sometimes you want to just have slight changes.
[00:05:51] So we just want to, you know, alternate the sound to a slightly different setting.
[00:05:58] So you can do this with that here.
[00:06:01] Just hit the dice button and generate a new preset or new sound.
[00:06:08] And this can become interesting within just one song where you just need a different version
[00:06:14] of the same sound.
[00:06:18] It's also interesting because the step modulators actually the only device or the only thing
[00:06:25] inside of Bitwig studio where you can generate random sounds or random values and you can
[00:06:30] persist it with the project and you can also save it and persist it with the preset.
[00:06:36] So if you like something you just generated in here, you can just hit here save and save
[00:06:44] it as a project and when you recall it, it sounds exactly the same because all these
[00:06:49] values are persistent and they are sent out here to CC and then these MIDI modulators
[00:06:55] grab these values and then they modulate a specific knob inside of your synthesizer.
[00:07:03] Like I said, this not only works with the polymer synthesizer, it works with all synthesizers
[00:07:07] also with VSTs and also audio effects and so on.
[00:07:11] So you could go in here and say I want to have here maybe a reverb, right?
[00:07:19] Then you can define let's say, put this out here.
[00:07:25] You can define with CC devices the mix, maybe the reverb time, right?
[00:07:34] Let's go to 50%.
[00:07:36] You can also attach these things here to a reverb itself if you want to and you can
[00:07:42] also use multiple channels if you want to.
[00:07:46] Let's go here to CC9.
[00:07:51] This one changes the reverb time.
[00:07:56] Something like this.
[00:07:57] It's just an example.
[00:07:59] So now we can generate this here and we have different settings.
[00:08:07] You can see we have no reverb here at all.
[00:08:14] If you don't like to hit here the dice button, you can also draw it in.
[00:08:18] If you want to.
[00:08:21] Sadly, you can't modulate these bars here.
[00:08:25] It's only possible with the POSSEC8.
[00:08:27] With POSSEC8 you are stuck with eight possible values, not 16.
[00:08:33] Let's draw back.
[00:08:38] Okay.
[00:08:42] So also this approach is highly modular.
[00:08:44] So you can say, I did this one here and maybe I call this, let's say, a generator.
[00:08:54] That's the wrong name.
[00:08:56] Generator.
[00:08:58] And then you can just drop this on the second channel and maybe use your different synthesizer,
[00:09:03] a different preset and alterators preset in minor ways.
[00:09:07] But that's not what I want to show you.
[00:09:10] You can also say, I have your one step modulator and I call this maybe preset one.
[00:09:17] So this is my first preset.
[00:09:19] So I can just duplicate this and say this is preset two.
[00:09:26] This is preset three.
[00:09:30] This is preset four.
[00:09:32] So each preset gets a different bunch of values here with the dice button.
[00:09:38] So everything is kind of a slightly different setting.
[00:09:41] And then you use here a vector of four.
[00:09:44] Maybe you can also use a vector eight.
[00:09:45] So you can use eight presets if you want to.
[00:09:51] And then you go here to the setting.
[00:09:55] This is just the amount, how much you modulate basically at this knob.
[00:09:59] You can say this is preset one.
[00:10:01] So I modulate here this by 100%.
[00:10:07] The two also zero in the modulators by 100% preset three, zero and modulators, sorry,
[00:10:25] by 100% and preset four, zero.
[00:10:37] So now we have like a mixture here because the dot is in the middle.
[00:10:41] You have a mixture of all presets in the middle.
[00:10:43] So it also generates some kind of new preset here mixed of all of these presets sounds like
[00:10:50] this.
[00:10:51] Or maybe you use here repeaters.
[00:10:53] We can hear the.
[00:11:02] Or actually we need to modulate here also with these say this one modulates this preset
[00:11:09] two modulates this preset three modulates this and also this one modulates data.
[00:11:16] So now it should work.
[00:11:21] And if you don't like one of these edges here, let's say this one or this one, just go to
[00:11:34] here and generate a new one.
[00:11:40] So you can quickly create different sounds and then eight or more between them and change
[00:11:50] values.
[00:11:51] Okay.
[00:11:52] And you don't need to build this every time you save this here as a generator preset and
[00:11:59] you bring in all these different preset settings here or step modulators maybe at eight of
[00:12:06] them and yeah, then save this and every time you need something that you want to randomly
[00:12:14] generate.
[00:12:16] You can just recall this preset and then add some MIDI modulators here to your device of
[00:12:24] your liking and then change these sounds.
[00:12:29] So I want to show you this here also on a different preset.
[00:12:31] Let's say we have here some kind of kick drum preset I made.
[00:12:37] So we create just some kick drums with that.
[00:12:41] Let's go in there.
[00:12:48] There you go to 1.5 here and use a one tizer.
[00:12:57] Sounds probably better.
[00:13:03] Okay.
[00:13:11] So in here, the kick drum maybe also needs some slight changes.
[00:13:17] Always sounds the same.
[00:13:18] So we can just take this here and clone this on the second channel and here we can now
[00:13:25] also use the MIDI CC modulators.
[00:13:28] We can also copy this here over.
[00:13:30] So I just select everything, drag this to the second track here and just add this to
[00:13:36] the kick drum.
[00:13:38] So here now let's move here to the first one.
[00:13:43] You have a lot of values.
[00:13:46] CC one maybe changes here to P mod.
[00:13:50] CC two changes this one.
[00:14:02] CC four let's say changes maybe default.
[00:14:09] This changes the length of the kick drum here.
[00:14:11] So we go with CC five.
[00:14:29] So you have basically four different kick drums now we can fade between.
[00:14:35] So you can maybe create some different sounds like let's say eight different sounds, right?
[00:14:40] Or eight different presets for the sound.
[00:14:44] And yeah, you can then within one set of live sets you can fade between eight different
[00:14:53] sounds here fluidly on each of these channels, right?
[00:14:57] You have different different chords sound here, which is kind of interesting.
[00:15:20] Maybe it's not super useful for you, but I think it's a great idea of creating sounds
[00:15:25] on the fly and then fading between them.
[00:15:28] There are all kinds of different things you can do.
[00:15:31] Don't need to use vector for you.
[00:15:33] You can also use a sequencer and then say every 16 bars I want to switch to a different
[00:15:38] pattern setting here and then change the kick drum automatically every 16 bars or every 32
[00:15:44] bars or something like that.
[00:15:47] So there's a lot of stuff that you can do.
[00:15:50] And I also made here some kind of deep, deep dub house thing here.
[00:15:58] It sounds like this.
[00:16:02] And this uses basically exactly this idea.
[00:16:05] You can see the chord is basically generated different patterns or different sounds.
[00:16:11] The drone sound here slightly changes from each pattern.
[00:16:17] The hi-hat is generated.
[00:16:19] It also changes.
[00:16:25] I quickly show you this.
[00:16:26] Yeah, it sounds like this.
[00:16:40] So all kinds of different hi-hat sounds.
[00:16:43] You also have your different clap sounds or different snare sounds.
[00:16:56] So right, it's basically just the same synthesizer generating a snare.
[00:17:01] But the settings are different, slightly different.
[00:17:04] And you can see this here.
[00:17:05] The snares generated basically just by using noise and a bit of filtering.
[00:17:10] And inside here of this note grid, I'm using CC ins to modulate different settings here
[00:17:15] on the small patch.
[00:17:17] And then each of these step mods basically change these settings and then I can fluidly
[00:17:22] switch between them.
[00:17:24] So I have different sounds with just one synthesizer or with one synthesizer setup and then I can
[00:17:30] switch between them.
[00:17:32] So it kind of generates a lot of different house loops.
[00:17:44] Sounds like this.
[00:17:45] Now, did you all the same thing on the kick drum, right?
[00:17:53] So I have different kick drums just with one kick drum patch.
[00:18:10] So it's slightly different.
[00:18:37] It's not that drastic.
[00:18:40] But usually I don't want to change everything completely drastically in all kinds of different
[00:18:46] ways.
[00:18:47] I just want to have slight changes in the sound.
[00:18:51] So this is my idea for generating presets on the fly, fading between these presets.
[00:18:59] And you can also, if you are happy with your results, you can save it and persist it with
[00:19:04] the project or the preset.
[00:19:06] But like I said, you can also just save some kind of preset for the generator and then
[00:19:12] just load it in whenever you want to use this kind of technique.
[00:19:17] And all you need to do is basically attach here some MIDI modulators and then modulate
[00:19:22] the stuff you want to change and also in what range.
[00:19:27] So this is my idea for this.
[00:19:28] I hope you like it.
[00:19:30] Maybe you find it useful.
[00:19:31] Leave me like if you like the video.
[00:19:33] Subscribe to the channel and I'll see you in the next video.
[00:19:36] Bye.
[00:19:36] (coughing)