Tags: posts polarity-music Bitwig Bitwig-5.1 Thoughts Tutorial Browser

Browser in Bitwig Studio - A Rant and Future Updates

Tutorial | Jan 02, 2024

In this video, I rant about the browser in Bitwig Studio, which I believe is the best browser in any DAW. My favorite features are the ability to search for things with synonyms and the option to sort by date. However, I find the rest of the features to be visual clutter and unnecessary, and I believe the browser should be updated to include automatic classification, tagging, and randomization of file names.

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

In this video, I discuss my views on the Bitwig Studio browser, particularly after its 5.0 update. Here are my key points:

Favorite Features:

  1. Synonym Search: I appreciate the browser's ability to search for terms like "compressor" and show related terms like "dynamics."
  2. Combined Device and Preset Results: I like that devices and presets are now displayed together, unlike the previous version where they were in separate tabs.


  1. Visual Clutter: I find categories, creators, and tags to be visually cluttering and mostly irrelevant to my workflow. I suggest an option to hide these elements for a cleaner look.
  2. Tagging System: I'm critical of the tagging system as it feels subjective and context-dependent, making it inefficient for my workflow.
  3. Automatic Classification: I prefer automatic classification over manual tagging for presets and samples. I use tools like Sononym for samples and suggest Bitwig could benefit from a similar approach, reducing time and cognitive load.
  4. Random Name Feature: I recommend implementing a feature to automatically generate random names for new presets, speeding up the saving process.

While I consider the Bitwig Studio browser the best among DAWs, I see significant room for improvement. I advocate for a shift towards automatic classification and tagging, along with simplifying the preset saving process. This would enhance usability and let users focus more on creativity rather than administrative tasks.

Questions & Answers

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

What are the favorite features of the browser in Bitwig Studio?

My favorite features of the browser in Bitwig Studio are the ability to search for things like compressors and find synonyms, as well as the option to change the sort order by date. These features make it easy for me to quickly find the devices and presets I need for my projects.

What aspects of the browser do I find unnecessary or cluttered?

I find categories, creator tags, and defining text like "analog" or "dark" to be unnecessary and cluttered. These tags are subjective and can vary depending on the context, making them less useful for organizing and searching for sounds. I prefer a simpler and more automated system for categorizing and naming presets.

How do I currently search for and organize samples in Bitwig Studio?

Rather than using the internal browser in Bitwig Studio, I exclusively use external tools like Sononym and XO to search for and organize my samples. These tools provide additional information and a different perspective on my sample library, allowing me to easily find samples I never knew I had. I believe Bitwig Studio should incorporate similar automatic classification and search features for samples.

What improvements would I like to see in the browser?

In addition to automatic classification and tagging, I would like to see the ability to search for similar samples or presets within the browser. This would allow me to easily find variations of a specific sound or quickly explore new options for my compositions. I also think the option to generate random names for saved presets would be helpful to avoid the burden of manually naming them.


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, in this video I want to rant about the browser in Bitwig Studio, this one here.
[00:00:06] And the browser was updated with 5.0 last year.
[00:00:10] And I still think it's the best browser we had.
[00:00:13] And it's probably also the best browser you can get in any DAW.
[00:00:16] I'm not really sure about this, I'm not up to date.
[00:00:21] But my favorite features of this browser is that you can search for things like your compressor
[00:00:26] and it finds you also synonyms, you're like dynamics.
[00:00:30] And it also gives you here devices and presets just in one window, in one result window,
[00:00:37] before we had to switch between different tabs, devices and presets.
[00:00:41] So this one is much better.
[00:00:43] And my second favorite feature is that you can change here the sort order to by date.
[00:00:49] So now I can basically find my recent presets I worked on, right here, the sidechain quantizer,
[00:00:58] the last preset I made.
[00:00:59] So I can just, you know, find the recent presets and continue work on it.
[00:01:06] So these are basically my two favorite features of the browser.
[00:01:10] The rest of the stuff, in my opinion, is a lot of visual clutter and stuff I don't care
[00:01:15] for.
[00:01:16] So like categories or creator things.
[00:01:21] Maybe I use creator for my own presets here when I search only for my presets or devices.
[00:01:30] I never use this actually or tags here.
[00:01:33] What does tags actually don't mean anything?
[00:01:36] They are completely relative to a lot of different contexts.
[00:01:43] So let's say analog.
[00:01:44] What does analog mean?
[00:01:46] Is it actually a sample or a sample preset of a real synth sampled?
[00:01:53] Or is it a digital synth that's modeled after an analog synthesizer?
[00:01:59] So it doesn't make any sense.
[00:02:01] So a lot of these tags actually don't make sense to me.
[00:02:04] So I don't use them.
[00:02:06] So this on the left side is completely useless most of the times for me.
[00:02:10] So it would be nice to actually be able to hide this in a way to remove visual clutter.
[00:02:17] I think you can, right?
[00:02:18] In a way.
[00:02:19] Maybe you can change this here at some point.
[00:02:23] I'm not really sure.
[00:02:25] But also I don't want to define all these things.
[00:02:29] When I do presets here in Bitwig, let's say I do a Polymer sound, right?
[00:02:34] Then I want to save this as a preset.
[00:02:37] I want to get rid of, you can also move this now around, also new.
[00:02:43] I want to get rid of this preset as quickly as possible.
[00:02:46] I usually just want to hit OK and save this for later.
[00:02:48] And I don't want to care for defining a name.
[00:02:51] There needs to be some kind of dice symbol where I can click on it and then it defines
[00:02:55] your name.
[00:02:56] A lot of ESC plugins do this lately and I think it's really great.
[00:03:01] Just want to have a random name in here.
[00:03:04] Maybe a suggestion or something like this.
[00:03:07] Also category.
[00:03:09] I don't know what kind of category I have to define most of the times.
[00:03:14] Text like I said, is it acoustic?
[00:03:16] Yeah, it's a digital synth, but it's modeled after an analog synthesizer.
[00:03:22] So I use analog here.
[00:03:23] It's also digital synth, of course.
[00:03:25] It's Polymer.
[00:03:26] It's inside of the door, inside of my computer.
[00:03:28] It's digital.
[00:03:29] Is it rhythmic?
[00:03:30] Yeah, of course, there's modulation on there.
[00:03:32] It's time based.
[00:03:34] Is it fast?
[00:03:35] In context of my ambient tune, it's actually fast.
[00:03:38] In terms of a jump based tune, it's slow, right?
[00:03:43] Is it hard?
[00:03:44] It depends.
[00:03:45] In context of my ambient tune, it's of course a hard sound, but in context of a hard techno
[00:03:50] tune, it's more like soft, right?
[00:03:54] Is it dark?
[00:03:55] I don't know.
[00:03:56] If I play actually a dark scale, then yes.
[00:03:58] If I play a major, then no.
[00:04:00] So it doesn't make any sense to define text for myself.
[00:04:06] And even when I have a good system in my brain on how to attach text, right?
[00:04:14] I still left with a bad feeling that I used the wrong text when I hit save, right?
[00:04:21] And I have then still this bad feeling that I maybe never find this preset again because
[00:04:26] I used the wrong text or maybe I have a different system of tagging stuff, you know, one year
[00:04:32] later.
[00:04:34] So in my opinion, this needs to be defined automatically.
[00:04:39] So I use here this sononym tool all the time for samples and I completely removed all my
[00:04:48] sample locations from Bitwig.
[00:04:51] I only use sononym and maybe XO as a plug in inside of Bitwig for searching for samples.
[00:05:00] So here I can search, let's say for claps and it gives me some samples here.
[00:05:06] Also samples where it doesn't match the name.
[00:05:09] So I'm searching for claps and it gives me a Walmart 49 for whatever reason.
[00:05:15] I can also see here the RMS level.
[00:05:19] I can see the crest factor, the pitch class, the note, note confidence, PPM, the brightness,
[00:05:26] how many overtones there are, right?
[00:05:29] The noisiness here.
[00:05:30] So this one is much noisier than this one, right?
[00:05:35] So you can see there's more noise in here.
[00:05:37] So it gives me a lot of additional informations without me going in and define it by myself.
[00:05:44] It's all automatically classified, which I really like because I have so many samples
[00:05:51] on my hard drive and it's hard to find them if you don't have a good system of putting
[00:05:58] everything in the right directory and using tags and so on.
[00:06:02] And I don't want to do this.
[00:06:03] It draws time away from myself that I can use to make music, right?
[00:06:11] It also keeps my brain busy with all the wrong things.
[00:06:14] I don't want to think about giving the right name.
[00:06:17] I don't want to think about tags.
[00:06:19] I don't want to think about the right directory or is it, you know, stuff like this.
[00:06:25] I don't want to think about all that stuff.
[00:06:27] I just want to save what I did and then I want to find it at some point with some text,
[00:06:35] right?
[00:06:36] I want to search for, let's say in here.
[00:06:41] I want to search for a pad sound that is in C or that uses to C as a root node and maybe
[00:06:47] has modulations with 172 BPM.
[00:06:51] But I can't find it because I haven't, you know, tagged it right or used the right file
[00:06:57] convention or whatever.
[00:06:59] I need to have this done automatically in the background.
[00:07:03] So it's not like a rant that I say, this is completely wrong.
[00:07:07] I still think it's the best browser we had in Bitwig Studio.
[00:07:10] It still works great.
[00:07:13] But I think the direction needs to go into this automatic classification system at some
[00:07:18] point in the future because this one here, the left side only makes me feel bad in some
[00:07:25] way.
[00:07:26] It makes me overwhelmed with making decisions and fiddling around with multiple, right?
[00:07:35] I can search for multiple filters now here, container.
[00:07:38] And you know, after it's too overwhelming or actually too overly complex design in a way.
[00:07:46] I get why we have it and it makes completely sense for it to be there.
[00:07:54] But it's designed from kind of a developer viewpoint, right?
[00:07:58] So you have, oh, I'm a developer.
[00:08:00] I need to implement this.
[00:08:02] I have your files.
[00:08:03] Okay.
[00:08:04] We need to attach metadata to these files.
[00:08:07] Then people can filter for it, right?
[00:08:09] It makes sense from a developer standpoint, but from a user or musician standpoint, it's
[00:08:14] completely different.
[00:08:15] And I think you always have to think from the user first instead of, you know, from the
[00:08:20] technology first.
[00:08:23] So if you go in here and you open up the browser, you have to ask yourself, what actually do
[00:08:31] I want as a user from this browser?
[00:08:34] I want to search for a specific sound.
[00:08:37] I want to type in a lot of words and then the result page should give me exactly that
[00:08:44] or stuff that matches roughly what I typed in without me having to, you know, create
[00:08:50] this whole library of well-tagged presets, well-tagged sounds and everything in the right
[00:08:57] directory and so on.
[00:09:00] And every time I download samples or create presets, I have still this bad feeling that
[00:09:06] I did something wrong with my library.
[00:09:09] So I usually feel bad using the internal browser nowadays.
[00:09:15] So I'm, you know, use this kind of thing here.
[00:09:20] This sononym app is also not perfect, right?
[00:09:25] But it goes into the right direction.
[00:09:26] That's the right ideas.
[00:09:29] It's an HTML JavaScript application, so it's not really snappy.
[00:09:34] It takes a while to scan your files, but at least it gives me a different overview over
[00:09:41] my samples.
[00:09:42] It makes it makes possible to find samples I never knew I had in certain situations or
[00:09:50] also XO in here.
[00:09:56] This whole space, sample space here, gives me basically a nice view on my samples and
[00:10:04] find samples I would never use anywhere else because, you know, it gives me a completely
[00:10:11] different viewpoint and it's really great.
[00:10:17] So I'm using this here exclusively for searching for drum sounds and never use anything else.
[00:10:26] If we had this inside of Bitwig, I probably would never use XO again.
[00:10:30] It's the only thing that keeps me using XO.
[00:10:34] I'm not specifically interested here in the sequencer.
[00:10:37] I can do this inside of Bitwig.
[00:10:41] And I use the sample combiner here where I can replace certain samples automatically
[00:10:47] for something that sounds similar, right?
[00:10:49] It finds your similar samples.
[00:10:51] So when I use your kick drum sound in this slot, right, I can say sample combiner, use
[00:10:59] a different random sample and gives me a different random kick drum, right?
[00:11:04] And the same class of the kick drum.
[00:11:07] So it's not like that it finds symbols or snare drums.
[00:11:10] It gives you always kick drums here, which is really nice.
[00:11:15] And I think Ableton started to implement this also with the update 12, I think, I guess,
[00:11:21] something like this with a drum machine.
[00:11:23] So this needs to be in Bitwig studio at some point.
[00:11:27] It opens up so many possibilities of making use of your samples.
[00:11:32] I'm pretty sure all of you have gigabytes, terabytes of samples on your hard drive, and
[00:11:39] you never used maybe 90 percent of them because you always go to the right, you know, to the
[00:11:45] same directories, to the same files and just pull up your favorite kick drums, your favorite
[00:11:52] snares and so on.
[00:11:54] Wouldn't it be great if you actually have here something like this?
[00:12:00] I have here, for instance, some kick drums I like like this, right?
[00:12:07] I like this kick drum and then you right click and say search by similarity.
[00:12:11] And it finds you samples on your hard drive that sound kind of similar to this kick drum.
[00:12:17] Right.
[00:12:19] And then you have your kick drums that kind of sound the same.
[00:12:24] That's exactly how I want to search for my sounds.
[00:12:27] And most of the times I search for sounds that sound similar because I have like this pad
[00:12:31] sound and I want to have this pad sound evolve into something different or maybe combine
[00:12:37] it with something different, but not completely different.
[00:12:41] I want to have something that sounds kind of the same, but a bit different, right?
[00:12:47] So these kind of features make sense.
[00:12:49] So in my opinion, the browser needs to go in this direction.
[00:12:56] And to summarize this, I still think the browser is great.
[00:13:01] It works great in my day to day work.
[00:13:03] I use it all the time.
[00:13:06] Left side here is a lot of clutter.
[00:13:07] I don't care for, I don't use it, but it's still think it's great how it works at the
[00:13:12] moment here in the results page.
[00:13:16] It's nice that we have packages in here, the package manager, but also here similarity feature
[00:13:22] would be nice.
[00:13:23] If I have a kick drum sampled inside of Bitwig Studio, right click, search for similar samples
[00:13:29] and it pulls up some packages here from Bitwig Studio and shows me some, you know, some official
[00:13:35] content that sounds kind of the same would be nice.
[00:13:40] So yeah, great browser, but I think it needs to be updated this year or next year in a
[00:13:48] direction where we have automatic classification, automatic tagging and so on.
[00:13:57] And also randomization of file names.
[00:14:02] And you save here, save as, right?
[00:14:05] Give me a random name.
[00:14:08] Also when I save a preset, give me a random preset name.
[00:14:12] It's should be in there in my opinion.
[00:14:15] So these are my five cents, two cents about the browser.
[00:14:22] So I don't want to rant about it, but I also want to give you my thoughts on it.
[00:14:28] So let me know what you think about the browser in the comments down below.
[00:14:31] I leave a like if you liked the video and thanks for watching.
[00:14:35] See you next time.
[00:14:36] Bye.