Tags: posts polarity-music Amiga Bitwig Bitwig-5.1.7 Tutorial Sampling

Amiga-Style Sampling in Bitwig Studio: Recreating the Crunchy, Lo-Fi Sound!

Tutorial | Apr 15, 2024

In this video, I explain how to replicate some of the features of the Amiga sampler in Bitwig Studio. The Amiga computer in the 90s had limitations in terms of sampling quality and space, resulting in a distinct sound with artifacts. By using the bit reduction, sampling rate, and key tracking features in Bitwig Studio, you can achieve a similar sound and even simulate slicing and stretch modes.

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In this video, I explain how to replicate some of the features of the Amigo sampler, which emulates the sampling limitations of the 1990s Amiga computer, within Bitwig Studio. Here's a summary of the key points:

  1. Amigo's Sampling Constraints:

    • Originally, the Amiga sampled in stereo at 22 kHz, 8-bit per channel, or in mono at up to 50 kHz with 16 bits, constrained by 1 MB of RAM and storage primarily on disks.
  2. Desired Artifacts:

    • The limitations led to unique sound artifacts that many seek to replicate today, contrasting the past goal of achieving clean sounds.
  3. Bitwig Implementation:

    • Sampling Rate and Bit Depth: Simulate Amiga's sampling constraints by adjusting the sampling rate to 22 kHz and using a bit depth of 8-bit with added jitter for variability.
    • Dynamic Range: Instead of a bit depth slider, use a dynamic range slider to fluidly adjust quantization levels, replicating bit reduction effects.
    • Sampling and Playback: Sample audio at a higher pitch to conserve space, then pitch down during playback to recreate the Amiga's crunchiness due to quantization and limited bit depth.
  4. Advanced Features:

    • Slicing and Stretch Mode: Although Bitwig does not support slicing with a threshold like Amigo, I suggest using an Auto Sampler preset for slicing. For the stretch mode, simulate using texture mode to adjust grain size and speed.
  5. Practical Application:

    • Use these techniques to process drum loops and other samples, adjusting pitch and sampling rates to emulate the Amiga’s distinctive sound. Adjust settings like bit depth and sampling rate dynamically through key tracking for added authenticity.

This video guides you through creatively using Bitwig's tools to mimic the nostalgic digital artifacts of the Amiga, highlighting the contrast between historical limitations and modern creative pursuits.

Questions & Answers

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

How can I replicate the Amigo features in Bitwig Studio?

To replicate the Amigo features in Bitwig Studio, you can use the Bit-8 device to simulate the sampling rate and bit depth limitations of the Amiga. You can also use key tracking and pitch modulation to recreate the sound of sampling on the Amiga. Additionally, you can use slicing and the stretch mode in Bitwig's sampler to emulate the features of Amigo.

Why do people want to replicate the artifacts and bit reduction of the Amiga sound?

Even though back in the day the goal was to achieve clean and transparent sounds, nowadays many people want to recreate the artifacts and bit reduction of the Amiga sound. This is because the limitations of the Amiga produced a unique and characteristic sound that has become sought after and nostalgic for many music producers today.

How can I fake the Amiga sound in Bitwig Studio?

There are multiple ways to fake the Amiga sound in Bitwig Studio. One method is to sample the audio with the Bit-8 device, adjust the sampling rate and bit depth, and then use the sampler to further manipulate the sound with slicing and stretch modes. Another method is to use key tracking and pitch modulation on a clean sample to simulate the sound of sampling on the Amiga.

Can I replicate the Amiga sound in Bitwig Studio without using external plugins?

Yes, you can replicate the Amiga sound in Bitwig Studio without using external plugins. By utilizing the Bit-8 device, the sampler, and various modulation features within Bitwig Studio, you can recreate the artifacts and limitations of the Amiga sound directly within the DAW.


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 in this video I want to talk about how you can replicate some of the Amigo features
[00:00:05] inside of Bitwig Studio.
[00:00:07] Amigo is some kind of sampler that came out a few weeks ago.
[00:00:10] It tries to emulate basically sampling on an Amiga.
[00:00:15] And the Amiga computer back then in the 90s had a lot of limitations compared to what
[00:00:20] we have now.
[00:00:22] So you could only sample here in stereo with 22 kHz.
[00:00:28] So 8 bits per channel.
[00:00:30] You could sample with 16 bits because it's a 16-bit computer.
[00:00:34] You could sample with 16 bits but only mono and then you could go up to I think 50 kHz
[00:00:40] or something like this.
[00:00:44] And you are kind of limited with the space.
[00:00:46] So the RAM with extended memory back then, Amiga had 1 MB of RAM you could use.
[00:00:53] And also save only on disks.
[00:00:55] So most people only had disks.
[00:00:57] Hard drive was super expensive.
[00:01:02] So the disk was also a space of 1 MB or something like this.
[00:01:06] So you had to work with some limitations that produced a lot of artifacts in the sound.
[00:01:13] So it produced a special sound.
[00:01:15] A lot of people want to replicate nowadays for some reason.
[00:01:18] So it's kind of funny to explain this actually on how to degrade these sounds because back
[00:01:24] then we tried to get it as clean as possible.
[00:01:30] This was the main goal.
[00:01:31] Make it sound pretty nice and clean and transparent.
[00:01:36] And nowadays it's completely the opposite.
[00:01:38] Everyone wants to go back to the artifacts, to the bit reduction and this crunchiness
[00:01:47] for some reason.
[00:01:48] So in here we have the sampling rate we can change.
[00:01:51] There's a sample space here.
[00:01:53] You could also use drum loops and then use what it's called slicing.
[00:01:59] Can you put something in there?
[00:02:02] We can use slicing.
[00:02:04] There's also I think besides bit reduction there's slicing and the stretch mode.
[00:02:13] I think these are the main features of this thing.
[00:02:17] The mode sample slice and there's the threshold.
[00:02:31] I have no idea how this works.
[00:02:33] Oh the slice.
[00:02:34] Okay.
[00:02:35] And then you have basically all the slices here on the key.
[00:02:43] So this is something you can't replicate inside of Bitwig because the sample for some reason
[00:02:48] has no slicing with this kind of a threshold here.
[00:02:53] You could use something like my Auto Sampler preset I made in some of my recent videos.
[00:02:59] I put a link in the description below as you can watch this.
[00:03:02] It's kind of a fake grid based Auto Slicer.
[00:03:08] But you usually don't need to do this here.
[00:03:10] And I think also back in the day we never did something like this.
[00:03:15] Then there's here the stretch mode we can switch on.
[00:03:18] We can change the play back length or the speed.
[00:03:25] And then there's the cycle length here.
[00:03:27] It's basically like a grain size.
[00:03:34] People like that it's super crunchy but it's actually just super raw.
[00:03:39] It just takes multiple slices here out of the audio signal and then repeats it.
[00:03:46] That's basically it.
[00:03:47] It's not something special or anything like this.
[00:03:50] We can fake this in Bitwig also pretty nicely.
[00:03:53] Okay.
[00:03:54] So maybe reduce it a bit rate for a moment.
[00:03:59] I stretch off.
[00:04:04] So you can create a sound basically.
[00:04:13] That's the point of this.
[00:04:14] So how do we fake this now in Bitwig Studio?
[00:04:17] And we can fake this in multiple ways.
[00:04:20] So the first idea would be to just take, yeah, let's start like this.
[00:04:28] Let's take a drum loop here.
[00:04:29] Right.
[00:04:30] I can play this back.
[00:04:32] The first thing we need to fake is basically how it would sound like if we would sample
[00:04:36] this with an Amiga.
[00:04:37] So we put here a bit eight on this and we say we want to sample with 22 kilohertz.
[00:04:45] A bit of jitter maybe.
[00:04:47] So the jitter just modulates the clock speed.
[00:04:50] It brings in some fluctuations.
[00:04:51] So it's not exactly the same.
[00:04:54] So a bit of jitter here, maybe no gate.
[00:04:58] And then we need to change the bit rate.
[00:05:00] So the bit rate, you can't change in bit eight, which is a bit counter-intuitive, but you
[00:05:04] can change the signal to noise ratio here with this quantization level.
[00:05:08] And when we look this up here on Wikipedia, it's called audio bit depth.
[00:05:12] You can see here for eight bits, we have a signal to noise ratio of 49 dB.
[00:05:18] This is basically our dynamic range.
[00:05:22] Below that, the noise basically starts, the noise floor.
[00:05:28] So here we dial in minus 49.
[00:05:31] So the first question you probably have yet, why do we have this instead of a bit slider?
[00:05:38] Why don't we have like a slider where we change four bits, eight bits, 11 bits, 12 bits?
[00:05:43] So why does, why need between this makes so complicated?
[00:05:49] That's the first question.
[00:05:51] And I don't know why they decided to do this this way.
[00:05:55] But I could imagine, and this is just my imagination that if you have a slider for these bits here,
[00:06:01] you make these weird jumps, right?
[00:06:04] So 12 bits to 16 bits, you have like, you know, 20 dB more headroom kind of.
[00:06:11] So it's not nice to modulate this kind of slider.
[00:06:16] Also if you have here this drop down, you know how hard it is to actually modulate this
[00:06:21] if you want to change it.
[00:06:22] So you always prefer something where you can fluidly move from one point to the other, right?
[00:06:30] And with this, with this headroom slider here over this dynamic range slider, it's not an
[00:06:34] headroom slider.
[00:06:35] This dynamic range slider, you can morph basically or fluidly move between the bit depth.
[00:06:44] So this is my idea.
[00:06:46] This is why I think they did this.
[00:06:49] So you can fluidly move between 60 bits and 80 bits or 24 bits and so on.
[00:06:55] So reducing it, the dynamic range gives you basically this kind of bit reduction of this
[00:07:02] quantization.
[00:07:03] Also the quantization on zero, I usually use your off zero.
[00:07:10] It's basically when you use an analog signal, there are no stepped points in this analog
[00:07:17] signal and then you quantize it with a digital converter and then you put some of these samples
[00:07:23] on the grid or off the grid so you can decide with this here.
[00:07:28] So this should sound already like resampled on Amiga.
[00:07:32] Right, you can hear this small little noise on top, the small little crunch of the quantization
[00:07:52] process.
[00:07:53] Yeah, that's how it is.
[00:07:56] So then we need to sample it, of course, to another audio track here.
[00:08:02] So I use here the output of audio two, audio post, and then we just sample this.
[00:08:13] Just a part of this.
[00:08:14] And then we put this into the sampler, of course.
[00:08:20] This is your audio three.
[00:08:22] Put this in there so we don't need to the default modulators.
[00:08:28] We also don't need the velocity sensitivity.
[00:08:34] We don't need voices, so monophonic.
[00:08:38] This is how it sounds on C3 here.
[00:08:46] Okay, so this is how it would sound like inside of the Amiga if you just play it back, kind
[00:08:55] of.
[00:08:56] But like I said in the beginning back in the day, we hadn't that much space, only one megabyte
[00:09:03] of RAM, right?
[00:09:05] So what we did back in the day, we used to play this back much, much faster.
[00:09:11] So let me change this here.
[00:09:14] This is raw.
[00:09:16] Let's go to pitch.
[00:09:22] Let's put this in half here.
[00:09:24] Or maybe not in half.
[00:09:26] Maybe let's go to just 85.
[00:09:31] You play this back much faster.
[00:09:33] And then you sample this again.
[00:09:42] Actually let's put this exactly.
[00:09:45] 86.
[00:09:46] Okay.
[00:09:47] Let's sample this in here again.
[00:09:53] Also just a bit.
[00:09:56] So now the sample is much, much shorter than before because we played it back at double
[00:10:02] speed more or less.
[00:10:03] So the sample also goes in half so you don't need to have that much space.
[00:10:08] You save a bit of RAM, a bit of disk space.
[00:10:11] And then we put this here back into the sampler.
[00:10:16] I have to do this again.
[00:10:21] And when we now play this back, of course it's too fast, but now we can pitch it down
[00:10:27] just one octave.
[00:10:33] You know, it's the same length as the original.
[00:10:36] We increase the bit of noise.
[00:10:38] Of course we pitch it down here and then we bring up all the artifacts, all the quantization
[00:10:44] effects and so on.
[00:10:45] So we get this crunch.
[00:10:49] But we saved a lot of space and we had not much space back then.
[00:10:53] So space was very important.
[00:10:56] Okay.
[00:11:00] So now that we have this, we can basically try to replicate here some slicing.
[00:11:10] So back then I would probably go in here, play it back.
[00:11:18] Oh, we need to stop this here.
[00:11:25] So this is how the breakbeat sounds.
[00:11:37] So I would use here pitch 12 and say C is actually the kick drum.
[00:11:44] So the second one here, let's say, D here and D changes the play offset here.
[00:12:04] That's much later.
[00:12:17] Okay, so we have this.
[00:12:23] Oh, we need to disable also the pitch and pull this down to C4.
[00:12:40] Oh, I can't change this.
[00:12:48] We need probably to use 50%.
[00:13:06] Let's put it here.
[00:13:21] So usually you only need maybe two, three or four different points inside of this drum
[00:13:26] loop to get some different effects or some different or to rearrange it in a meaningful
[00:13:32] way.
[00:13:33] So we want to use the kick drum here as a start point, maybe here the first snare or
[00:13:37] maybe a different snare here where you have some rolls after this to fake some kind of
[00:13:42] complex drum break.
[00:13:51] Maybe we use here another one.
[00:13:58] This snare and you change the position to...
[00:14:09] Yeah, we have a nice roll in there.
[00:14:25] Okay.
[00:14:26] So now that we have this, we can also try to replicate this kind of stretch mode, the
[00:14:31] archive stretch mode.
[00:14:33] So we use here a texture mode, which is just that.
[00:14:37] You can change here the cycle size.
[00:14:40] If you watch here, I have a thing on that.
[00:14:43] So on the archive, it looks like this.
[00:14:44] You put it basically here into the cyclic mode and then you have a time factor, which
[00:14:50] is more or less here, the speed setting.
[00:14:53] And then we have a cycle length, which is the grain setting.
[00:14:57] So this is how it works.
[00:15:12] So we can use here maybe a channel.
[00:15:15] Once you're later, I mean this channel two, channel two for different speed setting, different
[00:15:22] grain size.
[00:15:23] Let's see how this works.
[00:15:28] And put all these notes here on channel two.
[00:15:32] Oh yeah, we need to have different speed.
[00:15:48] Can we change actually here the mode?
[00:16:01] Oh yeah, we can.
[00:16:04] Let's go to repeat here.
[00:16:07] And this one goes to texture.
[00:16:13] I just use one.
[00:16:15] I think it's two actually.
[00:16:23] Then we can say we only want to use maybe here this kind of time stretching.
[00:16:40] It's hard to modulate if it's not available.
[00:16:58] So this is how I would do it inside of Bitwig Studio.
[00:17:14] You have a bit of more options you can choose from here.
[00:17:17] It's not that simple anymore, but you can fake it if you want to.
[00:17:24] Another idea instead of doing it this way here by sampling this with a bit eight and
[00:17:30] then recording and then put it into the sampler, you can also fluidly simulate this after the
[00:17:39] sampler here instead of sampling it beforehand.
[00:17:42] So let's say we have a clean sample here.
[00:17:50] This one here, put it in there.
[00:18:00] Maybe I remove this here for a moment.
[00:18:10] So this is how it would sound normally.
[00:18:15] Then you put the bit eight on it, 22 kilohertz, eight bit.
[00:18:25] So now you want to pitch it down one octave.
[00:18:30] But the bit rate here and also the sampling rate stays the same, but we can now use a
[00:18:37] key track.
[00:18:39] Key track on that.
[00:18:41] If you pull up here the help, it says set the parameter to C3 and then set the modulation
[00:18:47] amount to plus 16 semitones.
[00:18:50] So we just do that here 60.
[00:18:56] And we also maybe want to reduce the bit rate here.
[00:19:00] I think we have to do it this way.
[00:19:03] Yeah, minus 16.
[00:19:06] So now if I use C3, we play it back at 22 kilohertz.
[00:19:11] But if I use one octave lower, we also reduce here the sampling rate and the bit rate or
[00:19:17] the dynamic range.
[00:19:32] So we kind of fake in a very fluid way how a sample would sound with some reduced bit
[00:19:43] rate when we pitch it down or when we sample it with 22 kilohertz and then pitch it down
[00:19:48] inside of some completely fake this here.
[00:19:50] It's not inside of the sample.
[00:19:52] The sample itself is completely clean.
[00:19:58] The bit eight helps us then to put all the grid on top live.
[00:20:15] Let's put this here to C2.
[00:20:18] So now at C3, we have double speed like before, like we sampled with a double speed, right?
[00:20:27] And when you play it back one octave lower, we have 11 kilohertz at original speed.
[00:20:44] So we can also kind of fake this.
[00:20:46] And then you can go on and use here the pitch 12 to use some slicing and also channel to
[00:20:53] introduce a bit of or channel modulators.
[00:20:56] You introduce this time stretching mode, right?
[00:21:02] So we can fake this in multiple ways.
[00:21:06] The same thing you can do with non drum loops or for instance here if you want to use some
[00:21:15] original samples.
[00:21:16] I think Chris Hülsbeck used a lot of M1 here to M1 for the Turrican soundtrack and so on.
[00:21:29] Already sounds like a sound from Turrican in my opinion.
[00:21:34] To be sampled this here, one octave higher, maybe here, audio track, mute, record, output M1,
[00:21:53] pre-roll is off, okay.
[00:22:02] That's enough.
[00:22:05] And delete this.
[00:22:06] And in here we use the sound.
[00:22:11] Pull this up.
[00:22:13] The next key is C5.
[00:22:38] You can hear all the dirt.
[00:22:40] Maybe a bit higher, C5, C6.
[00:22:55] Maybe it's better to have it here.
[00:23:06] So you get this Amiga sound, yeah, kind of roughly how it sounded back then just with
[00:23:16] a sample here and with a bit 8 and a bit of key track modulations.
[00:23:21] This is how I would do it inside of Bitwig Studio.
[00:23:25] It's not of course, again, if you want to replicate another VST inside of Bitwig, it's
[00:23:31] not that fluid because you can't replicate the interface and all the workflow processes
[00:23:38] and so on.
[00:23:39] But if you don't own the plug-in, if you don't want to use a VST plug-in, you can kind of
[00:23:43] fake it pretty easily here just with a bit 8 and a bit of key tracking and a bit of sampler
[00:23:48] stuff.
[00:23:49] Maybe let's try a texture-small on this.
[00:24:02] Does sound that good.
[00:24:03] Okay.
[00:24:04] So yeah, that's it for this video.
[00:24:06] I want to show you how to do this inside of Bitwig.
[00:24:09] Have some fun experimenting.
[00:24:11] Ask some questions in the comments below and maybe also tell me where I'm wrong in this
[00:24:17] video.
[00:24:18] watching and bye.
[00:24:19] [BLANK_AUDIO]