Bitwig have announced that Bitwig Studio 5.1, the second major revision of their innovative DAW this year, is now available as a beta. The release introduces ten new modules and a pair of new FX containers, as well as implementing a variety of improvements to the software’s mixer and audio editing functionality.
The ten new modules provide users with four additional filters and six waveshapers, offering a wide variety of new sound-shaping possibilities — the company say that some emulate classic designs, but most have been designed to achieve their own, unique sonic qualities. They can be loaded as patch modules within The Grid, and the filter modules can also be used in Polymer, the DAW’s semi-modular synthesizer. Additionally, each of the modules can also be used within Filter+ and Sweep, a pair of newly added FX containers.
The Grid and Polymer have gained a new dual oscillator in the form of Bite, which offers some interesting sonic possibilities thanks to its combination of audio-rate PWM, custom wave shapes and FM capabilities.
Filter+ and Sweep make it possible to utilise The Grid's filters and waveshapers anywhere within a session, delivering a pre-patched effects selection that combines modular slots with a clear interface and built-in modulators. Each filter and shaper can be swapped out or bypassed, and right-clicking the device will convert the current settings to a modifiable FX Grid patch. Filter+ allows users to pair any of the DAW’s 14 waveshapers with one of the 10 filters, and can be used on any track, channel or nested chain.
Sweep then offers an expressive, performance-ready filter bank with two filter slots, one waveshaper, and a routing knob that can be used to smoothly blend through several configurations.
The update also expands on Bitwig Studio’s voice stacking feature, which now allows up to 16 voice layers per note played. There are also eight new modes in the Stack Spread modulator, along with three new Grid modules equipped with per-voice mixer control. Since both Filter+ and Sweep are based on the FX Grid, they also benefit from all of the voice stacking and polyphony enhancements.
The DAW’s Onset Threshold feature has been treated to an upgrade, too, with a new threshold setting allowing users to control which transients in a signal affect audio stretching, and a new Quantize Audio option making it possible to alter the function’s behaviour.
The mixer now boasts some customisation options that allow it to be tailored to a user’s requirement. Track faders and meters can be resized vertically to see more detailed level information, or horizontally to increase or decrease the amount of tracks displayed on the screen. Selecting multiple tracks will now allow their width, volume and pan parameters to be adjusted simultaneously, and some visual restyling has resulted in a cleaner layout with scrollable sends, improved comment placement and redesigned track headers.
Bitwig Studio is supported on PCs running Windows 7 and above, Macs running macOS 10.14 and higher, and Linux systems running Ubuntu 20.04 or later, or any modern distribution with Flatpak installed.
Pricing & Availability
The Bitwig Studio 5.1 beta is available now to anyone with a Bitwig Studio licence and active Upgrade Plan. The company say that they hope to release the final version before the end of 2023.