For years, since the launch of Ableton Live, many have waited for a worthy rival, something that combines production and live performance for music users. Live isn’t without alternatives – Renoise, for instance, has earned some fans, though it isn’t necessarily built for live performance. But few provide the same real-time workflows.

Bitwig, based in Berlin as is Ableton and featuring some Abletronic veterans, today took the wraps off its own Bitwig Studio. The good news is, it’s looking as though it might shape up to be a viable tool for DJing, performing, and making music. The bad news is, in a market already crowded with lots of similar tools vying for your attention, the first release will look more familiar than radical. That is, it looks and works a whole lot like Live. There’s an Arranger view, a clip launching view with scenes, a tray on the bottom with effects and instruments (they’re even called Devices, like in Live). The screen layout, and even specific interface widgets and channel strip arrangements are all straight out of Live.

It’s not just a little like Ableton Live, either – it’s in some cases a direct clone. Nested drum machine Devices, for instance, work in a way that I’ve never seen out of Ableton Live. A channel strip similarity or two is almost inevitable; here, though, lots of little details add up to something that feels like Ableton, but didn’t come from Ableton.

What that means to you may depend on what you want: whether you just want an improved Ableton alternative that works like Live, or whether you want something more fundamentally different from Live as an alternative.

If you want “Ableton Plus,” Bitwig does take on features Ableton is missing. For instance:

1. Linux support. In fact, right out of the gate, this could quickly be the answer for Linux users waiting for something they could use without booting to Mac or Windows.
2. Proper multiple document support. You can share content between projects in Ableton, but here you can actually open and freely exchange media with multiple files at once.
3. Mix audio and MIDI on the same track. Tracks are content-agnostic.
4. Per-note automation, with the mixed MIDI and audio, promises more detail-oriented editing.

Those are three significant breakthroughs. And it looks like there are lots of tweaks and improvements throughout the tool, many of which I’m sure we’ll hear about as people begin testing the beta. (One nice example: a vertical pane lets you view arrange and clip launching views simultaneously.) Multi-monitor support, while present in many tools, is sorely lacking in Live but available here. Plus, as some readers note, you do get 64-bit support, though that seems an advantage over Ableton that won’t last long.

The challenge is, as a new entrant to the market, your first obstacle is telling a story about what you are. And here, there seems a missed opportunity to make a first impression as something truly different, rather than something “similar, but better.” Ableton Live 1.0 when it was released was a significant departure from what had been seen before. So, too, were the first trackers, the first audio+MIDI DAWs, and the first graphical sequencers. Bitwig Studio isn’t that kind of breakthrough – not yet.

Not that being different is easy, or even always desirable. Amidst so many things users want, and so many expectations they have about how things will work, it’s tough to do something genuinely new without simply confusing everyone and driving them away. But it has happened – Ableton Live’s original release being a notable case. One question is whether you make some sacrifices to release the most significantly-different tools initially, or whether you choose to cover the basic bases to provide a workable solution from day one, and the Bitwig devs seem to have chosen the latter.

The most interesting features remain on the horizon. LAN multi-user jamming and multi-user production are both on the roadmap – features we’ve seen in other tools, but which have yet to catch on. And there’s an integrated modular system that lets you build your own instruments and effects with graphical patching – something seen in various forms from Buzz to Max for Live, but one that could use a fresh take in integration with the tool.

In the meantime, we’ll have to hear from beta users whether Bitwig is something worth a look. You can sign up now:
http://bitwig.com/bitwig_studio.php

We’ll be eager to hear what you think.

Pics:

  • brendan

    I hope Ableton buy it or sue the bollocks off it and then sell it; money's too tight for another software migration less than a year after buying Live 8. Or maybe it IS Ableton 9… #tinfoilhat

    • Abraham

      Agreed. Yeah, how can Bitrig rip of Ableton like this without getting sued. Be very surprised there isn't an IP issue here especially as it's been built by Ableton veterans.

    • Abraham

      I used Renoise a little in 09/10 and i may be wrong but the colour pallet looks like Renoise with devices looking like NI Maschine…hmmm

    • Seamus

      You can't attribute IP to software/interface design, that's absolutely absurd.

    • Scott

      Who is forcing you to switch? And why sue someone who is taking a general idea and putting their own spin on it? If that has happened I'd be interested to know…

  • Blob

    @Peter Kirn
    "there seems a missed opportunity to make a first impression as something truly different, rather than something “similar, but better.” Ableton Live 1.0 when it was released was a significant departure from what had been seen before."

    but didn't Ableton Live also draw a lot of features from 90's trackers? I'm asking because I'm actually not familiar with that sort of software (I've never tried Renoise, for instance), so maybe I'm talking nonsense.

    In any case, even if it's not very innovative, Bitwig seems to be a promising alternative – I'm curious about features such as audio/MIDI in the same track, for instance… plus, Ableton might need some healthy competition anyway.

  • justin

    If this truly has ableton vets (especially any UI/XD people) I would be shocked if the company wasn't sued for IP infringement.

    • Svante

      this is typical USA style, when mobile phones were developed in europe knowledge where shared, when the americans took over they sue!!

  • Joshua Schnable

    "If you ever wished Ableton could look like a Jupiter 8…"

    • jupiter and beyond

      spot on!

  • Human Plague

    Damn, runs on Linux too?!
    Some peeps just got smoked.
    Congratulations bitwig. Nice throw-down. Interesting times ahead.

    • brendan

      Yes- linux is huge. Linux has been waiting for years for Tracktion, but now it'll have something even better.

    • http://soundcloud.com/dvorak Dave

      Aw yeah, I'm going to use this alongside Renoise and hopefully not have to use Windows for anything.

    • antiMACtax

      I agree! I enjoy my windows laptop for music production/DJing, but I'd much rather have confidence in knowing that I didn't forget to "optimise" windows to function properly for a live gig. Cut the fat and have a truely optimised Linux lappy for gigging!

  • http://lodsb.org/aero lodsb

    well, to be honest I dont see how it is a rip-off of ableton live. the clip matrix and m4l have been certainly "innovations" regarding the market of DAWs; but the rest? live has been always very streamlined regarding the workflow but the technical aspects have never been really surprising. parallel device chains, track groups, etc are nothing magical and have been around long before that…

    if another product adapts the ableton live workflow, i guess it is okay; in the same way it is okay that cubase, sonar, dp, etc use similar concepts and workflows with some tweaks here and there. 

    but to be honest… as long as a DAW still builds upon metaphors like tracks, clips, synths that get control signals, mixers,  etc it is still 80s shit.

    • Jim Aikin

      "… as long as a DAW still builds upon metaphors like tracks, clips, synths that get control signals, mixers, etc it is still 80s shit." I'm curious what you see as the alternative(s). Seems to me all of these are very natural metaphors for music-making. Granted, if you only want to play a single instrument, Max or Pd takes a very different approach. But even there, you have control signals, sliders, knobs, and objects that mix signals, yes?

    • http://lodsb.org/aero lodsb

      yeah, but you approach music from a device/instrument centric view this way. therefore the structural properties of a music device are the parameters that you use to write/sequence music. another view could be for example perceptual; e.g. movement through timbre space and the idea of having actors in that space that move around.

      regarding tracks for example:
      they have been a technological necessity for tapes, yes; but for a computer it is just another memory block that can be arbitrarily discretized/organized. 
      more importantly the track-view or instrument stave-view doesnt give you any meaningful insight into what the instrument interactions -compositionally- are at all. e.g. take a bach fugue; if you used another notational system that was able to show the interdependencies between the different instrument playing you would gain much more insight…

      just 2 cents

    • http://julienbayle.net julien

      let's build that :)

    • http://ardour.org Paul Davis

      tracks are not just blocks of memory. they create a signal flow container for material in the track. i've played with some experimental audio s/w that avoided the track metaphor entirely. it was cool for sound design stuff, but utterly hopeless beyond that precisely because there was a complete lack of any concept of "i want this and this and this sent through that signal pathway, and this and this sent through the other".

    • peterkirn

      Right; I wasn't necessarily suggesting that eliminating tracks was necessary here — only that some of what made Ableton unique I don't think is so obvious, like the clip launching metaphor, or displaying devices in that particular way on the bottom of the screen, etc. Now, I'm all for copying good ideas, though — it's just the sum of this is a bit overwhelming in this first release, when you look at the UI. We'll see as we get to work with it and as it's developed whether it can mature into something unique.

    • http://ardour.org Paul Davis

      peter – i was commenting on lodsb's remarks, not on anything you had said.

    • http://sohnup.com SpazeCraft One

      Care to share the names of some of those "experimental" music programs? Curious if it's anything diff from the usual suspects. Cheers

    • http://lodsb.org/aero lodsb

      yes i totally agree IF the viewpoint is from the signal processing perspective :)
      but i was merely pointing out that there are other forms to look at sounds and the correlation thereof in a composition (e.g corpus based, timbre space, …). 
      however the main problem is still the representation of time in music, a track/timeline might be one approach to it, another might be a path throught the n-dimensional timbre space and another one an automaton for discrete events or as iannix a set of paths on which objects can interact to trigger events or send continous control data…. just sayin' :)

    • gbsr

      live weren't the first to use clip matrixes.

  • brendan

    Blob – it didn't draw much from 90s trackers, really. The Session view was innovative, but not derived from any 90s tracker paradigm. Having come from trackers, I've always found Ableton Live to feel like a very conventional sequencer (I hardly use the Session view). Renoise's new beta has some great new features which will go into the demo when 2.8 goes live – well worth a try while waiting for Bitwig!

  • http://elburz.ca Elburz Sorkhabi

    Just what ableton needed to force a Live 9 release (please god, let it be stable though!). Really excited about the linux support though. Been working with Max for Live extensively, if Bitwig can somehow integrate Max, I'd be sold 100%.

    • David D.L.

      from the looks of their modular patcher environment, i'd say it probably draws more from Plogue Bidule (with the nicely smoothed-curve connection cables and what not

  • Human Plague

    Renoise also has "Abletronic veterans" and is also based in Berlin. The lead dev used to work there in version 1 days. Just saying.

  • Mike

    It looks an awful lot like Ableton Live and considering they are all ex-ableton staff…

    It just smacks of developers thinking they can recreate the money of a business they worked in, but disregarding the magic that a good creative CEO like Gerhard and the guys bring and also the importance of true innovation and product development. There are way too many of these ex developer companies around (I'm looking at those Liine guys and their Lemur stuff) and I have yet to see any of them do anything interesting other than almost one for one clones.

    • gues

      You're assuming it wasn't the opposite — good developers with a lot of great ideas being mis-managed and leaving to take their good ideas elsewhere. Speaking as a developer this is pretty common (management not understanding technical aspects enough to properly manage it, and technical people leaving as a result)

  • griotspeak

    Per note automation? As much of a time sink as that sounds like…bravo. That is undeniably nice. <checking gift horse's teeth> modulars are nice, but I want that Renoise-Everything-Is-Scriptable Goodness. Max For Live let me down in that regard </checking gift horse's teeth>

  • http://elburz.ca Elburz Sorkhabi

    ^ I think there's a time and place for innovation. This may be "clone"-like , but it's almost everything I've wanted in an Ableton update for Live 9, and I'm sure many people agree, but haven't received (and who knows when it'll ever come!). All these little improvements mean I can put to rest some of my less-stable Max patches, and just make my workflow that much more efficient. 

    As for the Lemur app, I think you should thank the Liine guys for bringing that back to life, because it was basically a dead, and it's a nice app.

  • digi

    Why not. Ableton 8 is seriously lacking both in terms of MIDI editing and proper DAW editing, and it's been stuck on version 8 for a long, long, long time now.

    I'll give it a go.

    • http://julienbayle.net julien

      Live 9 at NAMM ..?

  • Cody

    Hope I can get in on the beta (though I'm slammed at work and it would be more like I can play with it for a couple hours a week and not really beta test).

    Looks like it's everything I love from Ableton Live, but with a whole lot more 'awesome' thrown in for good measure. The modular environment (for post version 1.0) looks to be right up my alley.

    The nesting looks absolutely awesome, I'm just hoping it allows for parallel nesting (like multiple chains in an effects group in Ableton).

  • mike

    I think though it just opens the door for more clones and we end up in the protools, logic, performer etc game where users now have to content with multiple software that all does the same thing in different ways. The only reason you would make something like this is for money, if you care about your user base, then you wouldn't even go there.

    This is fine if we are talking products, which is what most of these companies call what they do, but products to me is what you use to wash dishes, Ableton on the other hand was/is art to a certain extent. The reason it was successful was because of this. You could see the soul in it. The above is what it is, another software product. 

  • http://www.cooloutmusic.com COOLOUT

    I think that the flexibility, features and hardware integration of Ableton puts it so far ahead that no one app will be able to catch up. It's nice to see someone try. Competition is good for the users.

    I've only just recently become a full-on Ableton convert. Bitwig gets props for addressing the GUI elements that kept me from using Live for years: 3D knobs and faders, putting the mixer on the left side, etc. Plus it has some features I wish Ableton currently had such as multi-monitor support, clip-launcher in arrange view, and the upcoming LAN/internet collaboration. Man…it looks like Ableton and Reaper had a baby.

    These guys are definitely a company to watch.

    • Grumpy

      Why is it that people keep droning on about 3d knobs in live? It has a nice clear interface that is easy to see. Add 3d effects and that will be lost.

  • http://plugexpert.bandcamp.com/ Jonas78

    Any price indication??

    • http://julienbayle.net julien

      I guess we'll have infos at NAMM

  • willdahbe

    This seems to have a features existing Live users want.  Split screen, clip record automation, 64bit support.  

    The arranger clip launcher looks really nice as you can see the audio/midi content on the clip itself.  Along with being able to view clips and arrangement page at the same time is really slick I think.  

    If it has a really good time stretch algorithm I might have to switch.  We'll see, hopefully I get on the beta soon… 

    • Jörg

      I totally agree. And it looks very promising – remember it´s just V1.0 or so. 
      I expect Ableton 9 to deliver those missing features, though. They had enough time to develop a lot of improvements and features.

  • http://music.cornwarning.com chaircrusher

    1. I don't think Ableton would gain anything over suing Bitwig.  It was started by people from Ableton, they're probably 10 minutes on the U-Bahn from each other, and to look on the DAW business as a zero-sum game is ultimately a waste of time.

    2. Bitwig is beginning from a standing start. Ableton has been at the game a long time, and can respond by leapfrogging Bitwig features.

    3. Bitwig hasn't apparently done some really simple things to out-Live Ableton, like real curves in automation.

    4. People who actually make music (i.e. that aren't dilletantes with a bunch of disposable income) get comfortable with a sequencer and are not quick to abandon a tool they're fluent with.

    That being said I wish Bitwig all the best. Like Chairman Mao said, "Let a hundred flowers bloom."

  • http://julienbayle.net julien

    Nice article Peter.
    My 2 cents: http://julienbayle.net/2012/01/12/bitwig-studio-p

    I’m particularly interested by some features described on their website:
    - multi monitor support
    - per note automation
    - modular system (does it includes an SDK to push the limits very far?)
    - mixer clip launcher vs arranger clip launcher
    - jamming over internet & LANs (does it involve servers ?)

  • fladd

    Cool, looks like a crossover of Renoise, Reaper and EnergyXT(1). If the price is also in that range, we are talking!

    • salomon

      Exactly, i hope it will be reasonnably priced.

  • http://www.lividinstruments.com Peter Nyboer

    It seems pretty glib to dismiss it as "Looks a lot like Ableton Live" in the headline. Already I see chatter about this echoing that sentiment, in spite of a more nuanced perspective in the article itself. However, no one has actually used it! Its pretty clear that the "disruptive" or "innovative" part is being reserved for future releases. Linux support is pretty huge – if they are coding for 3 platforms, given the nature of cross-platform frameworks, the chances are good that parts of it will run on even MORE platforms. Given the intent of networkability and collaboration, this could lead to several different devices and users collaborating on the same session in a way that we haven't seen before.

    • peterkirn

      I don't think it's glib to say that; I think it's probably an understatement. And I think it's probably going to be said a lot, and I think it's fair. It's going to be the starting point of anyone looking at the tool, because visually it's so close. If they didn't want that reaction, they should have designed it differently. It'll be up to them whether they can make a compelling case beyond that initial impression – which, being visual, even hits you before you use the tool. And yes, as I say in the article, there are some signs of promise there. (And to some, the "looks like Ableton" will be a draw, for better or worse.)

  • salamanderanagram

    interesting, it looks like they have a very max/msp looking modular system inside too.
    i wish they did something a bit more original as far as interface goes, but it looks nice.

    • Acros

      looks more like a crossover between Reaktor and vvvv

  • Plyci

    If this has native OSC control mapping, im sold 

  • elKarl

    You had me at Linux!

  • Mutis Mayfield

    It seems the team from feature lost "Share"…

    I will be very happy to betatesting and implement rgb projects in their supported controllers ;)

    Linux support: Epic Win.

  • http://www.parliament.uk/business/lords/ Rt. Hon. Charles Arthur Arbuthnot-Rigby

    Nobody mentioning the Steinberg/Studio One precedent?

    Devs leave a big company, leaving behind a difficult-to-maintain code-base and layers of corporate hierarchy, and build their own product. It doesn’t innovate, but it’s slicker, faster and more maintainable.

    THEN with version 2, they start to innovate (ARA/Melodyne integration). 

    Remains to be seen how Bitwig Studio compares, but they have four developers and some fresh code: a great platform from which to start pushing boundaries….

  • http://www.parliament.uk/business/lords/ Rt. Hon. Charles Arthur Arbuthnot-Rigby

    Also – pricing and upgrade policy is KEY here…. if Bitwig undercut Ableton significantly and introduce a different (fairer?) upgrade policy, then things could get really interesting.

  • Cody

    I could be wrong, but, from the devices pic
    http://img97.imageshack.us/img97/3523/worldclasss

    The MiniSampler has no filter, but, the MultiModeFilter has an ADSR _and_ and Envelope Follower. Does this mean you'll be able to use that filter based on incoming midi notes to the channel to trigger the envelope?! This will be a killer feature!

  • Cody

    I could be wrong, but, from the devices pic
    http://img97.imageshack.us/img97/3523/worldclasss

    The MiniSampler has no filter, but, the MultiModeFilter has an ADSR _and_ and Envelope Follower. Does this mean you'll be able to use that filter based on incoming midi notes to the channel to trigger the envelope?! This will be a killer feature!

  • jj0b

    I think this looks interesting.

    Arranger Clip Launcher, Per note automation, LAN jamming, built in modular system…

    No mention of AudioUnits support though. :-(

  • teej

    Been waiting (hoping) for this thing to see the light of day for a while now. Looks great. I can't really knock them for Ableton Live similarities when it's possible that these are some of the folks who were responsible for those things to begin with, albeit as employees of another company. 

    These guys first popped up during Ableton's stability fiasco, a time when I personally felt that Ableton had "lost its way" and had drifted full-speed into becoming an also-ran DAW. Live v1 was revolutionary, and as it took on more and more users, they began taking on more and more feature requests which transformed it from a unique audio-focused creative environment intoto a replacement for [insert legacy DAW of choice here]. Max4Live has helped them shake some of that stuff loose, but it's still a bit of a monster when compared to the early, stable, very CPU-efficient versions. 

    Considering that there are obviously some bright people behind this, I can only give them the benefit of the doubt that they got their legal ducks in a row with Ableton long ago. And over the past few years, plenty of others have adopted the Clip/Grid interface. If they take the best of Live, and sprinkle in some innovations of their own, that's A-OK with me. 

    There's definitely some neat features listed. As someone who defected to AudioMulch as my main workstation, the modular patching stuff looks particularly exciting. 

    What I'm most excited for is to see and use a DAW (or whatever you want to call it) that has been developed so recently. No legacy code. No backward compatibility. No cruft. Sounds refreshing. Time will tell. 

    My one gripe has to do with the UI and ergonomics. There are very good reasons Ableton put arranger track and scene control on the right side of the screen. I can't believe no one has followed suit to this day. The vast majority of human beings are right-handed, so putting dexterity-requiring functions on the right side makes sense physically. Also, when dealing with a linear timeline, your field of attention is moving left to right. Having to operate a pointer/mouse/finger across the screen to the left to perform functions which effect the content interrupts the brain/body/ear connection and is a creative hinderance. 

  • kurasuu

    yes. note events and audio run in parallel.

  • http://soundcloud.com/ioflow ioflow

    linux support? definitely interested. while i use renoise and ardour, that combination can definitely be frustrating.

    three things to look for:

    1. price. renoise is comfortably under the $100 mark.
    2. warp/stretch. ableton is built around an excellent realtime warp engine, so i hope this new daw offers a worthy competitor. especially since this is sorely lacking on linux.
    3. scripting. renoise and live both offer fantastic scripting/code integration for third party tools. renoise in particular offers excellent integration with true open source languages. this new daw needs some good, open apis to attract a community.

  • freesoul

     Just ordered a mini display port to HDMI dongle of my laptop then I see this announcement. Cool. I can use that feature. I was in Live last week thinking damn, I wish I could add some automation to this clip. Check 2. Max style modular? Sure why not. It might look like Live but how much can you change the recipe before you turn a cake into a cookie and your not getting the same result you were after in the first place. Hope that Live can see what this company is stirring up in regards to "selling points" and maybe pour some of its own sugar into their batter. Until then I hope to see how BitWig works in beta and milk everything I can out of it. Hungry for this one.

  • mrthraz

    you also had me at linux

  • brzero

    If I can run this stably in Ubuntu and it fully supports VST and costs less than $300 then it'll be the DAW I've been waiting years and years for.

  • joe

    What about sound ??.. Ableton sound is sooooo bad… 

    • nickt

      exactly. like a robot farting steel wool. :)

  • http://www.edisonsdemo.tumblr.com edison

    whoo…
    looks great!
    main question for me is MIDI routing/mapping/flexibility…..
    fer me, thats abletons weakness…..

  • SynthEtiX

    In my case, I WILL consider Bitwig. I have yet to purchase any studio software and was looking to buy fairly soon. Good timing.

    • SynthEtiX

      depending on price, of course.

  • http://www.suecae.com Suecae

    This is actually quite exiting. Wondering what this might amount to. 

  • http://elburz.ca Elburz Sorkhabi

    @mike I think it's absolutely preposterous to call Ableton "art to a certain extent", while simultaneously completely writing off Bitwig. That is equivalent to completely disregarding evolution in any way, shape or form, whether biological or technological.

    I also think it's ridiculous that you think these people don't care about their user base. Who would leave Ableton, a company doing extremely well in its field, to start a company that could easily flop and close in 6 months (if they didn't have any form of innovation that is), if they didn't care? 

    Professional Ableton users have been asking for a few simple things for quite a while now, and have been only been getting periodic bug fixes, which I fully endorse for stabilities sake, but these are the reasons people write songs in Ableton, then bounce all the tracks to mix, master, or work simultaneously with video elsewhere.

  • Brian

    Looks like live for people who were too lazy or stupid to relearn their behaviours from old styled DAWs … yawn! I personally will need more than the "unique" features they are boasting to jump ship.

  • http://elburz.ca Elburz Sorkhabi

    Or for people who professionally work with video and need more flexibilty? Or for people who mix and master professionally and want a full mixer while still staying in arrangement? Among many other things….professionals….yawn!

    • Brian

      I do my video work in logic :P If you have max4live you can make a mixer that exists in a separate window

  • DBM

    It looks interesting . Live clone ? Eh…. everyone is trying to grab stuff from Live anyway so everything homogenizes after a time and clip Launching and device racks are now just part of the appendix of what we might expect to find in a modern DAW  . BTW Live to me was more of a virtual MPC on V1 and slowly migrated to more DAW like as versions went on .
     
    What Baffles me  64 bit support aside ( 32 is just fine by me still ) is why so many Live users are so ready to throw more cash at a version 9 of Live anyway . I remember upgrading to 7 from 5 and thinking cool $ 129.00 and I should be good for a while just to have 8 come out a few months latter at a higher price , higher upgrade price now with the promise that V7 might get one more OS compliant upgrade and it's shelf life would be over . Not to mention Reason 5 to 6 jump time   Hell I remember being a Cubase user back in the day and it was nice to only do a major costly upgrade every few years  and that was fine by me .  Seriously G.A.S has a big part in upgrade demands . 
     Ok rant over . This App looks interesting , but as only common sense should dictate " only time will tell " 

  • Seamus

    For anybody wondering about how this is going to measure up,  Bitwig is being developed by Claes Johanson – the same gentleman who developed Surge at Vember Audio.

    This guy knows his shit.

  • Make_Stuff

    Maybe it'll be half the price as Live.

  • vinayk

    any words on price?
    and I wonder if things like my APC would work with it?
    Any external instrument support for my modular etc?

  • http://m-clis.pdj.ru M Clis

    And nobody mentioned surge and other products of Vember audio though :) This stuff comes from them too, as from ex-Ableton stuff. So at least I could be really satisfied with sound (Surge sounds really pure and clean) And also, don't forget about one little fact – It is version number ONE. I mean, all other DAW's nowadays could offer lots of different stuff and possibilities to work with audio and MIDI, but it seems that Bitwig team will deliver a product capable to make same level of basic operations plus some great extras just from the first incarnation! Well, crossed my fingers and waitin for NAMM!

  • Andrew

    Here's some interesting shit that hasn't been commented on:

    "multiple audio events per clip" is a feature that honestly I can't believe Live doesn't have already. Right now you have to cut up clips in arrangement, right click, select consolidate, and stick it back in session. That's annoying as shit. I'm imaging in bitwig being able to copy-paste and quickly create variations and fills and such.

    Dedicated percussion synths (E-Kick, E-Snare, etc.)

    The ability to insert arbitrary effects into the delay chain. Similarly the reverb device has "Trk FX" and "Wet FX" which I presume allows you to process the wet signal before it's added back to the dry.

    AHDSR envelopes in the FM synth and "minisampler" (which I assume is a bit like ableton's simpler).

    "Quad FX" and "Quad instrument"

  • http://www.djinvisiboy.com dj invisiboy

    Of course, all ableton stuff is 25% off right now – which means version 9 is arriving very soon. I've used Ableton since version 1, and it's dependability has made me a loyal user.

    • http://soundcloud.com/digidada digid

      I wouldn't use discounts as evidence of anything. Ableton has had *countless* sales and rebates and price reductions for the last couple of years, yet still no signs of a Live 9.

      It could be another year for all I know, they seem to take their time.

      Don't forget, this month it has been THREE years since they announced Live 8. That's a long, long time …

  • http://jakubtylcer.com jakub

    Looks cool, but I (and probably many others) will ask "why should I migrate to another DAW?" It seems that most of the features overlap with Live – and Live has active user base, thousands answers and solutions googleable, thousands and thousands existing projects, good chance that developer will exist in future… 
    At a first glance it seems that Bitwig may compete with price – and that is not good way – but at a second glance it is obvious that Bitwig may offer lots of interesting stuff. 
    Some Bitwig advantages may disappear soon – i guess that adding multi monitor support to Live is not much difficult (may be it is difficult but it is surely feasible). Also multi-document support seems to be something that Ableton guys could add (and i think that it is already possible – or maybe it is possible to have multiple instances of Live running at once). Some things may be harder achieve for Ableton – for example linux support. And there are some things that are cool and would not fit into Ableton paradigms – multiple audio events per clip for example (and this feature may be really great!). "Arranger clip launcher" seems to be sort of hybrid of Session and Arrangement views – that may be great thing too! 
    So weĺl see…
    And if Bitwig and/or Ableton developers read this… think about this: sometimes it would be nice, if launching audio clip would optionally generate MIDI event… it would be useful for syncing audio clips with visuals at the concert, and creative people would surely find many other interesting uses for this…

    • Cody

      I'm at work, so I cannot test this, but, to fire off midi and audio at the same time, couldn't you group a midi and audio track? Kinda hackish if it works, but, better than nothing?

  • Kim

    Multi-monitor support this really more important then it sounds, also Per note automation is a big deal.

  • Tim

    You had me at multi-monitor support!

  • kid versus chemical

    Multiple audio events per clip is really nice.  As someone who like to chop audio, not always stretch, but still wants to use the session view, this is huge for me.  Multi document support is also very nice.  I'm a very long time Live user for the record.  This program looks very appealing to me.  Especially if it's cheap, I feel like Ableton is a little nuts with their pricing, though i suppose this will be in the same range most likely.

  • hurry up and die

    Ableton needs a good kick in the balls – and this just might do it. How anyone does any real editing in Ableton has got me mystified

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  • http://briannaas.com Brian Naas

    Multi. Monitor. Support. If it's even remotely like Ableton, I will switch for this reason alone.

  • James T

    I've had a demo of it, and to me it seemed like Cubase + Live. Or, Ableton Live, but with a really sophisticated next generation DAW enclosing the clip matrix.

    it is true to say it is nothing revolutionary, but i think that in a quiet way it has many aspects that might make it the best choice by far for the electronic musician ( as opposed to DJ).

  • s ford

    I've used Ableton Live since V1, but V8 has gone the way of Cubase; bloated and buggy.  I don't think Bitwig Studio promises a revolution but if they can manage to satisfy some aspects of the market which their competitors have failed in or do not meet then there is space for a new entrant in the market at least.  

    Hopefully, when it comes to upgrades they'll take the route of Propellerhead (ie not charge a massive amount for updates of significance) opposed to the upgrade route of Ableton ie charging a more significant amount for a less vital update that is pretty much unusable in terms of stability.  These are my impressions however, and others may be completely different to mine… 

    I welcome Bitwig and wish them good luck. 

  • M_tek

    OMG knobs!

  • gesslr

    A little direct competition will not be a bad thing for the Ableton crew. When you have a " monopoly" on something (in this case the approach), there is a big danger that the focus goes from increased innovation to increased sales. (Why innovate when you'd just be competing with yourself?) At that point, innovators leave the company and the spark that made the original great is lost.

    I think Ableton was flirting with that future for a while. Something like this may help them stay focused a bit better.

  • Bynar

    I guess for me it will be all about price. I still feel a little bit slighted by Ableton. A while back I sold operator (which I bought separately). I made a mistake of misreading the support email warning me that I will be selling my whole Ableton license. I thought it was simply a courtesy email stating that I will no longer own operator. As it turned out I sold Ableton for $99! I still can't understand why they would do this when I bought the plugin separately. Since then I have been happy using Renoise ($80 license!) and open source alternatives.  

    I think it is a good sign that Bitwig is willing to follow Renoise and Ardour in allowing the software to run on Linux. Hopefully they will offer a similar price point to Renoise or Reaper. Smaller group of developers and smaller marketing means less bills to pay.  In my experience it is much more rewarding to support a smaller less corporate operation that is more dedicated to its user base. 

    • sucks

      DUDE!!! Sorry to hear that brother.  Anyone that ableton ever screwed is going to jump on the BW wagon.  I'll reserve judgment after beta!

  • gabr

    Missing some bezier curve for automation same as ableton

  • Bleep

    Its gotta be Ableton 9, it looks too similar not to be.

  • Infrasound

    Has no-one had the thought that at a time when you would expect to hear news of Ableton 9, there is little news to be heard. Funny that this has all features requested most by Ableton users.

    My money is that this is an elaborate hoax and Bitwig will turn out to be Live 9.

    • tyler

      samsies

  • Infrasound

    Oh, if you do a whois search n Bitwig you will find them on the same street in Berlin, 650 meters away from Ableton HQ.

  • Leslie

    Way to go Bitwig… :) If Ableton can't hold the pressure, so be it…Will buy it the moment of release ;) BTW; when is the release…? Hope it's not vapourware…

  • truth

    You can tell the true blind fan boys by those who hate a product they've never tried.  Anyone uphappy with competition does not understand the way of the world cause this is a great thing for live users.  If Bitwig had been around longer ableton could never have SCREWED US the way they did with live 8.

  • Martin

    i really love ableton but i´m still angry about the online share feature they promised years ago and haven´t delivered yet. as far is know i paid for a feature they never rolled out and the beta has obviously died a silent death.

  • http://www.synnack.com/blog Clint

    Eh. Initially these seemed pretty exciting. But after a few hours of staring at the screenshots I forgot what I was excited about. 
    My initial thoughts: http://www.synnack.com/blog/post/48/bitwig-studio

  • loydb

    I'm not sure what makes you think Ableton's lack of 64-bit "won't last long." It's gone on for nearly 3 years already… That's what pushed me to Cubase. If Bitwig offers Ableton-style workflow, but lets me use all 32 gigs of RAM, I'm on it. 

  • Hint

    If it has Traktor-style user-accessible controller mapping, and is priced somewhere between Logic and Live, I'm jumping on board.

    I only got Live late last year to use for live gigs and was sorely disappointed with the mapping options.

  • Ben

    Bitwig was formed 1 month after Live 8 was launched and it's at least 3 ex Ableton developers. Could they be part of the reason for the somewhat rocky start of Live 8 when it launched? I mean clearly you know that you are leaving to start a competing product. 

  • mike

    Think you might be on to something Ben, it is speculation but it looks like guy arrives fresh from Surge, coaxes out developers tired of legacy code prior to Live 8 release, Ableton caught out and release buggy version then go on frantic search for replacements….developers release half assed clone. Where to next? Ableton buys Bitwig, sends the Surge guy away with a big pay check and develops Bitwig into a new Live rewrite, cause that is all it is reality. The other option is that Ableton ignore Bitwig, watch it take a small share of its nerd user base that actually cares about the some of the features mentioned as points of difference and in 2-3 years they go under.

    If  

  • mike

    Point also to note, is that very little thought in any of this was given to artists/musicians. Releasing a clone of Ableton rather than staying on and working to make it better, show to me pure self serving attitude.

    • James McEwan

      that assumes Management would ever allow this

  • Hint

    @mike – I think things will become clearer when Live 9 comes. Maybe the Bitwig guys left because Ableton were taking things in a direction they weren't interested in? Maybe Live 9 will be completely different to 8? We don't know.

    If Live 9 surprises everyone as a complete Final Cut X style re-write, I presume all the currently kneejerking Ableton fans will suddenly be very grateful that Bitwig have made their DAW so (superficially) familiar to current Live users.

    Also, Bitwig's DAW isn't out yet, so how can you describe it as half-assed? One obvious counter to that – they've developed proprietary timestretch technology, which doesn't sound like a particularly half-assed way to spend your time to me. It might be awful, it might be brilliant… but we don't know that yet.

    And there's more to this than just hoping to grab a small share of Live's "nerd user base". What about people buying a DAW for the first time? Or people (like me) who use one DAW but are looking for another to use live? Pricing and stability and the quality of the bundled instruments and effects will affect those sorts of decisions, of course. So again… more stuff we don't know about yet.

  • mike

    Half assed is creating a clone of Ableton ;)

  • mike

    All we need now to complete the half assed-ness is the BT, sorry it's 2012, the Richie Hawtin product endorsement! 

  • tyler

    That quad instrument looks sweet.

  • CWC

    Linux, Linear Matrix-esque clip launching, 64 bit!  You have my attention!

    Some of these features (especially "Instrument Tracks") are such basics that Ableton should have conquered by now I can't help but applaud Bitwig!

    As a long time Ableton user (since Version 2) and a current Suite 8 owner, as well as Logic, Studio One, Reason 6, and Reaper… this looks to be the Live solution I might be willing to use in the studio as well.  Love Ableton, but their sound engine is dated compared to some of the others and with their extremely limited VST routing and CPU loving Partner Instruments/Rack effects, it has been harder and harder to want to keep embracing this lovely buggy tool.

    The clincher will be controller support… if Bitwig nails this like Ableton did, this will give Ableton a run for their money.  I love competition.  If Ableton 9 does not appear at Namm (with at a minium some of the same new features), more power to Bitwig.  Especially if some of their Devs were former Ableton programmers fed up with the lack of forward motion.

    My 2 cents:b

  • NAME

    NO

  • nickt

    whoa! this is looking like EVERYTHING i wanted from ableton: the GUI is hot (take that live!), the mixer on the left and the browser on the right?! …potentially a more human workflow…YEAH!

    IF this thing sounds as good as live, crashes less, they have solid support and the native FX are at least as good (PLEASE bitwig more 'analog' sounds but probably asking too much) i will gladly jump ship. make that ECSTATICALLY jump ship.

    live has just burned me too many times.

  • nickt

    and special pricing for ableton owners!

  • p0ser

    How is this NOT copyright infringement? This is a lot more than a tiny similarity (which court cases have been based off of in the past…). Oh wait, they moved the scene launch and the browser to the opposite siiiides!!! Ahhh yes.. totally different. Nevermind. 

  • Andy

    That'ss a marketing gag. In fact it's the brand new Live 9.

    • fx23

      i think so, to much similarities, and the web site, typos/music and demo video are soooo ableton

  • mike

    Bit-wig! Like just wait till I pull it off my head, hey it's me!!!

    The placing of the clip browser on the right instead of the left, its just so cynical its embarrassing. Bet there is even a parameter to set it back to the left in the settings, just that they didn't have the balls to show it in the preliminary screen shots. I'd bet $100 on that…

    Wait till Native Instruments release their Ableton clone, Flow, should be out soon…

  • monthly meltdown

    Flow has been in for the last week here. Smashing out beats on my own again. Bitch is touchy as!

  • paradiddle

    Theses guys are in berlin and some of them used to work for Ableton so they must have remained in contact with them. I’m pretty guys over at Ableton have seen this before. Ableton have a strong following and like somebody pointed out in this thread, I doubt people will all jump ship. I’m certainly interested in trying Bitwig out. All of the feature mentioned in this thread are certainly motivational points.

    I’m also looking forward to see what can be built with the modular system. The picture of their website seems to be the polysynth. And I think I read that all the onboard devices are built with the modular system so they are essentially modifiable.

    Ableton live does need a competitor even though this one has features that are cloned from it. I’m sure though that Bitwig like grow into something different than an Ableton clone.

  • G-Loonit

    You're move, Ableton.

  • Chance

    I wonder how Bitwig will manage state between the clip launcher and arrange views. In Live you can mess around in session view and then you have only 2 options: save all or nuke all. A long time feature request has been per track reversion in session view.

  • http://maybethebitwigex-abletonfolks huh

    own some ccopyrights ?

  • jdeeee

    Clip style sequencing was nothing new with Ableton. It's a method that has been used with computer sequencers going back to the mid eighties. What Ableton did that was novel was the audio stretching, but that's old hat now

  • Human Plague

    Fresh off a Netflix bender, anyone remember the last scene in the last episode of Twinpeaks where Agent Cooper finishes the series with "How's Annie? How's Annie?! How's Annie!"

    So, how's Bitwig?

    Seriously though, has anyone seen it yet or is it just vaporware so far?

  • JM Jones

    I love Ableton, but I hope linux native version for  Live 9, if not, I will consider Bitwig 

  • Dr. Feelgood

    I just gave Ableton the boot.  Not enough progress in the past 5 years: it still lacks destructive sample editing, the ability to view/edit MIDI parts simultanously, can’t receive sysex, and has an arrangement page only a mother could love.  Buh-bye!

    Looking forward to seeing what the new kid on the block can do, and am ready to pony up serious cash for a good, creativity-inspiring solution!

  • Blob

    Thanks for the heads up. From what I read about trackers a few years ago, I had the feeling that tracker note sequencing had somehow inspired the Session view, but clearly I don't know squat about trackers – I've just checked a few videos of tracker use in youtube, so I think I know what you mean. I'll look into it more closely (maybe download the Renoise demo and give it a try).

  • peterkirn

    Where is this dilettante with a bunch of disposable income, and how can I meet him/her? ;)

  • http://music.cornwarning.com chaircrusher

    @s ford "Bloated and Buggy"?

    As someone who does everything except final mastering and editing in Live, I've not had any substantial problems in Live.  The new features in 8 versus 7 are all useful to me.  The only crashes I've had came from squirrelly Max For Live patches.  

    I'm curious what un-corrected bugs you've run into and what you consider to be bloat.  I mean I'm sincerely interested, not arguing that that they don't exist.

  • nickt

    "Having to operate a pointer/mouse/finger across the screen to the left to perform functions which effect the content interrupts the brain/body/ear connection and is a creative hinderance."

    got any science to back this up? couldn't disagree more. maybe just cuz i'm left-handed! ;P