Bitwig Studio, the new production and performance tool from an upstart Berlin development team, is now nearing beta. It’s the first real news we’ve seen since the product was first announced in January. Unfortunately, the latest video does little to tease new features (unless you look really closely). It still gives the impression of software with a UI paradigm modeled closely on Ableton Live, and because it’s largely a music demo, focus can easily shift to the sound of the track rather than the function of the software. That’s too bad, as we do know this software does promise some unique features, with editing capabilities like mixing audio and MIDI material and per-note automation. Here, though, it looks like Ableton Live with editing panes, and even some similarities to clip launching seen recently in SONAR. Based on what I know, I think there is probably more to the story than that, and we should see more of it as the beta becomes available.

As we wait, the YouTube comments, at least, are amusing. The pairing of the two at the top echoes what I’m hearing from potential users, anecdotally:

“where can you download this ableton skin?”

“Native Linux support: TAKE MY MONEY.”

I know users are interested, so I hope to learn more. Both those dismissing Bitwig – and those excited by it – seem to compare to Ableton. To me, then, the big question is whether Bitwig may wind up shipping after the next version of Ableton Live, and what that software will look like. (Let’s assume they’ll call it Live 9, and not go Apple on us and dub it Live X.)

We’ll be watching. My guess is, in the coming months, we’ll see a number of anticipated releases: usable Bitwig Studio, the next Ableton Live, and – as it’s in a product cadence similar to Live’s – Apple’s Logic Pro X. Guess I’d better get some time in the sunshine now.

  • Robert Halvarsson

     I’m looking forward to this, but I’d wished for it to be closer to release.

  • Estevan Carlos Benson

    I think what’s most interesting about this is how Ableton Live will respond.  This may improve Ableton’s future products – this kind of competition.

  • Black Neon Tetra

    Layered editing… nice! The UI looks great.

  • Bitwig Hater

    Hey peter im also a Bitwig hater !  wanna meet up one day ?

    • Peter Kirn

      Sometimes, I wonder what comments mean. Anyone know?

  • cooptrol

    I have spotted a few interesting features in this video. For instance, the ability to integrate various tracks in the same piano roll. This is immensely important in order to compare different melodic lines in a clear view. Also good is the possibility of opening the session view and the mixer next to the arrange. Just this simple features already make Bitwig a winner. Too bad Ableton has delayed Live 9 so much… Could Bitwig be the real Ableton 9? Produced by a disguised Ableton company? This would be a majestic marketing manouver.

    • Peter Kirn

      Well, seeing side-by-side tracks isn’t news, but it’s been a while since DAWs have really tried to integrate MIDI and audio in the same view – that’s very cool, which is why I mention it above. (just hard to see in this video, unless you squint!)

      I’m not giving away any secrets here:

      Ableton is not involved in any way with Bitwig, period. 

      Ableton is obviously continuing development of their software, and when it’s public, we’ll look at it.

      Is it “too bad” Ableton delayed some of their forward development? Given that they slowed down development in order to address reliability, and that this was widely demanded by their users, I don’t know that that’s true. It may have been that their earlier release cadence just wasn’t sustainable more recently; we may see it return if some of those efforts to work on the foundation were successful.

      I’d rather see reliability come before whiz-bang new features, though, whatever is necessary to make that happen.

  • Holls

    i like the simultaneous dual ‘clip’ & ‘arrangement’ mode.  (sorry to borrow terms here, not sure what bitwig calls them).  and the clip audtion/play while the track is playing linearly.  thanks for sharing!

  • julienbayle

    I myself thought about the disguise company, of course.
    btw, I think it is pure fantasy.

    What I’m waiting for with bitwig:
    – audio quality (obviously)
    – approach of their meta clip grid
    – modular env and an eventually existing SDK

    I’m waiting no more, but no less too.
    Except the fact this is a new one, I don’t expect a lot more.
    I’m making (almost) everything I want with Live. I can say that because, probably, I consider Live + Max and indeed, there are infinite possibilities with both combined.

  • perpetualmotionmachine

    after all this wait it’s still early beta?! really?

    looks fantastic but will the FX and over all sound trump live?

    it better be more stable, cheaper(than live) and sound better(!) as a ‘real’ DAW not just DJ remix nonsense or i’ll just code a skin myself…

    imho, ableton live is not utilitarian looking, it’s just fugly.

    i’m wishing for a pro tools performance edition or backstage that doesn’t require me to hire 2 additional techs to run…you better bring it bitwig or else.

  • Jmike Galdamez

    downloading and testing … I wonder if it will be compatible with some contraladores