Yes, you know the phenomenon – loops sometimes get repetitive, cycling without variation. You can’t really blame the tool; Ableton Live, for instance, certainly allows loads of variation with automation envelopes. But as demonstrated in the latest beta video, Bitwig Studio will provide plenty of functionality for editing changes in audio clips.

I’m not totally in love with the content of the video itself – I hope we can give the beta a go soon to check out the stretching algorithm with some other audio. But the features look very nice indeed:

  • Multiple audio events inside a clip
  • Drag to slice up new regions inside a clip (ideal for reordering, editing)
  • Extensive options in the Inspector, for quick access to time options, edits, reverse, legato, pitch, and so on
  • Without needing envelopes, make edits to regions, including adding silence
  • Precise tools for working with the stretching algorithm with independent settings for regions inside the clip.

There’s also the usual transient detection and so on found in most DAWs. But the ability to freely create regions inside the clips – regions inside regions – opens up editing powers with less work.

And if you can keep with it, watch as they start getting into lots of micro-edits toward the end. For compulsive editors, it’s neat stuff. It’s another chance to bring back IDM.

The bad news: you still have to wait for Bitwig. But there are some nice ideas here.

  • http://fzero.ca/ Fabio Neves

    Bitwig = Duke Nukem Forever

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Not really. I’ve seen the betas. They’re coming along.

      I don’t understand necessarily why they announced so early. But development takes time.

    • http://fzero.ca/ Fabio Neves

      Duke Nukem Forever was also released eventually, so the analogy stands. :-)

    • Blob

      I see where you’re coming from – but even I think it’s still too soon to call Bitwig vaporware. Although I probably *will* call it vaporware if something doesn’t come out during 2014 (it’s been what, almost 3 years now?)

    • Blob

      * corrected psot – I see where you’re coming from – but I think it’s still too soon to
      call Bitwig vaporware. Although I probably *will* call it vaporware if
      something doesn’t come out during 2014 (it’s been what, almost 3 years
      now?)

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Duke Nukem Forever wasn’t sending around working beta builds. And everyone I know who’s testing the beta has been reasonably impressed.

      I agree that they went way, way too early on the publicity, but I also don’t want them to rush the final release.

    • Why so early?

      Probably to raise financing – and show potential investors that there is pent up demand. Hopefully, for their sake, the interest sticks – when all is said and done, if it’s good, people will forget the delay.

  • sinfm

    Imo, Bitwig jumped the gun by announcing the software too early in development cycle.

    It gave the Ableton the opportunity to catch up and release the featured requests that Bitwig promised which Live did not have at the time. 64bit, dual monitor support…. (those two were real popular when Bitwig announced the Studio software )

    Now Bitwig still seems cool, but not a must, and I will definitely not jump ships after years of investing time (and money) into Live (and Push).

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      Not to mention your into your hoodie. ;) (sorry, couldn’t resist)

      I think it’s more about some different workflows at this point. So, that makes things like this audio editing interesting.

      And Ableton isn’t shipping yet on Linux, exactly, either. ;)

    • sinfm

      easy target ;)

    • Sylvain Garcia / Le K

      Exactly! Ableton Live is a wonderful software, and by far the most flexibl one , but Linux!
      Ableton, show that you can surprise us with Live 10!! Linux has so much to give, and you could make the history of Linux by doing this, not mentionning the thousands of users who will move from Windows or Mac to use Ableton on a special (and cheap and safe) Linix computer based! Yes you can! :)

    • Blob

      The problem is that you have to ensure a particular Linux distribution proves to have as good and stable audio processing abilities as OSX or Windows on a cheaper computer. I’m pretty sure that Ubuntu or some related distro would be fine, but the hardware has to keep up – cheap can sometimes blow up on your face when your 300$ laptop / tablet crashes during a gig.

      Don’t get me wrong, Ableton on Linux is long overdue for many Linux-based musicians who don’t have a lot of software options for live electronics, but you’ll still need a minimum setup.

    • Ranom Chance

      Why exactly do we need more proprietary software on GNU/Linux? GNU is about freedom in many ways, freedom of choice, freedom of being able to inspect a program right down to the source code level and not just send core dumps to a support email address in case the program should crash, freedom from being told how to use a piece of software without at least having the (mostly theoretical I grant) possibility of changing the program. A proprietary piece of software that is closed source and does not really fit into the grand scheme of things.

      I’m not saying that proprietary software is bad per se, or that people should all get under the hood of their programs and tweak the hell ouf of them. What I am saying is: If there is a critical mass of people who want something like Ableton Live but on GNU/Linux, they should think about recruiting people who can make it happen, i.e. open source developers who’ll do it only for the fun of it. Don’t wait for some company to give you their version of what you want but rather be creative yourself. You could start by writing clear requirements in a style that a software developer can work with.

    • Blob

      “If there is a critical mass of people who want something like Ableton
      Live but on GNU/Linux, they should think about recruiting people who can
      make it happen, i.e. open source developers who’ll do it only for the
      fun of it.”

      I like open source and generally agree with the utopic ideal behind it. But here’s my problem with the open source stuff.

      Take Ardour. It’s a very good piece of software and was developed be a few people in a model similar to the one your are proposing – i.e. developers who’ll do it only for the fun of it.

      It took them almost a decade to integrate MIDI sequencing into that DAW. Apparently there was a big jump in development because some people actually started paying them for they work since last year, and they even developed an OSX version.

      You see, unless they are researchers or have some sort of income through grants or a family heritage, software developers have to pay bills. Which means they’ll dedicate maybe a couple of hours a week to this sort of project, and probably a lot of them have non-software related day jobs. Which means the software will take ages to develop.

      In the meantime, since I’m not a programmer or developer, I prefer to buy (probably) overpriced proprietary software, and the company owners get a bit richer, and the code isn’t available. I get spend my time making music instead of chasing bugs, looking at code, and seeking help in user forums populated by amateur or part-time developers.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      As far as Linux development – take a look at Steambox. It’s far too early to say if it’ll work, but there’s already some advantage to having a specific hardware platform. And I’m amazed at how many games are now built for Linux – often indie games with one dev. It’s frankly a bit weird that that isn’t happening in music. There’s to me more advantage to running Linux for audio than for gaming.

      That should also answer the question about the need for proprietary software. For now, at least, the character of commercial software is different than open software. I think that’s okay; my life is built around a pretty rich mix of open and closed tools, they serve different functions, they have different models for support and development, and any philosophical arguments aside, practically speaking I would want to part with neither one.

    • Sylvain Garcia / Le K

      Steambox looks promising, thanks for the hint.

    • lokey

      after years of investment into live, and owning a push, im -very- keen to see a true competitor arise. I’ll be happy to jump ship to something that takes a more modern take on the concept, because live is feeling mighty constrained by its past decisions at this point. ‘Dual Monitor support’ is hardly the feature set -ive- been keen to see, live has a long list of improvements to incorporate before bitwig see’s release, and i have a hard time expecting them to do so at this point. This all looks very interesting.

    • sinfm

      Oh it’s definitely interesting. Competition is great, keeps Ableton on their toes.

    • Yanakyl

      yeah…I think a bit the same, and also it’s good for us that someone pushes ableton forward!!!
      But still that stuff in the video is what I wish I could do without having to go from clip to arrangement view, do some editing, consolidate, copy paste to clip view…put it as a loop, and blablabla
      Pretty awesome to me!

      How much it’s going to cost overall? An ableton update might be 100€ and a new software a bit more though..

  • Chase Dobson

    These features seem all good and well… i guess it’ll take a bit of a paradigm shift in my thinking, but those types of edits don’t work well on the clip level. I usually get there after I have built an arrangement, those types of edits often work for transitions. (for my workflow anyways)

    • lokey

      what i see as benefit is the ability to make these edits within the context of the more flexible session view, rather than within the more concrete arrangement context. It means you can easily create variants without having to leave the session space.

    • Chase Dobson

      i get that. i tend to use session view for my most primary composing. Once I have a basic idea down I go linear. Different strokes etc…

    • Blob

      I agree – as far as I’m concerned something like this on Live would really speed up my workflow. Depends on how you work, I usually only go linear after improvising a lot with loops.

  • http://julienbayle.net/ Julien Bayle

    I’m really interested in New tools and new workflow.
    They just announced it too much early.
    Today, everyone thinks they are late.. They are just developing something big.

  • lokey

    what looks so promising is this ability to make micro edits within a clip, without having to hop into the arrangement window, find space, paste the clip, make the edits, consolidate, and bring the clip back into the session view. This will be a huge workflow improvement.

    • dd

      …but it will depend on the workflow for keeping & arranging all the different versions. If you have to record them every time the workflow starts to lagg again

    • lokey

      from what i can see it would be similar to how live handles it: duplicate the clip, make adjustments, duplicate it again, make adjustments, etc. except with this you can make arrangement-style hard edits to the audio, without needing to use the automation and play with the offset and volume lines. this looks much cleaner and more visually clear.

    • Guest

      in Bitwig, you can say create a sequence of audio clips on the timeline, then consolidate, and instead of rendering as audio as Live does, it simply creates a clip with all the audio clips arranged inside of it, which you can then drag to the clip launcher ready for live playing or using later on in your arrangement. A very neat feature and one I have wished for in Live for years!

    • adamski

      In Bitwig, you can say create a sequence of audio clips on the timeline, then consolidate, and instead of rendering as audio as Live does, it simply creates a clip with all the audio clips arranged inside of it, which you can then drag to the clip launcher ready for live playing or using later on in your arrangement. A very neat feature and one I have wished for in Live for years!

  • trash80
  • jesus christ

    release. the. fucking. thing.

  • itchy

    this is my only major request for live.
    hope ableton pulls this off soon.

  • Aaron

    One of the few outstanding features of Cubase is the per clip editing feature.. there you can also apply individual VSTs, not limited to built in fx. Ableton has alot of catch up to in this regard.. but its sweet to see bitwig is on board!

  • Yanakyl

    off topic!
    but is there anyone that knows about a ipad program that could be an ableton of the old ages. Just a matrice of wav/aiff loops to load in tracks that can be triggered, but lots of them and without those crap effect options for each loop!! I’d prefer per track effects than per loop!!!

    • Marc Nostromo
    • Yanakyl

      That’s pretty cool!
      Cheers

    • J.Vinyl

      Thank you for sharing this!!! Very much appreciated… It seems that I´m enjoying my day at the office very much today ; )

  • foljs

    “”"I’m not totally in love with the content of the video itself – I hope we can give the beta a go soon to check out the stretching algorithm with some author audio.”"”

    Yes, perhaps some boring drones or pretentious fart noises, like 80% of the audio featured in this site.

    • http://pkirn.com/ Peter Kirn

      – because it’s hard to hear how well the stretching algorithm is working with this sample.

      Your comment also tells me that you simply don’t follow our artist coverage. You’re just not listening. But carry on.

  • Geissler

    You move, Ableton.

    • surt_the_fire_giant

      *Ableton releases nine versions of its popular and revolutionary DAW Live, to huge critical and user acclaim.

      Your move Bitwig.

    • Irma

      It is quite obvious that in many ways Ableton have rested on their laurels due to a lack of direct competition.

  • a bit late

    Again, why am I looking at something that will never get released?

    • adamski

      its getting closer with each Beta release… its quite good already.

  • Gesslr Gesslr

    I wonder if we will see release in 2014? Dare I hope for a date announcement at NAMM?

  • Jim Jones

    One thing that Ableton doesn’t have (I wonder if Bitwig has) is the ability to Mark and play a Loop in an Audio Clip without Warping. This would allow a sound or beat to Loop at it’s “native” tempo and disregard any changes to the Global BPM.

    In theory, this is how Audio Sounds (WAVs) currently work in Drum Racks (where sounds don’t change with change in Global BPM), but when trying to do loops in Drum Racks, the volume fades (even with all the time length settings to max such as Decay).

    Currently in Ableton, you can set the Start and End points for a Clip with No Warp, but can’t turn on Loop.

    It always perplexed me why Ableton won’t add the ability to do a Loop with No Warp in an Audio Clip. Triggering such Loops would create great evolving ambient soundscapes to then (optionally) add Beats to. If Bitwig had this Non-Warp Loop of Audio Clips feature, it will open up many new possibilities in sound programming (and help differentiate it from Ableton).

    • http://dinside.no Øivind Idsø

      Agree. It’s pretty amazing that Ableton is missing an actual “loop without warp”-function, as it must be one of the most simple things you can do with a sample. Just a simple loop, with the ability to transpose the loop (without any stretching or compressing). Would be so, so nice.

    • Jim Jones

      and a Follow Action option of: “Play Loop X times”, maybe even “Play Next Clip after X loops or End of Clip” :) this all helps create (non-quantized) “evolving music” (backgrounds / soundscapes) in the Ableton Live Grid.

      (This cannot be difficult to implement. Maybe the Abes only like complex challenges and overlook the simple stuff).

    • http://dinside.no Øivind Idsø

      Ah, yes – those, too! Particularly playing within a clip that hasn’t been warped – incredible that it can’t be done, and VERY annoying.

    • Xebulon

      This has always annoyed me in Ableton too – just spent the last hour finding a sorta-good workaround:

      First – warp the clip by right clicking on the start marker and choosing “Warp at X” (where X is your current project tempo). Thus the clip will play at its native speed as long as your project stays at its native speed (and will be unwarped even though the warp button is technically on). Next – map a single MIDI knob to both clip start and loop start fields. Then turn on loop, and set the length to your desired length (1 bar, 1/4 note). Set global quantize to “none’. You can then use the MIDI knob to scroll through the clip while playing it and select a good region to loop. Duplicate loop, repeat, etc… Clunky yes, but better than nothing. Let me know if someone knows a better way!

    • Jim Jones

      thanks Xebulon, very clever : ) I’ll give it a try this weekend. Thanks for the idea !

  • shim

    bitwig gets my nipples hard. 2014 release or…or…i am gonna bust into their server and pirate copies for ALL!!!! (jk)

    also: ze beard looks good on you peter ;)