Bitwig Studio 2 ~ Complete Beginner Overview
Bitwig Studio 2 is one of the newest digital audio workstations on the market that allows us to create, produce & perform our music all in one place. The UI is quite beautiful, yet very intuitive. If you’re an Abletonite like myself, you’ll appreciate the similarities in workflow and concepts.
One of the first screens you’ll see after logging in with your account is the Bitwig Dashboard, which can be accessed by clicking the logo at the top of the application.
Within the Dashboard, I recommend heading to the settings page to configure your system with the application. Here you’ll be able to choose your audio interface, under the Audio tab. Also, if you have any external MIDI gear be sure configure the settings accordingly under the Controllers tab. And if you’re a shortcut freak like me, you’ll want to check the Shortcuts tab for maximum workflow speed.
If you want, you can on over to the Packages page to download any Bitwig ready sound packages.
And then of course the Help page gives us the full documentation and additional learning resources.
Let’s go back to the User tab and open up a demo project and explore the user interface! We will be working in the project called Berlin Mornings.
The UI consists of resizable show/hide panels which can be arranged into multiple views depending on your preferred workflow. The three modes are arrange view, mix view & edit view.
Arrange View = Work in the Arranger timeline panel and/or the Clip Launcher panel
Mix View = Work in the mix panel, taking full control of each tracks volume and effect chains at large
Edit View = Make detailed edits to our clips with the Detail Editor Panel
Tab = Toggle between Arrange & Mix View
Shift + Tab = Toggle into the Edit View of your selected clip
Inspector Panel = Adjust specific settings depending on what is currently selected within the project
Browser Panel = Access clips, audio files, devices, third party plugins and many more goodies that can be dragged and dropped into your project
Cursor = You’ll notice the cursor changing as you hover over different items in Bitwig
Zooming = Click and drag the header up and down to zoom in and out
Play Start Marker = Single click anywhere within the arrange view
// Tip = Double click to start playback immediately
Select Objects = Let the cursor snap to the grid & click and drag to select multiple objects
Scrolling = Scroll left and right within each panel with the scroll bars or mouse
Tracks, Devices & Clips
Device Chain = By selecting a track, the Device Panel updates accordingly with the tracks Device Chain.
Add Device = Clicking the “+” icon at the end of the tracks device chain to add a new effect or plugin
Show/Hide Device = Double Click the device name
Toggle Device = Click Power Icon
Create Note Clip = Cmd + T to create Instrument track, double click in arranger timeline
Note Editor Panel = Edit MIDI notes in a Note Clip
Create Audio Clip = Cmd + Shift +T to create audio track, drag a sample in
Audio Editor Panel = Edit, chop & manipulate audio samples
// Tip = Notice the Inspector panel update for each type of clip
Automation = Draw in movement of parameters over time depending on what is in our device chain
Record Settings = Be sure to check your audio interface and MIDI controller settings if needed
Recording Notes = Arm track, click global record, click global play & play our MIDI keyboard
Recording Audio = Arm track, click global record, click global play & sing into our Microphone
Recording Automation = Arm track, click global record, click global play & adjust parameters
Automation Write = Record automation while preserving existing MIDI notes when activated
Modulation = Manipulate device parameters over time using an external signal
Choose Modulation = Click the 3 Plus signs, choose between modulation types (Choose LFO)
Edit Modulation = Click on the preview box to open the modulation device cell to further edit the LFO parameters
Assign Modulation = Click the Modulation Routing button, click and drag any blue parameter to apply the amount of modulation, click the modulation routing button to exit the assignment mode
Inspector Panel = Further adjust the intensity of our modulations
// Tip = This is my favorite feature in Bitwig!
That should get you up and running in Bitwig Studio 2. Good luck with your Bitwig productions!