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Back in early 2012, when we were first invited to check out an upcoming DAW from a new German developer going by the curious name of Bitwig, we were absolutely floored by just how much it appeared to be 'borrowing', quite openly, from Ableton Live.
The GUI, the built-in devices, the Session View-style Clip Launcher… Truth be told, at that point the similarities were so numerous that we weren't entirely convinced it would ever actually make it to market - the involvement of several ex-Ableton developers notwithstanding.
Now, two years later, Bitwig Studio is real, released and very much its own DAW. It’s still evidently built on Live foundations, but beyond that, it undeniably pushes the envelope in numerous areas, making Ableton's seemingly untouchable music production and performance giant look at times conservative and behind the curve.
Of course, Bitwig has the advantage of being new and, consequently, automatically exciting, while Live is a well-established feature of the music technology landscape and thus all too easy to take for granted. To describe Bitwig as any kind of successor to Live's throne after only a few weeks on sale, then, would be ridiculous.
Or would it..?
Take your seats, grapple fans, for the ultimate music software face-off: Ableton Live 9 vs Bitwig Studio 1.0 in the, er, World Series of DAWs… of a particular type. Over six rounds, we're going to let the two applications do battle, comparing everything from their interfaces and workflow to controller support and more.
It's on, and if you want to find out much more about Bitwig Studio, check out Computer Music magazine issue 203, which includes a complete guide to the software that features step-by-step walkthroughs and videos.