NAMM 2018: Bitwig had a busy 2017, not only releasing version 2 of its Studio DAW but also consolidating this with the 2.1 and 2.2 updates. The company shows no sign of letting up this year, as it’s already announced version 2.3.
Leading the charge is Phase-4, a 4-oscillator phase distortion and phase modulation synth that takes inspiration from the likes of Yamaha’s DX7 and Casio’s CZ series. The oscillators are powered by a sine wave that can be shaped using five phase distortion algorithms; each oscillator can also be phase-modulated by itself and the other three oscillators. The result is an instrument that promises not only to emulate classic tones, but also to strike out down new sonic avenues.
Phase-4 takes advantage of Bitwig Studio 2.3’s expanded device view. You can now take a ‘panoramic’ view of not just this synth but also EQ-5, FM-4, Resonator Bank, Sampler and Spectrum Analyzer. You can see each device in greater detail and explore multiple parameters at once.
Other enhancements include comprehensive support for time signature changes and enhanced timestretching. Not only has Bitwig licensed the Elastique algorithms from zplane, but it’s also enhanced its own Stretch and Stretch HD algorithms and brought a couple of new ones (Slice and Cyclic) to the party.
Elsewhere, Instrument and Effect Selectors are new layer devices. Choose these and only one layer is played at a time, with others being made inactive and removed from your processor’s load. You can switch between patches and sounds seamlessly, making them useful for live use.
Conversely, Voice Stacking of internal instruments is also new - use this to create thick, lush sounds - and the Voice Stack modulator gives you detailed mapping control of each voice in the stack. There are Voice Stack presets, too; in fact, there are new presets for many of Bitwig Studio’s instruments and effects.
Bitwig Studio 2.3 is heading into beta soon, and all Bitwig Studio 2 owners will have access to this in their user account. The full release is scheduled for the end of February. Find out more on the Bitwig website.
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