Bitwig gets its first blockbuster upgrade since launch, in beta now. And the first look at this software suggests it’s continuing to deliver what an enthusiast audience wants – even if some of the revolutionary promise of the tool remains over the horizon.

So, first, what it isn’t: it isn’t a complete modular environment. Underneath all the goodies Bitwig offers is a set of modules that provide its functionality. Bitwig’s developers have said eventually they’ll open that up to users, not just for their own development. And that’s be exciting indeed.

But forget about big ambitions for a moment. The step that we get here looks really useful.

In fact, it might be friendlier to everyday users than the grand-modular-everything scheme.

modulator_zoo_6c

What’s cool about Bitwig is its consistency. I think Ableton has actually suffered as its included devices have fragmented. There are third-party tools that never get updated. There are truly native tools like Simpler – and those are great. Then there are features relegated to second-class citizens as Max for Live devices, which sometimes cause them to behave differently or load more slowly. There are different sets of tools for monitoring signal or looking at frequencies, and they aren’t available everywhere. Lots of functions aren’t modular. MIDI assignment is clunky. I could go on. Adding Max for Live seems to have become an excuse for not fundamentally improving any of this – at least through what’s now several years of updates. And, apologies, Ableton, but I think in this case you deserve the comparison.

Bitwig’s first versions laid a foundation for something more consistent and integrated. But we had to wait for them to deliver a product that built from that competition past the competition.

And modulators really look like they could be it. Every internal device, and every plug-in, now has an unlimited number of modulator slots.

So add an LFO if you want. Add some math or randomization. There are envelopes and step sequencers and keytrackers and nifty X/Y controllers. Plug those in, change whatever you want. Do it anywhere.

These are also all polyphonic. That combined with the cool control provided by devices like ROLI’s I think could open up a new approach to sound design.

I won’t mince words: you can stop reading here, because I think modulators are a reason to give Bitwig a go.

bitwig2

This semi-modular capability is much of the time probably more appealing for quickly coming up with ideas than a full-modular environment would be. On the other hand, if this works, it can and should increase appetite for more modular tools – if I could just change that step sequencer a little…

But I really think this illustrates the limitations of Max for Live, or running other environments as plug-ins. Being able to modulate in devices while you arrange, inside a DAW, natively, is a whole other experience. I can’t wait to try it, and I’ll be writing once I get some time with the beta.

Check them out here.

https://www.bitwig.com/en/bitwig-studio/bitwig-studio-2/modulators.html

Hardware integration is the other functionality I think is really important, and really in tune with how many people want to work now. Again, it’s nice to see Bitwig add these features natively.

For MIDI, you get devices for both hardware and plug-ins:
Control Change (CC)
Program Change

And hardware devices:
Clock Out
MIDI timecode (MTC)

Plus, there are Control Voltage devices, for gate, continuous control, and simple direct signals:
CV Instrument
CV Out

You also get a bunch of MIDI/pattern devices – nothing so radical to users of other DAWs, like Cubase, but I think doubly welcome in the context of the other hardware features and rich modulation:

Multi-note (think chords)
Note harmonizer
Note length
Note echo
Note latch
Note velocity

Add those together with modulation, and many of you probably don’t need a full modular tool.

Remote Controls for any device take the best feature of Live’s Racks – macro mapping – and appear to make it more coherent. Whereas those are device-specific and require setting up a rack, Bitwig’s feature can be saved with presets, too, and are available everywhere. They also go well with the hardware integration features above.

The other reason I’m going to give this a second go is, frankly, fades/crossfades – which look elegant and nicely work not only in the arrangement view but in clips and audio editor, too.

6c-fades-crossfades

Like any maturing DAW, the rest of this is a sort of grab bag of lots of improvements to workflow – the various refinements that occur in parallel to multiple elements of the tool.

So you get a spectrum analyzer, and spectral tools through the internal toolset. There’s an expanded Polysynth, with expanded timbral tools like oscillator mix and filter waveshaping modes – and it combines with those new modulators. There’s VST3 support – a rarity outside Cubase.

If that didn’t excite you, zoom in on this shot of the Polysynth. The new visual language, the friendliness of the UI, the richness of modulation – this looks like promising stuff for synth lovers.

polysynth

They’ve also significantly streamlined editing workflows and how tools, menus, and windows are integrated.

I expect some people will be disappointed that the revolution hasn’t arrived. And it means there’s a battle for Bitwig. The DAW market is crowded. Just being good – sometimes even being better – has never been enough.

But I think we may finally get a chance to really take advantage of the modular engine beneath Bitwig. And since a lot of us have tracks we want to make, the availability of modulators and the nice suite of arrangement and control tools here mean something you can use right now, today.

We’ll have more to say once we do our review. Happy modulating.

https://www.bitwig.com/en/bitwig-studio/bitwig-studio-2.html

  • wetterberg

    Such a good line: “Adding Max for Live seems to have become an excuse for not fundamentally improving any of this – at least through what’s now several years of updates. And, apologies, Ableton, but I think in this case you deserve the comparison.” – as an avid first ableton forum user, then user group founder etc, this really strikes a chord with me. “Just use maxforlive” is such a great phrase, but eventually it erodes the foundation of the DAW itself, somehow.

    • Freeks

      And recently i have worked with many producers who don’t ha M4L. I’m like: You can do it with M4l, and they go: What’s that?

      Ableton has gives may too much focus for Push and too little for core Ableton. I produce with Live, but i use mostly arrangement and Ableton gives very little love for me. It’s like in Ableton they don’t realize how many use arrangement and don’t launch clips.

      I used the first cracked version of Bitwig for a while. The modulators are super cool! But as i’m Logic and Live user it really make no point of buying another DAW just to play with modulators.

      I did just pre-order Akai MPC Live. That might be fun!
      And it will change how to reference to Ableton. Untill now Live meant Ableton Live. But now it can mean either MPC or Ableton 😀

    • Michael M

      Man, I agree with that. I don’t like using the M4L-based devices, they feel like “second class citizens” and if I’m going to use something that isn’t seamlessly integrated with the DAW I can use a VST. And although it’s gotten better, the occasional crashes when I use M4L make it hard to bother. I keep my tracks Max-free and only use it for experiments.

      These latest features really tempt me but there’s one thing Ableton has that Bitwig doesn’t and that’s widespread support. Hardware supports it, other software supports it, iPad controller software supports it, there’s Push and Launchpad and so on. And tons of classes are based on Ableton and Youtube tutorials and so on. I couldn’t leave that whole ecosystem behind unless another DAW offered me something TRULY revolutionary.

      I know revolutions have to start with a few true believers but I’m too old to be a trailblazing rebel. I just want software that works and hardware that works with it and other people to work with and teach me about it.

      • Dubby Labby

        And you can use maxforlive devices outside Ableton (with max7) and link them so if it crash it’s isolated. The only thing which maybe it’s need is somekind of premade interface for avoid need to “build” it everytimebut since it has 30 days free license and new model (10€ for month without necessary to purchase a entire year). Something like Reaktor player.

    • Ditto that, I didn’t buy the suite version so I didn’t get M4L and it’s frustrating seeing people come up with cool stuff for Ableton – only if you have M4L. I cant justify the price for something that I really don’t have any interest in learning, my hardware and plugins keep me busy and are complicated enough. However I don’t see myself picking up Bitwig. when I have two other DAWS (Ableton and Reason) which have more than enough stuff to keep me busy.

      • Dubby Labby

        Read the answer I’ve done before. Max7 could give you a solution by itself.

  • Mafgar

    Plz let us pitch audio files without time stretching PLEAAAAASE it’s so essential to my workflow that I cannot use Bitwig even though I loove so many things about it

    • bob ruckz

      you can.

      • Mafgar

        Ok, I know there are workarounds but I am talking specifically in the arrangement view, you used to not be able to transpose audio clips with timestretching turned off. I’m gonna download bitwig and try it and if you’re wrong… then… I’ll…I dunno, still use something else.

        • Mafgar

          Cool, they added a repitch option where you can change the tempo of clips. Thanks!

  • Artemiy Pavlov

    OK KINDA COOL BUT DOES IT SUPPORT THE TOUCH BAR ON MBP??? 🙂

  • Philip Viana

    Really excited for this update. They have a new pricing model, too: a year of free upgrades, then a purchase for the next year. I think that is totally fair and I’m happy to support small developers like them. Really love bitwig and hope more people try it out.

    • Frank

      “a year of free upgrades” – which would cost you 169$/EUR a year; somehow i’m failing to see how this would mean “free” ?? What it really means is “bugfixes cost 169 $/y now”.

  • Neil

    This is all great but… I hope they’re not going down the route of doing paid version releases before the core app is stable. You know, like the other company did before v9…

  • Looks awesome! But man, bumping the price to $399 and only including a year of updates ($169 for each subsequent year) kind of sucks. It’s good that you can keep the last version you paid for at the end of the period, but that pricing just seems kind of high for something that, well, isn’t as big as Ableton or Cubase. I can’t help but feel that either 12 months is too short or $169 is a bit too much, and the increased base price doesn’t help.

    • Polite Society

      Agreed. It looks so great, and I’ve wanted bitwig since before it came out, but I just can’t justify the price when I already have DAWs that I am fairly happy with.

    • kevin

      Whether it’s worth it depends on how much improvement they deliver in that year. In theory, it finances more continuous and consistent improvements compared to Ableton’s model, so you might get more bang for your buck.

      It feels bad because it’s possible you pay the price of 2 upgrades in two years and get less than two major upgrades worth of improvement if their development stagnates, but time will tell.

      I think it makes sense to wait between upgrades rather than to renew on a yearly basis until we see how regularly they release new features.

    • DPrty

      $400 … Laughs Out Loud! Im never going to pay that. Let me just suggest Reaper.

  • Empee

    I think its a bit lame to bash Ableton like that for all that Bitwig is doing better. Lets not forget Bitwig had a very comfortable jumpstart by just ‘taking’ years of Ableton’s r&d. They’re also implementing loads of Ableton’s userbase ideas.

    • itchy

      agreed . i am hoping to see some nice live updates soon tho. but ableton brings me joy all tha time!!

    • I don’t think anyone’s bashing Ableton. He’s not directly involved with the company any more, but I even once heard Robert Henke complain that he thought journalists weren’t being critical enough — that there were obvious deficiencies that writers were ignoring.

      Nor do I think this is even necessarily about R&D — some of this is making a design choice. And I think we can and should criticize particular design choices and their results.

      This isn’t a review, and I think I should likewise consider whether there are reasons people continue to tend to choose Ableton over Bitwig, apart from force of habit. I think there are…

      • Martin Wheeler

        Well, at risk of sounding like a perfectly looped scratched record, Bitwig not having any video capability is one reason that stops a lot of people from even considering choosing it, and probably why, when I mention its increasingly interesting possibilities to my ProTools, Logic, DP, Cubase, Nuendo, Ableton etc etc using AV aquaintances, the response is invariably Bitwhat ?

        • Gabriel Rey-Goodlatte

          Can you just output clock to something that plays video and accepts clock? Or would that not be accurate enough?

          • Daniel

            As I replied on an earlier comment, with MTC you can use xjadeo for this.

  • Espen Sommer Eide

    Ableton core rot problem surface. Too much focus on making physical interfaces…

  • chap

    As much as i love Ableton and Max for Live, i agree with the statement about them not developing the core software enough. I would blame Push more than M4L, though. I’ve made too much work on Live for so many years that i can’t really think of switching.
    Let’s just hope the competition will make both software improve.

  • atomly

    I’m happy more mainstream DAWs are starting to implement the features I love from trackers. I know a lot of people will never switch to a tracker, but there are a lot of ideas to at least be picked up from them.

  • Sell

    They promised the modular system and collaboration for version 2 and is not there? Something is really wrong with these guys..
    Bitwig might be facing the end, otherwise, a move like this one makes no sense. Who is gonna pay for an (expensive) subscription model to a company that basically can’t meet their own goals? And vesrion 1 is still beta quality-wise.

    • Dubby Labby
    • itchy

      maybe the bitwig boys should have tried to understand that being one of the biggest daws ain’t easy as just promising a bunch of features you want in ableton. they might crash and burn and get what they may well deserve. with there knowledge they could have all this shit in ableton already.

  • jhonlagos

    Modulators are amazing and revolutionary only in a world where modulation is done exclusively on the DAW, and the dozens of plugins like Tantra and Looperator don’t exist (not to mention Reaktor and Bidule).

    Otherwise most likely you already did this kinda thing (I mean lots of modulators piled on a single parameter) and saw for yourself it sounds like shit 99% of the time.

    • Jon Grönvall

      Yep, it’s a bit strange that such a feature gets so much attention. All plugins already have modulation, and nearly all musical use of plugin paramaters is actually automation, which the composer either records or plans.

  • jhonlagos

    Usine and MuLab have been doing modular (for real, not “in the future”) and modulators for years.

  • I like M4L but it occasionally crashes Live which is not good. But the one thing I am missing is an easy way to program or connect small objects, in a modular way (M4L is a little too complex for me). This is why I love the modular approach of Reason so much. And also love (very deep love!) the rock solid stability of Reason.

    • Dubby Labby
      • yes you’re right, those new BEAP modules are indeed simple object to create complex effect. I stopped using it because I found the CPU load a lilttle heavy, but maybe I should give it another shot. thanks!

        • Dubby Labby

          Nice to see you known them. 😉

        • Have you tried Oscillot ? It’s a nice modular playground ! A lot of “little” things and some bigger ones to build as simple or complex instruments / FX as you want

    • Well, what I like about this approach is — it’s still a DAW. Modulators are a logical add-on to a DAW. You don’t have to build something from scratch (differentiating this even from something like Buzz or Usine, though those have their own appeal).

      Intuitively, this feels really like a nice, new niche.

      FL Studio had some elements like this.

      The giant, of course, is Reason, for having deep modulation under the hood from the very beginning. But Reason’s workflow and Bitwig’s workflow are pretty different. And it’s nice also to have this modulation round the front, rather than round the back as in Reason, if that makes sense. 😉

      • itchy

        reason is such a nice program .i love they have all there own plugins and environment. im really a fan of that as i don’t mess with vsts. my only complaint at this point with them is there interace. it is so cluttered. the internals of the program and its functions are pretty top notch but again the clutter interface slowly phased me out from updating to later versions. bitwig looks cool and could very well be the end all daw the way there going. . but im still happy ableton user. although not sure there focus at this point. and really hope they tighten up there loose ends hopefully its not only about push.

  • Dj Shiv

    Where is Ableton Link integration?

  • Chick Sangria

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but for live sampling and looping, Bitwig doesn’t have adapted much from Ableton. Also, the harmonizer just works for MIDI, right? A DAW with a built-in MIDI-controlled (MPE!) audio harmonizer would be something I would pay money for.

  • Martin Wheeler

    Bitwig really are a very strange company.
    On the one hand they have lots of very cool and very savvy ideas, including many things that Ableton et al really should have done by now – ( eg cv/gate is hot as hell at present thanks to eurorack etc, and pretty much every new hardware box that comes out now has it. If Bitwig’s new cv/gate capabilities are well implemented it could easily become the go to DAW for the fast growing eurorack-centric hordes, especially given the pretty extraordinary modulation possibilities announced – modulars love modulation – while Ableton users are still obliged to futz around with third party bolt-ons like the (admittedly excellent) Silent Way etc )
    On the other hand, Bitwig are victims of their we-build-everything-from-the-ground-up dogma. Still no video support after all this time ? That is just insane.
    From version 1.0 on, some of the people the most excited about the workflow and modulation possibilities are AV people – film, tv, game composers, AV live acts, post-prod and sound design fir picture people, etc – on the Bitwig and other forums, at trade shows, tech meets etc – AV people are crying out fir video support, but nope, ‘we are Bitwig, and we will reinvent our own in-house alternative to Quicktime or we will die trying’ OK. Have a nice death. It’s a real shame – cos this DAW is looking more and more like it was made in heaven for AV except, duh, Honey I forgot the video.

    • Dopamine Addict

      Live didn’t offer video support for almost 10 years, right? Not that your criticisms are not valid, but I think its fair to have some perspective. Its taken a very long time for Ableton to mature Live to its current state, and Bitwig have only had a couple of years. It takes a lot of time to make good software.

      • Martin Wheeler & Stanley K

        I honestly can’t remember which version of Live added video. It feels like its been there forever, but that isn’t the point. LIve debuted over 15 years ago. For Mac OS9 ! That was then and this is now.
        There are now maybe 10 or so popular full featured DAWs out there and, AFAIK, they ALL have video. If BItwig don’t want to be considered as being in that category, fine, but if they do, they have a decision to make. The reason that they still don’t have video support isn’t because they “have only had a couple of years'( in fact it is 5 years but who is counting ) it is because they have chosen to NOT use Quicktime or another existing technology (like AFAIK most other DAWs did, at least at first ) or to devote the (presumably considerable) resources to developing their own. This is not speculation, it is the official line from Bitwig.
        They are committed to building a unified in-house codebase that works across macOS, windows and linux. That is an admirable endeavour and, if they survive long enough to eventually become a fully featured DAW on that basis, it may well put them in a very enviable position a few years down the line.
        I’m just hoping that they do survive long enough. I”m all for no-compromise bloody-minded dogma, but the realist in me notes that they are rather slow on delivering on what they have already promised, and so far they haven’t even promised video, so if we have to wait for them to develop,it themselves, well lets just say I hope my children will still be alive to see it. For the forseeable future they miss out on a potentially lucrative stream of revenue, while other more agile companies have just bolted on existing solutions, at least until they have the time and resources to build their own. Purity of Essence is all well and good, but it isn’t 2001 anymore. Eyes wide shut.

        • itchy

          i don’t blame them for not wanting to use quicktime. they will put a bunch of development into there software around it then apple will fucking drop it or totally change it. relying on apple for this is not smart . i def don’t blame them on this one.

          • Martin Wheeler

            I completely understand where you are coming from. A globally adopted, non-proprietary, open source thang would be perfect. But while we are waiting for it to emerge, either you do what every other comparable DAW has done ( that is : use what exists until you have the time & resources to write your own code ) or … you don’t. Which has consequences. I

        • I don’t think the absence of video is a deal killer, simply because the beat/electronic production market this is aimed overlaps with video for a very, very, very tiny niche. Even in DAWs in general, video is one of those examples of the *many* small things you do to appeal to everyone.

          No, I’d rather judge the implementation of what is or isn’t there — and Ableton’s video implementation is just awful. I’m not trying to slag on them here — they remain my primary production tool! — but yeah, it’s bad. So the comment about them being “mature” there is a bit laughable.

          I have no idea how Bitwig is doing in the marketplace, to be honest, or of the state of their business in terms of health. It’s something I can try to talk to them about, though this sort of information anyone will tend to keep proprietary from the press.

          Generally speaking, though, I think the market is fairly crowded with DAWs that try to be all things to all people, and it is nice to have some more focused players. From a product standpoint alone, I’d say Bitwig Studio is finally maturing into something distinct from Ableton Live and offerings, which is as I say here, a kind of modular synth-focused production environment.

          Propellerheads took that angle years ago with Reason, and it’s served them well. Bitwig Studio is nothing like Reason, so there’s obviously room for another.

          • lala

            The deal killer is it has no ableton link integration and the subscription based payment model.
            Good luck with that.

            They promised collaboration and now they can’t deliver.
            The rest of the world is very collaborative with link already, coughs.

          • Martin Wheeler

            Peter, I’m obviously not suggesting that no video is a deal killer for everybody, but it obviously is for those who actually need it to do what they do.
            Are you sure that Bitwig (unlike Ableton, PT, Logic, Cubase, Nuendo, DP etc etc etc ) are dead set on limiting themselves exclusively to what you call the “beat/ electronic production market” ? That certainly isn’t what their representatives tell me.
            In any case, the idea that the markets for people producing “beat/electronic” and that for people making music for picture have little or no overlap, is, with all due respect, just plain wrong.
            Firstly, much of today’s music for film, television, commercials, online video, games etc simply IS electronic music, and secondly people who make (not for picture) electronic music and those who are composers for film, tv, games etc, whether they make primarily electronic music or not, use the same DAWs (ie those mentioned above and others)
            So the “very, very, very tiny niche” is actually very, very, very close to being everyone involved in the whole music for picture industry !
            And in case anyone thinks that that is a “very, very, very tiny niche” consider this : there are tens of thousands of feature films for cinematic release produced in the world ever year, many times this for direct to DVD or direct to Netflix or whatever, there are hundreds of countries with tens of thousands of tv channels, hundreds of thousands of tv commercials, a video game industry that is now bigger than the film industry, massive growth in online programming, online video advertising etc etc
            The majority of all of that programming has music, and people are making that music. With DAWs.
            Of course much of the very low budget stuff might use Library music, but that still leaves an absolutely massive amount of commissioned original music, and the overwhelming majority of that music is produced by people using DAWs. DAWs that have a video track.
            And before someone replies ‘”they all use Pro Tools exclusively” – No we don’t. We use all of the above DAWs and then some.
            Lastly, given that making music for picture is one of the few remaining ways that music producers can realistically hope to make a decent living these days, it is no great surprise that for everyone active in music for picture, there are hundreds trying to get their start.
            They are all using DAWs too. DAWs that have a video track.
            And given the boom in sample libraries (primarily aimed at music for picture people) from the likes of Spitfire, OT, 8dio etc etc – it seems to me that there is probably some pretty serious money now being spent in this sector.
            If you are at NAMM, go talk to those sort of companies and talk to Bitwig, most probably neither will reveal their figures, but I think I know who’ll have the biggest smile 😉

            ps btw the video implementation of Ableton certainly does leave a lot to be desired, but that hasn’t stopped me from using it on every single film I do, wheras Bitwig ? nope.

      • jhonlagos

        Bitwig dates from at least January 2012, as you can see in CDM’s own posts, tagged “bitwig”. 5 years.
        Plus the headstart of having worked at Ableton and being able to look at years of Ableton’s previous work (even as just a user).

        edit: Quicktime sucks ass though. I don`t blame Bitwig on that topic.

        • Martin Wheeler

          Quicktime may well, ahem, suck ass, but not anywhere near as much ass as no Quicktime and no alternative sucks. That there is some dealbreaker level ass sucking sir.

          • jhonlagos

            Fair enough.

            No Quicktime most likely has to do with the Linux thing, like No Rewire. And now that QT is not recommended even on Windows, even smaller chance Bitwig supports it.

          • Martin Wheeler

            It mos def has to do with “the Linux thing”. And that is groovy, but I’m not really sure how much sense it makes in terms of the adoptability of the DAW. ( … and I could care less about QT, use whatever you need, but get your act together. Damn. )

        • fuckerfuck

          Bitwig started as a company in 2008/ 2009 ,It was then that mr. johanson set ‘short cirquit free …and let his company vember audio die s slow death .
          Yes ..2008.
          The only thing new about bitwig are the modulators ….their interface is an almost exact replica of cakewalk ‘project 5’, which also did clip launching and recording into arrangement …verry similar to ableton .

      • x42

        No, Bitwig has already 8 years in the making. Started in 2009. Beta testing of 2 years, coming soon, etc. Remember?

        • Dopamine Addict

          I think people have an unrealistic expectation of software developers. I cannot imagine how people set their standards. Where is the bar and who is defining it?

          I am honestly not defending BW, but I am sure, like all software companies, they are doing the calculus of prioritization and the number of users who want to work with video is a subset of a subset and they probably have to weigh the cost-benefit ratio. They do not have unlimited resources, so have to pick very carefully what they work on. I assume, like all software companies, they prioritize the features which positively effect the largest possible audience. They do not support video, but they also do not support surround, timecode, and tons of other pro features needed to take care of the music-for-picture crowd.

          Still, some won’t be able to use it without even minimal video support and I am sure they will lose some users because of this. Still, I as a musician creating original music, I would prefer they work on a badass modulation system than video playback. -but that is just me-

    • Daniel

      Now that they’re adding MTC, then you can use xjadeo (http://xjadeo.sourceforge.net/main.html) as a synced video player to do scoring…

      • Thomas Helzle

        Xjadeo doesn’t work well on Windows, but I recently used Cubase 8 LE (which has great video support) as a video player (maxed on my second monitor) with the BWS 2.0 Alpha synced via MTC and it worked out well (2% system load on a beefy machine).
        The internal Midi timing is now more stable with less jitter, which also helps…

  • heinrichz

    I was always concerned about how the addition of Max4Live was going to make Ableton more fragmented. Not ready to switch to Bitwig though and happy to keep working with with way more powerful modular plugins like Reaktor.

    • itchy

      i think if maxforlive had seemless integration and curation i would be happy but i do see the fragmentation as well. i mean if not max for live ableton hasn’t addressed obvious features and tweaks.

  • Gabriel Rey-Goodlatte

    The modulators make me really want this. If it did probabilistic sequencing also, that would cover almost all the reasons I use M4L now.

  • Mark Harris

    @peterkirn:disqus , Im surprised you didn’t mentioned the new ‘upgrade plan’, which is raising quite a few concerns with users, since you’ll need an active plan to get bug fixes. i.e. its more like a ‘maintenance plan’

  • Lucaluca

    169 $ for 12 months is not a good deal.

    This license model is getting a lot of negativity in the forums and is turning away lot’s of old or potential new users, myself included. Check the kvr bitwig forum or other places and you will see a small **** storm and for a very good reason.

    If you want to keep up with bitwig for 3 years and have access to support and bugfixes it will cost you a whopping 507 $ if you already own version 1.
    I don’t know of any other DAW that is asking for such a steep upgrade/support price.

    What makes it really steep is that if you don’t pay again after 12 months you will not be getting any bugfixes because it covers only that period. Even if you are not forced to buy the update you have no choice if you want the bugfixes and support.

    From the Bitwig website :
    Why is this upgrade plan better than our previous model?
    We will be able to release key features as they are ready – instead of holding them back for major releases. This enables us to offer you new feature and content updates more regularly.
    Additionally, if you’re a new customer, you won’t need to worry about any potential upcoming releases when buying your license, as any software upgrade (or update) will be free of charge within the first 12 months – from the day you registered it in your Bitwig user account.

    If they come up with lots of new features during that period there will be bugs. This is normal in software development. But if you look at their history you will know some bugs take a long time to be fixed. It can be more then a year for certain bugs.

    Also there will be a lot of pressure on their shoulders to deliver enough new features to justify this 169 $ for 12 months plan. This will inevitably take away time for development of stability and bug hunt. It will focus resources on features instead. It will be extremely hard to find the right balance. Every new feature has to be tested in a beta phase before getting out and this just takes time. If you look at other DAW developpers and Bitwig’s own history, you know it is not realistic to expect a big stream of new features if they are coded in house and this is what Bitwig has been about until now.
    You have to license outside tech and add in things that are developped by other companies if you want to grow quickly in features and content ( Example: Studio one => Melodyne or bundle vst’s in the DAW from other makers ). Otherwise, development stays a slow process. I think there is a very slim chance that they start adding outside tech.
    That development is slow is also why we don’t see major versions every year from the big DAW players. It just takes time.

    If they want people to buy the update again after 12 months for 169 $ or add a major version number to Bitwig, they will still play the game that every DAW developer plays. Keep some features stashed away for release and only make them available with the next big version. Thinking that this new license model somehow prevents this is wishful thinking and seems very naive i’m afraid. Why would people pay again the 169 $ fee otherwise ? For support ? I know that only time will tell but beware of promises as Bitwig has already made some they have not kept. Free access to the under the hood modular architecture and collaboration are still not there.

    All in all this license model doesn’t seem a very good deal and it makes Bitwig one of the most expensive DAW on the market, although it still is far from mature and lot’s of things are missing. No video support for example and lack of content compared to other DAW’s. So vote with your wallet against this. I don’t want this license model and i sure as hell don’t want other developers to do the same as Bitwig. You sometimes have to say no when a price is exaggerated otherwise it becomes the new normal.

    Even if i must admit that Bitwig 2.0 looks sweet it doesn’t justifies itself to be that expensive.

  • cpc464freak

    Way overpriced IMHO, for a product that always seems to be in need bug fixes this additional yearly bug fix fee is ridiculous… no sale!