IMG_3288

These are the Best Things at Musikmesse: CDM Best of Show Awards

What a week it’s been. Musikmesse in Frankfurt, one of the world’s largest gatherings of the music instruments industry, was host to a range of new gear, new technologies, and new revelations. I decided it’s finally time to crown my own picks as the most significant appearances at the show. Not because I have any particular right to do so, but I felt strongly enough about who was deserving. First, some honorable mentions:

READ MORE →
0324_DeepFreeze_06

Bitwig Studio as Instrumental Pack: Cristian Vogel, u-he Deals

Bitwig Studio turns one year old this week, and they’re keen to use the occasion to convince you to try their software. But the pitch takes a different angle, focusing more than ever on the particular bundle of instruments and effects. There’s an artist pack by Cristian Vogel that makes it clear what’s possible (hello, granular) — and, ending on the 7th of April, deals on U-he instruments to sweeten the pot. For soft synth lovers, it might be a haul of Easter candy that convinces you to bite. We’ve already talked about my affection for Cristian Vogel: he’s an …

READ MORE →
bitwig_opener

Bitwig Studio 1.1 Adds Lots of Details; Can It Escape Ableton’s Shadow?

Bitwig Studio has been quietly plugging along in development, adding loads of engineering improvements under the hood. Version 1.1 is the largest update yet. Here’s the summary of the update: https://www.bitwig.com/en/bitwig_1up Minus the marketing speak, the exhaustive changelog (here, for Mac): http://www.bitwig.com/dl/8/mac It’s an impressively long list of enhancements in quantity, though most of the changes are fixes and enhanced hardware and plug-in compatibility. For instance, you can side-chain VSTs, and there are new options for routing multiband effects and multi-channel plug-ins. The big enhancements: More routing for audio and MIDI VST multi-out sidechain support and multi-channel effect hosts Updated …

READ MORE →

Quick Jam: Digital Warrior, Open Source Step Sequencer, Plus KORG volca beats and Bitwig

Don’t call it a comeback. Hardware step sequencing is becoming the must-have accessory for even computer users. And the boutique Digital Warrior controller, which neatly combines knobs with colored pads, is a great solution. I’ve been messing about with the Arturia BeatStep, as well – review coming – but the Digital Warrior has some tricks of its own. It integrates nicely with Traktor, like the still-forthcoming MIDI Fighter Twist from DJ TechTools. But the reason I wouldn’t buy or recommend the DJTT piece is – no MIDI DIN connector. And that spoils the fun. Here, the Digital Warrior is comfortable not …

READ MORE →

Bitwig Studio Arrives Today; What Can You Expect?

The long wait for the new production software Bitwig Studio has created anticipation and exasperation in equal measure – people were excited, people were impatient; some drooled over every tiny feature details, some dismissed them and said they’d wait until it shipped. But the wait is over; today is actually the day Bitwig Studio is something you can download, try out, and buy. It’s not a beta; this is it. 299€ / US$399 buys you the full download version; a demo is available. (Boxed versions cost more.) So, what can you expect on today as release day? Well, at least …

READ MORE →

Bitwig Sets a Date: Here’s When You’ll Get Bitwig Studio, What It’ll Cost

It’s been a wait that’s driven some music producers mad – some, rabid with desire to get their mitts on new software, others, angrily dismissing the tool. But it’s a wait that’s nearly over. Bitwig Studio, the Mac/Windows/Linux production and live software, is coming on March 26 of this year. No more beta — a final release. Pricing has been announced, as well. Downloads will cost US$399 / €299, which means any notion that Bitwig would drastically undercut rivals on price is pretty much out the window. (Boxed versions run slightly higher; Japan will get a boxed version for 41,000 …

READ MORE →

Bitwig Audio Clips Video: No Need for Bland, Endless Loops

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 …

READ MORE →

Bitwig Instrument Clip Editing Looks Kinda Crazy, as 1.0 Demo Nears

Here’s a word not normally associated with music editing: histograms. We’ve been waiting a long time for Bitwig Studio, once announced, to actually ship something. The latest video reveals a bit of what they’ve apparently been up to: they’ve been going a bit wild building an obsessive-compulsive MIDI editing suite. Whatever happens with Bitwig, it seems that when it does ship, it could become the tool of choice for micro-edited techno. Histogram editing is the cleverest, if oddest, feature here. It allows you to view a sort of spectrum of notes, transforming various notes’ parameters at once.

READ MORE →

Bitwig Watch: Endless, Open Modulation; Grid Control; Sounds from Thavius Beck

Yes, you have our attention. LF-Ogling this one could raise an eyebrow or two. We’ve been waiting for Bitwig betas to start to look like something that’s ready to use, and for Bitwig Studio to start to set itself apart from a certain, popular live performance / clip-launching DAW that’s made a few blocks away in Berlin. (Cough.) But at last, it looks like that wait is over. Bitwig is performing tricks we haven’t really seen in this sort of tool before – and the complaints we’re hearing most from the ever-ornery Internet crowd has changed from “been there, done …

READ MORE →

Hands-on with Livid Base Controller, and Streamlined Control of Ableton Live [Musikmesse]

One highlight of Musikmesse for me was getting to catch up with Jay Smith of Livid Instruments. Base, their touch controller (grid plus touch strips), is even more appealing in person than online. And it seems like it could really sit in a niche in controllers, even with lots of grids out there these days. By comparison, Novation’s new Launchpad S, while much cheaper, lacks pressure sensitivity. And Ableton’s Push also leaves plenty of room for Base. Push I still think is a terrific controller, even as it has some growing pains with its initial launch – I’ve had some …

READ MORE →