Everybody’s been waiting to get their hands on Bitwig Studio 3 ever since the company announced the new version of the DAW ahead of the NAMM Show in January. It’s here at last! Well, at least the public beta is, but it looks like it already contains many of the features of the final version.
The beta version of Bitwig Studio 3 is somewhat public, but not altogether: It’s only available to Bitwig Studio license holders with an active upgrade plan. If that applies to you, you’re good to go and you’ll find the download link in your user account at Bitwig’s website.
The most exciting feature of Bitwig Studio 3 is The Grid. Bitwig Studio has always embraced a modular idea, but The Grid elevates it to a new level. It’s a fully modular environment that lets you create your own synths and audio effects from a set of over 140 modules. While this may seem overwhelming at first, it looks like the folks at Bitwig have done their best to make it intuitive. For example, there’s a feature called “Precord” that automatically makes common connections (which you can of course disable, if you’d rather make your own).
The Grid appears to be a hugely capable modular sandbox along the lines of Max or Reaktor. It comes in two versions: FX Grid (for audio FX) and Poly Grid (for synthesizers). Both are seamlessly integrated into the DAW’s workflow. And it really is fully modular – you can make any connection you’d like, regardless of whether it’s “appropriate” or not.
To take it even further, The Grid also connects to hardware. There are dedicated CV input and output modules that let you send and reveice CV and trigger signals to and from modular synthesizers or other external devices, like the newly released Ableton CV Tools for Live. Bitwig Studio has been able to generate CV for some time, but imagine the possibilities when you combine Studio 3’s Grid with an external modular synth. It’s a massive hybrid software-hardware-synth-FX-DAW machine. CV output requires a DC-coupled audio interface – oh wait, Bitwig even sells its own, in a convenient Eurorack format. It all makes sense now.
Bitwig plans to release the final version of Studio 3 in Q2 of 2019. As long as your Bitwig upgrade plan is still active, you’ll get it for free. And you get to try out the beta – lucky you!