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Histogram

Histogram

Individually, these features might not seem particularly significant, but they go some way toward giving the DAW its own character. However, it feels a little as though Bitwig has missed a few basic features in the race to include more advanced options. Even beyond the shortage of built-in instruments and effects, there are areas which feel slightly underdeveloped. MIDI controller support is poor; the Mac version can only handle VST plugins (although, in its defence, the vast majority of Audio Unit plugins are also available in VST format) and, perhaps most notably in terms of encouraging users of other DAWs to make the leap to an entirely new software environment, there’s no ReWire support. Since Bitwig can’t be ReWired to other DAWs, that means you’ll have to commit to it fully or not at all. The combination of a non-linear or modular-based DAW such as Ableton or Reason with a traditional linear DAW such as Logic or Cubase has become commonplace in recent years. You could argue that it’s even more important for a new DAW to offer ReWire support than an older one; the ability to use Bitwig alongside an existing DAW would no doubt help to bridge the gap for many potential users.

Conclusion

Trying to break into the top tier of the dance music software market, dominated by long-established DAWs like Ableton, Logic and Cubase, is a formidable challenge. Bitwig must be commended for making a very good effort. Bitwig Studio is the best new DAW for quite some time, but whether it lives up to the standards of the existing products on the market is a different matter entirely.

It’s impossible not to compare Bitwig with Ableton. It’s the closest comparison and the direct link between the two companies makes it inevitable that people will want to know which one’s best. Ableton users will immediately be able to find their way around Bitwig. Whether that’s really the point is debatable. Will Ableton users be converted to Bitwig Studio immediately? Probably not. Bitwig’s improvements on the Ableton formula are currently relatively minor and there are a number of notable omissions.

At £259.99, Bitwig is nearly twice the price of Logic Pro X. Ableton Live 9 Standard is only slightly more expensive at $449/€349. Those two much more mature packages probably represent a more sensible purchase for most users at this stage. Nevertheless, Bitwig Studio is incredibly impressive for a version 1.0 release and the company’s future plans look equally promising. Expecting Bitwig to outdo the likes of Ableton, Logic, Reason or FL Studio at the first attempt was always going to be foolish, but it’s easy to believe that they’ll become a major player in the DAW market within a couple of major updates. If that sounds like damning with faint praise, it shouldn’t; the DAW market can’t be conquered overnight, but Bitwig have done a seriously good job here. We look forward to seeing what’s in store with version 2.

 

The Verdict

Price: £259.99

Purchase: Bitwig Studio

Sound
Versatility
Value
Ease of Use
Overall

The Final Word

An impressive first attempt. Bitwig adds an interesting new option to the DAW market but only offers small hints of its own personality.

22nd April, 2014

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Comments

  • Why mention the price in Pounds and give the alternative in Euros/Dollars? Weird.

    Nice review otherwise though!

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  • Use Jackpilot like Betwig suggests instead of one way only ReWire.

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  • Thanks for review. Consencus seems to be wait for now to see V2 + 3 developments and then potentially take the plunge.

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  • I love bitwig.
    My workflow just increased by 50%..
    I also love the design.
    The lack of audio and midi effects are noticible.. But i hardly use plugins from a daw.

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  • A good start, but surprisingly missiing features and stability for a product they’ve been coding for five years. When Bitwig gets AU and OSC support and matures a bit (2015?) I’ll take a look. But right now I cannot see dropping my current DAW for this.

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  • I think is stupid and unfair comparing Ableton in his 9th version vs. Bitwig in his 1st version. Even doe the look alike (owners of Bitwig are Ableton programmers), that doesn’t mean that neither DAW will be better than each other. I have used both but i like Bitwig more. My opinion in the matter is Bitwig has the advantage of having the element of surprise and the fact that the company owners used to work for Ableton as programmers, thats make Bitwig unique. They know what there doing and they are doing it on his own terms = innovation. They have the oportunity to make something better enough to surpass at least Ableton; for now. But i dont think they want that, i think they want to convince music producers that Bitwig will have more cohesion with todays era of standard apps and technology.I dont think they want people from Ableton to start switching to Bitwig, they want new blood, fresh minds to give them the opportunity to create something new from something new that been Bitwig Studio. Ableton now has the pressure from Bitwig, lets be real is a new DAW, everyone knows any new program will have glitches, bugs, etc. But the fact thats is his 1st version and everybody is already comparing it with other industry standard DAW’s, that tells me is going to be a great DAW and is a big accomplishment for the company. Ill tell you right now, give Bitwig 5 more years,,,you will see my point. 

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  • Bitwig has no future. They are not selling enough and running out of fuel. They have screwed it really bad with all that silly hype and having released an unfinished and broken product. They don’t have the resources to keep it up, so, it’s a matter of time.

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  • 5 years of coding to release an unfinished copy of Ableton Live? No thanks.

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  • I just bought Bitwig. An absolute joy, was making music in minutes.

    Began recording bands on an Teac A3340S.
    Had an Amiga. Then PC. Then Mac. Spent enough money over the years and enough time fiddling around and going through documentation.

    On firing up Bitwig it worked immediately with everything, has not crashed once. Have barely had to learn anything. It gets out of the way of the musician. Bitwig understood the biggest point of all.

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  • Lux?
    Wtf no future? bitwig has sold great amount of licenses. better then expected. Dont talk about your own imagination.

    This is a old review and i think they really just bit the tip of bitwig. Wouldnt call this fair for new users to read this review, alot has happend since then.

    Cheers And ps i left fl and never looked back

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  • Saw a promo pack with the arturia & bitwig full version … i want to try first … So I run the bitwig demo, omfg pure chaos layout in Bitwig. Had to boot 2 times to run propery without glitches. So it’s comparable w ableton they say?, for the use of scenes? No the smooth layout of Ableton give me peace, the bitwig one headaches. So they have a few good ideas, i must admit but for how long. … Abelt0ns fits just one one screen but with the bitwig hysteria a third screen is welcome 🙂 nice try, much work to do i don’t believe people say that workflow is better.

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  • Don’t spend your money on this product. Terrible quality, too many bugs and too complicated.

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  • Love the workflow, bitwig takes all the good things from other DAWs and combines them:

    Inspector from Cubase
    Scenes and clips from Live
    Automation from Logic
    Tag based browser from Maschine
    Etc.

    It will probably always be a personal thing which DAW works best for someone… For me Bitwig works better then Live, Cubase, Logic, Maschine, Renoise, Mulab and other software all of which I own licences for and used in the past years!

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