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Bitwig 3 The Grid
Old 9th May 2019
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Bitwig 3 The Grid



Look pretty cool

Anyone else excited about this?
Old 10th May 2019
  #2
HSi
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I'm glad we can increase the woices.

Hmmm, I would have been a lot more impressed 4 years ago. Softube modular has really kicked in with all the new modules like the mutable instruments stuff.

It's a interesting daw that's for sure. Their demo is too stingy for me to get to any level with it, which is a shame because I have hardware that works perfectly with it.
Old 11th May 2019
  #3
Here for the gear
Yes, I'm very excited. Will be buying it very shortly but it looks like what I've been looking for for a very long time.

I've been working with the Nord Modular stuff for a long time, largely because I've not found a software modular environment that's better in terms of workflow.

Bitwig Grid looks like it will be, because it looks like they've really spent a lot of time thinking about how to make it fast and simple to actually do things!

Every other software modular environment seems either to fall into the 'visual programming language' or the 'skeumorphic hardware modular' categories, and both are slower and more laborious for me to get stuff done than NM

Visual programming languages like Reaktor/Max/PD are powerful and flexible but it takes a lot of time to get even relatively simple stuff going and are structurally rigid once you have something complex going.

Skeumorphic modulars like Softube/Reaktor Blocks/VCV Rack can sound cool but largely replicate the limitations of the hardware modulars they're based on - monophonic (unless you want to make life really hard for yourself) and laborious in terms of having to e.g. hook up an EG to a keyboard in and a VCA to get enveloped note gating + all the attendant cable connections to even get an amplitude envelope going. Plus they tend to be very hard to visually parse when you have a big patch going on. (Especially because the fact that Euro modules are taller than they are wide and monitors are wider than they are tall makes skeumorphic modules inherently inefficient in terms of screen real estate! ).

I'm amazed really that it's taken 15 years for anyone to consider these issues and come up with something better than the Nord Modular but from what I've seen so far I think Bitwig might have done it. I'm very impressed with the videos I've seen.
Old 11th May 2019
  #4
HSi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by line View Post
Skeumorphic modulars like Softube/Reaktor Blocks/VCV Rack can sound cool but largely replicate the limitations of the hardware modulars they're based on - monophonic (unless you want to make life really hard for yourself) and laborious in terms of having to e.g. hook up an EG to a keyboard in and a VCA to get enveloped note gating + all the attendant cable connections to even get an amplitude envelope going.
Yeah softube modular is a pain, but, about 6 blocks and you have a seemingly infinite world of sound, most of all if you have even 1 or 2 of the mutable instruments ones...plus you can save presets and set ups.

People that are interested in this should check out audulus

http://audulus.com/

<<sounds like they recorded onto vhs...


It's iOS and Mac only, it cloud saves between devices, it's pretty deep. There's an AU as well. Endorsed bu Richard Devine, but then Richard Devine would endorse a metal bin full of angry lobsters if it made a good noise.

iOS app has been on sale since Christmas, but the Mac app/au is $50/gbp now, still cheap.
Old 12th May 2019
  #5
Here for the gear
Yeah, I have an Audulus license. Should have mentioned it as you're right, I think it's the only other modular environment that doesn't fit into the two categories I mentioned.

It's visually much cleaner than the skeumorphic modulars.

I should give it another go - my memory is that in use I found it quite fiddly in use despite its very clean visual style. But maybe they've improved it. And as you say it's very affordable!
Old 12th May 2019
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by line View Post
I'm amazed really that it's taken 15 years for anyone to consider these issues and come up with something better than the Nord Modular but from what I've seen so far I think Bitwig might have done it. I'm very impressed with the videos I've seen.
Not as great a The Grid, but a couple of years ago Audulus was released for iOS and macOS.

http://audulus.com/


Edit: nevermind I just saw it posted by a previous commenter :P
Old 13th May 2019
  #7
Gear Head
 

Loving the grid. It sounds great and is very fun. I’ve lost some sleep to it.
Old 15th May 2019
  #8
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Bitwig's Grid is really fun to use. It is hands down the fastest easiest workflow I have tried for software modular.

One can just drop an LFO or Env into the grid and like the regular Bitwig modulation, activate the mod arrow and then just start turning knobs to modulate stuff. Don't need a single wire!

Unlike the modulars that are hardware representations, every parameter can be modulated. Doesn't need inputs and outputs for everything. And where wires are needed, it often auto-wires.

The Bitwig Sampler Osc is also a Grid module. So it is easy to work with samples, including multi-samples, granular, wavetable. You can do some lovely audio-rate modulations!

The Grid can be set from 1 - 64 voices... has Voice Stacking up to 5 and is automatically working with MPE.

I was playing around with creating a generative never repeating patch and made this. No spaghetti jumble of wires. Dry, no FX

https://dandelionaudio.com/sound/grid-generative-01.mp3
Old 15th May 2019
  #9
HSi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by draig View Post
Bitwig's Grid is really fun to use. It is hands down the fastest easiest workflow I have tried for software modular.

One can just drop an LFO or Env into the grid and like the regular Bitwig modulation, activate the mod arrow and then just start turning knobs to modulate stuff. Don't need a single wire!

Unlike the modulars that are hardware representations, every parameter can be modulated. Doesn't need inputs and outputs for everything. And where wires are needed, it often auto-wires.

The Bitwig Sampler Osc is also a Grid module. So it is easy to work with samples, including multi-samples, granular, wavetable. You can do some lovely audio-rate modulations!

The Grid can be set from 1 - 64 voices... has Voice Stacking up to 5 and is automatically working with MPE.

I was playing around with creating a generative never repeating patch and made this. No spaghetti jumble of wires. Dry, no FX

https://dandelionaudio.com/sound/grid-generative-01.mp3
Can you do set up odd numbered sequencers that repeat only when the containing pattern does, ie, polyrythms?
Old 15th May 2019
  #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HSi View Post
Can you do set up odd numbered sequencers that repeat only when the containing pattern does, ie, polyrythms?
At the moment there is no Midi Grid device for outputting note data. Bitwig said that is coming later.

Inside the Grid you can set up whatever complex arrangement you want of sequencers triggering any of the included sound generators.

You can put multiple transport modules each controlling multiple sequencers and each running at an independent speed. A sequencer can be 2-64 steps. You can make a trigger that resets the whole thing or just resets individual sequencers every X amount of time.
Old 17th May 2019
  #11
Here for the gear
This might seem a bit esoteric but:

Is there a module which returns what the active voice number is if a patch is polyphonic? Not the number of active voices but the active voice number.

So for example voice 1 of a 4-voice patch would have this module returning '1', voice 2 '2' etc

I use this function of the Nord G2 a lot to detune individual voices of polyphonic patches, as well as introducing other (usually quite subtle) per-voice variation which can really make a polyphonic patch sound much more involving and I hope there's something similar in the Grid!

Basically the "voice info" module from Reaktor

Last edited by line; 17th May 2019 at 04:07 PM..
Old 17th May 2019
  #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by line View Post
This might seem a bit esoteric but:

Is there a module which returns what the active voice number is if a patch is polyphonic? Not the number of active voices but the active voice number.

So for example voice 1 of a 4-voice patch would have this module returning '1', voice 2 '2' etc

I use this function of the Nord G2 a lot to detune individual voices of polyphonic patches, as well as introducing other (usually quite subtle) per-voice variation which can really make a polyphonic patch sound much more involving and I hope there's something similar in the Grid!

Basically the "voice info" module from Reaktor
I don't see a module that does that specifically. There is a counter module. So it is easy to do stuff like every 4th note played can be modulated.

And of course it is easy to do as much per voice randomization as you wish.
Old 17th May 2019
  #13
Gear Head
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by line View Post
This might seem a bit esoteric but:

Is there a module which returns what the active voice number is if a patch is polyphonic? Not the number of active voices but the active voice number.

So for example voice 1 of a 4-voice patch would have this module returning '1', voice 2 '2' etc

I use this function of the Nord G2 a lot to detune individual voices of polyphonic patches, as well as introducing other (usually quite subtle) per-voice variation which can really make a polyphonic patch sound much more involving and I hope there's something similar in the Grid!

Basically the "voice info" module from Reaktor
There isn't per se, but you can achieve the same thing with the Voice Stack modulator (it's a modulator, not a The Grid module). It has a modulation out per voice, so you can use it to detune per voice for example.
Old 17th May 2019
  #14
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Beta 2 is just out and it is much more cpu efficient for polyphony. I can easily play twice as many voices as beta 1.

There is also a Curves module added. Very good for MPE expression fine control.
Old 18th May 2019
  #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ilmai View Post
There isn't per se, but you can achieve the same thing with the Voice Stack modulator (it's a modulator, not a The Grid module). It has a modulation out per voice, so you can use it to detune per voice for example.
Perfect! Thank you! Well that's taken me from 95% to 100% buying it now
Old 18th May 2019
  #16
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I do not know if it is any good, but looks interesting...

Old 18th May 2019
  #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pictus View Post
I do not know if it is any good, but looks interesting...
The Cherry Audio modular is good. However, that to me is a good demonstration of why I like Bitwig's Grid much more.

First, I don't see a value in having a software modular represented visually like eurorack hardware. It's visually confusing and adopts some of the limits of physical hardware which is ridiculous in a software environment.

I much prefer the layout and visual appearance of Bitwig's Grid. It makes no effort to look like hardware and because of that is much easier to see what is going on, organize it efficiently and edit.

In something like Voltage Modular or Reaktor Blocks, everything has to be wired just like hardware. With the hardware paradigm, any parameter to be modulated needs a mod input. Anything that doesn't have a mod input cannot be modulated.

In Bitwig's Grid it is using Bitwig's modulation concept. Add an LFO to the Grid and you can activate the mod arrow and then quickly modulate a dozen different parameters without any wiring. Any knob or other parameter can be modulated and it is not necessary to have inputs for everything. It is so much cleaner looking.

You can zoom in and out in the Grid. You can also set up any number of 8 parameter macro pages per preset so that the Grid can be closed and you can adjust the pertinent parameters for that preset from any 8 knob midi controller.

Select any module in the Grid and the inspector shows an oscilliscope of all input and output signals. Very handy to see what is going on. Select say an Env or LFO (any module with the mod arrow) and all mod targets are shown in the inspector and one can edit the target mod depth values and delete or add targets.

All signals in the Grid are stereo and any Grid construction can be monophonic or polyphonic. You can set voices from 1-64. You can also use voice stacking (unison) up to 5 voices and can independently edit the parameter values for each stacked voice separately. The Grid is also automatically MPE aware and just works without any special configuration needed.
Old 18th May 2019
  #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by draig View Post
The Cherry Audio modular is good. However, that to me is a
good demonstration of why I like Bitwig's Grid much more.(...)
Strong points you got, thank you for the detailed description!
I am 100% convinced!!
Old 27th May 2019
  #19
HSi
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pictus View Post
I do not know if it is any good, but looks interesting...

I got the big pack the other day. It's very good.

For me, the big thing is you can run any existing plug in, instrument or effect, inside id, with midi in from daw or midi from internal or both. You can have up to 12cv ins for the instrument or effect too, it all works incredibly smoothly as well. 0 Latency, unless its from AU's. Sample accurate too.

So pretty much, it turns any instrument or effect you own into a module...let that sink in.

The overall sound quality is actually very good, is it better than Softube? hard to judge as there are no equal parts. I will say it sounds very good in comparison to anything else about and the CPU usage for as close to like to like is half that of Softube modular. It can stand on a par with Softube I can say that.

My main problem is the minimum price for individual modules is $10, lol, most people offer bundles at a huge discount.

PSP Audioware, Micheal Hetrik (from unfiltered audio) and more have already released modules for it. There's a dev kit, free for personal use, currently $99 if you want to release on thir store.

Until June 6th everything is discounted, I got the core pack+drums for £65, normally £250. You need to buy the starter pack then the upgrade, otherwise its £75, odd, lol

If you're into modular synthesis I strongly recommend you demo it, its pretty easy to get going, its just that theres too much to talk about. Don't be put off by its slightly janky looks apart from that its very polished, easy to resize the who interface.

You can load Reaktor inside it, send midi out to its internals, then process that audio through Softube modular effects... thats worth £65....

Bearing in mind all the mutable instruments stuff is open source, we could see some good stuff very soon. PSP have done some entirely exclusive modules too which I'm yet to try, some of those stuff is from nitro or their other plugs.
Old 31st May 2019
  #20
Here for the gear
Now I've spent a bit of time messing around with it, I think my excitement was if anything understated. Obviously because it's a beta the somewhat limited set of modules needs to expand but as someone with a long list of structural complaints about modular environments it seems to me evident that the Bitwig team have thought very deeply about how to make this a powerful and elegant musical tool.

One example: step sequencers are phase-driven, not trigger driven. This may not initially seem important but it means that what you can do in terms of sequence timing subdivisions and micro-timing (or 'groove') is both hugely more flexible and less of a hassle, because you can effectively modify the flow of musical time in a sequence directly by messing with the phase signal.

As a simple example it's hard with a stream of clock pulses to get an 'anti shuffle' where the offbeats are ahead of the beat (because the easiest way to achieve shuffle is by delaying every other clock pulse), but with this phase approach it's just as easy as normal shuffle.

It's a really simple decision but it's one which is elegant, powerful and makes sense from a musical perspective. I'm really impressed.
Old 31st May 2019
  #21
HSi
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It’s simple enough to program swing in to a step sequencer if you have access At the right level.

Does the grid have maths operators?
Old 31st May 2019
  #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HSi View Post

Does the grid have maths operators?
yes
Old 2nd June 2019
  #23
Gear Addict
Quote:
Originally Posted by HSi View Post
It’s simple enough to program swing in to a step sequencer if you have access At the right level.

Does the grid have maths operators?
Basic arithmetic operators
Constant, Add, Divide, Multiply, Subtract, Abs, Ceil, Floor, Minmax, Quantize, Round, Product, Sum, dB → Lin, Exp, Lin → dB, Log, Power

Logic
Button, Trigger, Clock Divide, Clock Quantize, Gate Length, Gate Repeat, Latch, <, =, ≠, >, ≤, ≥, NOT, AND, OR, XOR, NAND, NOR, XNOR
Old 7th June 2019
  #24
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by HSi View Post
It’s simple enough to program swing in to a step sequencer if you have access At the right level

Yes, it's simple to do swing! But many other micro timing things are a headache. You can do stuff like modulate the clock speed, or use LFOs as triggers, or all kinds of things but...

If you are ultimately working off a constant stream of clock pulses even doing something as simple as anything involving moving ahead of the beat becomes... not impossible but the musical logic of the patch becomes decoupled from what's going on in terms of which pulse is triggering what in a way which ultimately makes it
a hassle to explore and work out what sounds best. Plus you get into problems with things like trigger pulses running into one another at a certain point of extreme swing or fast tempos.

For me at least. It means having to turn off my music brain and engage my programmer brain :/



Having sequencers driven by phase rather than by pulses neatly avoids all this. It's really great!

Plus things like polyrhythms (different beat divisions- sequences with different lengths are called polymetric) are simple and natural to implement rather than having to mess around with clock dividers...
Old 7th June 2019
  #25
HSi
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I learned programming at various levels just for polyrhythms. Lemur, Reaktor and now Max, tried a bit of JUCE but it was painfully slow to learn about 10 lines of code for a functioning knob too....

Anyway, I needed to make an app to do stuff with video, randomise between clips mainly, various lengths and I ended up checking out Max. It's so much better than it used to be, its easier than Reaktor even and Ableton have just released CV out modules in beta, but in max format. Maybe worth another look if people haven't checked it out for a while, obviously its already inside Ableton. The resources for it are amazing too because max is about 1200 years old.
Old 8th June 2019
  #26
Gear Head
 

The main difference between Max (which I really like) and Bitwig (which I love) is that Max has a lot of extra complexity that I don’t use. Bitwig hits the sweet spot in being incredibly powerful for fast audio exploration, but fast and well-integrated. It was already a crazy modular/modulator environment before the release of the grid. Now it’s gone to the next level.
Old 10th July 2019
  #27
introduction videos:


Old 9th August 2019
  #28
0e0
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by line View Post
I've been working with the Nord Modular stuff for a long time, largely because I've not found a software modular environment that's better in terms of workflow.
it's very much on that tip..with a better sound
Old 5th September 2019
  #29
Gear Head
 
Mark Alpine's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by HSi View Post
It’s simple enough to program swing in to a step sequencer if you have access At the right level.

Does the grid have maths operators?
List of Grid devices (copied from the 3.0 release log):

16 categories covering 154 modules:

I/O (18) - Terminal modules for signals entering or exiting this Grid device

Audio In, Gate In, Phase In, Pitch In, Pressure In, Timbre In, Velocity In, Audio Out, Audio Sidechain, HW In, HW Out, CV In, CV Out, CV Pitch Out, Key On, Keys Held, Transport Playing, Modulator Out

Display (7) - Visualization and note-taking modules

Label, Comment, Oscilloscope, Spectrum, VU Meter, XY, Value Readout

Phase (14) - Modules that output wrapped phase signals

Phasor, Ø Bend, Ø Reset, Ø Scaler, Ø Reverse, Ø Wrap, Ø Counter, Ø Formant, Ø Lag, Ø Mirror, Ø Shift, Ø Sinemod, Ø Skew, Ø Sync

Data (10) - Lookup modules that are read with incoming phase signals

Gates, Pitches, Steps, Triggers, Probabilities, Ø Pulse, Ø Saw, Ø Sine, Ø Triangle, Ø Window

Oscillator (7) - Periodic signal generators based on waveforms or samples

Pulse, Sawtooth, Sine, Triangle, Phase-1, Swarm, Sampler

Random (4) - Aperiodic and randomized signal generators

Noise, S/H LFO, Chance, Dice

LFO (3) - Periodic low frequency oscillators

LFO, Clock, Transport

Envelope (4) - Modules that produce or extract an envelope, often with a normaled amplifier

ADSR, AD, AR, Follower

Filter (6) - Frequency-dependent amplifiers

Low-pass LD, Low-pass SK, SVF, High-pass, Low-pass, Comb

Shaper (6) - Various linear and nonlinear waveshapers

Chebyshev, Distortion, Quantizer, Rectifier, Wavefolder, Curve

Delay (5) - Delay functions, some allowing patched feedback

Delay, Long Delay, Mod Delay, All-pass, Recorder

Mix (10) - Signal routing and mixing modules

Blend, Mixer, LR Mix, Select, Toggle, Merge, Split, Stereo Merge, Stereo Split, Stereo Width

Level (17) - Amplitude-based functions, values, and converters

Level, Value, Attenuate, Bias, Gain - Vol, Gain - dB, Average, Lag, Bend, Clip, Level Scaler, Value Scaler, AM/RM, Hold, Sample / Hold, Bi→Uni, Uni→Bi

Pitch (5) - Modules that produce pitch values

Pitch, Pitch Quantize, by Semitone, Pitch Scaler, Zero Crossings

Math (18) - Basic arithmetic operators

Constant, Add, Divide, Multiply, Subtract, Abs, Ceil, Floor, Minmax, Quantize, Round, Product, Sum, dB → Lin, Exp, Lin → dB, Log, Power

Logic (20) - Comparators and other modules that output logic signals

Button, Trigger, Clock Divide, Clock Quantize, Gate Length, Gate Repeat, Latch, =, ≥, >, ≤, <, ≠,NOT, AND, OR, XOR, NAND, NOR, XNOR

/Cheers!
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