Bitwig Studio 4: huge update brings audio comping, operators, M1 support and more

Bitwig Studio 4Bitwig Studio reaches version 4 with a huge update whose highlights include comping for audio clips, a new set of Operators, Expression Spread, and native Apple Silicon support on Mac (with Intel and ARM plug-ins working side-by-side) – among other good stuff. Here’s the gist…

Bitwig Studio version 4

Audio comping in Bitwig is enabled both in Clip Launcher and Arrangement views. In the words of Bitwig:

Each take is given its own color so from the first swipe of a take lane, the sources are clear. To swap in a different take, just tap it. Then press the up or down arrow to cycle thru the other takes. From the composite lane, move a boundary by clicking, adjust gain by dragging, or fix timing by sliding. Since we have a Launcher and an Arranger, comping lives inside the audio clip. So if you are composing in the Launcher, just click to enable comp recording right there. Or just drag clips in either direction with your takes safely inside. Even open the layered editor when multiple comps belong together. Comping works wherever you are, now and later. And since all good techniques deserve a new trick, right-click any audio clip to Fold To Takes. If you ask for an eight-bar comp, the entire clip will be spooled into take lanes, and the comping can begin. Or just drag audio in to add a new take lane.

While Modulators have been a Bitwig centerpiece all along, version 4 brings Operators to program sequenced note and audio events. Operators include four modes, which can be used individually or in any combination:

  • Chance makes each event more or less likely.
  • Repeats allow each event to retrigger at a set rate, or just divide the note length into any number of pieces.
  • Occurrence sets conditions for each event.
  • Recurrence thinks of each event as its own looping timeline.

Bitwig’s engine allows expression automation for notes and audio. Version 4 has visualized Expression Spread range to any expression point. You can give note velocities randomization, but you could also give each piece of a chord its own panning. Or create a note that starts in tune and then drifts to a random pitch. With the editor open, all destined random values are visualized when the clip starts. And then again, the new values appear when the next loop cycle begins. You can even cast the dice yourself by clicking the Seed field of any clip.

With version 4, Bitwig Studio runs natively on Apple Silicon. Furthermore, Intel and ARM VSTs can live alongside each other in the same project. Additionally, Bitwig Studio 4 is now localized in Chinese, Japanese, and German. Functions, labels, and in-app documentation can be displayed in any of these languages. There are also improved export options with lossless formats (WAV & FLAC), lossy options (OGG & MP3), and a new contender (OPUS).

On the import side, you can now import data from FL Studio (FLP) and Ableton Live (ALS) project files. If you are coming from Auxy, you can now export your work directly as a Bitwig Studio project. That aside, content sliding (and gain handles for audio) are available directly at the clip and event level. Waveforms are now shown in a Perceptual scale (you can switch back to Linear in the Dashboard) and most of the Grid and Polymer filters have a smoother response for extreme resonance and modulation cases.


Bitwig Studio 4 is available for download as of today. Everyone with an active Bitwig Studio upgrade plan has access and is able to download the installer from their account. Version 4 is a free upgrade to everyone with an active Upgrade Plan for Bitwig Studio. All new features except comping are also part of Bitwig Studio 16-Track and 8-Track.

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Acustica Audio Ivory5: dual-band limiter added to mastering plug-in suite

Acustica Audio Ivory 5Acustica Audio released version 5 of its Ivory mastering plug-in suite. Already numbering at 2 equalizers, 2 compressors, and 2 dynamic equalizers, the analog-inspired mastering suite gets a dual-band limiter for that finishing touch. The sound of the gear replicated by the Ivory suite – the equalizers, at least – can be described as Sontec with an edge. That’s music to my ears!

Acustica Audio Ivory 5

The MAL-2 mastering limiter plug-in’s addition is the highlight in version 5. It emulates an analog two-band peak limiter inspired by a famous British manufacturer’s creation. Indeed, audio gear piracy has been alive and well long before the days of amp profiling and copycat brands!

Anyway, this limiter can be used in dual band mode which splits the input signal at 2kHz to let you process the two halves independently. Otherwise, you can use it as a traditional broadband limiter. Of note is that both limiters have their thresholds and output levels internally set at a fixed level. Thus, the LF and/or HF Threshold control(s) should be considered as input gain controls instead. The video at the end of the article provides a better glimpse at what the plug-in is capable of.

Additionally, version 5 brings the emulated preamps up to Acustica’s current standards and improves the plug-ins’ CPU consumption. The Ivory Dyn EQ also gets a new SOA control. As usual, all plug-ins are available in standard and zero-latency versions. The latter are optimized for use during tracking.

Ivory5 limiter

The new limiter in Ivory 5

Acustica Audio Ivory5 – Price and availability

The Ivory5 suite is sold at an introductory price of EUR 103, down from EUR 199 (48% off). The offer is valid until August 13, 2021. The plug-ins are available in VST, AU, and AAX formats for 64-bit computers running Windows 10 or macOS 10.14 and later. Installation and authorization are handled via Acustica’s Aquarius application. A free trial version and the PDF user manual can be downloaded from the developer’s website.

Ivory5 – More information

Ivory5 – Video

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Ableton Live 11 Lite is out as a free upgrade from any previous Lite version

Free Ableton Live 11 upgradeAbleton announced it’s bringing Ableton Live 11 Lite as a free upgrade for users of any previous Live Lite version. A copy of Live Lite is commonly bundled with a wide range of audio gear, such as interfaces and MIDI controllers. Lite does give a taste of what makes Live great, but the 8 audio/MIDI track limit is just paltry. It’s enough to record simple podcast or singer-songwriter stuff. Maybe some rad 8-track techno too, if you long for the old tracker days. Anything more ambitious and Lite is merely an upgrade path towards Live Standard or Suite.

Ableton Live 11 Lite – free upgrade

Anyway. owners of any previous version of Live Lite can upgrade to 11 for free, and that’s a wonderful thing. If you don’t own Live Lite but want to have it, you can purchase Live Lite 11 for EUR 79. Version 11 adds new and updated devices, more sounds, and a higher scene count. Highlights include:

  • MIDI Polyphonic Expression support – MPE enables additional expression possibilities with bends, slides and pressure available for each individual MIDI note. You will need a compatible MIDI controller.
  • Four effects – Chorus-Ensemble, Phaser-Flanger, Limiter, and Saturator.
  • The upgrades to the Live Core Library that came with Live 11 are now available for Live Lite, including new sounds, drum kits, Racks, Grooves, loops and MIDI clips.
  • More scenes and tempo following – you can now add up to 16 Scenes for more varied arrangements and experiments. With Tempo Following, Live listens to and adjusts its tempo based on incoming audio from another musician or other gear like drum machines in real time.

Live 11 Lite is 64-bit only and requires macOS 10.13 or later / Windows 11 or later. It runs on Apple M1 computers only through Rosetta for the time being. That’s about it. Enjoy your free upgrade, it gives plenty for the price of nothing at all.

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