Bitwig recently released a beta version of Bitwig Studio 1.2 for all license holders. The new version includes practical workflow optimizations and has some exciting forward-looking MIDI enhancements (MPE) as well.
On the workflow side, there are group tracks, which let you combine related tracks into a single container track. This provides a way to visually reduce the number of tracks on screen since you can roll up lots of tracks into the group. And it also lets you mix and process all of the tracks in the group as a single unit.
Then there’s the audition browser, which makes it easy to try presets from multiple devices on a MIDI track. The audition browser uses Bitwig’s tagging mechanism to let you access presets from any device with a particular tag.
The beta also supports custom keyboard mappings, project templates, per project MIDI mappings, optimizations for High-DPI displays, and new visualization capabilities to see how parameter adjustments on dynamics devices influence wave shapes.
This brings me to the last and more intriguing feature in the beta, which is that Bitwig is adding native support for the Linnstrument and Roli Seaboard controllers. This requires Bitwig to support Multidimensional Polyphonic Expression, a new, backwards-compatible version of the MIDI spec designed to enable a higher degree of expression than has previously been possible with MIDI controllers. There’s a draft version of the spec available in this Google doc.
It’s great to see Bitwig pursuing enhancements to practical features that continue to evolve and streamline production workflow along with cutting edge features like MPE, which open up new levels of expressiveness for electronic instrument performance.