This morning I was wonderfully surprised by the release announcement for Bitwig 2.0, scheduled to drop February 28th, 2017. It might as well be a belated Valentine’s present for me – I’m not at all shy about admitting my love affair with Bitwig Studio.
Most of the issues I’ve had with the DAW have been addressed in this new release. Namely, the poor MIDI implementation, lack of VST3 support, and the control of remote hardware devices. Improvements to other existing devices and editing tools are welcomed and simply icing on the cake.
It feels like Bitwig Studio is finally moving past its software toddler phase and putting on some DAW big-boy pants. Bitwig’s potential has been obvious to anyone taking a serious look during the last two years. It’ll be interesting to watch how they take this software to the next level.
There’s already been a small snag. Most of my morning was spent reading heated discussions about Bitwig’s new licensing model. The 12-month upgrade protection plan has many users confused, as well as concerned about Bitwig’s decision to make the change. The discussion continues about who intends to stick around and who plans to jump ship.
Here’s the reasoning in their words:
“We will be able to release key features as they are ready – instead of holding them back for major releases. This enables us to offer you new feature and content updates more regularly… you won’t need to worry about any potential upcoming releases when buying your license…”
They’re keen to point out that this model isn’t a “subscription” – you own the software and can opt-out of any further updates and customer support after your initial 12-month service plan expires. Later, you’ll have the option to rejoin the service plan at any time without penalties.
Robust improvements have been made throughout the Bitwig Studio toolset. A whopping 24 brand-new modulators have been added; from standard modulators like envelopes and LFOs, to key triggers and programmable step envelopes.
Each instrument now has slots for adding as many modulators you’d like to use; meaning the nearly unlimited extension of your instrument’s signal path. From a sound design point of view, you could essentially build a synthesizer around your synthesizer within Bitwig.
A full description of new features and the clarification of licensing issues are posted on the Bitwig official website. I’ve signed up for final Beta testing and will write about the new features as I learn to use them.
The upgrade from Bitwig Studio 1 to Bitwig Studio 2 is priced at 159 EUR / 169 USD. Bitwig Studio 2 for new users will be priced at 379 EUR / 399 USD. The upgrade will be free for anyone who purchased Bitwig Studio 1 on or after December 10th, 2016.
>> Bitwig 2.0 Official Page