Bitwig Studio update brings tons of new sound design options

Version 5.1 includes additional waveshapers, filters, oscillators and more.

Bitwig

The digital audio workstation (DAW) Bitwig Studio just received a substantial update that brings plenty of new sounds and effects. Version 5.1 boasts a spate of enhancements, including new waveshapers, new filters, polyphonic voice stacking, a dual oscillator and more. This is especially good news for avid sound designers, as the filters and waveshapers should allow for plenty of tinkering to find that perfect tone.

The filters are all rather unique, going a step further than a simple lowpass or something. For instance, the Fizz filter offers two separate cutoffs with embedded feedback. The Rasp filter is bright and resonant with a host of adjustment options. Vowels is a morphing format filter with an array of models, pitch and frequency offsets that can be programmed to change over time. Finally, there’s Ripple, which is described as a “hyper-resonant circuit.”

There are six new waveshapers to choose from, including the Push soft clipper and Heat S-shaped clipper. Both of these could be great for adding a bit of sizzle to dry tracks. Soar is a soft wavefolder that “makes the quietest parts loud” and Howl does something similar, but with a focus on creating harsh, glitchy sounds. Shred helps get rid of unwanted artifacts and Diode is a classic circuit, which Bitwig calls “a warm, familiar option.”

All filters and waveshapers can be used within the DAW’s Filter+ and Sweep devices, though they are also available as standalone Grid modules. That’s the magic of Bitwig Studio and what sets it apart from other DAWs. Everything is modular, with mix-and-match options for every effect, filter, oscillator and waveshaper.

As for other tools, there’s a new Voice Stacking module that offers layered playback of up to 16 voices per note and a dual oscillator called Bite. Bitwig has also added experimental elements to the quantizing function, which should make for some wild remixes, and adjusted the UI so the mixer can be dragged and dropped anywhere. These changes follow Bitwig Studio 5.0, which offered many new audio playback tools.

Bitwig Studio 5.1 is out now, and it's a free upgrade for license holders with an active plan. The company constantly adds new features to the DAW, as recent-ish updates saw tools to mangle MIDI performances and the addition of a hybrid modular synth.

The DAW is also on sale at the moment. You can get Bitwig Studio for $299, down from its usual $399 price. The bare-bones Essential version of the software, meanwhile, is $79 at the moment instead of $99.