Thoughts on Bitwig (or Ableton)?

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smelly&dex
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Thoughts on Bitwig (or Ableton)?

Post by smelly&dex » Tue Apr 27, 2021 6:04 pm

I'm a longtime FL Studio user, but I'm seriously considering switching over to Bitwig or Ableton for a variety of reasons. A large part of it is that even after 8 years of heavy use, FL workflow remains cumbersome, the interface not very customizable, and it's not built well for performance. I hate the way that envelopes work, and how finicky the interface can be. I would bet that half of the work I do in the DAW is ctrl+z'ing something I accidentally dragged or clicked. AND there's no real way to integrate my modular setup except through a midi interface.

SO

I'm thinking about switching over to Ableton... or Bitwig?

I've read pages upon pages of testimony on Ableton, it's definitely one of the most documented DAWs on the market. I have a pretty solid understand of what I would be getting if I switched over, but before I make the switch I want to see what you peoples have to say about Bitwig (or feel like saying about Ableton) and if it's worth my time and learning curve.

How easy do you find the interface to use? How configurable?
Are the stock tools provided with the system powerful and ACTUALLY usable? Or did you just import your old VST's and ignore the DAW's built in tools?
How easily does it integrate with your physical system? What about with your VST's?

'Preciate it :)
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Re: Thoughts on Bitwig (or Ableton)?

Post by BlinkyLights » Tue Apr 27, 2021 6:18 pm

I prefer Bitwig Studio these days (former Ableton, Logic, and Cakewalk user of many years prior).

Compared to Ableton I find Bitwig even easier, less expensive, leaner and faster, and all around more stable.

But potato potahto, it's all very personal and context dependent as most folks' Use Cases differ quite a bit.

Have you tried the Demos of each?

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Re: Thoughts on Bitwig (or Ableton)?

Post by smelly&dex » Tue Apr 27, 2021 7:54 pm

BlinkyLights wrote:
Tue Apr 27, 2021 6:18 pm
But potato potahto, it's all very personal and context dependent as most folks' Use Cases differ quite a bit.

Have you tried the Demos of each?
Totally agree with the first point. Do you use Bitwig as the brain of your physical setup? How do you find it to be with driving physical instruments?

I've used Ableton a good bit, never been a big fan of the layout but I figure I could learn the workflow with a bit of applied effort. It's never been intuitive to me, which has always been a bit of a turnoff. It also seemed to be pretty mediocre for anything mixing or mastering related, which FL definitely excels at.

I'm using the Bitwig demo at the moment, it seems pretty high-powered and easily configurable, which I'm a biiiig fan of.
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Re: Thoughts on Bitwig (or Ableton)?

Post by starthief » Tue Apr 27, 2021 8:04 pm

I freaking love Bitwig. It really suits me as a modular user, with very flexible routing and a lot of modular-ish features. The UI is not very customizable in some aspects (color scheme for example) but very versatile and well-designed in others.

Granted, I use minimal to no MIDI sequencing -- I use it as an extension of my Euro gear, as a mixing console and effects host, and recorder. It lacks some features that some people want it to have (comping, more piano roll tools).

In terms of its stock plugins, I use several, but do have a pretty heavy collection of third-party plugins as well. It's hard to beat Valhalla delay and reverbs, MagicDeathEye, TEOTE, SpecOps etc. But BW does cover the basics and some fun extras, and you can patch a lot of utilities and weird things with its Grid.

I agree that FL Studio has grown really cumbersome as more features were added. I gave up on it for Maschine mk2 a while back, but switched to Bitwig because it makes a lot more sense for the way I make music.

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Re: Thoughts on Bitwig (or Ableton)?

Post by kons » Wed Apr 28, 2021 6:23 am

Bitwig is the best DAW for modular integration. It's whole cognitive space seems modular-like. Everything can be connected to everything to modulate anything in some way. The Grid hits a perfect sweetspot for me in software modular- not as abstract as reaktor or max, but very fast to use. With lots of fast visual information on what is happening to signals.

That said I dislike the aesthetics and they are not customisable at all (is very down to personal taste). staring at brown and dull orange is not what I would choose. In terms of devices the only thing I miss is convolution -the new hybrid Verb in ableton makes me salivate... there is a lack of any fft stuff and bitwig also seems reticent about allowing feedback loops. You can patch feedback-loops with a few extra steps but not as straightforward as in ableton with its routing fx sends to fx sends and back round again.

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Re: Thoughts on Bitwig (or Ableton)?

Post by PatrickW » Thu Apr 29, 2021 5:21 am

I switched from Ableton to Bitwig a few years ago and never looked back.
Indeed, it takes some time to get used to the aesthetics.
About everything is superior to Ableton.
The interactive help is simply crazy : you can open the help for a Bitwig plugin and interact with the plugin while in the help window.
I have never seen this type of functionality in whatever software.
Also the userinterface for the Grid is designed in a very clever way.
The connectivity with external gear (midi and CV) is also very well implemented.

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Re: Thoughts on Bitwig (or Ableton)?

Post by slumberjack » Thu Apr 29, 2021 5:28 am

I got a 8-track license and like it so far thus I use it rarely. It did time-warp a few songs for the use with a Octa and I was fast and accurate with it. Do anybody work it in Linux?

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Re: Thoughts on Bitwig (or Ableton)?

Post by Spindrift » Sun May 02, 2021 10:01 am

Also went from Ableton to Bitwig a couple of years ago. Couldn't live without the grid and the modulation options nowadays.

I can understand sticking to Ableton if you already have a nice workflow, but picking one today I'd say Bitwig is an obvious choice. Ableton feels like the code is stuck in the 90s, only one project open at the time, whole UI locking when it is doing tasks that should be doable in the background, plugin crashes bringing down the whole host, etc.

For my purposes at least, Bitwig has surpassed Live in features, and seems to have a much better foundation to keep building on as well.

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Re: Thoughts on Bitwig (or Ableton)?

Post by ronnieb » Mon May 03, 2021 6:07 am

The one thing that has held me back from really digging into bitwig is max for live. It’s ableton’s ace card. There’s seriously so much amazing shit available that I can’t see myself moving away from it.

Question for those integrating their rig with bitwig. How is the delay compensation? That’s one area that really bugs me with ableton. It’s all work around and setup to get proper sync running

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Re: Thoughts on Bitwig (or Ableton)?

Post by kons » Mon May 03, 2021 9:38 am

ronnieb wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 6:07 am
Question for those integrating their rig with bitwig. How is the delay compensation? That’s one area that really bugs me with ableton. It’s all work around and setup to get proper sync running
PDC is much better in Bitwig. also Every device or vst reports the amount of delay in (1/10 of ms)it is adding to the timeline-shown as a total for each track. The device Timeshift, can be put on a track that can manually move the DAWtimeline in relation to the that track.
I would say it isn't problem free sync-wise but a great improvement on Able.

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Re: Thoughts on Bitwig (or Ableton)?

Post by Milanm » Mon May 03, 2021 1:12 pm

kons wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 9:38 am
ronnieb wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 6:07 am
Question for those integrating their rig with bitwig. How is the delay compensation? That’s one area that really bugs me with ableton. It’s all work around and setup to get proper sync running
PDC is much better in Bitwig. also Every device or vst reports the amount of delay in (1/10 of ms)it is adding to the timeline-shown as a total for each track. The device Timeshift, can be put on a track that can manually move the DAWtimeline in relation to the that track.
I would say it isn't problem free sync-wise but a great improvement on Able.
Ableton plugins also report the amount of delay added, and the External Instrument/Effect plugins compensate. I find all is well as long as I make sure monitoring is set to off on the record track (and I have compensated for the latency inherent in whatever hardware i'm recording).

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Re: Thoughts on Bitwig (or Ableton)?

Post by ronnieb » Mon May 03, 2021 1:36 pm

Milanm wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 1:12 pm
kons wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 9:38 am
ronnieb wrote:
Mon May 03, 2021 6:07 am
Question for those integrating their rig with bitwig. How is the delay compensation? That’s one area that really bugs me with ableton. It’s all work around and setup to get proper sync running
PDC is much better in Bitwig. also Every device or vst reports the amount of delay in (1/10 of ms)it is adding to the timeline-shown as a total for each track. The device Timeshift, can be put on a track that can manually move the DAWtimeline in relation to the that track.
I would say it isn't problem free sync-wise but a great improvement on Able.
Ableton plugins also report the amount of delay added, and the External Instrument/Effect plugins compensate. I find all is well as long as I make sure monitoring is set to off on the record track (and I have compensated for the latency inherent in whatever hardware i'm recording).
Interesting, I feel like it might be a case of Timeshift working more intuitively? I've my setup running tight now but defo it isn't as simple as just whacking on the external effect easily adjusting the latency. Ableton has an odd way of dealing with pdc which just makes a complicated a nuanced task a lot more difficult.

That being said... M4L is still the shit, so suck it bitwig nerds :banana:

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Re: Thoughts on Bitwig (or Ableton)?

Post by kons » Mon May 03, 2021 2:20 pm

I do miss certain M4L devices... don't miss using M4L

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Re: Thoughts on Bitwig (or Ableton)?

Post by Mr.Kus » Mon May 03, 2021 2:52 pm

smelly&dex wrote:
Tue Apr 27, 2021 6:04 pm
I'm a longtime FL Studio user, but I'm seriously considering switching over to Bitwig or Ableton for a variety of reasons. A large part of it is that even after 8 years of heavy use, FL workflow remains cumbersome, the interface not very customizable, and it's not built well for performance. I hate the way that envelopes work, and how finicky the interface can be. I would bet that half of the work I do in the DAW is ctrl+z'ing something I accidentally dragged or clicked. AND there's no real way to integrate my modular setup except through a midi interface.

SO

I'm thinking about switching over to Ableton... or Bitwig?

I've read pages upon pages of testimony on Ableton, it's definitely one of the most documented DAWs on the market. I have a pretty solid understand of what I would be getting if I switched over, but before I make the switch I want to see what you peoples have to say about Bitwig (or feel like saying about Ableton) and if it's worth my time and learning curve.

How easy do you find the interface to use? How configurable?
Are the stock tools provided with the system powerful and ACTUALLY usable? Or did you just import your old VST's and ignore the DAW's built in tools?
How easily does it integrate with your physical system? What about with your VST's?

'Preciate it :)
I don't know what you mean by real way to integrate with modular, but I find Voltage Controller quite useable with ES3, for sequencing and automating modular with FL. I haven't used modular to control FL, but I assume sending CV through ES6 and using Peak Controller should work fine for more coarse automation, not sure about melodic sequencing though.

Otherwise I do agree FL Studio's usability haven't really improved in a long time, rather got more cumbersome. I've also considered switching to something else.

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Re: Thoughts on Bitwig (or Ableton)?

Post by SingIt » Mon May 03, 2021 2:57 pm

I have both but still prefer ableton. I just got so used to its workflow plus i have a push, which is amazing for instant automation of anything.

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Re: Thoughts on Bitwig (or Ableton)?

Post by Mitchk1989 » Tue May 04, 2021 2:45 pm

I found with my push 1 the mossgraber script makes it work just as well with bitwig as it did with ableton, but I gather the better screen on the push 2 does display info that it wont when using it with bitwig.

At any rate the main selling points for bitwig for me were the modulation system and the grid. I found them infinitely easier to use than the max4live equivalents.

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Re: Thoughts on Bitwig (or Ableton)?

Post by narxistdan » Tue May 04, 2021 2:58 pm

I've found Ableton to be much less stable and efficient than other DAWs, especially Reaper, but I've got too much invested in custom Max4Live devices that I've built over the years to seriously consider switching to Bitwig. And the fact that I (a nonprogrammer) can just build an M4L device if it doesn't have the functionality built in is amazing. And the Push 2 workflow for working with samples in Simpler is a perfect match for my workflow The 11 update has been a big stability improvement for me, especially wrt M4L, but it's also a little less efficient. The functionality is amazing, but the basic stability and cpu efficiency/performance is simply not competitive with other modern DAWs.

No experience with Bitwig here, but even though Ableton is the hub of my setup I have a hard time recommending it given its shortcomings. They're not quite significant enough to get me to start over with something else, but I wouldn't start there if I was starting today.

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Re: Thoughts on Bitwig (or Ableton)?

Post by eb00 » Tue May 04, 2021 3:10 pm

I like & use Ableton. I invested in a Push 2 and now have a license for the Studio version, so I'm kinda in deep at this point (not as bad as my modular rig though..). In the past I've used Fruity Loops, various versions of Reason (back to 2002ish), Logic Pro, Pro Tools, various hardware only things like Tascam 4tracks, and messed around with some iPad only solutions (hated).

The reason I like Abelton? I find it easy to use and somehow it's designed in a way that's compatible with my brain and how I think. So it just makes sense.

Do I think it's the best DAW? No.

Do I think any DAW is the best DAW? No.

It's pretty hard to choose wrong here though. They're all pretty good.

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Re: Thoughts on Bitwig (or Ableton)?

Post by andybizarre » Wed May 05, 2021 2:29 am

Bitwig`s multi touch implementation is second to none. I`ve got a battery driven ASUS Zen Screen and can place the full DAW interface anywhere in the studio. I don`t see the meaning of dedicated controllers like Push anymore, at least with Bitwig.

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