You’ll have noticed from our videos that we’re a Mac based studio over at OD, but FL Studio is worth firing up BootCamp for.
We reviewed FL Studio 10 last year, and in the year since the guys at Imageline have been beavering away to make FL Studio 10.5′s highly touted Performance Mode the next killer feature. How does it look? In a word, awesome. We’ll wait to pass full judgement until the final release comes around so that we can review it proper, but there look to be some marked advantages to using it over Ableton Live; there’re visual indications of waveforms and automations laid onto the clips/pads, and the ability to have an indication of loop length with different sized clips is very cool.
Quite how fluidly switching a track between production and performance modes works is a little in the air at the moment, and FL Studio is making things easier by creating macros that change things around for you in a single button press. It’s still not totally ideal, though, so I’m just going to make this plea to the guys at Imageline now: Destroy and rebuild with this mixed linear/clip based production as the forefront of the design, go multiplatform, and use OS native GUI settings. Please. We’ll love you for it.
You’ll be forgiven for being thus far oblivious to Bitwig. They’ve been quietly beavering away at developing their flagship product, Bitwig Studio, since their inception in 2009, and only just approaching beta. With a team comprising some notable ex-Ableton brains, it’s no surprise that Bitwig Studio has more than a couple of things in common with Ableton Live. Here’s the video:
Bitwig Studio though has a number of features that Live users have been wishing for either en masse or in niche for some time – here are a few of the most interesting features we’ve picked out of the information we’ve had thus far:
Full cross platform support: Windows, Mac, Linux
‘on note’ automation editing that looks similar to Cubase 6′s VST note expression (we’re waiting for confirmation on the exact functionality of this, but it’s confirmed that it can control per note panning, timbre, and volume of included instruments)
Split pane workflow of clip/groove based sequencing and linear sequencing
Clip based effects automation sequencing
Block style pattern sequencing, ala MPC, FL Studio, Maschine etc
Non exclusive mixer tracks that will play audio and software instruments on a single channel
Multiple document editing, allowing copy and paste between documents
Multiple window support
The future for Bitwig Studio is a spinning coin of opportunities and threats: It’s very similar in many aspects to Ableton Live, and thus is likely to get someone’s back up somewhere. If Live can essentially integrate what Bitwig are doing close enough to the release of Bitwig studio, especially now the cat is somewhat out of the bag, it could see Bitwig Studio struggling to gather steam. That said, with Ableton Live’s next big update presumably being Live 9, the iterative nature of Ableton’s product development seems to have hampered its once unshakeable stability and if Bitwig Studio’s ground up design means it’s rock solid yet still fully featured, it could reap the rewards of a defection or two.
We’re certainly excited to see and hear the extent of the included instruments and effects, and there’s even plans to include a Reaktor/Max like instrument editor after launch. We’re thinking ahead here, but if Bitwig Studio can be installed on an ultra-low footprint Linux install and manages to sound as great as it looks without relying on third party plugins… well, let’s just leave it at ‘we’re excited’.
More information as we have it – which will be soon. Let us know what you think – are you thinking about it as an Ableton Live beater, or is it unnecessary to draw that close a comparison?