Spectral Suite is a new add-on bundle with four new audio effects devices that expands Bitwig Studio’s sonic range into the spectral realm.
UPDATE: The will of the community won out. After massive criticism of the last Spectral Suite add-on, Bitwig decided to include the bundle in Bitwig Studio 4.4 as a free update. It’s very nice to see that Bitwig has listened to its community here and reacted to the criticism. Great move!
Article 05 October 2022
Bitwig Studio is one of the most modern DAWs currently on the market. Thanks to its modular engine you can customize in many areas. The young Berlin developers are pursuing a somewhat different financing concept. Instead of paying for classic big updates like Ableton Live or any other DAW, you pay an annual upgrade plan aka subscription here where you get new features, improvements, etc. over the year.
Today they released their first product available outside of its annual upgrade plan. It’s a set of new spectral effect processor devices that are exclusively available in the Spectral Suite.
Bitwig Spectral Suite
Spectral Suite as the name suggests are exciting new effects processor based on deep spectral analysis. They split the devices into four musical areas: loudness, harmonic content, transients, and frequency. Each equipped with specific parameters that fits to the processor type.
The devices work in the frequency domain, which separates the incoming sound into hundreds of frequency bands for analysis. The Bitwig algorithms then groups related signals into channels and from here, you can mix the channels as you normally would do.
All four Spectral Suite devices have an identical structure for each of their channels, and the same output section (with Pre FX and Post FX chains, as well as a Mix control for blending dry signal back in). The Suite contains the following devices:
- Transient Split divides percussive transients from tonal sounds: these gives you interesting new drum/melodic speration options for creative mixing
- Freq Slit distributes a sound across four channels, like a set of filter banks. Great in combination with other effect processors like delay, reverb…
- Loud Split separates the quiet, mid and loud elements within a sound
- Harmonic Split spreads harmonics into two groups, and collects non-harmonics into a third channel.
There is something special about spectral processing of audio sources. It allows you to dive to the root of the sound source and manipulate individual frequency bands. This opens the door to very complex timbres. If you have these capabilities integrated in the DAW, here in Bitwig Studio and not separately in a plugin, it makes the whole thing even more versatile. Especially when it benefits from a modular engine.
And with the option to expand the process with external plugins, you can achieve further effects like spectral delays, etc. That on the entire signal or on individual bands which becomes super complex.
Outer Spectra Sound Package
The new bundle also ships a new sound package called Outer Spectra. It includes over 70 audio FX presets for Freq Split, Harmonic Split, Loud Split, and Transient Split, which can be loaded as audio FX or (in some cases) as synths with spectral devices in the FX slots.
Spectral Suite strikes me as a very exciting add-on for Bitwig. It’s defintely one that significantly expands the sound possibilities of the internal modular engine in new directions. The fact that these four new devices are not included in the upgrade plan is certainly a downer. But I can understand the decision of the Bitwig developers.
You can see these as plugins that you can buy additionally. But you don’t have to in order to be able to continue using Bitwig Studio. Its main competitor, Ableton, is taking a similar approach with its devices. These packs are also available as a separate purchase in the official online store.
Bitwig Spectral Suite is now part of the Bitwig Studio 4.4 update. The new devices are free of charge for users of an active upgrade plan.
More information here: Bitwig