Bitwig or Studio One?

I know this is a very personal question, but I’d like to read some of your opinions and considerations in order to decide which DAW to buy.

I’ve narrowed the choice to these two DAWs after trying several demo versions. These are the two where I felt more comfortable and find more intuitive.

I want to take advantage of these days sales and buy a DAW license once and for all, and avoid jumping from demo to demo.

As a music student I can get EDU licenses, and the price is something to consider too, as it can very different from choice to choice.

The options are:

  • Studio One 5 Artist (only 50€, enough to record and mix)
  • Studio One 5 Professional (203€)
  • Bitwig Studio 16-Track (don’t like the 16 tracks limitation, but it’s way less expensive than the whole version, 79€)
  • Bitwig Studio (+1 point for working with linux, 200€ EDU version with current discount)

So far, I’ve mostly been using hardware and vocals, and I’ve been using the DAW to record, edit, add effects, and mix. But that’s because I’ve only used demo versions and haven’t got the time to study the DAW instruments and advanced features.

So, which of these DAWs would you recommend me, and why?

I have no experience with Studio One, but here is my Bitwig sales pitch:

Bitwig is a DAW that currently has a few unique features that set it apart from the competition. The main one is probably the Grid. It’s a virtual modular environment in which you can create pretty much any synth or effect setup. There are a few competitors, but the Grid is by far the easiest to use. In all honesty with the Grid you can probably replace any VST synth you may use.

A second feature that sets Bitwig apart is just how easy it is to modulate parameters. You can add as many modulators as you want, ranging from LFOs and envelopes to crazy randomness and audio rate modulation. You drag and drop these modulations onto any knob on a synth or FX plugin, just like you would in Massive or Serum. Other DAWs do offer some of this functionality, but none of them with the ease and low CPU use of Bitwig.

These features make Bitwig feel equal parts DAW and sound design tool.

EDIT: if you get Bitwig DEFINITELY get the full version. I believe the 16 track version lacks the Grid. You want the Grid.

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i’m an ableton user but if i were to try another one I’d go bitwig,mostly due to modulation / its modern / the grid.

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Are you into non-linear / loop-based sequencing? And/or do you like to play with modulation and design your own sounds via modular synthesis? Then Bitwig is probably the better choice.

If however you want predominately a linear recording & mixing environment, then StudioOne is the choice in my book.

I think both are excellent environments. I feel Bitwig is more like Ableton Live in the sense that I feel it is as much instrument (or more) than it is DAW. Studio One to me is a DAW first.

I should add that you‘ll most likely be able to do almost everything you want to do with either of these programs.

I own Ableton Live 10 and Studio One 4 Professional. I wanted Bitwig for the MPE support and for the way it merges its non-linear elements with the linear elements. However MPE support is now in Live 11 and in Studio One 5 so I‘ll probably just upgrade.

I‘m not big on Bitwig‘s pricing model, I think it‘s a little too steep. When you buy Bitwig you will get updates for 12 months, after that you have to pay 180€ I think for the next 12 months. This can be an advantage, depending on how you usually work with your software, but to me I like to know that all updates to a version I purchased will be available to me.

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I think also that the 16 tracks does not allow multi-out VSTs (overbridge)

159 euros for a year of support is pricey, though what most people do is upgrade when it makes sense. Bitwig gets about 2 feature updates each year, usually adding a few new devices and workflow improvements.

You could sit on your current version of 3.2 for years if you want, and only upgrade when they add that must-have feature you want.

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Bitwig (the fuill version) goes on sale near the holidays for around $250-275 (don’t quote me on this I just remember it being under 300).

That made it worth it to me.

I don’t plan on upgrading too much, maybe once every 2 years. Happy with the current features.

Overbridge support is awesome as well.

But I have never tried Studio One so a bit biased :upside_down_face:

Never used Studio One and never wanted to. Seems old school like Logic or Cubase to me. I used Ableton Live Suite for years, and before that Reason, ProTools and Cubase.

Buuuuuuut…

I’ve moved over to Bitwig Studio fully now. I absolutely love it. I don’t bother with other synths (hardware or software), I just make my own in the amazing Grid system. It’s so intuitive and flexible. I can do anything I want in Bitwig. I can make subtractive, additive, FM/PM, granular, and wavetable synths within a few minutes now that I’ve spent less than a week watching tutorials and I can add as many LFOs as I want to really get wild (within CPU restrictions, ofc). And the modulation abilities are second to none - I’m talking about modulation everywhere, whenever you want it, for any device, native or third party. Just get it. It’s the best DAW on the market.

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I’ll throw in my 2 cents as I have played with both.

Went to Bitwig when it first came out and I liked it, a lot. It felt immediate to me and hit the ground running.

I dropped Bitwig when I went hardware and now use studio one. Picked up a copy of artist for like £50 last year and I only use it for mixing down two tracks. Very basic duties but I’m liking it so far.

If you work in the box more get Bitwig but if you work out the box, then studio one if it’s say for mixing/mastering purposes.

Just my take.

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Heavy Studio One user here. I’m also a bit of a DAW junkie who’s tried pretty much everything aside from modern versions of Logic. If you want a more ‘traditional’ DAW for recording, editing, comping and arranging then go for Studio One. It (at least IMO) has a very fast and intuitive workflow. Personally, I love it, because it reminds me of Cubase before it had everything incl. the kitchen sink. And it should, because the two original developers left Steinberg to create S1. Presonus also has pretty generous upgrade paths as you want to grow and expand.

That said, if you want more of a creative tool, then go with Bitwig. I think you’ll find all of the modulation and ‘Grid’ superior to the more bread and butter tools of S1. Personally, I’ve only tried the demo of Bitwig and didn’t stick to it, but I liked what I saw from that sense. It’s kind of like the Reaktor Blocks or Modular world of DAW’s. I’m not too crazy about Bigwig’s yearly ‘maintenance’ plan though.

For the creative side, I use Ableton, but I’m always mixing and especially mastering in S1. I do 95% of my client work in S1 some editing and/or repair work in Wavelab or Izotope RX.

I’m going to throw something out there though, if you haven’t you should really check out Reaper. It’s not the flashiest, but the functionality is rock solid (crazy if you want to get into scripting) and the price/value is absolutely insane for $60 (non-commercial) license. Don’t let the price fool you.

All this said, any modern DAW is incredibly capable and in nearly all cases you’ll be the weakest link and not the application. Just generally a matter of finding what works for you, but only after you’ve stuck it out for a while learning what you have.

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I own both Studio One and Bitwig. They are both great but do have different approaches, so it really depends on what you are wanting to achieve. For me Bitwig is more of a design - play - experiment solution, whereas Studio One is more traditional, with mastering - track completion tools. I really like the pattern tools in Studio One too, which i would like to have in Bitwig. I tend to gravitate to one for a while, then back to the other. If i had to choose 1 i would probably stick with Studio One as it seems more immediate to me and is more cost effective in the long run. But I would really miss the experimentation side of Bitwig. To alleviate cost i tend to upgrade Bitwig only every 2 - 3 years under the new yearly plan. You can also try Studio One on their monthly Sphere plan which does provide some excellent collaboration tools with other producers. I do not subscribe to this however as I tend to be sporadic user, don’t use for weeks and months then get active for a while then stop again.

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Renoise ! Wait was that an option ?

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I’ve spent many months trying different DAWs. I completed a whole song using ableton, one using Studio one, and nearly another one using reaper. As the bitwig demo doesn’t allow the saving of projects, I’ve only made a couple of ephemeral quick songs.

@sl1200mk2 I really tried to like reaper. I like that you can use the demo for as long as you need, I like the price, and I like that it’s linux compatible. Buuut… couldn’t. I’d to look at the manual to do basic things, the menu diving is horrible, and I felt the tool was standing in the way of the creative process. I’m used to work with computers (it’s my job), but I wasn’t getting along well with reaper.

@glooms Don’t tried Renoise. But I’m suffering from paralysis by analysis in this decision, and I need to choose one DAW once and for all.

@Menez I’ve worked mainly with hardware so far. But I really don’t know where my whereabouts would lead me :stuck_out_tongue:

@Cosmic what are these pattern tools from Studio One?

@selfup bitwig is now on sale (200€ for the EDU license)

If I get bitwig, I won’t pay the upgrade plan every year. I think that bitwig as it is now can keep me busy for some years before I need more features.

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One more thing about Bitwig.

I found that its modular approach is not only fun for sound design and new creative compositional approaches, but also very convenient for basic mixing and mastering tasks.

For example, I now often find myself using its “tool” device together with an envelope follower and/or LFO modulator to dynamically handle track volume instead of using a fully-featured compressor plugin because it’s simpler, faster, provides better control, and can be easily extended (for example by using another track or group as input for the envelope follower). An equivalent approach also works really well for other basic tasks such as EQ-ing.

This transition was very gradual and not something I really was aware of until Stimming talked about it as being a major reason for him using Bitwig in a recent video he did about his studio setup. He also mentions it in this interview.

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…both got relatively fresh code…compared to the “old” classics like pro tools, logic and cubase…and that’s what studio one is aiming at…

while bitwig is the fresh up from berlin to rethink the actual nr.1 daw on the planet ableton in a new fashion…

both can record and handle audio in traditional but smart ways…
while studio one remains way more classic approach than bitwig…

so once u record, there’s way more stuff u can do with it, once it’s treated within bitwig…
bitwig is also the more versatile one, if it comes to options of choice which platform ur using…

if ur a mac guy, bitwig is also already way closer to work smoothly after the big silicon transition and has a tradition to be closer connected to ob support…

so ur decision is like…pick studio one to stay solid in tradition…
or pick bitwig to be open for the future of new daw concepts…

either way, don’t go for the “cheap” versions…get ur education benefits for the full version of ur final choice…

speaking from my point of view…i’ve seen all the classics…and logic remains a cool tool for me…
but i decided to see one more thing…and that’s bitwig…
feels solid…is open for anything u can think of…looks damned good…and is ridiculous fast in handling standards AND coming up with fresh ideas from unknown sonic terretroies…
it’s like ableton and beyond…a truu daw AND a truu musicinstrument u can actually really play AND a whole modular system to get lost in forever if u like, while looking damned fancy…always ready to pick up swedish hw extensions or whatnot else u got or gonna have…no matter what kind of interface ur using, no matter what controler u connect it with and no matter what overall sound u wanna achieve…
a truu investment in the future of music production…

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…and to nail u down on it…i know logic inside out since ages…
and all the standard onboard tools like compression, eq, reverb, delay, synthmodels, sampler tools… u name it…and they are all in good use here…logic got plenty versions of them, with all different plugins all to pick from…

bitwig got one eq with all different bandoptions…one reverb with all tail options…one compressor with all shape options, one delay with all side and pattern options, one synth for each synthesis concept, one grid to create anything new AND one overall modulation and summing concept to rule them all…

so, this bitwig package is small in hd space but sonicwise literaturally endless…first few weeks i was only playing with presets…and puh, still have’nt seen it all and never seen such a small pack of big and serious tools that can take u anywhere and beyond…all in same look and fashion…once u start knowing what u do, u feel like the sonic rocket man…promise.

and i have’nt mentioned it’s pretty neat way of handling any vst’s yet…and also not one of it’s big collection of midi fx tools…arps, scales, chords, keys, repeaters…?..that’s only a beginning…oh, and what about microtunings and multivoicings… :wink:

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Bitwig just announced their Winter Special deals :wink:

https://www.bitwig.com/buy/

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The people have spoken!

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Yey! Open The Grid, open The Grid, open The Grid! Enjoy! :yellow_heart:

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