Bitwig is a great DAW for recording and editing the Seaboard RISE and GRAND's multi-dimensional MIDI data. Setting up is very simple, and Bitwig's own instruments are MPE compatible so full Seaboard expressivity is easy to achieve.
In this guide we'll look at how to setup the Seaboard RISE and GRAND to play Equator in Bitwig, and also how to fine-tune Bitwig's built-in instruments to respond to each of the Seaboard's dimensions of touch.
Setting up – Short answer
Open ROLI Dashboard, select MIDI Mode: MPE, MPE Zone: Lower, and select a channel range of 15 channels.
In Bitwig, create an instrument track which receives MIDI from the Seaboard and load a multi-timbral plugin such as Equator. Edit the polyphonic expression data (Glide, Press, Slide) using Note Event Expression.
Setting up – Detailed answer
The Seaboard uses multiple channels of MIDI to achieve polyphonic dimensions of touch. Bitwig is very compatible with the Seaboard because it accommodates multiple MIDI channels on a single track which can host a multi-timbral plug-in like Equator. Bitwig's built-in instruments can also be easily setup to respond to the Seaboard's dimensions of touch.
Step 1: ROLI Dashboard Settings
Ensure that the MIDI Settings in ROLI Dashboard are set as shown above.
We have selected:
- MIDI Mode: MPE
- MPE Zone: Lower
- No. MIDI Channels: 15
Step 2: Create an Instrument Track
Open a your Bitwig project.
Create ➝ Instrument Track
Select a multi-timbral plug-in. In this example we're using Equator.
When using Bitwig with Strobe2, SWAM, or other third-party instruments, remember to Force MPE Mode (see below for more on forcing MPE mode).
Step 3: Select the track's MIDI input
In the Inspector panel, select the Seaboard as the MIDI input. In this example we're using a Seaboard RISE.
Step 4: Changing your Equator sound
You can open the Equator plug-in window to edit the sound by pressing the small icon of the plug-in in the Device panel at the bottom of the screen.
Can't see the device panel shown above? Click this icon at the very bottom of the window to show Bitwig's device panel:
Step 5: Recording
Simply arm the track and record in the normal way. All notes will be recorded onto the instrument track and audio will come from the plug-in's stereo output.
Forcing MPE Mode
Some plugins, like Strobe2, require Bitwig to "force MPE mode." If you've loaded an MPE-compatible plugin but it is not responding to 5D touch, in the Instrument Track panel right-click on the plugin name, and then select "Force MPE Mode":
Setting Bitwig's built-in instruments to respond to the Seaboard's dimensions of touch
Assigning modulation in Bitwig's built-in instruments is very simple. Just click on the modulator then click and drag on the parameter you wish to modulate. In the following examples, we have loaded Bitwig's PolySynth and are editing it in the Device panel at the bottom of the screen.
Strike is recognized by Bitwig as "VEL."
Click VEL to start mapping. The available parameters will highlight blue. Click and drag on the parameter to set the modulation amount, then click VEL again to finish mapping.
Press is recognized by Bitwig as "PRES."
Click PRES to start mapping. The available parameters will highlight blue. Click and drag on the parameter to set the modulation amount, then click PRES again to finish mapping.
Slide is recognized by Bitwig as "TMB."
Click TMB to start mapping. The available parameters will highlight blue. Click and drag on the parameter to set the modulation amount, then click TMB again to finish mapping.
For more helpful tips, check out the course Creating with the Seaboard RISE and Bitwig.