Bitwig Studio Meets Surface Pro 3 (Sneak Preview)

At the 2015 Summer NAMM Show, Microsoft keynoted the A3E “Future Of Audio’ Conference.

As part of the event, Microsoft featured a preview of what Bitwig is doing with the Surface Pro 3

In the video above, Bitwig Managing Director, Placidus Schelbert takes the floor for the to preview Bitwig Studio running on Microsoft Surface Pro 3.

And in the second video, below, Thavius Beck demonstrates the Bitwig Pro + Surface Pro 3 combo in action:

Check it out and let us know what you think of the combination!

55 thoughts on “Bitwig Studio Meets Surface Pro 3 (Sneak Preview)

  1. This is next gen stuff!
    Never would have thought that Microsoft is ahead of Apple on audio innovations.

    Over to Apple & Ableton, it’s your turn!

    1. Admin: Spam comments removed.

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    2. I’m tired of working on a handicapped iPad as my main home device and regularly being pushed to use my PC for serious tasks the iPad can’t do (like basic file management)

      The idea of my tablet running full windows without becoming a cumbersome ugly device is extremely attractive.

      Gone are the days of companies telling us what we can and cannot do on our personal mobile devices.

        1. I would never want to navigate the start screen with a mouse, but it makes sense on surface, it’s mostly pretty good. Trying to finger-poke at the right thing on start menu all day would be pretty tiresome.

          SP3 has a lot of weird flaws that make it not so great as a tablet (the apps are terrible, the Skype app bizzarrely won’t let you sign in with your Skype account, and my gripe of the day is it seems to be impossible to prevent it from sleeping while playing music) but it is a very nice and lightweight laptop, and the stylus is really, really good.

          I’m a cranky old man and my audio interface is very firewire, so it doesn’t get used for recording or production, but one of these days maybe I’ll throw bitwig on there for some kicks on the road.

      1. Yep, maybe we are in the mist of a beginning of a shift towards microsoft machines being respected as music making environments…I can’t run my AU/VST’s on an Ipad, and the sweet ipad synths (plus the plethora of music making DAWs, Effects, and what have you) can’t be seen and fully utilized with OSX…so, if the Surface Pro incarnation is truely a mobile computer powerhouse that can run Live/Bitwig/FL/Reaper/Reason and all the others, with ALL the i/o for periphals and storage and practical file transfer without reliance on the cloud this or network that, the real question is: What will Apple bring to the table to counter this Surface thing? The ipad Pro? What, the same ol’ with bigger screen and true multi-window multitasking with the piss-poor i/o? I am sorry, and nothing to belittle the EXCELLENT job that the Audiobus team has done, but I hate not having Midi sequencing betweenapps in a normal working way, and I HATE having to switch back and forth between apps to work woth them…how exactly does that help with the creative impulse…no, i don’t use trackers or step sequence every little thing, it comes to me spontaneously…and the iapd with all its cool stuff still really doesn’t let me be free to create much musically (Korg Gadget is about as close as it has come to perfection regarding the midi sequencing and softsynth paradigm). I’ll see what transpires in a half a year or so, maybe, just maybe, I will spring for one of those Surface with a DAW I can tolerate (Logic Lover since v2.5 speaking although I recently switched to Live due to the EASE of external controller assignments to anything and the EASE of capturing my live performances as actual compositions…things are going to get VERY interesting!

        1. iPad pro will still have an ARM Cortex cpu, this means that it will still be running iOS. Expect the same from Apple, only faster. The Surface Pro is a custom OEM build from Microsoft using the i series processor from intel with the option of 8Gb of RAM. This allows you to run Win8 x64… a full version of the desktop environment with the proper hardware resources, instead of having to deal with the limitations of a mobile devices hardware and its’ limited OS. Windows machines have been acceptable for music since Win7, the L2 cache of C2D or the L3 of an i series and the amount of RAM needed to buffer audio decently has been around since windows went x64. XP x64 was pretty smooth, but still a bit plug and pray… Vista too bloated. Windows 7 had a few issues with USB 3.0, but Win8 has been pretty good to me.

      2. One man’s arsenic is another man’s custard. I get on very well with my iPad. File management isn’t an issue for me. Dropbox connection for everything. I detest itunes and never use it. If I did need to access files directly I would use iFunbox or that other free itunes alternative.

    3. Apple gonna get “Force Touch” haptic feedback right for 12″-15″ screens
      THEREAFTER release MacBook Touchscreen.

      Thus when we move knobs, sliders, we feel feedback on our finger tips.

      1. Haptic feedback is only good with buttons, not so much with knobs or fader. Android has had haptic feedback for years and it has never got on IOS, why do you believe Apple will suddenly introduce haptic feedback on all their devices?

        And why did you repeat that same comment four times in this thread?

    4. Bitwig should fix their software instead of spending time on this thingy. This is just another attempt to generate buzz for a product that has 6+ years in the making, still beta, broken and poorly implemented.

  2. Excellent demonstration of Bigwig and the Surface Pro 3. I’m a true-blue Mac/iOS loyalist, but it looks like Microsoft and Bitwig have a great package here.

      1. I have been running Ableton Live 9 on a Surface Pro 2 since Live 9 was released. It runs very well. Surface is just an ultrabook in a tablet form factor and is no different than any notebook computer.

  3. nice demo.

    a bit of a shame, though, that this was filmed just before the invention of the tripod. made me seasick a bit. and whoever tried to hold a camera overhead like the stage cameraman did for 5 minutes knows why this should not be the way.

  4. Cool stuff!

    Though the one-size-fits-all OS strategy Microsoft is taking has not proven to be as successful as the best-in-class device focus of Apple, it may allow companies like Bitwig push the envelope in interesting ways.

    I am looking forward to seeing how this works out!

  5. Apple lover here and I will day this: Microsoft and Bitwig, keep on pushing the envelope of what can, and should, be done please. Apple seems too busy launching subscription radio services that will give you choices that THEY think you’ll wanna hear via limited i/o mobile devices. Don’t get me wrong, I love my Apple products…hell, i have each generation of the ipad woth doubles of the gen 1 and gen 2…but it seems Microsoft isn’t sfraid to listen to what enthusiasts/professionals are looking for in respective creative realms with technology while Apple won’t listen and will instead dictate the direction those said groups need to take/follow.

    1. Perhaps we should say “new microsoft”. It is only since the big shakeup and replacement at MS that things are improving but it seems those improvements are coming at a fast pace. And as you say… Apple don’t listen.

  6. This could be revolutionary for productivity. Now if only Apple would pull their head out of their ass and offer a MacBook Pro with touch screen capability. It’s become pretty much standard on windows laptops and it’s really nice option to be able to reach out and touch something on the screen if you want to.

    1. you should know how apple roles by now. everyone else does first then they do a bit more elegantly
      but i def give props to windows for integrating there os makes me want a surface fo sho

  7. bitwig sucks big time imho. there are no custom grooves like in ableton, e.g. mpc templates. no groove extract function either. live is way more professional.

    1. Ableton needs the competition, they’ve stagnated since the Bitwig developers left them.

      As for the Bitwig hate – WTF are you talking about?

      Nobody who knows DAWs is going to imagine version 1 of a new daw is going to take on Live and Pro Tools. Bigwig is deep for a version 1 app, but it’s for first adopters who know what they are getting into.

      It’s not for you – take another look when version2 or 3 comes out.

      1. I’m guessing that he wasn’t around for 4 or 5. At the beginning of those releases I seem to remember having a few stability issues. Ableton has come a long way since then, Bitwig came out nice and strong with a quality product for their initial release. I was pretty impressed, especially with the fact that they have a Linux client as well. Diversity can be nice.

    2. Yes, BITWiG doesn’t do groove extract, but it does 100s of far more musically useful things than Live….such as clip audio editing, layered editing, a proper linear sequencer so you can actualy finish songs the best modulation routing available in any DAW. I also own live 9 suite (and have been a user for 8 years) but rarely use it now, it is still the best software for DJs (live use), but BITWiG is definitely a better DAW with clip based launch option.

  8. I am looking forward to seeing Surface Pro 4 vs iPad Pro battle in the autumn and I am expecting some musical demonstrations from both companies @ the unveiling.

    1. Problem for Microsoft is that there 100’s of interesting music apps on iOS already that were written with multitouch in mind, and all the Windows daws were written with a mouse in mind – and they’re already on Mac.

      Live would be the killer app for Surface, but it would need serious rewriting, and there are already excellent touch controllers on iOS.

      1. Ummm… why would Live need a rewrite for windows? Surface Pro runs windows, not a mobile version. The version of windows that is on a Surface Pro is Win8 and Win8 was designed as a native touch enviroment. The cost of an app for a mobile device doesn’t have the same price point of a full DAW for a desktop enviroment. Desktop DAWs are bit more robust and require more processing power than what a mobile devices A series cpu can put out, the surface pro runs an i3/i5 or i7 depending on the model you purchase… Not to mention having more RAM. Honestly, the most impressive thing about Bitwig in my opinion is the fact that they have a linux client.

        1. Your comment is full of misinformation and/or ignorance:

          Windows 8 doesn’t magically make Windows apps into apps designed for multitouch control. Windows apps are designed to be used with a mouse, not your finger, so the controls are generally too small to accurately control with your finger on a Surface size screen.

          Apps like live were not written with multi-touch in mind, so touchscreen interaction is basically limited to using your finger like a virtual mouse.

          If you look at the iPad control apps for Ableton Live, you’ll find that they look very different than Live’s screens, and there’s good reason for that.

          The Surface Pro’s CPU is not significantly more powerful than an iPad’s – they have similar geek bench scores. The iPad is optimized for mobile tasks, though, so it has less RAM and drive space in order to have a longer battery life; while the Surface Pro is optimized to be an all-in-one device, so it has more RAM and drive space, resulting in much shorter battery life.

  9. It would be great for sketching out an idea. But this really needs a Linnstrument style pressure membrane for some real 3D control – the stylus is nice, but come on? Bring it.

  10. Cool that they’re pushing the technology envelope but it looks horrible to actually use. Calling this “touch optimized” is quite the stretch.

  11. That drum groove and synth patch were abysmal. If you’re going to demo something like this, take some time and make it sound good.

  12. Why is everyone so surprised that a touch form “laptop” that looks like a tablet can preform the functions just like a laptop? i7, 8Gb RAM, 128Gb SSD… Not your normal tablet build. Maybe people should stop worrying about if there is an Apple on their laptop or mobile device and start worrying about what’s inside. If people think that a Mac is made of different hardware than their PC counter parts, they have bought into a lie. If people think that they are getting the same quality of OS or hardware configuration as when Jobs was still heading the company… you’ve been duped again.

  13. It might seem like the touchscreen would be nice for making music and stuff, but for performing it really didn’t impress – that’s why there are physical controllers with sliders and knobs. Not only they are easier to handle, they’re also cheaper than a high end touch screen device with a small display.
    Being logic 9 user and having seen how logic pro x works together with iPad’s companion app I really don’t think that apple is far behind in any way. This bitwig combination with surface pro and it’s touch sensitive display is just one way of controlling the software.

    1. My situation right now is this: I am living outside my country and the luggage restrictions prohibited me from bringing my trusty Edirol PCR-500 board with me…all I brought with me right now is my Maschine MKII, New Korg Electribe, Mac Mini 2012, and a slew of Ipads (ipad Air 2 being the beast)…I haven’t hooked up the hardware yet because of my littlest one and what he could potentially do to the hardware (he’s 1 year and 4 months today). I have created my perfect control interface via the perfect ipad solution, that beng Midi Designer Pro (the best period)…Still, hardware control, the pysicality and intimacy of it, cannot find a substitute from a smooth surface. But I must tell you, Midi Designer Pro is without a doubt the most used music related app I have and I have all the killer things rekated to synths and such the ipad has to offer. I am, and have been, the most ardent ipad supporter since day one yet I feel that the ipad synths are better suited, for me and my experiences, as “hardware synths” in and of themselves. Apple needs to open the floodgates and let these amazng apps be seen as AU/VSTs within a computer DAW environment. Sure, there have been inroads made to seeing this happen with the Midimux and such but what I am asking for is a legitimate request and I find it astonishing that it hasn’t been worked out as of yet. Shoot, I am confident people like me would be willing to do an IAP for AU/VST aliase of ipad apps, kinda like you plug in the ipad or interface via local network and have your synth appear as a softsynth not unlike what Yamaha and Korg have done with their workstation editors being seen as AU/VSTs. I just can’t stand having to switch between synth on the ipad by closing one from visibilty while calling up another…maybe the ipad Pro running IOS 9 will answer the call with multi-window abilty? What is compelling about the Surface Pro is the fact that it IS a proper computer running what you have in the studio anywhere, at any time. Sure you can do that now and since forever with a laptop, but the Surface Pro is that much more compact and mobile…it minimizes the need for aditional physical space needed for keyboard and mouse data entry and interface. Come on people, imagine a Macbook Pro screen and associated power of it (read: CPU/RAM/video pocessor/IO) wrapped in a rugged, military-grade third party case of choice! Blow out all your productivity needs no questions asked no matter where, and then bust out some heavy music making till your heart’s content. Sure the Dropbox thing is GREAT if you live in what I like to call Normal Land, but some people, like me for instance, currently reside in a country whose internet and assosicated connectivity blows major ass and stuff like Dropbox barely works as you’d come to expect it to in said Normal Land (hint: I currently live in a country who makes everything for everybody but all that one can get here is knock-offs/bottom of the barrel stuff, and half-baked indgenous tech if not blatantly ripped off of someone elses hard work following international copyright laws…does anyone here know which country it is I am talking about?…well, if it is 12 noon in NY, it’s 12 hours ahead here)

      1. As Audio Units are coming to iOS, then it will probably work the same way in opposite direction.
        If you want to get a military grade professional computer, then take a look at Panasonic.
        I don’t believe in Windows system, not because of the OS not being capable of running music applications, but because there are always electricity problems. Even on my macbook pro – it works nice with OS X, but when I switch to Windows via bootcamp, then this nice high pitch digital sound starts coming from the speakers, when I move the cursor. WTF is that?

        1. Things like unexplained digital belches from the audio outputs when input devices are used, and trackpad lag, and excessive audio latency, are all things that Windows users just assume are a fact of computing life. The absence of these annoynaces is something that Apple users just take for granted, which is part of what makes it hard for them to migrate to Windows.

          Microsoft is not the ubiquitous computing brand it was 15 years ago. In order for them to maintain their dominance in the enterprise (where the real money is), I think they need to stop trying to be all things to all people.

  14. Yes it’s all very nice and all but the slide fingers left/right for pitch and up down for mod is found on some IOS synths too. Issue for me would be the cost of this bitwig in comparison to IOS apps.

  15. Yeah, I could seriously get into a working environment like that, assuming it played well with other devices. Pretty cool stuff. I would still want a more standard portable controller with it though.

    So with the compliments said and meant… I would think Microsoft could hire a video crew that could hold a god damn camera steady and focus it, and then use a boom or fixed rig so I didn’t have to look at a bad cameraman cuddling up to the presenter the whole time! Fail.

  16. Bitwig is just a pale copy of Ableton Live but less smart and full of bugs, where is the revolution here?
    Honestly I’ve been using touchAble on my iPad + Ableton Live and it is for sure 10 times more flexible and fun than a poorly integration on a Surface computer….
    Good to see competition though.

  17. So Bitwig is funded by Microsoft! Now it all makes sense! Just like Microsoft stole the user interface from Apple they are now stealing from Ableton with a tasteless knock off!

    Can’t wait till iPad Pro crushes this crap.

    1. It’s always odd to me how a person could have such a vested interest in a company, to the point of hating it’s rivals. Unless you own signifigant stock in Apple, competition is good and breeds creativity and product development.

    2. I cannot find any reference that MS is funding Bitwig I think Bitwig is independent, but MS is looking for impressive 3rd party apps to showcase their SP3 device.

  18. I cant imagine anything more uninspiring musically than to draw with a pen on a screen. What a boring performance. Its not a mac vs pc or osx vs ios vs win thing. Its just honestly too small a screen and it’s boring as a performance tool. Bitwig is too buggy and so is Microsoft with its flawed architecture. At least osx is built on a solid UNIX foundation – and maybe this is where Windows should go in future (rebuild from a UNIX platform and let go of the old buggy system).

    All the operating systems are in dire need of a mode setting whereby the device can disable certian features and resources to enable an optimum performance – such as flight mode but more choices that cater to real world situations – such as Live Music Performance MODE – Quiet Study Mode – Corporate High Availability & Notification MODE – AV Presentation MODE – etc you get the idea.

    MIDI controllers are great because they create a connection with the device that goies beyond the screen and the operating system. They create wonder in the audience and amazement when happy mistakes occur. But miss a touch on this tiny screen and your [email protected]#d.

    Maybe this is a small step forward but not a live performance tool for a musician by anyt stretch of the imagination.

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