Bitwig Studio 8-Track is a very powerful DAW, similar in look and feel to Ableton Live but with MPE (MIDI Polyphonic Expression) compatibility in its sequencer and built-in software instruments, a valuable plus for LinnStrument owners.
A free license for Bitwig Studio 8-Track is included with every LinnStrument. If you bought direct from my site, it was included in my shipping notification email. If you bought from a dealer or used, register your purchase (under the LinnStrument menu) to get your license. And if you bought your LinnStrument before October 2018 and already used your license to install Bitwig 8-Track version 1, that same license permits you to download and install Bitwig Studio 8-Track version 2.
Once you get your license, go to BItwig's site to download and install the installer, which is the same for all Bitwig Studio versions.
You will be asked for your Bitwig Studio 8-Track license code, which will be automatically recognized as an 8-Track license and enable Bitwig Studio 8-Track version. If you don't see this prompt, click FILE menu > Show Dashboard, then in the new window that appears, click the License Info button to enter your license code.
Then do the following:
1) Connect LinnStrument to your computer via USB, then start Bitwig.
Whenever you start Bitwig while LinnStrument is connected, or connect LinnStrument while Bitwig is running, Bitwig will automatically set LinnStrument's Per-Split Settings for MPE use:
MIDI Mode = Channel Per Note
Bend Range = 24 (48 if using Bitwig version 3.3.5 or later)
Timbre/Y = CC74
Loudness/Z = Channel Pressure
Alternately, you can turn off this automatic changing of LinnStrument's settings from Bitwig. To do this, open Bitwig's Settings > Controllers screen and turn off "Send Initialization Settings", and set the Pitch Bend Range for LinnStrument to "48", which is the MPE standard and the default value for MPE play in LinnStrument version 2.2.2 software. Finally, in LinnStrument's Per-Split Settings screen, MIDI Mode column, HOLD "ChPerNt". It will turn blue, indicating that it has set the above-listed settings as shown, except that Bend Range will be set to 48.
2) Load an MPE sound. To load an MPE sound from one of Bitwig's internal instruments, follow the 3 steps shown in the picture below.
To load a third-party MPE plug-in synth, load your desired MPE synth onto an instrument track, then in the "Device Inspector" at left, turn on the "MPE" button and set "PB Range" to be equal to your synth's Pitch Bend Range:
Also, it's important to select "Same" in the Instrument track's inspector:
Here's more information about why Bitwig has separate Pitch Bend Range settings for the Controller (LinnStrument) and each plug-in synth:
a) Internally, Bitwig stores pitch bend data as real musical pitches, not simply as arbitrary Pitch Bend amounts as all other DAWs do. This provides the big advantage of permitting you to edit each note's pitch bend value in real musical pitches, which is much more musically useful. To accomplish this, it must know LinnStrument's Bend Range.
b) Some MPE synths use a different Bend Range than LinnStrument's default 24. By having different Bend Range settings for LinnStrunent and each pllug-in MPE synth, you don't need to change LinnStrument's Bend Range to match each MPE synth's specific Bend Range.
So, incoming Pitch Bend data is converted to real pitches (using the Controller's PItch Bend Range setting) and stored in the sequence as real pitches. Then on playback, the real pitches are converted back to Pitch Bend data (using the plug-in's PB Range setting) for use by the plug-in synth. Brilliant!
This information was provided by LinnStrument user Material Object:
1. With the Linnstrument already connected to your computer, create an instance of the POLYSYNTH instrument that comes with Bitwig
2. Ensure that the Linnstrument is controlling the instance of POLYSYNTH as it should be by default
3. Click the top PLUS button, immediately to the right of the orange ‘power’ icon of the Polysynth to open the Modulators Menu
4. Add the ‘Expressions’ Modulators
5. Add / Edit the specific modulations you want by clicking on one of the 4 Green labels VEL / TIMB / REL / PRES and then adjusting a parameter on the Polysynth. More information on these modulators can be found in this video:
Here are some screen snapshots that accompany the steps: