In this article and video we talk about midi controllers with tight integration for Bitwig Studio. Using Maschine Jam with Bitwig Studio is an excellent combo to enhance your music production. Firstly, in the video we will do a brief talk on the Panorama P6 Midi keyboard controller from Nektar Tech. Furthermore, we will look at the Maschine Jam from Native Instruments. With the Maschine Jam we also make a jam performance to show the endless possibilities when the two worlds of Bitwig and Maschine collide. Proceed!
Using Maschine Jam with Bitwig Studio
The Maschine Jam is a controller which will work tightly with Bitwig as your main controller. The magical Touch Strips makes the Maschine Jam suitable for mixing and controlling macro automations in Bitwig.
When working in Bitwig (or any other DAW) you often wish you had an external hardware controller that would let you mix multiple tracks at once. A device that would free you from that mouse and do smooth automation rides without fiddling with cumbersome point editing clicks.
While creating music you want to be in the zone and pour creativity without interruption or obstacles.
What sets the Maschine Jam apart from other hardware for controlling Bitwig?
I bought the Maschine Jam a few months after it’s release, sometime early 2017. Importantly, the main purchase decision was that I had seen videos where Native Instruments showed the Touch Strips on the Maschine Jam.
Importantly, I was curious to see if they would feel (and work) good for controlling plugin parameters. At the time I was producing tons of orchestral scores for films and games. Therefore, I was looking for a device to ease up all the automation rides that needs to be put down via midi CC like; expression, modulation, vibrato etc.
Often this kind of music work means doing one pass of recording the actual notes and maybe doing some expression automation ride at the same time.
Yeah, Usually, you only have one hand for the keyboard, and another for the mod-wheel. That’s it! Well, maybe a foot for an expression pedal…if you are lucky!
Thereafter, you go in and record a second pass of automation for modulation, then a third pass to record automation for the vibrato, and so forth. Very cumbersome, and that’s just for ONE instrument!
8 Touch Strips to rule your macro automations in Bitwig Studio!
With the Maschine Jam you can control up to 8 touch strips at the same time, and boy do they feel nice and smooth. Now I just wish my right hand had 8 fingers… just kidding. =)
No jaggy faders. The Maschine Jam Touch Strips are pure smoothness!
As a result, the Touch Strips saves a ton of time if you are doing a lot of automation in your music production, sound design or audio work. That’s definitely worth something!
Maschine mk3 – the big brother to Maschine Jam.
Furthermore, while we talk about Maschine, I would also like to mention the Maschine mk3. I recently did a 1 year review video of the device.
Control both Bitwig Studio and the Maschine Software from the same Maschine Jam hardware.
If you add a track with the Maschine Software (the mini DAW) that comes with the Maschine Jam you can even jump between controlling Bitwig AND controlling the Maschine Software. Neat!
Furthermore, there is also the possibility to route audio between Bitwig and Maschine. That makes it possible to use the Performance Effects of the Maschine on tracks sent from Bitwig. This feature is also shown in the video.
The Maschine Jam has a special keyboard mode which lets us use the full button layout to play a keyboard in a non-conventional way. In the beginning I thought it was hard to play, but then I realize it’s a great way to break out of the regular playing habit. With that I mean the habit of playing the same keyboard phrases and chords all over. Consequently, the layout really encourage you to think out of the box and come up with new phrases and melodies.
Try it out!
Browsing Bitwig patches from the Maschine Jam controller.
There was one important missing feature I noticed while using Maschine Jam with Bitwig Studio. In the offical Maschine Jam script for Bitwig there are some flaws. While it possible to open the Device Browser, it’s not possible to navigate within the browser. And it’s not even possible to select patches. Fortunately, there is a unoffical script with working navigation for the Bitwig Browser and many additional features. You can download the unoffical Maschine Jam script for Bitwig here.
Komplete Select – bundled with the Maschine Jam.
In the Komplete Select bundled with Maschine Jam, you get 17 products. That means more than 7,000 sounds, and over 45 GB of instruments and effects. You probably heard of Massive, Monark and The Gentlemen and the Replika Delay? They are all included in the package and I can’t even describe how many tracks I’ve produced with these sounds. At least 200!
The Maschine Jam comes with a HUGE library of additional sounds.
One huge bonus of getting the Maschine Jam to control Bitwig, is the large collection (+8 GB) of sounds that you get in the package.
The included MASCHINE software comes loaded with an 8 GB sound library, created by renowned sound designers and artists. 8627 samples, 445 full drum kits, 388 multi-sampled instruments, 403 sliced loops, 1200 patterns, and 38 projects, plus five outstanding drum synths.
Never run out of inspiration or sounds again!
The Maschine Jam is an excellent companion to the Bitwig Studio DAW. It gives you plenty of power to control automations, macros and your regular mixing. The Clip Launching is very convenient with great feedback on the backlit buttons. The Jam comes with plenty of software to fill your everyday composing needs with patches and samples. The included MASCHINE software comes loaded with an 8 GB sound library, created by renowned sound designers and artists. 8627 samples, 445 full drum kits
+ Touch Strips for smooth automation and macro control in Bitwig.
+ Can control both Bitwig and Maschine Software.
+ Clip Launching, keyboard mode, scales mode.
+ Apply Performance Effects on Bitwig tracks.
+ Komplete Select, Huge library of sounds +45 GB.
+ Maschine samples +8 GB of modern sounds.
– Can’t browse Bitwig presets with the native Maschine Jam script (yet, 2019-01-09). But! There is an unofficial Maschine Jam script for Bitwig with many additional features and working Device Browser code.
Now take a look at the video and learn more about how the Maschine Jam integrates with Bitwig. If you want to purchase the Jam, please use my affiliate link in this page. Want to learn Bitwig Studio? Check our Bitwig Studio Basics Tutorials Series.
About the author:
Mattias Holmgren is a creative director sailing from Sweden. He runs Morningdew Media and works as a freelancer for various creative design, app, music and sound design projects. Lectured in design, music production, app publishing & marketing.
Became fluent in programming in the young teens. Developed small game projects on various computers in different languages, then went to music & design school. Released an array of albums with metal bands. Graduating from bands to composition then production, he relishes the chance to play anything that makes unique noise.
The past years Mattias has developed and released a floura of apps for the kids and family market, apps like; Nisse Playful (Lek och lär med Nisse), Playful Math, Nisses Music and Luminati. On YouTube you can find technical tutorials from Mattias where he teaches and spreads love around design, art, music and creative sound design.
Live full, live long!
What gear I use in the studio? Check out the Resources Page.
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