Bitwig UI makes Live look old-fashioned

Discussion of anything not related to audio or music production
[jur]
Site Admin
Posts: 1708
Joined: Mon Jun 01, 2015 3:04 pm
Location: Ableton

Re: Bitwig UI makes Live look old-fashioned

Post by [jur] » Sat May 11, 2019 7:45 am

I had a look at The Grid modulation capabilities outside of itself, and the answer is that it can (just like any other device in Bitwig) only modulate "external" parameters that are in The Grid's "instrument rack" (sorry, I don't know the right terminology in Bitwig).
That's also how I discovered that every modulators can actually only modulate other devices parameters ONLY for devices that are located into the same "rack".
So, yeah the modulation system, especially its mapping, is great and easily controllable (ranges, destinations...) but it's definitely not as powerful as a simple M4L LFO. But that's the beauty of M4L in that it has access to Live's API.
So, from what I know atm about The Grid is that it's actually "just" an integrated and cute OSCiLLOT for Bitwig.
I don't think it's nowhere near what they promised when they launch Bitwig a few years back, but the route they finally took is probably better in that it's very instant and restrained within a "music only" scheme (compared to M4L).
Ableton Forum Moderator

BURN-ADDiCT
Posts: 66
Joined: Thu Nov 30, 2017 3:26 am
Location: Pretoria, South Africa
Contact:

Re: Bitwig UI makes Live look old-fashioned

Post by BURN-ADDiCT » Sat May 11, 2019 7:52 am

I recently traded Bitwig for Live and I can confirm... that "dull" UI is actually better for me finishing songs. It's non-destructive.
Using Bitwig, I had a better time sound designing (Phase 4 is so great) but I wasn't really finishing any songs (and for me, that's important). The piano roll in Bitwig looks better, but it took a bit of time to properly quantize the 64 bar clips I keep recording (took more time than I typically take in Live).

I'd use them both but Bitwig doesn't (and might never) have rewire.
"working jobs we hate to pay for sh*t we don't need" - Tyler Durden

Angstrom
Posts: 14665
Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2004 2:22 pm
Contact:

Re: Bitwig UI makes Live look old-fashioned

Post by Angstrom » Sat May 11, 2019 11:34 am

[jur] wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 7:34 am
Angstrom, you've already been quite vocal about the Browser for the past (8? or more ?) years and I'd personally be more interested in your opinion about anything else that the Browser, UI and workflow wise in the context of this thread.
well, of course I hate to harp on about the browser but it's the cornerstone of a multimedia app. Naturally if search, sort, and filtering is the intended method for finding our disparate content in disparate workflows then we might expect to see a bit more sorting and filtering on that search. Especially now that we have so many good UI patterns for search sort and filter because the internet requires them.

But I'll throw in a few quick UI missteps which occur to me.
These are more scattergun and what occurs to me in the moment, but hopefully illustrate the point

Macro / MIDI Mapping
With the mapping pane closed/folded - Right-click a macro-ed control in a rack and choose "edit macro mapping"
Expected: Macro/mapping pane open with the control focused.
Observed: Nothing happens, controls gain a background but the pane does not open.
Suggested: Pane shoudl open with selected control focused.

Key Mapping (UI divergence)
Put a Sampler in an Instrument Rack. Open both the Key range control of the Instrument rack, and the Key range of the Sampler. Set both to "large" zoom by using the contextual menu (!). Try to scroll horizontally in each
Expected: Coherent scroll method, EG: mouse scrolls horizontally.
Observed: They use different paradigms. The Sampler and Rack look very similar but the interaction is not learnable between both. They use a different metaphor (rack uses the Device view selector to scroll, Sampler uses the mouse hover over the note names )
Suggested: Improve zoom and scroll to remove contect menu and unify into a learnable zoom/scroll method for all range panes.

Devices GUI / UI (screen usage)
Wavetable - open and close the interface to and from full screen.
Expected: some kind of unified methodology of window-pane control, such as a key command or large window control to toggle full-screen view, and return to session/mixing view
Observed: a small marble 15px X 15px which must be clicked with a mouse, or the pane must be dragged from the top.
Suggested: A global mappable key command which universally toggles Devices into/out of full-screen mode

Presets(accessibility)
Most users will perform live and need some form of preset flipping, program changing, usually from a keyboard or external hardware device.
Expected: a method to move through a "set" of presets
Observed: no method to do so, other than the hacky "chain" method.
Sugestion: a method to do so which is coherent and logical, eg multi-select an arbitrary grouping of Instrument racks and put them in an indexable group with user assigned program change numbers.

-- many more of these available on request! --

These are all very "small" points, but my larger issue is that they have been left undone. Unfinished.
Wavetable is very forgivable as it's the first of (I assume) a new breed. But most other discrepancies have been in place for years. Eg: the range panes. Those things are brutal to use, and all of them work differently.

These are just a few illustrations not of "bug" or "wishlist" items, but of good features which never quite hit their 100% goal. They seem to have hit 85% and stopped. The "elegance" is missing.

That's where my BitWig comparison is equally relevant and also problematic. Their solutions for patching are slick, and look beautiful - but we can't draw direct correlations because of the divergent aproaches.
Ableton decied to go with integrating Max ... a 3rd party app which causes my Live to crash 8 times before every start. Ableton went from "you don't need a manual" to "oh, check out the JSUI code implementation we now integrate Node".
Bitwig decided to go with a bespoke solution. Bitwig went for "make a modular synths in 3 minutes".
Personally I strongly prefer the latter in a music making context. I do not want to take a reverb I coded onto stage and leak memory everywhere!
I'm saying that Live's Kitchen sink aproach to this decision is inelegant, and un-simple. Yes it's capable ... like a formula one car, but just like an F1 car it's very likely to break.

These issues of Live's ommision in finesse are difficult to illustrate because I could suggest "solutions" but they could easilly be dismissed as fanciful or unworkable. I could alternatively point at a competitors solutions, or solutions from other fields but these can be shown to be false equivalences, or having flaws of their own.

I feel that Live is a strong app still, but so many areas seem to have suffered from a lack of that last 10% of attention. And yes, I know the last 10% takes 90% of the time. Perhaps that's the issue.

fishmonkey
Posts: 4099
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:50 am

Re: Bitwig UI makes Live look old-fashioned

Post by fishmonkey » Sat May 11, 2019 1:35 pm

have the Abes offered you a job yet???
badbrainz wrote: I'm a drummer, so I'm already at an intellectual disadvantage here

lowshelf
Posts: 483
Joined: Fri Oct 07, 2011 7:35 pm
Location: UK

Re: Bitwig UI makes Live look old-fashioned

Post by lowshelf » Sat May 11, 2019 4:01 pm

fishmonkey wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 1:35 pm
have the Abes offered you a job yet???
He turned up for an interview, but they didn't like the look of him :?

Angstrom
Posts: 14665
Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2004 2:22 pm
Contact:

Re: Bitwig UI makes Live look old-fashioned

Post by Angstrom » Sat May 11, 2019 6:27 pm

lowshelf wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 4:01 pm
fishmonkey wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 1:35 pm
have the Abes offered you a job yet???
He turned up for an interview, but they didn't like the look of him :?
:lol:
I've never had an interview with Ableton, but I do strongly doubt they'd hire me. I'm far too annoying and opinionated, plus I don't believe I have any of the key skills at a high enough level.
I went for a drink with them once though, vistited their offices etc. that was nice. For me!

Machinesworking
Posts: 11102
Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2004 9:30 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Bitwig UI makes Live look old-fashioned

Post by Machinesworking » Sun May 12, 2019 6:10 am

Angstrom wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 11:34 am
I feel that Live is a strong app still, but so many areas seem to have suffered from a lack of that last 10% of attention. And yes, I know the last 10% takes 90% of the time. Perhaps that's the issue.
Nail on the head. At this point there are 4 DAWs on my main computer. Not one of them is 100% in all the areas I care about. I'm going to ruffle some feathers here, but I believe this is a software issue that's plaguing this world at this point. Everything is about getting the next big thing in there, getting the next big feature etc. UX is only as important as first impressions, beyond that it's passed over. No DAW I own is "finished" in more than 90% of the features it has, they implement it, then move on. Racks are awful, they were awful when they came out, far too much "menu diving", and far too much hidden from plain sight. I'm probably alone in thinking that though.
Again this isn't a problem with just Live, or Ableton, it's a problem with the mentality that something is 'good enough'. At one point Apple was that company that although charging more etc. had an attitude that it didn't make them look smart if their customers couldn't easily figure out their interfaces or features, it made them look stupid. It was pointed out to me by my good friend who spent years doing QA for Apple that iTunes defaults to burning CD's alphabetically, because....?? who knows? The answer is that you can tell it to keep the order of The Wall etc. but guess what? you have to do that every time! :x

This is the way now, there are workarounds, so it's good enough. Welcome to the new age. I'm not saying things were better when things were simpler, but I would go as far as to say that instead of a few brutal bugs in software like back in the day, what you seem to get is a lot of partially done sort of left up to you to figure out parts of the programs. This has been an evident part of the Live platform since the addition of M4L. We had a well thought out DJ software that became a critical live performance tool, that was 100% into a WYSIWYG, clean UX experience that tacked on a Linux level program in Max.

There are no golden dragons though. Reaper has some of the cleanest code, it's almost twice as efficient as Live, it's also capable of a lot of the same things. It's also even more geeky, some things just blow in Reaper, but the fans of the program won't admit anything blows, so the developers will probably never solve them. Logic is cool, but IMO the fact that you have to set up MIDI by channel for software instruments to work with more than one controller is pathetic, no other DAW is limited that way, and it's Mac only. DP10 is cool, but it's got super limited controller support, it's strange in many ways that throw people off, and it's a slow development cycle. Cubase has bloat issues, and big corporate sluggishness issues...
Bitwig doesn't do SysEx or ReWire, so it not only can't talk to my hardware but it can't slave to a DAW that can.

TL;DR The software world in general is plagued with 90%, Ableton are just another example of a bigger issue. :(

Tarekith
Posts: 17348
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Ableton Forum Administrator
Contact:

Re: Bitwig UI makes Live look old-fashioned

Post by Tarekith » Sun May 12, 2019 3:10 pm

fishmonkey wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 1:35 pm
have the Abes offered you a job yet???
We did, but when Angstrom found out he could only enter the building through an old-fashioned "door", he politely (yet vocally) declined.

:lol:

Angstrom
Posts: 14665
Joined: Mon Oct 04, 2004 2:22 pm
Contact:

Re: Bitwig UI makes Live look old-fashioned

Post by Angstrom » Sun May 12, 2019 5:48 pm

Tarekith wrote:
Sun May 12, 2019 3:10 pm
fishmonkey wrote:
Sat May 11, 2019 1:35 pm
have the Abes offered you a job yet???
We did, but when Angstrom found out he could only enter the building through an old-fashioned "door", he politely (yet vocally) declined.

:lol:
Handy tip:
The door handle for the Ableton offices is kept in the filing cabinet, right next to the doormouse, doormat, Doberman and Dinerjacket, etc. Sorted in date changed order. I mentioned at the time this could be improved but was told that everyone who has figured out the door handle storage and access system are able to open the door, and this proves it is optimal.
I replied with a 20,000 word utopian magical realism novel which did not serve to accomplish anything or to get my point across even slightly.
:?

Tarekith
Posts: 17348
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Ableton Forum Administrator
Contact:

Re: Bitwig UI makes Live look old-fashioned

Post by Tarekith » Sun May 12, 2019 8:28 pm

:lol:

8)

fishmonkey
Posts: 4099
Joined: Wed Oct 24, 2007 4:50 am

Re: Bitwig UI makes Live look old-fashioned

Post by fishmonkey » Sun May 12, 2019 10:49 pm

hahaha!!!
badbrainz wrote: I'm a drummer, so I'm already at an intellectual disadvantage here

sporkles
Posts: 3189
Joined: Sun Feb 18, 2007 8:43 pm
Location: Schmocation

Re: Bitwig UI makes Live look old-fashioned

Post by sporkles » Wed May 22, 2019 5:56 am

:lol:

nathannn
Posts: 3310
Joined: Thu Dec 07, 2006 2:38 am
Location: U.S.

Re: Bitwig UI makes Live look old-fashioned

Post by nathannn » Wed May 29, 2019 9:04 pm

Ableton Live... you have become an eyesore.
The Push / Novation Launch Pad / Novation Launch Pad Pro / Novation Launch Key
/ Launch Control XL / Machine MkII / Machine Studio / BeatStep / Livid OhmRGB / Livid Code V2 / Apc 40 MKII

no computers or synths

20 Copies of Ableton Live Lite.

smutek
Posts: 4488
Joined: Sun Mar 02, 2003 3:30 pm
Location: Baltimore,United States

Re: Bitwig UI makes Live look old-fashioned

Post by smutek » Thu May 30, 2019 12:44 pm

I'm in the same camp. I'm about sick to death of instruments being constrained to the bottom 1/16th of my screen. Wavetable was hugely refreshing for me with its expandable interface and I hope Ableton introduces a similar interface for all of their instruments and tools in the future.

I've been really pissed off with the stability lately but ultimately its UX that's making me decide to take a break from Ableton for a while. It's just become kind of oppressive for me, and gray.

kitekrazy
Posts: 731
Joined: Sat Jan 16, 2010 7:16 pm

Re: Bitwig UI makes Live look old-fashioned

Post by kitekrazy » Sun Jun 02, 2019 4:15 pm

I guess I'm not from generation that needs my eye candy to work with a DAW. I even use Reaper's plain GUI. I have the CM version of Bitwig and I just don't dig it. I'm not gonna switch anytime soon.

Post Reply