Audio quantize

Quantize an audio sample by shifting its onsets to the grid. The audio following an onset should be stretched up to the start of the next onset, leaving no gaps. It should be possible to specify the grid settings, just like in Note quantize. Users should be able to define a threshold to detect the onsets to be quantized, similar to the threshold feature in the Replacer device.

With audio quantization it becomes easy to alter the groove of looping samples in order to make them mesh better with your current project. A common example would be to quantize percussion loops so they fit alongside the rest of your drums.

Bitwig already detects the onsets in an audio sample automatically. Audio stretching is supported as well.

What problem(s) would this feature resolve?

Currently in Bitwig it is cumbersome to alter the groove of entire audio clips. Making different audio loops mesh well in terms of timing and groove requires a good deal of detailed editing, especially when clips from different sources are mixed.

How does this feature fit in Bitwig as a product?

Bitwig is touted as a DAW that can accommodate almost any sort of workflow. It is billed as a DAW where audio and MIDI are considered to be equally important, with deep editing options provided for both types of clips. However, this is one area where audio is treated as lesser than MIDI. Implementing this feature would allow Bitwig to better accommodate musicians who prefer a more sample-based workflow.

Is there already an alternative way to achieve this on Bitwig?

Audio quantization can be performed in Bitwig already. However, it must be performed manually and is therefore quite cumbersome. Still, it can be done in two ways:

  1. An audio clip can be sliced at onsets. The positions of these slices can then be quantized. However the slices are not stretched, meaning there will be gaps between individual slices. A user needs to stretch each slice into the next one manually by dragging from the upper half of the slice.

  2. A stretch marker can be placed manually at every onset by clicking near the bottom of the waveform. These can then be manually shifted to a desired position.

Because these two manual methods already exist, audio quantize can effectively be implemented in Bitwig by adding any of these basic functions:

  • For method 1, allow for sample slices to be “made legato” similar to MIDI notes. When sample slices are made legato, they are stretched into the next one.

  • For method 2, offer a button to automatically place a stretch marker at every onset in an audio sample. Then allow users to quantize the positions of stretch markers.

Could it be implemented using Bitwig components or APIs, without Bitwig team’s support?

No.

Could it be provided by a VST or something else reasonably integrated with Bitwig?

Probably. Suggestions welcome.

Are there other products that offer this feature?

The most obvious example is Ableton Live, where quantization of audio is offered with one click using the same interface as MIDI quantize. Studio One also offers this feature.

Relevant links (optional)

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20 posts were split to a new topic: [Draft discussion] Audio quantize

The absence of this is literally the ONLY reason I have had to stop switching to Bitwig from Reaper.
I love the sound design and workflow abilities in Bitwig, but I am a drummer so need to be able to quantize audio often - as soon as I discovered I can’t I had to close bitwig and go back to Reaper.

I’m super gutted that this isn’t a thing yet.

I can recommend Reaper’s transient detection and “stretch marker” system works super well for this.

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