MIDI capture

Capture MIDI a.k.a retrospective MIDI record is a way to catch your jams when you forgot to press the record button - in practice Bitwig would keep the latest MIDI input in the buffer memory and recall it by pressing a dedicated button in the DAW (and for example creating a new clip out of it).

What problem(s) would this feature resolve?

If you forget to press record, or if you “just run through it first”, you might hit on something nice that you then can’t re-capture when you try to record it. Capture MIDI records MIDI inputs into a buffer during playback and then allows you to “record” the contents of that buffer to a track if you realise you would have like to have recorded what you played.

How does this feature fit in Bitwig as a product?

Bitwig puts a lot of emphasis on unrepeteable moments, living sounds, live performance… Sometimes that unrepeteable moment is very good, and you want to capture it before it goes forever…

There are no features of this nature at present but from the user point of view it would involve just an additional button and/or keypress to copy the captured MIDI to the currently armed track(s).

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


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


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


Are there other products that offer this feature?

Live, Cubase, Studio One and Logic.

Relevant links (optional)


7 posts were split to a new topic: [Draft discussion] MIDI Capture

A post was split to a new topic: Audio pre-record

This is the only functionality that’s keeping me from ditching Ableton and buying a full Bitwig license.

I’ve wanted it as my main DAW for so long but I’ve gotten too used to the MIDI capture feature in Ableton. Thanks for bringing this up!


Just thinking about workarounds…

I was wondering whether there is (or could technically be) a plugin or another method that just sits there caching the last N seconds of MIDI input. Plugins can only be enabled at a track level (right?), so you would still need to insert this plugin in the tracks where this kind of performance creativity is expected. These aren’t many in a usual track, right? Leads, drones…

Maybe even an external application listening to the signal from your controller in its way to the DAW?

This to me is such an invaluable feature that keeps me using Ableton more over than Bitwig. Happy accidents often turn into full songs! Got my upvote for sure :slight_smile:


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You’re right any VST Plugin can only work at the Track level. But since 4.something Bitwig can implement Midi Input Channels. (Empty Instrument track as Midi Channel, select this track as Input for all tracks instead of All Midi). So simply inserting one instance there would work, one would have to manually move the clip from the midi channel to the desired track though, if one wants to keep it…
Also I would guess an API script could somehow do it. I am not entirely sure if an elegant buffer solution is possible, but It probably it would work, alternatively and ugly workaround (saving the clip on an empty Clip launcher slot or something like that) should be possible.

@genius minds at BWS: Pls make this happen asap in the coming version. That’s no doubt a great feature for inspiration-centered core.

As someone currently demoing Bitwig as a replacement DAW over Ableton Live which has become increasingly more and more buggy and unreliable for my work, this is one of the features I would miss the most from Live. In Live, I often will jam out on a keyboard and revisit the best bits, chop them out, edit them, and repeat on another instrument layering over and over, all without the pressure and faff of hitting the record button. It’s a lovely workflow which for me at least feels like a very natural way to work. I really hope this comes soon to Bitwig.


im missing this feature

I made a basic controller script to auto-record on Bitwig receiving midi. Not a buffer as such, more about recording whenever midi is received. e.g. when other side of studio jamming or you’re just lazy and want to click a track and start recording. Recording times out and stops after 2 seconds (adjustable in script)
[Record On MIDI – Google Drive]


As much as I love Bitwig, I switched to Ableton 11 when I discovered this feature existed. I will get back to Bitwig as soon as the devs will implement it (most importantly with the bpm automatically set).

To be fair Ableton didn’t have it until very recently and is what, 20 years old now? Bitwig is only 6 years old. I understand it is a valuable feature though if you don’t want to just global record or script it into a controller.

For me it changes the way you approach composition. I actually find restrictive in live that you have to first record enable a track, while I would like to “buffer record” midi sources. But this is subtle and there’s a thread for implementation discussion already.

But new or old feature, once you try it… it is difficult to go back. It’s the difference between losing an idea and having it. The key is not that you can achieve the effect by other means: since it’s especially useful when one forgot to do something, the real experience is there when it’s simply working from the moment you open a project.

To make an analogy, it’s a bit like saying that “Undo” is not that useful because one can always backup a project :slight_smile:

Is it possible that the lack of MIDI capture is related to the not very helpful way Bitwig handles MIDI export? And could these in turn be related to why the recent release has audio comping, but not MIDI comping?

this is what i miss the most in bitwig, very tired of waiting for this little button that changes my life in ableton.

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If I am not mistaken, this feature also allow 1) trigger longer notes while playhead is in the middle of them - so it helps tweak loop with chords notes etc. and also 2) combine more or same midi and retrigger them in different position for creative looping (so again even tough u restart in the middle of some note - that note will trigger shorter and hence create new phrasing).
This all can be done in the Grid like a peace of cake …

Logic has it since 2008 - under “catches” notes.

Did I miss smth or why is it so behind of just “unrecording midi trahscan/ recovery” feature?

Sounds like you are referring to a different feature, at least your 1st point is a feature that already exists. Triggering longer notes when the playhead starts in the middle is called ‘note chase’ which Bitwig has had for a few years, it has to be enabled in Settings > Behaviour > note chase.