A way to zoom audio waveforms vertically in the arrange view without changing the track height or the clip gain (would also be useful in the waveform editor!)
What problem(s) would this feature resolve?
It’s currently difficult to work with audio regions which are low in level or haave long fading out elements such as reverb or cymbal tails. Often quiet elements are hard to spot and edit accurately.
Another use is to quickly check your noise floor without risking blowing your speakers when you press play again
How does this feature fit in Bitwig as a product?
Additional buttons in the arrange panel / clip panel / waveform editor and extra assignable keyboard shortcuts
Is there already an alternative way to achieve this on Bitwig?
Not really - you can get some of the way in the arrange by enlarging a track view and also temporarily adding gain to an audio clip but that enlarging the track only gets you so far and it’s very inconvenient to mess with clip gain for this which is limited to +18db - especially if the gain needs to be anything other than 0db when resetting it.
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?
Presonus Studio One handles this quite well. Some hardware samplers have this feature (eg. Elektron Octatrack) which is primarily to compensate for low resolution displays but I find this function to be useful in so many situations.
Relevant links (optional)
Have you tried perceptual waveform display (Settings > User Interface)? Since using that I haven’t had much of an issue with the size of waveforms, but it sounds like you may have some more advanced use cases than me.
Thanks for the tip! I hadn’t actually noticed that option before but it is already set to perceptual on my machine, obviously setting it to linear is worse… yeah I am doing a lot of multitrack recording work at the moment and some of those audio tracks are necessarily low in volume
Most DAWs have this zoom function. But when I came across logarithmic view in Ardour I proposed this as feature request instead of a zoom. Bitwig implemented it and just gave it a different name, which describes pretty good what it is for. Since we have that I don’t miss a vertical zoom at all. Its so much better. No need to repeatedly zoom in to see the low levels and zoom out to see the complete hight. Cutting in Bitwig is now better than in ProTools or any other DAW. Only Ardour and Harrison Mixbus have it as well.
Yeah i can see why perceptual waveform display is a massive improvement over linear, i hadn’t appreciated this previously but it makes sense (coming from Live where my waveforms regularly looked like flat lines!). However it’s not a replacement for vertical waveform zoom in my opinion - finding the end of a fading signal is still not easy in this setup, so that kind of accurate audio editing is slower than in other DAWs with this function.
Did you try? You can see signals at -60 dB without problem. Its actually way faster, as there is never a need to zoom in or out…
Yeah I’ve been using the perceptual waveform all along as it’s enabled by default (or possibly i turned it on myself and then forgot). And that’s all you need for producing music but i’m using bitwig for mixing multitracks and that 60db isn’t always enough for the quieter recordings. Bitwig clearly isn’t built for this kind of job but i’m sticking with it as it’s better than live and i don’t want to lose access to everything else bitwig has to offer
It does help a little if i bounce the quieter parts - and this also happens to help with some of bitwigs other shortcomings and bugs (I’m working with multiple takes folded to multitakes which is great but also a bit buggy atm). But i am still guessing where eg. reverb tails end and habitually fading clips out just in case (i’m too impatient to temporarily change the clip gain or even worse, press play and watch the meters )
I use my ears for finding the end of a reverb tail…
And -60 dB is usually the noise floor of a quiet room, the level everything is diving into noise anyway… Its actually the level that defines the reverb time… And that isn’t an arbitrary choice…
I use my ears for finding the end of a reverb tail…
I’m too impatient to do that repeatedly and I’m mostly dealing with line recordings so the noise floor is lower than -60db
I think there’s a lot of room of improvement with waveform visualisation regardless of a zoom feature… Sometimes it’s hard to see audio that isn’t even that low in level, like in regular shaker loop you only really can make out the louder hits. Whereas in Ableton everything is so clear even if you’re not zoomed in, and you can see the actual sample points instead of the negative space between those and -inf dB, which is so counterintuitive
Also it drives me crazy that there’s a margin in audio clips before you hit 0db. It makes it look like there’s always 1db of extra headroom even when the audio is clipping. It would be soo much better if they got rid of that, i feel like it could marginally improve the low level audio issue… or implementing a sort of clipping indicator
Agreed, I’m still finding this to be a bit of an issue, but I’m also finding the waveform displays to be a bit unreliable overall, and I’m having to regularly delete the waveform caches if i ever want to make any decisions based on the waveform view (gain matching similar signals should be 90% doable by eye but often completely wrong if you do it this way in bitwig)