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Setting up Osmose in Bitwig Studio

This article explains how to set up Osmose within Bitwig Studio. The first chapter explains how to install required Osmose controller script. The second chapter deals with using Osmose as an MPE controller, and the third chapter shows how to integrate it as an external instrument, recording performances as MIDI messages and playing them back into Osmose's EaganMatrix.

Install the Osmose Controller Script for Bitwig

To enable MIDI communication between Osmose and Bitwig, you will first need to download the Osmose Controller Script for Bitwig from here. The download is a zip archive that you need to unpack. Move the contained Osmose.control.js JavaScript file to this folder:
.../Documents/Bitwig Studio/Controller Scripts

Launch Bitwig and open the “Controllers” tab of the Settings. Ensure "Add detected controllers automatically" is activated (🔄 symbol). The script should detect Osmose as soon as it is connected via USB and will automatically assign the correct USB MIDI inputs and outputs. Thanks to Huib Schippers from our community who laid the groundwork for this!

Alternatively, you can click "Add controller" and choose "Osmose" from the hardware vendor "Expressive E" and select the ports manually. For both inputs and outputs, select the External MIDI Port in the first field, then the Haken Port for the second field, compare Connect Osmose to your computer.

More information on Controller Script installation can be found at Bitwig themselves: How do I add a controller extension or script?

Using Osmose as an MPE controller in Bitwig Studio

When controlling external instruments inside your DAW, use USB MIDI Port 1 (External MIDI or Play port) of Osmose exclusively, see: Connect Osmose to your computer. On your Windows PC, Port 1 will simply be called "Osmose". Take this into account for all the following instructions:

Choose MPE configuration for Osmose's External MIDI Mode

On Osmose, enter the config menu of External MIDI mode and select the "mpe" configuration.

This will make Osmose send MIDI messages according to the MPE specification on Port 1.

Creating an instrument track with Osmose as the input device

Create a new track, choose ‘Instrument’ on the device menu (1), select your MPE-compatible plugin (2), and then click on ‘Ok’ (3).

Select the instrument track, then check the track inspector in the bottom left corner and choose "Osmose External MIDI Port (Port 1)" as MIDI input instead of "All ins":

Click on the MPE plugin device to show the device inspector, then click “MPE” next to "Use MPE" to activate MPE for the plugin.

Configure MPE interpretation in the plugin

Be aware that for some MPE-compatible plugins, MPE functionality must also be activated from within the plugin. Check your plugin’s manual to learn about its MPE workflow. When MPE is activated in the plugin, 'Pressure' will be controlled by Osmose Initial Pressure axis and 'CC74 (MPE Timbre/Slide)' is controlled by Osmose's Aftertouch axis. For more details, see config menu.
In most MPE synths, the maximum MPE note pitch bend range (Axe X) is set to +-48 semitones by default. Adjust the ‘bending range’ fraction on Osmose (Ext Midi mode > sensitivity menu > bending tab) for a more playable range. Example: When the maximum pitch bend range in your external synth is set to 48 semitones, set the fraction in Osmose to 1/48 to end up with a +/-1 semitone range for note bend gestures.

Integrating Osmose as an external instrument in Bitwig Studio

When you plan to record performances on your Osmose as MIDI messages inside your DAW and play them back into Osmose, use USB MIDI Port 2 (Haken port) of Osmose exclusively, see: Connect Osmose to your computer. On your PC, Port 2 will be called "MIDIIN2 Osmose" (or "MIDIOUT2 Osmose"). Take this into account for all the following instructions:

Select the suiting midi i/o settings on Osmose for integration into a DAW setup

Head to Osmose's midi i/o tab. Set 'usb haken mode' to "1/3 note only" to ensure Osmose sends MPE+ messages on Port 2. Set 'haken local control' to "off" to route your playing through your DAW before triggering the instrument. Attention: With 'haken local control' set to "off", Osmose will only sound when its track in your DAW is armed.

It's the classic workflow of listening to your performance ‘as recorded on tape’ instead of monitoring the source directly. It will make sure that your performance sounds identical during recording and playback.

Creating a MIDI track with Osmose as input and output device

Create a new track by clicking on the ‘+’ icon (1). Choose ‘Instrument’ on the device menu (2) and then select ‘Hardware’ (3) and ‘HW Instrument’ (4).

For the MIDI input of the track inspector, choose "Osmose - Haken Port (Port 2)". In the ‘HW Instrument’ device, choose “Osmose Port 2” (or MIDIOUT2 Osmose on Windows) as the MIDI output target. Choose "Keep Ch." as MIDI channel below.* Activate "Use MPE" and set the pitch bend range to +-96 semitones.

Optionally, you may select the audio inputs your Osmose is connected to in the Return section of the HW instrument for easy audio printing of Osmose's audio output in the same DAW track. Arm the MIDI track, and you are ready to record, edit, and playback Osmose performances in Bitwig Studio.

⚠️Please note that overdubbing notes to an existing MIDI clip meant for Osmose's internal sound engine will not work reliably in Bitwig.
Overdubbing in an MPE context requires a dynamic re-assignment of notes across available MPE Note Channels upon every playback. This makes sure every note can have its own channel even when there are more/different notes to trigger than in the original performance.
While Bitwig generally handles this feature just fine, the HW instrument module lacks the option to set the "MPE End Channel" to something other than the default #16. Unfortunately, the EaganMatrix in Osmose requires this exact option because it accepts MIDI notes only on MPE Note Channels #2 to #12 (see Triggering the EaganMatrix from an external device).
Using the "Keep Ch." option for the HW instrument module in Bitwig is a workaround: Applying no channel re-assignment at all omits note dropouts when replaying your single MPE clip, but it comes at the expense of losing overdub functionality.


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  • 03-Apr-2024