FAQ's

Below are listed the Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Bitstream 3X. Before contacting support, please find the answer of your question below. You can use the search engine or category filter to narrow the questions and answers displayed.
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[1] For what purpose was the Bitstream 3X designed ?
The Bitstream 3X is a fully programmable MIDI controller that allows you to take full control of any MIDI software or synthesizers, samplers, ... in real time.
With its large amount and type of controls (knobs, sliders, ribbon, joystick, crossfader, ..), it will find a place in both studio and live environments.
[2] Do I need to know MIDI to use the Bitstream 3X ?
No, basically the Bitstream 3X features 2 operating modes : Standard and User.

The standard Mode is already programmed for the most common software, it does not require any programming, it generates all MIDI events required to control all soft synths and sequencers

The User mode is an advanced mode where the user can configure in depth all parameters assigned to each control of the Bitstream 3X.
This mode may require some MIDI knowledge.
[3] What is the purpose of the Sync-24 connector ?
The Sync-24 output allows to synchronize a vintage gear (TB303, TR808, TR909, ...) with the Bitstream 3X.
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The Sync-24 output can be driven from the internal Bitstream 3X sequencer, or by one of the 2 MIDI inputs (MIDI, USB), all selectable from the menus.
[4] Is the Bitstream 3X able to emulate a Mackie control mode ?
Yes, from Firmware V1.5 and higher, a mackie control emulation has been implemented.

Different controls are emulated, please see the dedicated application note for further information

This emulation can be reached by pressing the "Mode" button until "Mackie control" is displayed on the LCD

Please note using the Mackie control mode requires to program the Bitstream 3X with the Mackie control library, this programming is done using the configuration software
[5] Do I need to use the external power adapter delivered with the bitstream 3X ?
If you are connecting the Bitstream 3X on the USB port then you do not need to use the external adapter, the Bitstream 3X can be powered from USB.

If the Bitstream 3X is connected to the computer or synth via MIDI cables only then you have to use the external power adapter.
[6] What is the difference between MIDI Thru and MIDI Outs ?
The MIDI thru output port is the "image" of the MIDI In port.
It allows to easily integrate the Bitstream 3X in any MIDI setup.
The MIDI thru port does not send the MIDI events generated by the Bitstream 3X.

The MIDI Out 1 port is used to send the MIDI events generated by the Bitstream 3X, it is also capable to send incoming events from MIDI In connector (if merger functions are enabled).

The MIDI Out 2 port is used to send the MIDI events generated by the Bitstream 3X, it is not used to send incoming MIDI events, but only dedicated to send internal events.

Both MIDI Out 1 and MIDI Out 2 are also available on the USB port.
[7] Do I need to install a driver to use the Bitstream 3X connected to USB ?
No, the Bitstream 3X is driverless since it is compliant to the USB MIDI specification, and therefore runs without any additional driver (on Windows Xp, Me, Mac).
It is highly recommended to use Windows Xp with service pack 2 installed (some Windows bugs have been corrected in the SP2)
[8] The Bitstream 3X does not require any driver, what is the purpose of the driver available in the download area ?
The driver available in the download area is not a real driver.
When connected to USB, the Bitstream 3X is automatically recognized as a USB MIDI device on Win Xp, Me, and Mac.
The device name assigned to the Bitstream 3X (on Windows only) is "USB audio device".

The purpose of the Wave Idea "driver" is to replace this generic driver name with a more convenient string "Wave Idea Bitstream 3X".
Installing this "driver" is therefore not mandatory, it is only used to update the name of the generic windows driver
[9] What is the purpose of the expansion port ?
The expansion port allows to connect additional controls to the Bitstream 3X. In the future, Wave Idea will propose different low cost hardware (to be connected to this expansion port).
These expansion modules will be fully managed by the Bitstream 3X and therefore seen as additional potentiometers for instance.

Depending on the customer requirements, Wave Idea will decide the type of controls to be found on expansion modules. (joysticks, touchpad, sliders, buttons, ribbon, ...)

The format of the Bitstream 3X expansion port is proprietary, there is no documentation available that may help you to build your own expansion module.
[10] Do I need to register my Bitstream 3X ?
Yes, by registering your product you will be able to download the latest available firmware, you will also get fastest support
[11] What is the purpose of the configuration software ?
The configuration software (Mac and PC available) is used to configure the Bitstream 3X in depth.
It is mainly used to access all parameters of the User operating mode, and will help the user to assign MIDI events to each control of the Bitstream 3X.

Once the Bitstream 3X User mode is programmed through the configuration software, the soft is not required anymore.
[12] Are the 5 buttons of the transport bar assignables over the 20 groups ?
No, the transport bar buttons generate the same MIDI event on all 20 groups of the Bitstream 3X.
These 5 buttons become assignables on all 20 groups when the SHIFT button is pressed (as the 8 programmable buttons).

The 5 transport buttons are thus able to generate different MIDI events on all 20 groups when SHIFT is active.
[13] What parameters can be programmed when using the User mode ?
Compared to the standard mode, the User mode allows to access to all parameters assigned to each control of the Bitstream 3X, among these parameters:
- All kind of MIDI events (including sysexs)
- Checksum (dedicated to sysexs)
- Min value
- Max value
- Midi delay between two successive events
- Chaining of controls (with crossfade option)
- MIDI channel
- Multiple MIDI events per control
- Curve models
[14] What parameters can be programmed when using the Standard mode ?
Compared to the User mode, the Standard mode is pre-programmed with standard MIDI events, only the following parameters can be changed when using the Standard mode:
- MIDI event (CC or Note)
- CC or Note number
[15] What common parameters can be programmed for both User and Standard modes ?
There are some common parameters to Standard and User modes, these common parameters can be programmed for both modes, among these parameters:
- Autosend: Used to automatically send the control value at startup
- Scene exclude: Used to exclude a control from being saved/restored to/from scene memories
- MIDI Outputs: Each control can be configured to be generated on the Bitstream 3X different MIDI outputs (MIDI Out 1, MIDI Out 2, USB Out 1, USB Out 2)
[16] How do I perform a reset to "factory default" configuration ?
To reset the Bitstream 3X to factory default configuration, proceed as follow:

- Press and hold the 3 buttons EDIT + OK + GROUP and turn on the controller.

The Bitstream 3X will display "Initializing ..." text.

Do not turn off the unit while it is initializing.

Initializing the Bitstream 3X will restore default mapping for User mode as well as all parameters to their default value

It is therefore mandatory to upload your whole assignments to a library file (using the configuration software) before restoring to factory default.
[17] How can I obtain the serial number of my Bitstream 3X ?
To get the serial number of the Bitstream 3X (required when registering for instance), you can use one of the 3 following methods :

1- From firmware V1.4, the serial number information can be obtained directly from the controller (Press EDIT button 4 times)

2- From a sticker located below the controller or on the package

3- When connecting the Bitstream 3X to the configuration software or to the Firmware upgrader
[18] How can I change the CC number assigned by default to each control ?
If you are using the Standard or Reason mode, you can change this parameter directly from the Bitstream 3X menus

If you are using the Mackie or User mode, changing the default CC number is done through the configuration software.

An application note regarding this subject is available in the download area.
[19] What is the purpose of the LCD string in the configuration software ?
When using the Bitstream 3X in User mode, a 16 characters user defined text can be assigned to each control

This text allows the user to remember which instrument / parameter is controlled.

In combination with the SHIFT button which prevents the controller from generating MIDI, the user can check the parameter assigned.

The LCD string is a parameter that can be assigned independently to each control of the Bitstream 3X.

[20] I own a Mac, can I use the Bitstream 3X software ?
Yes, all soft dedicated to the Bitstream are available for both Mac and Windows.
(Configuration software, Firmware upgrader)

Regarding the MIDI events generated by the Bitstream 3X, they are not dependant of the computer OS, thus compatible with any connected MIDI equipment
[21] What is the purpose of the "Reason" operating mode ?
The Reason mode is dedicated to the Propellerheads Reason software or any other soft compatible with the Propellerheads Remote technology.

Using this mode give a full control of the software, the Bitstream 3X is automatically detected and fully programmed to be used with Reason.

An application note is available on this site regarding this subject
[22] What is the purpose of the firmware upgrader software delivered with the Bitstream 3X ?
The firmware upgrader application allows to upgrade the firmware (embedded software) of the Bitstream 3X.

This application must be used only when a new firmware version is available.

Firmware upgrades are done through the USB or MIDI connectors of the Bitsream 3X

The software is available for both Mac and Windows.
[23] Where can I find the documentation of the configuration software ?
The help file can be reached from the configuration software:

- By clicking on the Help Bitmap
- From the software menu "Help"
[24] Are the Bitstream 3X software available for Linux ?
Yes, a Linux version for both the "firmware upgrader" and configuration software is available in the download area

Linux binaries (compiled on Fedora core 5) are available, in addition to the Mac and Windows versions
[25] What is the LFO automation ?
The LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator) is used to generate values following selectable wafeform (sine, square, triangle, ..), generated values will be inserted in any programmable MIDI event

The goal is to automatize any MIDI event. For instance assigning a panpot variation following a sinewave, a cutoff variation on a good filter, or any other MIDI event

Different parameters can be controlled in realtime (frequency, amplitude, ...) with the help of 3 dedicated knobs

The LFO can be synchronized from the Bitstream 3X internal time base or from an external clock (Midi, USB)
[26] What is the motion sampler automation ?
The motion sampler is used to Record/Play some control movements
The user can record any control variation of the Bitstream 3X (knobs, sliders, joystick, ribbon, cross-fader, buttons, ...) then play it back in a looped mode.

Up to 8 tracks can be simultaneously played back, each track lenght can be configured from 1/2 to 4 measures.

The motion sampler can be synchronized from the Bitstream 3X internal time base or from an external clock (Midi, USB)
[27] What is the Arpeggiator automation ?
The arpeggiator is an engine able to generate MIDI notes On and Off to the different Bitstream 3X MIDI outputs (MIDI out 1, MIDI out 2, USB out)

The MIDI Notes events generated are following predefined patterns where the user can interact with a multitude of parameters in real time

Connect the MIDI outputs of the Bitstream 3X to any MIDI equipment (hardware or software) able to generate audio (expander, soft-synth, synth, ..) and you will hear the MIDI notes produced by the arpeggiator

Refer to the user manual of the Bitstream 3X to see all the parameters that can be accessed in real time

The arpeggiator can be synchronized from the Bitstream 3X internal time base or from an external clock (Midi, USB)
[28] Sometimes I see the error message 'MIDI overflow' on the LCD, what does that mean ?
If you encounter some MIDI overflow, it should come from a MIDI loopback in you MIDI setup.

MIDI loopback occurs when both MIDI In and Out (or USB In and Out) are connected to another MIDI equipment which is configured to retransmit incoming MIDI events on its output.

To avoid any MIDI overflow, you have to cut this MIDI loopback, this can be done by configuring the MIDI merger of the Bitstream 3X or configuring the connected MIDI equipment.

To turn Off the MIDI merger of the Bitstream 3X, go to the menus and disable the MIDI merger source where the loopback is present
[29] Can I control Ableton Live using the Bitstream 3X in Mackie mode ?
Yes, Ableton Live is compatible with the Mackie control mode, as well as the Bitstream 3X.

Using the Mackie control mode will add these new features :

- Some controls are automatically assigned
- Audio channels metering on the Bitstream 3X LCD
- Time infomation displayed on the Bitstream 3X LCD
- The Bitstream 3X transport bar becomes a remote sequencer
- Possibility to assign all the controls not emulated by the Bitstream 3X using the Live MIDI learn function

An application note describing the Mackie control emulation on the Bitstream 3X is available in the download area, it also describes how to setup Ableton Live when using this mode.
[30] I use Win2K, can I connect the Bitstream 3X to my computer ?
Yes and No
The Bitstream 3X does not require driver when connected to a computer with the USB port. This means it uses the native drivers provided by the OS. Unfortunately Win2K is not compliant with the MIDI-USB specification, as opposed to Win Xp, Mac and Linux which are compliant.

Connecting the Bitstream 3X to Win2K is possible from the MIDI In and Out connectors instead of the USB port.

All what can be done on USB port can also be done using the MIDI connectors (connection to the editor software, firmware upgrades, ...)
[31] How can I select multiple controls in the configuration software ?
From the configuration software version 1.3, it is possible to select multiple controls for easier library creation.

- On Win OS : Use the Control key
- On Mac OS : Use the Command key
[32] When downloading/Uploading assignments to/from the Bitstream 3X, it seems the controller is not properly updated ?
When using the configuration software to program the Bitstream 3X, be sure the following settings are properly configured in the preference panel:

- Select MIDI In & Out devices where the Bitstream 3X is attached

- Uncheck the "Ignore MIDI assignments ..." option, unless you want to skip MIDI assignments programming/uploading

- Uncheck the "Ignore LCD assignments ..." option, unless you want to skip LCD assignments programming/uploading

- Select group range from 0 to 20 unless you want to ignore some groups while programming/uploading

- When clicking download or upload buttons, check the Bitstream 3X LCD that will give feedback about the operation
[33] Where can I find the list of available presets for the Bitstream 3X ?
The list of presets can be found in the configuration software, under the "User and Mackie mode assignments" panel.

The list of presets is sorted by manufacturers and instruments.
[34] My software freezes when the Bitstream 3X is connected, why ?
If your software freezes when the Bitstream 3X is connected, it should come from a MIDI loopback in you MIDI setup.

MIDI loopback occurs when both MIDI In and Out (or USB In and Out) are connected to another MIDI equipment which is configured to retransmit incoming MIDI events on its output.

To avoid any MIDI overflow, you have to cut this MIDI loopback, this can be done by configuring the MIDI merger of the Bitstream 3X or configuring the connected MIDI equipment.

To turn Off the MIDI merger of the Bitstream 3X, go to the menus and disable the MIDI merger source where the loopback is present
[35] How many different MIDI events can I assign to a single control of the Bitstream 3X ?
Up to 21 different MIDI events can be assigned to a single control of the Bitstream 3X

These 21 different configuration are called groups.

Groups can be changed in realtime by selecting "group" function and using up/down buttons or encoder
[36] What is the purpose of the 100 scenes ?
The Bitstream 3X features 100 scenes, located in non volatile memory (you can retriewe scenes after you switched off the controller)

Scenes are snapshots of the physical position of all controls of the Bitstream 3X

You can decide to save the position of all controls (long push on scene button), then continue tweaking pots, faders, buttons, and so on, and decide to recall the previously saved scene

As soon as you recall a scene (short push on scene button), the position of all the controls you previously saved are sent to the MIDI outputs

To exclude some controls from scenes, simply configure them with the "scene exclude" option enabled.
[37] What is the Hook mode ?
The Hook mode is a software method to avoid jumps in value

Since up to 21 different MIDI events can be assigned to each control of the Bitstream 3X, it may arrive that when you change group, the physical position of a control does not correspond anymore to its corresponding value, this may cause undesirable jump in value

For instance, fader 1 is at physical position 10 in group 1, then you switch to group 2 and move fader 1 to position 30, when switching back to group 1, as soon as you will tweak fader 1, a jump will occur from position 30 to 10

To avoid this issue, the Bitstream 3X features a Hook mode
The MIDI data are sent as soon as the physical position of the control corresponds to its value in the current group.

An indication on the Bitstream 3X display mentions the direction to give to the control to hook it and thus send MIDI data.

Hook mode can be enabled or disabled from the menus, or from the configuration software..

From Firmware V1.8, the hook mode can be enabled/disabled independently for each control of the Bitstream 3X, before firmware V1.8, it was a global parameter used to enable/disable hook mode of all controls of the Bitstream 3X
[38] Where can I find a Sync-24 cable ?
You can find Sync-24 cable here :
http://www.engineersatwork.nl

You can do it yourself from this documentation:
http://www.philrees.co.uk/products/sync-if.htm

You can also order one in any electronics shop, simply ask a DIN 5 to DIN 5 cable, with no crossing.
[39] Do I need to install the Xp drivers with Windows Vista ?
No, the Xp drivers are not needed with Vista.
The purpose of the Xp driver (available in the download area) is to replace the generic name "USB audio device" to a more friendly "WaveIdea Bitstream 3X".

Windows Vista enumerates the Bitstream 3X as "Bitstream 3X" and thus does not require any driver.
[40] Can I assign exclusives systems (Sysexs) to the controls of the Bitstream 3X ?
Yes, Sysexs can be assigned to the controls of the Bitstream 3X (potentiometers, sliders, ribbon, ...).

To assign Sysexs, the 'User' operating mode must be used.

The Bitstream 3X is also able to manage checksum insertion in the Sysex.
Checksum are calculated with the Roland standard method
The range of bytes to include in the checksum calculation is fully programmable (the parameter is called 'Checksum first byte' in the configuration software.
[41] How can I adjust the tempo of the Bitstream 3X ?
From firmware V1.6, you can adjust the internal tempo by tweaking the "select encoder" while OK button is pressed in "normal" screen mode
[42] I cannot ear notes from the arppegiator ?
The arppegiator features different synchronization modes depending on your MIDI setup.

You can trig notes from an external keyboard, in a standalone mode, ..., also you can sync the notes from an external MIDI or USB MIDI clock, or from the internal time base of the Bitstream 3X

It is therfore recommended to read the application note available in the download area, which explains the way to start
[43] Do I need to update my firmware ?
Yes, it is highly recommended to update your firmware to the latest version

New firmware feature new functions as well as all bugs corrected found in the previous releases.

All users who own a Bitstream 3X with a firmware older than V1.6 should upgrade to V1.6 or higher if available.
[44] Can I change group names ?
Yes, you can change all 21 group names

By default, all groups are called 'group 0', 'group 1' ...

You can change these names from the configuration software, from the 'global parameters' panel.

- First you need to select the group (top center of the configuration software main window)
- Type the new group name in the 'global parameters' panel
- Download the new group to the controller by clicking 'download selected to 3X'
[45] What is the "offline mode" in the configuration software from version 1.4 ?
The offline mode allows you to work on the Bitstream 3X libraries without connecting the controller to your computer

When selecting this offline mode, you need to select your controller firmware and hardware versions by hand in order to enable/disable some functions according to your controller versions.
[46] What is the purpose of the curve models ?
Each analog control of the Bitstream 3X can vary according to 7 different curve models.

The variation given by an analogue control can evolve according to the model:

- Linear (default)
- Inverse linear
- Logarithmic
- Inverse logarithmic
- Random
- User 1
- User 2

User 1 & 2 curves models can be edited from the configuration software, you can assign 128 different values to the 128 physical values of the analog control !

To use the curves models, you must use the User, mackie control or Logic control mode.
[47] How can I sync my Bitstream 3X with my other MIDI equipment ?
The Bitstream 3X can generate a sync signal from its internal time base or it can be sync from an external incoming signal.

To enable Internal sync from the menus :

- EDIT > MIDI > Realtime
- Internal Sync state : ON
- Internal mode : MIDI Clock / SMPTE
- SMPTE Rate : define here the SMPTE Frame Rate if Internal mode is set to SMPTE
- Internal tempo : Select here the desired tempo (in BPMs), tempo is also available when pressing OK button and tweaking the rotary encoder
- Tempo mode : Select here the way to update the tempo : continuously (As soon as the encoder is turned) / One Shot (after releasing the OK button)

To enable External sync from the menus :

- EDIT > MIDI > Realtime
- Internal Sync state : OFF
- External source : Select here on which input is received the MIDI clock (USB input / MIDI input)

The SMPTE generation is available from firmware V1.8
[48] What are the 64 arppegiator scenes ?
The Bitstream 3X features 64 scenes dedicated to the arppegiator, these scenes are independent of the 100 snapshot scenes , located in non volatile memory (you can retriewe scenes after you switched off the controller)

Arppegiator Scenes are used to save/restore up to 64 user settings of all the arppegiator parameters

For instance you tweak arppegiator parameters and save them in Arpp scnene 0, then you tweak again the arppegiator parameters and save them in arpp scene 1, then you can decide to restore arpp scene 0 at any time by selecting arpp scene 0 and click on Send Scene

Arppegiator scenes are available from firmware V1.8
[49] How can I assign a MIDI event on a fixed MIDI channel, independent of the Bitstream 3X MIDI channel ?
If you use the configuration software V1.4a or lower, it is recommended to read the application note "AN010 : Programming fixed MIDI channels in the Bitstream 3X"

If you use configuration software V1.5 or higher, programming fixed MIDI channels has been simplified, simply go to the "Assign user ..." panel, set the "MIDI channel position" to zero and select the desired fixed MIDI channel.
[50] How do I configure the Bitstream 3X to control Logic Pro 8 ?
A Logic Pro 8 library is available in the download area.
This library solves the sync issues with Logic Pro 8

The library has to be downloaded using the configuration software
[51] I'm using Snow Leopard Mac Os on a 64 bits machine and the Bs3x sends spurious MIDI data, how to solve this ?
For whose have a strange MIDI behavior of their bs3x when connected to snow leopard 64bits via USB, this seems to come from a MIDI loopback issue. Snow leopard forwards incoming MIDI data to MIDI outs, in addition, the MIDI merge function in the bs3x is enabled by default, this creates a MIDI loopback which results in sporadic behaviour of the bs3x. The solution to this issue is to break the MIDI loopback as follow : bs3x menus -> MIDI config -> MIDI merge -> Merger source -> USB In : OFF