PreSonus and Bitwig have teamed up to launch a universal file format for DAWs

It preserves audio, automation and plugin settings across multiple platforms.


While music producers typically have a favorite digital audio workstation (DAW), most creators are forced to swap between software suites to better suit different workflows and plugin options. This is easier said than done. You have to download the audio stems from one DAW and upload them to the next, and that’s just the first step. There’s more to worry about, like mix levels, plugin settings, virtual instruments and so much more. Industry veterans PreSonus and Bitwig have teamed up to try to solve these problems.

The companies have just announced a new file format intended for easy swapping between DAWs. The DAWproject file format will only be supported by Bitwig Studio 5.0.9 and PreSonus Studio One 6.5 for now, but it could theoretically be adopted by other companies in the future. Bitwig and Presonus are calling this a DAW-agnostic platform and stress that they’ve taken steps to make the technology as open to other companies as possible.

DAWproject files go much further than simple audio WAV data. The format keeps track of all relevant information across every track and channel in the entire project. This includes time data, audio information, automation, MIDI notes and plugin settings. All you have to do is save the song as a DAWproject file in one DAW and open it in another. That’s really it. The time data and automation stuff is really interesting, as this includes fades, time warping, transposition and other chores that are really annoying to re-do over and over again.

There are some limitations, as you can only transfer between Bitwig Studio and PreSonus Studio One until other software applications get on board. Also, your plugins must already be installed in both DAWs to instantly transfer settings. Luckily, both DAWs support the VST plugin format, so there shouldn’t be an issue there.

Apple has a limited version of this technology, as you can open up projects created in GarageBand right in Logic Pro X and maintain settings. The reverse, however, isn’t true, due to Logic Pro X being a much more robust application than GarageBand. Beyond that, this is the first universal project standard, well, ever. Here’s to hoping more popular DAWs like Protools, Ableton and Logic Pro X adopt this standard, or any standard, in the near future.

This isn’t Bitwig’s first foray into the world of open-source audio. The company recently teamed-up with virtual instrument experts U-he to create CLAP, an open-source plugin format. DAWproject files are available for use starting today, so long as you use Bitwig Studio or PreSonus Studio One.