State of the Art production software
Bitwig Studio has been quite amazing for me. I avoided it for the first year it was out, knowing there'd be bugs, and honestly not really seeing what it was about. However, once they started fixing bugs and adding the new featured in 1.1 and 1.2, I knew it was worth checking out.
What particularly motivated me was that they seem to just get exactly what producers need these days -
1. Clean organization - not messy pop up windows (like Cubase), but resizable, dockable areas - yet without giving up flexibility, which Live does;
2. plugin delay compensation - this is the main reason I switched back to Cubase from Live;
3. Strong connection between clips and timeline arrangement - this has to be used to be understood; the ability to see and use both clip launching and timeline is crucial; maybe Live 'can' do some of these things, but with the screens split (or at best, on different monitors with the dual screen mode), but this is exactly what I wanted. Maschine is also very good and clip-based music production, and getting an arrangement from the clips, but then it falls a bit short for getting to a final track. So far, Bitwig has really let me keep things arranged into scenes, and never difficult to go back from the arrangement to edit a part and know I've got it stored separately from the timeline representation.
4. Automation - I've been waiting since 2001 for something this easy to use; for example, whatever the last knob you touched was with the mouse, that will be at the top of the list of your automation parameters! No recording something to get it to show, or wading through three menu levels to set the automation lane. This is quick and intuitive and doesn't get in your way. Also I love how it cleans up your data points when you draw so that you don't have hundreds of points, just a point on the grid lines. I am sure other software can be customized to do this (or maybe not!), but Bitwig just gets the default behavior right. Having the automation per clip, and not only that, but still being able to be modulated by automation on the track (either multiplied, or added/subtracted, by the track automation for the same parameter), is also crucial.
5. Audio clip editing - this is also a killer feature. Normally this is why one might get stuck in the arrangement view (or mixing down audio clips in a separate software). In Bitwig, you can add all different audio files within one clip, and re-arrange them and edit them non-destructively. Basically, it's giving all the power of any other daw's audio track, but in one CLIP.
Basically, I feel like this is where audio software should have been by this time. It feels just about as close as software can get to letting you get your ideas down and edit them and work on them without getting bogged down in 'computer' land.