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Friday, 08 January 2016 21:57

MOTU Digital Performer 9 Software

Written by  David Hurd
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If you are looking for audio software to use to score your next film, DP9 might interest you.

DP9 is used by Oscar winners like Dario Marianelli, Michael Giacchino, and other professional composers who need to get the job done efficiently, and on deadline.

New Digital Performer versions keep the same simple interface, so you can upgrade and still operate in a familiar working environment. I used tutorials from www.macprovideo.com that were for DP8, and they worked really well.

DP9s new interface is just a new theme with a darker background, that can be quickly changed back to the familiar light grey of the more familiar older version. Since Digital Performer 9 now takes full advantage of Retina technology, the new look is also easier to read, especially for owners of new Macs that have a Retina display.

If you are a guitar player,  the guitar plug-ins should attract you. The addition of the nice multiband distortion MultiFuzz is very cool. The vintage plug-ins are nice as well. The MasterWorks FET-76 models the 1176LN limiting amplifier introduced by UREI in the 60s, and it has the exact same controls as the original. 

In addition to the MOTU plug-ins, I tested the Sennheiser R8 studio mics audio recording with a Waves bundle, and their CLA plug-ins, which also worked very well with the system. The CLA plug-ins let you get great results, even if you are not an experienced engineer.

New feature upgrades include several major enhancements designed to improve the general workflow. The MIDI mute tool is a handy little tool that you can use to temporarily mute notes in a track. This tool also lets you create interesting rhythmic patterns. 

The process of adding tracks has been streamlined with a new Create Tracks command for adding many different types of tracks at once, a group of MIDI, audio and instrument tracks.

Since Instrument tracks in Digital Performer dont carry MIDI data as in some other DAWs. They require MIDI tracks to run them and within this new command the MIDI tracks can be automatically generated for particular instruments. I used this feature with the P-Bass from Native Instruments, and Toontracks EZ-Drummer 2, and they both worked great.

Another really useful addition is the change in Automation editing which has been improved with the data, audio or MIDI, now available in separate lanes below a track.

To aid in your mixing chores, a visual display of the frequency content of your audio tracks is now available. Digital Performers new spectrogram display can be viewed along with a waveform display on your audio tracks. 

Frequency content is represented vertically along the timeline, and brightness indicates the harmonic intensity of your material.

Of all the DAWs that have a music notation score, Digital Performers QuickScribe is the best at transcribing non-quantized MIDI data. Its very accurate, so there is little or no clean-up required. 

Now, Digital Performer 9 boasts a new MusicXML export feature, so scores can be imported into programs such as Finale and Sibelius, without losing QuickScribes version of the data.

Perhaps the most significant new feature in Digital Performer 9 is the new MX4 hybrid synthesizer. With a single intuitive window it looks and sounds like a winner. As a bonus, it also comes with 120 electronic dance music presets inspired by the likes of the Prophet-5, PPG Wave, and Moog Modular. It combines subtractive, wavetable, frequency modulation (FM), amplitude modulation (AM) and analogue emulation. It has six LFOs, three oscillators, two multimode filters, and four ADSHR.

Although its not a massive update, there are many significant improvements and enhancements in Digital Performer 9. For traditional composers, the new Retina support for Apple Macs, the Plug-ins, synthesizer, and MusicXML export features are well worth the price of the upgrade.

DP9 was tested on my Reviewsystem which is:

A Mac Pro 6 core with two D700 cards running Mavericks OSX, 64GB of OWC RAM, secured by a Compu-Lock MacPro Vault. A logickeyboard for DaVinci Resolve, an Apple Color panel,the Black Magic Ultra Studio 4K interface, two High Point Rocketstor 6328 TB RAID controllers connected to four G-SPEED esPro RAID cases, with a Rocketstor 5212 drive bay for inputting video from SSDs, and video output viewed on a Boland 32broadcast monitor. A G-Dock for fast portable storage, and a Mackie mixer, UX2 interface, Komplete Kontrol S25 keyboard, and Genelec studio monitors for audio.

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