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MOTU Announces Digital Performer 4.5

To ship with latency compensation, beat detection engine and more (October 01, 2004)

Digital Performer 4.5

Digital Performer 4.5

MOTU, Inc. ( has announced Digital Performer 4.5, the next major upgrade of MOTU’s audio sequencer software. DP 4.5 introduces hundreds of new features and enhancements, including the Beat Detection Engine, automated tempo analysis, plug-in latency compensation, the MasterWorks EQ plug-in and a new Consolidated Window feature, which lets users work entirely in a single configurable window. As one of the few remaining “DAE hosts”, Digital Performer continues to serve as a leading third-party software front end for Pro Tools TDM systems. Version 4.5 introduces dozens of enhancements for Pro Tools TDM operation, including support for RTAS and AudioSuite plug-ins, full RTAS and TDM plug-in automation, sample-accurate latency compensation for all plug-ins, virtual instrument track support, stereo sends, send automation, automatic voice allocation, QuickPunch support, System Resources Usage window (for monitoring TDM DSP resources) and much more.

Beat Detection Engine
Digital Performer’s new Beat Detection Engine and tempo analysis features give users unprecedented rhythmic and tempo control over their audio, further blurring the line between audio and MIDI data in the most cohesive audio sequencing environment ever devised. Employing sophisticated transient detection technology, the Beat Detection Engine analyzes audio loops and audio files that contain rhythmic music to determine where the beats are in the music. Importing Apple Loops, REX files, ACID WAV’s and other audio material is just the beginning: as soon as they are imported, or an audio track is recorded, the Beat Detection Engine goes to work. Audio immediately conforms to the tempo of the project and users can then begin applying a wide array of beat- and tempo- related features, such as:

Align any audio to the correct tempo - Even if an imported loop doesn’t have embedded tempo information, Digital Performer can immediately snap it to the tempo of the project. But what about lengthy audio files? How can they be matched to a project’s tempo? With the Beat Detection Engine, it’s easy. Users just drag and drop them into a track, and Digital Performer takes care of the rest, even conforming the audio to the project’s tempo automatically, if desired. The convenient Set Sync Point At First Beat command lets users quickly align the first beat (or any beat they wish to use as a reference) to the sequence time ruler.

Quantize beats within soundbites - Users can now easily tighten up the timing of audio tracks with Digital Performer’s Quantize command, applying just the right amount of strength, offset, randomization or even shuffle/swing. The same familiar Quantize window is used for both MIDI and audio data, which can be quantized together in one operation. Whole audio files can be quantized, with no need to split them up into individual beats beforehand.

Apply grooves to audio and extract them from audio - DP users have been able to create and apply rhythmic feel - “grooves” - to MIDI data for years. Now they can do the same for both MIDI and audio. Users can apply grooves to MIDI and audio tracks in one operation, including both timing and “velocity” (the relative strength) of each beat. Users can extract a groove from audio tracks and apply it to MIDI tracks, or vice versa. For example, the feel of a drum recording can be extracted and then applied to programmed MIDI tracks for tight, natural sounding composite rhythm tracks.

Snap edits to beats - Edit grids are commonplace and snap users’ actions to a time ruler that may or may not exactly match the music they are editing. Digital Performer’s new beat grid allows users to make edits that truly match the beats of their audio, perfectly aligned with the placement and feel of each beat. For example, even an action as simple as selecting a two-bar loop can be a painstaking process with just an edit grid. But in Digital Performer 4.5, users can create loops with perfectly aligned end points by just sweeping across the peaks in the waveform with beat snapping enabled.

Split audio on the beats - For extreme tempo changes and other drastic rhythmic and tempo operations, it’s best to split loops and drum tracks into individual beats to minimize extreme time-stretching artifacts. Digital Performer 4.5 lets users do this directly in their audio tracks: there’s no need to work in a separate window. They just select one or more tracks and apply the Create Soundbites from Beats command. They can even choose a guide track to apply the same splits across all selected tracks for consistent editing. Since Digital Performer 4.5’s editing environment is sample-accurate, phase coherence is maintained at each split point across all tracks, a critical factor when editing drum tracks recorded simultaneously from different mic positions, for example.

Sample-accurate precision - When it comes to rhythmic feel, timing is absolutely everything. If the beats are sloppy, timing and feel go right out the window. Thanks to Digital Performer’s internal sample-accurate precision, the Beat Detection Engine is capable of being accurate down to the sample in finding the true initial transient for each beat, especially with musical material for which this technology has been specifically designed (recordings of individual instruments playing rhythmic music).

Beat editing - Digital Performer lets users edit both the location and velocity (relative strength) of each beat. It’s like having the basic features of Recycle built right in to Digital Performer. Users can tweak beats for the exact feel they’re aiming for. Then all beat- and tempo-related features can be applied based on these fine-tuned adjustments.

Plug-in latency compensation
Running under MAS and DAE, Digital Performer 4.5's plug-in latency compensation is sample-accurate — for any MAS, Audio Unit, TDM or RTAS plug-in (including virtual instruments). And it’s fully automatic. Users just load their plug-ins and go. Latency compensation is especially useful for users of hardware-accelerated plug-ins such as the TC Electronic PowerCore and the Universal Audio UAD-1.

MasterWorks EQ
Inspired by legendary British large console EQs, the MasterWorks EQ delivers the look, feel and sound of the most sought-after classic equalizers. Five bands of EQ filtering are provided, each with four EQ types that provide current popular EQ styles and vintage analog EQ styles alike. Two mid bands (LMF and HMF) include shelf filtering. Two additional bands of variable slope low pass and high pass filtering are provided. The filter response display provides comprehensive control and visual feedback of the EQ curve being applied. The MasterWorks EQ has been carefully crafted and meticulously engineered to produce musical results in a wide variety of applications.

Consolidated Window
Many of Digital Performer’s powerful features are accessed in separate windows, such as the Track List, Sequence Editor, Mixing Board and Waveform Editor. Digital Performer 4.5’s new Consolidated Window is designed for users who would prefer to work in one window, with access to each feature via tabs across the top of the window. Features that opened as separate windows in previous versions of Digital Performer, such as the Soundbites window and Sequence Editor, can now appear as a section of the Consolidated Window, either in the center (main body) or in the left- or right-hand sidebars. Users can customize the sections of the window to suit their exact needs, adding as many sections as they wish and resizing them as desired. Unlimited Customized Consolidated Window layouts can be created and saved via Digital Performer’s Window Sets feature. Factory presets are provided for tracking, editing, mixing and other common workflow tasks.


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Related Keywords:MOTU, Digital Performer 4.5, Digital Performer, latency compensation, beat detection, audio sequencer, DP 4.5, MasterWorks EQ, DAE hosts, Pro Tools TDM, RTAS, AudioSuite, Pro Tools, QuickPunch, Apple Loops, ACID WAV, Quantize, MAS, DAE, QuickScribe, Accel, Digidesign, Mark of the Unicorn,

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