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The preferred DAW of many engineers.
Your choice of DAW is a critical one. Of all of the major developers for music applications, the best of the best are all very good, but each have their own attributes, orientations and underlying philosophies that lend each its own personality. Digital Performer represents a complete studio production experience on your computer desktop. It allows you to record, edit, mix, process and master polished recordings that are appropriate to any level of professional environment.
Combine external hardware — synths, controllers, mics, instruments, compressors — with virtual instruments, loops, audio tracks and MIDI tracks, all together in a seamless, intuitive production environment. Work musically with features like the Drum Editor and QuickScribe notation, then switch gears for creative production techniques with inspiring plug-ins like DP8’s new Subkick, Chorus Ensemble, and guitar FX plug-ins. Import loops, launch virtual instruments and 3rd-party plug-ins: Digital Performer is the consummate host. Then polish your recording with Digital Performer’s extensive editing, mixing, processing and mastering tools.
MIDI, audio and virtual instruments
Digital Performer excels at bringing together the worlds of MIDI sequencing, multitrack audio recording, virtual instruments, and loops and sound libraries. Work with all forms side by side, with dedicated editors for each, but also common editing, mixing and processing features that work in the same familiar fashion.
Digital Performer's Consolidated Window streamlines your workspace. Quickly access major features such as the Sequence Editor, Mixing Board and Waveform Editor with tabs across the top of the window. Split the window vertically to view critical information side by side. Add side bars for commonly used lists and info panes. Create and save multiple custom layouts. Factory presets are provided for tracking, editing, mixing and other stages of your workflow.
Custom level meters
What color are your level meters? This may sound like a personal question, but the truth is, level meter color can often be the subject of strong debate. In DP8, you can choose any color you want to perfectly match your favorite theme. You can even design a two- or three-color gradient.
Custom waveform colors
Audio waveforms are the most graphically significant element of your workspace, and Digital Performer lets you dial in the exact amount of color saturation and lightness you prefer, independently for both the waveform and its background. You can also choose to show or hide a solid color bar across the top of each waveform clip.
The Control Panel provides essential information in compact strip across the top of your computer screen. Float it indepedently, or pop it into the Consolidated Window. Configure it however you want with extensive preferences. Digital Performer gives you complete control over this critical component of your creative experience.
Digital Performer is still the only audio workstation application that allows you to create multiple sequences in a single project. Regardless of what you create with DP, you'll undoubtedly end up producing multiple versions of it. Why not have them all in the same project file, at your fingertips, using the same effects processing and virtual instrument resources? Need to use Digital Performer for live performance? Create a single file with all your songs in it, organized into 45-minute song sets or however you like. Digital Performer is the preferred workstation software for live touring, due in large part to this essential feature. Digital Performer's ability to assist you in creating and managing multiple sequences is unparalleled.
Unlimited tracks, unlimited everything
When you work fast, it's nice to know that you'll never hit The Wall. In Digital Performer, create as many tracks as you like. Add as many sequences as you need. Recording multiple takes? Do as many passes as necessary. Digital Performer has been designed to accommodate an open-ended workflow, where ideas can run rampant and limitations, if you need them, are completely up to you.
Track folders and groups
Put folders within folders for as many levels as you need. Assign a unique color to the tracks in each folder to further enhance your project organization. Track folders show an overview of their contents in the Tracks Window. Track folders can be fully edited when either collapsed or expanded, and they even have their own track controls (play-enable, lock, solo exempt, etc.), just like individual tracks. Track folders appear throughout Digital Performer in all windows that show multiple tracks, including all track show/hide selectors. Option-click and command-click shortcuts help you quickly collapse and expand multiple folders, or even all folders.
Precision and resolution
If we had to choose one phrase to describe Digital Performer's no-compromise approach to digital music and audio production, it would have to be: sample-accurate. The shocking truth is that some audio applications don't maintain phase coherence during editing: as soon as you make an edit, the resulting audio clip is now shifted a few samples from its original position relative to other tracks. The results are insidiously disastrous. Never in Digital Performer. DP has been engineered with the utmost devotion to sonic integrity. Regardless of whether you work at 192 kHz with 32-bit floating point audio files, or plain old 44.1 kHz 16-bit audio, Digital Performer is faithful and true down to sample, for every edit, every fader move.
Digital Performer’s Mixing Board window provides a powerful integrated mixing environment for MIDI, audio, and instrument tracks in channel configurations from stereo up to 10.2 surround, along with real-time effects processing and virtual instrument plug-ins. The Mixing Board will seem familiar to beginners and experts alike because it is modeled after standard hardware mixing consoles. Lurking under the hood, however, are many powerful features and many time-saving shortcuts. With internal 32-bit floating point precision throughout the mixing path, combined with 64-bit precision during the mastering stages, audio quality is unparalleled.
Inline multi-band EQ and dynamics processing
Control EQ and dynamics processing directly in each Mixing Board channel with multi-band graphic EQ display and vintage-style compression meter, using any included EQ or dynamics processor, such as Digital Performer's award-winning MasterWorks Series modeled British console EQ and leveling amplifier faithfully modeled after the legendary LA-2A.
Complete mix automation
Work with audio, instrument, and MIDI automation side by side, seamlessly. Draw automation by hand using a variety of tools with various shapes. Record in real-time with mouse gestures or a hardware control surface. Overwrite new automation or trim existing curves, in real time. Take automation snapshots across any or all tracks. Create beat-based, tempo-locked automation effects. Work with broad gestures or pin-point precision. Digital Performer’s mix automation features are deep, yet easy to use.
Plug-ins can be fully automated with ramps, stair steps or other behaviors appropriate for each parameter. The management of automation parameters is optimized throughout the program for efficient and intuitive operation. For example, only parameters that are actually being automated are displayed in lists and menus. Automation snapshots provide many options: they can include all parameters or only those currently being automated.
The Channel Strip sidebar cell in Digital Performer’s main window displays all the mixer channel settings for the track you are working on, for immediate access. Plus, every edit window in Digital Performer can display a "miniature" mixer channel for quick access to mix settings for the track being edited. Crucial miix settings are always at your fingertips.
Digital Performer’s Mix Mode menu in the Mixing Board lets you create, save, edit and switch between multiple mixdowns of your project. For example, you could create several completely different mixes of the same sequence. A mix consists of all the volume, pan, plug-in and other mix automation data in all the tracks of the sequence, as well as all of the current plug-ins inserted on tracks.
Digital Performer set the industry standard for how pitch automation should be handled in an audio sequencer: as a non-destructive automation layer, directly in the track. Often imitated, but never matched, Digital Performer's elegant pitch editing makes pitch correction a breeze, and a joy to work with. From minor corrections to major transpositions, you have every degree of control you could ever want over the pitch of vocal tracks, solo instruments (such as saxophone), or a variety of other pitched monophonic audio material.
Need to do a little pitch correction on a vocal track? Click the pencil tool and simply draw in the corrections. You can even loop the audio and make changes in real time, within the context of your entire mix. Pitch correction has never been easier.
Use formant-corrected pitch shifting for more natural-sounding results or standard pitch shifting for creating special pitch effects. For truly unique pitch-shifting mayhem, use DP's automation drawing tools to shape the pitch curve into periodic waveforms (sine, saw, square, etc.) — you've never heard anything like it!
Adjusting pitch note-for-note
Need to actually change a note in the vocal or other recorded instrument track? Just grab the pitch segment for the note and drag it up or down to the desired pitch. Command-drag to make micro-tonal adjustments. Digital Performer adjusts the pitch curve accordingly, ensuring a smooth transition between the note you drag and surrounding notes.
Scaling the pitch curve
You can even scale the pitch curve to either reduce or enhance vibrato or other variations in pitch.
Need to just clean up an overall "pitchy" vocal performance (as American Idol's Simon Cowell would say)? Select the whole track and choose the "Quantize Pitch" command. All notes snap to their nearest centered pitch. Don't like the results? Simply Undo. Or hand tweak individual notes. All of the pitch changes occur in real-time, so your original audio is perfectly preserved, down to the sample.
Transposing and harmonizing
Digital Performer's Transpose command gives you complete freedom when it comes to transposition. And now you can use that same familiar feature to transpose your audio tracks as well. From simply transposing up or down by a fixed interval to transposing entirely from one mode or key to another, the creative possibilities are endless. Try a different key. Harmonize a vocal. Use the custom pitch map to transpose specific notes to another note. Transpose audio and MIDI tracks in one operation.
Converting audio to MIDI data
Got an audio performance that you'd like to convert to MIDI data? Copy Digital Performer's pitch segments from the audio track and paste them into a MIDI track. Clean them up a bit with quantize, etc. and you've now got a MIDI track that matches the audio performance. Layer a vocal with MIDI instruments, or sing in a melody and then convert it to MIDI for further development and orchestration. Let your imagination run wild. Once again, Digital Performer blurs the line between MIDI and audio, giving you a seamless, intuitive environment for both.
And lots, lots more.
No matter how you approach audio production, DP's customizable user interface empowers your personal workflow. Order today.
Reviewed by 1 customer
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Comments about MOTU Digital Performer 8:
I've been using Digital Performer off and on since 2008 and I've recently upgraded to DP 8. It is a great DAW that can do anything and everything any of the competitors can do and more. Some key bonuses is that you can create multiple mixes, and it is very versatile working with midi.
For me Digital Performer does have a slightly longer curve than Logic or Pro Tools. There is a lot of features and functionality that is nested in the program that most everyday users might over look.
All that said, I think DP is the best DAW on the market today and is worth spending a little extra time learning.
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