Get going with MOTU’s DP10 with these videos

DP10 for Mac and Windows, unveiled this spring, brought breakthrough features to the long-standing favorite DAW called Digital Performer. So now it’s time to dig in and start using the new stuff.

DP has never been short on updates, but some of them certainly felt iterative. And the software had to make the jump from Mac to Windows, which initially got tricky with Windows’ archaic high-density display support and left the screen hard to see.

DP10 is interesting because it brings some genuinely new ideas. There’s a Clip View that looks an awful lot like Ableton’s Session View, but with some new twists – and in a more traditional DAW, with stuff like proper video and cue support which Live so sorely lacks. There are more ways to manipulate audio and pitch without jumping into a plug-in. There’s a substantially beefed-up waveform editor. If you missed it before, I covered this when it debuted in February:

DP10 adds clip launching, improved audio editing to MOTU’s DAW

Or watch Sound on Sound‘s breakdown of the upgrade:

I’m a great fan of written tutorials, but some of this stuff really does benefit from a visual aid. So let’s get started. As it happens, while it’s a bit hidden, you can now download a 30-day demo – enough time to try finishing a project in DP and see if you like it. They’ve got a US$395 upgrade from competing products, so DP fits nicely in a mid-range price point when some competing options have crept up to a grand or more. (Cough, you know who you are.)

First, Thomas Foster will hold your hand and walk you through a total-beginner walkthrough of how to get started with DP10. And unlike MOTU’s own videos, this one is also oriented toward in-the-box electronic production – so it’ll be friendly to a lot of the sorts who read this site.

From the absolute beginning, here’s a look at actually creating something, using the Model12 and the BassLine instruments:

(If you want to get more advanced with BassLine, check the MOTU videos below.)

And also at the 101-level, importing audio and applying audio effects to vocals:

VCA Faders are one of the more unique new features – here’s a walkthrough focused on that:

Lastly, round about March MOTU posted a huge trove of demos and tutorials from seminars at NAMM. It’s maybe doubly interesting for including some industry heavyweights – Family Guy composer Walter Murphy, LA producer/composer David Das, Mike McKnight who programs and plays keyboards for Roger Waters, music tech legend Craig Anderton, and more.

It’s easier to navigate what’s available from MOTU’s blog than in the distracting maze that is YouTube, so have a look here:

MOTU demos from NAMM 2019

I expect some CDM readers out there are DP users, so I’d love to hear from you about how you feel about this update and how you use the software in your work.

And as always, if there’s a tool you want to see featured, don’t hesitate to write.

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DP10 adds clip launching, improved audio editing to MOTU’s DAW

DP10 might just grant two big wishes to DAW power users. One: pull off Ableton Live-style clip launching. Two: give us serious, integrated waveform editing. Here’s why DP10 might get your attention.

A handful of music tools has stood the test of time because the developers have built relationships with users over years and decades. DP is definitely in that category, established in fields like TV and film scoring.

This also means, however, it’s rare for an update to seem like news. DP10 is a potential exception. I haven’t had hands-on time with it yet, but this makes me interested in investing that time.

Bride of Ableton Live?

The big surprise is, MOTU are tackling nonlinear loop triggering, with what they call the Clips window.

The connection to Ableton Live here is obvious; MOTU even drives home the point with a similar gray color scheme, round indicators showing play status, clips grouped into Scenes (as a separate column) horizontally, and into tracks vertically.

And hey, this works for users – all of those decisions are really intuitive.

Here’s where MOTU has an edge on Ableton, though. DP10 adds the obvious – but new – idea of queuing clips in advance. These drop like Tetris pieces into your tracks so you can chain together clips and let them play automatically. The queue is dynamic, meaning you can add and remove those bits at will.

That sounds like a potential revelation. It’s way easier to grok – and more visible – than Live’s Follow Actions. And it frees users from taking their focus of their instruments and other work just to manually trigger clips.

Also, as with Bitwig Studio, MOTU lets you trigger multiple clips both as scenes and as clip groups. (Live is more rigid; the only way to trigger multiple clips in one step is as a complete row.)

I have a lot of questions here that require some real test time. Could MOTU’s non-linear features here pair with their sophisticated marker tools, the functionality that have earned them loyalty with people doing scoring? How do these mesh with the existing DP editing tools, generally – does this feel like a tacked-on new mode, or does it integrate well with DP? And just how good is DP as a live performance tool, if you want to use this for that use case? (Live performance is a demanding thing.)

But MOTU do appear to have a shot to succeed where others haven’t. Cakewalk added clip triggering years ago to SONAR (and a long-defunct tool called Project 5), but it made barely a dent on Live’s meteoric rise and my experience of trying to use it was that it was relatively clunky. That is, I’d normally rather use Live for its workflow and bounce stems to another DAW if I want that. And I suspect that’s not just me – that’s really now the competition.

More audio manipulation

Every major DAW seems locked now in a sort of arms race in detecting beats and stretching audio, as the various developers gradually add new audio mangling algorithms and refine usability features.

So here we go with DP10 – detect beats, stetch audio, adjust tempo, yadda yadda.

Under the hood, most developers are now licensing the algorithms that manipulate audio – MOTU now works with ZTX Pro from zynaptic. But how you then integrate that mathemagical stuff with user interface design is really important, so this is down to implementation.

It’s certainly doubly relevant that MOTU are adding new beat detection and pitch-independent audio stretching in DP10, because of course this is a natural combination for the new Clips View.

More research needed.

Maybe just as welcome, though, is that MOTU have updated the integrated waveform editor in DP. And let’s be honest – even after decades of development, most DAWs have really terrible editors when it comes down to precise work on individual bits of audio. (I cringe every time I open the one in Logic, for instance. Ableton doesn’t really even have waveform editing apart from the limited tools in the main Arrangement view. And even users of something like Pro Tools or Cubase will often jump out to use a dedicated program.)

MOTU say they’ve streamlined and improved their Waveform Editor. And there’s reason to stay in the DAW – in DP10, they’ve integrated all those beat editing and time stretching and pitch correction tools. They’re also promising dynamic editing tools and menus and shortcuts and … yeah, just have to try this one. But those integrated tools and views look great, and – spectral view!

Other improvements

There’s some other cool stuff in DP10:

A new integrated Browser (this will also be familiar to users of Ableton Live and other tools, but it seems nicely implemented)

“VCA Faders” – which let you control multiple tracks with relative volumes, grouping however you like and with full automation support. This looks ilke a really intuitive way to mix.

VST3 support – yep, the new format is slowly gaining adoption across the industry.

Shift-spacebar to run commands. This is terrific to me – skip the manual, skip memorizing shortcuts for everything, but quickly access commands. (I think a lot of us use Spotlight and other launchers in a similar way, so this is totally logical.)

Transport bar skips by bars and beats. (Wait… why doesn’t every program out there do this, actually?)

Streamlined tools for grid snapping, Region menu, tool swapping, zooming, and more.

Quantize now applies to controllers (CC data), not just notes. (Yes. Good.)

Scalable resolution.

Okay, actually, that last one – I was all set to try the previous version of DP, but discovered it was impossible for my weak eyes to see the UI on my PC. So now I’m in. If you hadn’t given DP a second look because you actually couldn’t see it – it seems that problem is finally solved.

And by the way, you also really see DP’s heritage as a MIDI editor, with event list editing, clear displays of MIDI notes, and more MIDI-specific improvements.

All in all, it looks great. DP has to compete now with a lot of younger DAWs, the popularity of software like Ableton Live, and then the recent development on Windows of Cakewalk (aka SONAR) being available for free. But this looks like a pretty solid argument against all of that – and worth a test.

And I’ll be totally honest here – while I’ve been cursing some of DP’s competition for being awkward to set up and navigate for these same tasks, I’m personally interested.

It means a lot to have one DAW with everything from a mature notation view editor to video scoring to MIDI editing and audio and mixing. It means something you don’t outgrow. But that makes it even more important to have it grow and evolve with you. We’ll see how DP10 is maturing.

64-bit macOS, and 32-bit/64-bit Windows 7/8/10, shipping this quarter.

Full version: $499USD (street price)
Competitive upgrade: $395USD
AudioDesk upgrade: $395USD
Upgrade from previous version: $195USD

I have just one piece of constructive criticism, MOTU. You should change your name back to Mark of the Unicorn and win over millennials. And me, too; I like unicorns.

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Now a DAW does pitch and time shifts the way you wish it would

If the last generation of production software was about UI, workflow, and add-on extras, the next generation may be about science. Witness MOTU’s DP 9.5.

DP, aka Digital Performer, is that DAW everyone forgets about, but really shouldn’t. Now on both Windows and Mac, and a long-time staple of hard-core niches like the TV scoring business, DP has quietly added all the stuff that makes using a DAW better, without too much extra stuffing, often advancing without any hype past other rivals in key areas.

But even doing that, it’s hard for a DAW to stand out.

So, how about this: how about if a DAW let you manipulate time and pitch in a way that sounded less artificial? Wouldn’t that be a reason to use it?

And while various DAWs have licensed technology for improving time and pitch stretching, most of them still sound, well, pretty crap – especially if you go beyond small changes. (That hasn’t stopped me from using the artifacts creatively, but then the problem is, even those results tend to sound too much alike.)

So, the pairing of Zynaptiq with MOTU gets pretty interesting.

Zynaptiq is one of a handful of developers working on brain-bending DSP science to achieve sonic effects you haven’t heard before. (For some reason, a lot of these players seem to be in Germany … or Cambridge, Massachusetts. The latter is an MIT thing; the former, a German thing? Zynaptiq is out of Hannover.)

In the case of Zynaptiq, “artificial intelligence” and machine learning meet new advances in DSP. Whatever’s going on there (and I hope to cover that more), the results sound really extraordinary. Every time I’ve been at a trade show where the developer was exhibiting, people would grab you by the arms and say, have you heard the crazy stuff they’re doing it sounds like the future. That was aided by a unique demo style.

But there’s a big leap when you can integrate that kind of capability into a DAW and its existing workflow, without all the weird extra steps required to go back and forth to a plug-in.

And that’s what DP 9.5 does – in an update that’s free for all existing users, adding Zynaptiq’s ZTX PRO tech.

You get time stretching everywhere, so speeding up and slowing down by small increments or huge sounds natural. And they’ve done a bunch of work so you can change tempo adjustments and conductor tempo maps – which was always, always one of the best features of DP. (I was at the Aspen Music Festival in the late 90s listening to a film composer show off how easy scoring with DP markers was, fully two decades ago. Two decades later, the competition still hasn’t caught up, and DP has continued to expand on that feature.)

Plus you get pitch shifting and relative pitch editing, as you’ve seen with products like Celemony, but far more deeply integrated in the DAW and with (to my ear) better-sounding results. So yes, that does pitch shifting and pitch correction, but it also opens up some really interesting creative possibilities. This isn’t just about making bad singers sound better; it could be a boon to creative editing. (I just spent the last weekend poking around in Logic’s archaic and dated implementation for the heck of it, not knowing DP 9.5 was coming and… well, just no.)

There are “quality” presets, too, to help you find the right settings.

Have a listen in the demos. Here’s pitch shifting:

And here’s time shifting:

And from the ever-lovely Gotye (really nice chap with a terrifically nice band and some great producers, I have to say, just because I like nice people), some other examples:

Unrelated to all this, 9.5 also has a window that makes it easier to monitor processing load, so you can identify CPU hogs. (Heck, that may mean DP is now part of my standard test suite for plug-ins.) This combines with other unique performance management features in DP, like “pre-gen” capability, which eases the load on your CPU by pre-rendering audio.

Good stuff. More from MOTU:

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DP9: Looks Great, Does More, Does Scores


This is the way DP – Digital Performer – looks in version 9. The tried-and-true Mac DAW now has Retina Display support on that platform, and looks like a viable option on Windows, too.

DP9 may not get the amount of attention as other veteran DAWs (Logic, Cubase, Ableton), but it has a hugely loyal user base and dominates in film and TV production. The DP9 release seems mainly about giving that loyal user base the stuff they want.

The big features: Retina UI on the Mac, lots of workflow improvements (including score export), and new bundled MX4 synth and effects, including one effect that turns your guitar into a synth.

First, the internal features:

  • Separate automation lanes when editing sequencing (for audio, MIDI automation, plug-in settings, etc.), as seen in some other DAW arrangement views. That same view also gets a Spectrogram.
  • Retina themes – Retina resolution for existing themes and that purty new DP9 theme. Unfortunately, this is Mac only, so doesn’t help you if you’re running a PC at higher resolution (though I suppose that’s more rare).
  • Add tracks quickly with the ability to have at all the track types you need in one go.
  • Keep plug-in windows floating.
  • MIDI learn with plug-ins, including Custom Consoles.
  • Mute MIDI notes
  • Project notes
  • Search by Markers, Chunks, and plug-in preferences.

Now, oddly, I think what could prove to be the biggest feature in DP9 is MusicXML export. That lets you take notation from DP’s QuickScribe view (which shows scores alongside arrangements) and export it in a format you can bring into dedicated notation tools like Finale and Sibelius. DP9 is hardly the first to add this feature: Cubase/Nuendo have export and import, and Logic and SONAR each do export. Avid’s Pro Tools even integrates Sibelius directly, now that Avid owns that tool.

But DP9′s enormous popularity in TV and film scoring – including use by giants like the late James Horner – mean that this could be a huge boon in score and part preparation. The list of users working with DP is just stunning, and this is a user group that is hugely dependent on turning projects around with incredible speed.

Export only means you can’t start a score elsewhere and bring it into DP, but I suspect scoring in DP first to picture and then preparing parts or editing elsewhere is more common, which means export is sufficient.

See the official MusicXML site for more on that terrific format.

Upgrading to DP9 costs US$195, though. So the other story here is new synths and plug-ins to sweeten the deal.

On the synth side, there’s MX4, a hybrid subtractive/FM/wavetable/analog synth – basically, a big machine that does everything. That may or may not be of interest to you, given how many synth options are out there these days, but it’s there.

Perhaps more interesting are the effects plug-ins. These used to be a bit scarce in DP, but the collection has really rounded out in recent updates:


  • FET-76 1176 limiter model gets added to the MasterWorks collection for some classic limiting.
  • MultiFuzz is a model of Craig Anderton’s QuadraFuzz kit distortion. (Hey, has that gotten a reissue in hardware? If not, why not? But I digress.)
  • Octave Generators: MicroG and MicroB for guitar and bass, respectively.
  • MetaSynth processor: Guitars go in, synthesizer comes out. You basically get polyphonic octave generation, with a full synth architecture (envelopes, LFOs, flexible signal routing, and even a pattern generator and macros).

MetaSynth and MultiFuzz are two I’d try out, for sure.

DP remains US$499 street, though probably nearly anyone interested will qualify for the competitive upgrade of US$395 – and anyone with MOTU hardware probably has a copy of AudioDesk, which means you can get a US$395 upgrade from that.

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iPad DAW Control App To Beat? V-Control Pro Offers Direct Window on Desktop, More [Gallery]

An iPad app lets you touch anything you see on screen - not just a few pre-defined templates. Here, Pro Tools Eleven amp, full-screen in the app as you'd see it on your desktop, but touchable. At bottom, the dedicated transport controls from the iPad app.

An iPad app lets you touch anything you see on screen – not just a few pre-defined templates. Here, Pro Tools Eleven amp, full-screen in the app as you’d see it on your desktop, but touchable. At bottom, the dedicated transport controls from the iPad app.

Various third-party apps have turned your iPad (or, occasionally, Android) into a control surface for DAWs. Many simply emulate the features of Mackie Control, a popular inter-app control protocol. Steinberg offered its own tool with the awkwardly-named but powerful Cubase iC Pro. Killer features: keyboard shortcuts, visual arrangement overview for navigation. Then, came Apple with the wide-reaching Logic Control. While strikingly similar to Steinberg’s offering, Apple earns points for adding instrumental control, interactive help, and something called Smart Control.

What Apple didn’t do was provide touch interfaces for all its instruments and effects. And as I said in the review, that was especially odd when some already looked like iPad interfaces.

That’s where V-Control Pro, a third-party iPad DAW control app, has a killer feature. “V-Window” gives you a direct look at the interface on your desktop. So, if those desktop controls have started to look like they were really intended for an iPad – Pro Tools’ Eleven Amp here being a great example – you can now use them directly. Sure, various iOS and Android VNC apps have had the ability to do this. But rather than making you awkwardly try to navigate a computer screen entirely from a tablet, V-Control Pro combines dedicated remote controls and the remote windowing on the same screen.

V-Control Pro has some superb features for working with Pro Tools specifically, but it has robust support for other apps, too. (Think Audition, Cubase, Digital Performer, Final Cut Pro 7, Ableton Live, Logic Pro, Reaper, Reason, and SONAR, among others.)

In fact, it easily bests Apple’s Logic Remote app. Sure, those GarageBand instrumental controls are fun, but V-Control Pro gives you a proper mixing window and more dedicated transport and marker controls.

In Ableton Live, you get the sort of mixing window Ableton and transport window didn’t give you on screen.

It all makes me dream of a 15″ iPad.


  • Control “sends, automation, groups, auditioning, plug-ins, jog/scrub/shuttle, I/O assignment” and more.
  • Use alongside Ethernet controllers in Pro Tools.
  • Retina Display support – but also fine on an iPad mini.
  • Dedicated keyboard shortcuts.
  • Multi-touch fader control and automation mode switching and gestural control of the faders.
  • Edit, store memory positions, zoom, control windows, scrub, and shuttle (slightly different in different apps).
  • Dedicated skins for different apps.


Via DailyM [Dutch only]

It’s easiest to see this in pictures, so let’s have a look at just a few (everyone from Reaper to Reason gets something similar):

V-Windows can float atop the interface, too, if you don't need to maximize all your space. Seen here in DP8.

V-Windows can float atop the interface, too, if you don’t need to maximize all your space. Seen here in DP8.

Logic Pro mixing window. Clean as Apple's own offering is, you quickly realize that something close to this may be more what you want.

Logic Pro mixing window. Clean as Apple’s own offering is, you quickly realize that something close to this may be more what you want, at least for mixing and editing (once you’ve jammed on soft synths with Apple’s tools).

Apple's Smart Controls work beautifully - for those instruments and effects for which Apple built templates. But why not use the whole interface? That's what V-Window does for you.

Apple’s Smart Controls work beautifully – for those instruments and effects for which Apple built templates. But why not use the whole interface? That’s what V-Window does for you.

This isn't Pro Tools. This is the mix window for Ableton Live. And that means people long wanting a traditional mixer control for Live will feel right at home.

This isn’t Pro Tools. This is the mix window for Ableton Live. And that means people long wanting a traditional mixer control for Live will feel right at home.

Massive editing features for Ableton Live are hugely welcome. Whereas most iOS apps (and Ableton's Push hardware) focus on live work in Session View, this finally gives you a boost when mixing and arranging.

Massive editing features for Ableton Live are hugely welcome. Whereas most iOS apps (and Ableton’s Push hardware) focus on live work in Session View, this finally gives you a boost when mixing and arranging.

Pro Tools is supported fantastically well, down to this keypad for inputting shortcuts in editing.

Pro Tools is supported fantastically well, down to this keypad for inputting shortcuts in editing.

Loads more examples and exhaustive video examples for each of the supported DAWs are available at the developer’s site, so don’t take our word for it – check it out.

Hope we do a full review soon.

The post iPad DAW Control App To Beat? V-Control Pro Offers Direct Window on Desktop, More [Gallery] appeared first on Create Digital Music.

Two DAWs Ship: SONAR X2, MOTU DP8 – As DP8 Invades Windows, Too

MOTU’s revamped interface now comes with themes, like this lovely black version. And it runs on Windows, not just Mac. DP8, SONAR X2 each tune these mature DAWs; here’s a look at what they have to offer. Image courtesy MOTU.

Two DAWs, announced earlier this year, are now shipping this week. One is Cakewalk’s SONAR X2 for Windows, which extends the new user interface overhaul – loved by some, despised by others – unveiled in X1. But PC stalwart Cakewalk has new competition on the Windows platform. MOTU’s DP8, apart from being a fairly significant overhaul for Mac users, also marks the arrival of that DAW on Windows.

The timing is interesting, too, as there have been long gaps in the release cycle for two other DAWs – Apple Logic and Ableton Live – that are widely expected to be filled with upgrades soon. So, we get to see first where MOTU and Cakewalk will stand; there are in particular some features that are surprisingly absent from Apple’s DAW (like video playback to match their flagship Final Cut editor).

In the MOTU corner: that new UI and themes, new Windows support, 64-bit and VST and ReWire, video playback pros might actually use, and tons of effects, particularly in the guitar/bass guitar category.

From Cakewalk: that new UI retooled a bit to make it more usable, R-MIX visual audio editing from Roland, console-emulating channel strips, and lots of workflow improvements.

Let’s take a birds-eye view of each.


  • Improved Skylight feature, selection tools. SONAR is looking more fluid – and the cost of adapting to the new UI is paying off. Apart from endlessly-customizable widescreen setups, zooming and context-switching tools now make a lot more sense. Moving seamlessly move between tools, rather than doing a lot of switching, is especially appealing. (Looking at you, Logic.) Best seen in the videos, below.
  • More Skylight integration. It was hard to escape a tacked-on feeling with Skylight in X1; version 2 updates more views for easier takes, clips, and the like.
  • SoundCloud export.
  • Better Matrix View. This “Ableton Live in SONAR” feature (okay, not what they’re calling it, but you know that’s how you’ll think about it) has performance improvements, external MIDI support, and more flexible triggering and routing. For people who want some of the triggering options of Session View in a conventional DAW, it could appeal.
  • New effects. R-MIX uses Roland’s very-cool visual editing options and sticks them in SONAR. There’s also a new console emulation – Pro Channel – plus the Overload TH2 guitar effect.

The easiest way to see the UI improvements is in the short videos on the Smart Tool and improved Skylight:

R-MIX is I think perhaps the coolest feature, though it’s available for desktop and iPad from Roland separately from SONAR — including on the Mac.

SONAR X2: What’s New


  • It does Windows. Logic may have abandoned Windows following Apple’s acquisition, and SONAR might still be Windows-only, but DP joins the likes of Cubase and Ableton as a native, cross-platform DAW. Thank easier cross-platform development; MOTU claims operation is nearly identical across the two OSes. That in itself isn’t such news, except for this:
  • Full VST and ReWire support across platforms. So, with Cubase, you can use VST, but not AU. With Logic, you can use AU, but not VST. As with Ableton Live, DP instead lets you use both VST and ReWire on Mac and Windows for easier mobility of sessions. I could talk about how I think we need new formats to replace these aging not-quite-standards, but – this is much, much better than nothing.
  • 64-bit, as well as 32-bit. 64-bit computation means optimized performance and more memory.
  • Cocoa UI. ‘Bout time – not only significant to Mac performance and compatibility, but means Cocoa-based plug-ins will now work, too.
  • New video playback engine. Up to 1080 HD videos on your main or secondary monitor, HDMI, SDI, HDX-SDI, and HD Express support. If your reaction to DP is something like “who’s using DP, anyway?” — one big answer is “people working in video.” And this is another reason why. Your move, Apple. See the video demo from MOTU of how the playback features work.
  • Plug-in management. Organize, enable/disable plug-ins. Given how many performance and reliability woes come from plug-ins, I have no idea why every single DAW doesn’t do this. (Your move, App– oh, I said that already, didn’t I?)
  • New plug-ins. This is another feature that makes Logic look a bit long in the tooth. A new “dynamic equalizer” – cleverly combining multi-band EQ with dynamics – joins a beautiful delay, mid/side processor (creatively dubbed “spatial maximizer”), de-esser, kick drum enhancer, spring reverb, ensemble chorus, VOX ACE30 guitar amp and a number of other bass and guitar amps and cabs, analog delay and flanger, and more stomps and effects. Looks very nice for the guitar crowd and for creative producers. See MOTU’s demo showing guitar processing in DP8.
  • Punch Guard. Apart from being “the move I have to do at NAMM after I’ve made a PR rep angry because of some snarky thing I said blogging,” this counts as an automatic record buffer for before and after punch recording (4 seconds before, 1 second after, customizable). See MOTU’s demo vid.
  • Improved UI, themes. See picture, top. There’s also a transport control that pops into the UI, a bit like in Logic, and… well, in a lot of things.

DP8 is packed with new effects, including a range of guitar and bass effect/cabinet (top) and combined dynamics and multi-band EQ (bottom).

Oh yeah, and I’m not kidding when I say people doing scoring are all about DP. One example, among many:

Lots of MOTU videos on YouTube [hey, guys, do you mean to have embedding disabled?]

By the way, in other MOTU news this month, if you own one of their audio interfaces, you can now control mixing features from an iPad.

Digital Performer Runs on Windows; Hell Freezes Over; SONAR Left in the (Windows-Only) Cold

Digital Performer, and Performer before it, has been a Mac-only program for almost as long as you’ve been able to buy a computer called “Macintosh.” The first Performer release was available in 1985. (Professional Composer, before that, was out in ’84.) Performer, accordingly, has had a big impact on the history of the sequencer, and later the audio and MIDI arrangement hybrid that came to be known as Digital Audio Workstation, throughout the history of the genre. But it’s never run on any Microsoft platform – until now.

In an announcement I doubt anyone saw coming, MOTU has announced they’re shipping Digital Performer 8 for both Mac and Windows, in both 32-bit and 64-bit modes. That means, of the major conventional DAWs, nearly all run on both platforms: Pro Tools, Cubase/Nuendo, and now DP, to say nothing of tools like Ableton Live or Reason. All that’s left are Cakewalk’s SONAR, and Apple’s Logic – and Logic is the one made by Apple. Of course, being cross-platform isn’t always good for business – just ask the ghost of Opcode Studio Vision Pro – but recent changes in how software is developed have made cross-platform compatibility and testing more straightforward than they once were.

For Windows users, you get VST plug-in support and ReWire compatibility.

Other new DP8 features for both Mac and Windows:

  • “Punch Guard” adds four seconds of audio before and after each record, in case you punch in too late or out too early.
  • A new video engine supports 720p or 1080p with flexible output options – aside from your main screen, you can use a second display or HDMI or (very cool) SDI. In the producer community, I often hear skepticism about who uses DP. One major answer: the scoring and video production markets, in a big way. And MOTU’s recent developments in video hardware (hello, Thunderbolt) make them a player to watch, even when industry heavyweight Avid is casting its shadow.
  • New guitar amp and bass cabinet plug-ins, guitar pedals, modeled analog delay, multi-band dynamic EQ, de-esser, kick drum enhancer, and modeled vintage spring reverb. Give a DSP programmer a cookie, and … you wind up with a DAW full of fun sound design toys.
  • Themes for the UI, including “None More Black,” ensuring full Spinal Tap joke compliance for this industry-leading DAW.

That means that Mac users still have plenty to sink their teeth into.

Also, if you happen to be using the CueMix FX software in MOTU’s audio interfaces, you can now control that software via an iPad. Here’s what’s cool there: they’ve done the implementation in OSC (OpenSoundControl). It’s great to see a big industry player throw some weight behind that format.

That’s all we’ve got now – that and a screen shot – but I’m interested to know, any Windows users intrigued by getting to run DP? Or do you have no idea what it actually offers?

In fact, SONAR is in the cold when it comes to multi-platform support, but it has its loyal users, so that’s the question – would Windows users who miss Logic or use SONAR or Cubase consider switching, now that DP will be available on their OS of choice?