MOTU has updated Digital Performer, their audio workstation and MIDI sequencer software for the Power Mac, to version 3.0. DP3 includes a redesigned user interface, complete surround production features for all current surround formats (including 10.2), a new Sequence Editor window for editing MIDI and audio along a single timeline, 15 new plug-ins, several editing enhancements, a new tool bar, enhanced QuickScribe notation engine, new musical symbol palettes, and more.
DP3’s user interface has been completely redesigned from the ground up, taking on a more streamlined, visually efficient look and feel based on Mac OS X’s “Aqua” appearance. The update also adds G4 multi-processor support. Users can now open multiple plug-in windows and surround panners simultaneously.
Digital Performer users have long been able to import audio CDs by simply popping the disc into their Mac and dragging the desired track into Digital Performer, Jim Cooper, MOTU marketing director, said. Now, DP3 users can preview and import any portion of an audio CD track, from a few seconds to the entire track. For example, if they only want to import a small portion of a song, they can save time by previewing the source track and only importing the section they want.
DP3 can now import and export entire multitrack projects from and to Digidesign Pro Tools (or any other OMF compliant system) via DigiTranslator and OMF. For example, DP3 users can import a Pro Tools session, work on it in DP3, and then deliver it again as a Pro Tools session, with all tracks, regions, crossfades, and time-stamps intact, Cooper said.
Version 3.0’s new “Continuous Scrolling” preference causes the playback wiper to stay anchored to the center of the window while the data in the window scrolls behind it. Users can opt to view a moving wiper as in previous versions, if they wish. The update’s playback wiper now serves as the anchor point for zooming in and out.
VocAlign, the ADR (Automatic Dialog Replacement) tool from SynchroArts, allows DP3 users to conform new dialog in seconds. The user selects the original dialog, presses a key, selects the new dialog, and presses another key. VocAlign then automatically time-stretches the new dialog to exactly fit the timing of the original dialog and replaces the original audio file in the track.
DP3’s QuickTime movie window now scrubs during edits. For example, the movie window will scrub frame by frame as the user trims the edge of a soundbite or moves an automation control point. If a soundbite has a cue point somewhere in the middle, the QuickTime movie window scrubs to the location of the cue point, making it easy to place sound effects, for example, that have a reference point that is not at the very beginning. If the soundbite doesn’t have a cue point, DP3’s movie window scrubs with the beginning of the soundbite.
Cooper said DP3 provides a complete environment for creating surround recordings, start to finish. DP3 supports mono, stereo, quad, LCRS, 5.1, 6.1, 7.1 and 10.2 surround formats. New formats can be supported in future versions, as they become available.
The new version lets users choose any panner they want for any track, including third-party panners. Users can mix and match panners across a multitrack project as desired. For example, they might choose a localizer panner for a sound effect track and a stereo panner for a stereo musical instrument track. Regardless of which panner they choose, they can control it with the surround panning dish directly in the track’s channel strip in DP3’s Mixing Board window.
Panners can also be opened as separate windows, just like a plug-in, by clicking a button in the track strip next to the track’s surround dish, but they remained linked to the surround dish in the Mixing Board track strip. Therefore, users can choose any panner they want for a track, and then control it from one of two places: the panner window or the panner dish in the Mixing Board window itself, Cooper said. DP3 includes four panner plug-ins that go well beyond basic surround panning.
DP3 users can choose from several panning modes (mirror, parallel, asymmetric, balance, and mono) to steer stereo signals in a surround matrix with a single automation pass. And its new Audio Bundles window lets users create preset “bundles” of inputs, outputs and busses. For each bundle, the user chooses a name and a set of physical inputs or outputs on their audio interface, or a series of busses within DP3’s virtual mixing environment. Then the bundle appears by name throughout DP3 wherever I/O or bus assignments are made.
Bundles allow users to quickly rewire the internal routings of their project with a few mouse clicks, regardless of how many surround formats or other routing scenarios they use. Users can create multiple output setups, Cooper said.
DP3 supports the standard Mac OS Input Sprocket protocol. This allows DP3 users to connect a compatible USB joystick to their Power Mac and then use it to control any MOTU or third-party surround panner.
DP3 also sorts new tools for inserting and editing audio automation and MIDI controllers. Plus, there’s a new tool palette, new MIDI controller editing modes, MIDI controller modifying tools, and a new sequence editor window.
DP3 is expected to ship the second quarter of 2001 for US $795. Competitive cross-grades will be available, as are upgrades from previous version of Performer and Digital Performer.