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Product of the Week: MOTU Digital Performer 11

Studio pro Mike Levine sizes up Digital Performer 11 and finds that MOTU's flagship DAW has gained powerful new functionality.

Digital Performer 11
Digital Performer 11

With the release of Digital Performer 11, MOTU adds powerful new functionality to its flagship DAW. The new features cover a variety of areas, with a significant focus on virtual instruments and MIDI. As a result, it strengthens DP’s already considerable feature set and further enhances its status as a premier platform for scoring to picture.

Perhaps the most significant of those additions is Articulation Maps, which makes it easier to manage and control the myriad articulations available in orchestral and other virtual instrument sound libraries. You can import articulation maps from VIs into DP or create your own and map them to your MIDI tracks, even on a note-by-note basis. You can switch maps at will and edit articulations in dedicated lanes.

Another feature related to expressive MIDI control of virtual instruments is support for MIDI Polyphonic Expression (MPE) and Per-Note CCs. If you’re using an MPE controller such as the Roli Seaboard or Linnstrument. DP will now recognize and capture MPE data and embed it in regular MIDI notes. DP superimposes the MPE data (for gestures including strike, pressure, slide, glide and lift) on the notes, and you can also open a dedicated lane for editing.

Version 11 also includes Nanosampler 2, a significant upgrade of one of DP’s included virtual instruments. A completely redesigned and modernized GUI gives you controls for slicing audio (including with Randomize and AutoRandomized options) and stretching it with DP’s powerful ZTX algorithms.

Another MIDI enhancement is the support of Multi-Channel MIDI tracks, which can each contain multiple channels. If your VI supports multichannel operation, you can record everything to a single track.

DP11 offers plenty of new goodies in other areas, as well.

Retrospective Record combines the previous Retrospective MIDI Record feature with audio capture. Now DP will listen to both audio and MIDI input sources and, in the background, capture what you’re playing (you can also choose to capture one or the other). DP will record the audio even when the transport is stopped, as long as a track is armed and has a mic or DI source routed to it. If you decide you want to add that recording into your sequence, DP makes it easy.

Some of the other enhancements include:

  • Full compatibility with Mac OS Big Sur and the new silicon Macs. You don’t need to use Rosetta.
  • Included Control Surface plug-ins for Native Instrument Komplete Kontrol keyboards and iCON Control mixing worksurfaces.
  • Live Performance Mode. When used onstage, switching to this mode will make DP process everything in real-time, ensuring instantaneous responsiveness.
  • Improved Chunk management. You can now organize Chunks (sequences) into folders and playlists. A new Chunks List Split View makes organization easier.
  • Intelligent Audio Interface Selection (Mac OS only). Now DP can automatically select the “best option” from more than one interface choice.
  • Dynamically Resizable Channel Strips. DP automatically resizes the height of the faders when you adjust the size of the Mixing Board or Channel Strips window.

DP11 ($499) is available now, and MOTU offers a variety of upgrade and crossgrade options.