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Mark of the Unicorn, Inc. (MOTU) will soon be shipping Digital Performer Version 2.6, the latest update of MOTUs flagship audio sequencer software. The "main attraction" for this release is an innovative RAM-based audio loop recording feature called POLAR. Other enhancements include 100% compatibility with iMac and "Blue" G3 Power Macs, an updated audio engine (MAS 2.0), support for OMS (Open Music System), color coding of tracks, and direct audio input from Retro AS-1 and Unity DS-1 (the virtual synth and sampler software packages from BitHeadz). In addition to dozens of other enhancements, Version 2.6 includes a new MAS plug-in called AudioTap that allows users to feed audio output from any Sound Manager-compatible software (such as Propellerhead softwares ReBirth) directly into Digital Performer.
POLAR stands for "Performance Oriented Loop Audio Recording". The POLAR window offers RAM-based audio loop recording directly within Digital Performer, allowing users to conduct interactive "jam sessions" with their computer, creating as many layers in real time as RAM permits. POLAR can be used for layering, for "getting the perfect take", or for generating complex polyrhythms by layering loops of different lengths.
A typical POLAR session might go something like this: the user sets loop points in Digital Performer, hits the record button in the POLAR window and listens to the background MIDI and audio tracks theyve already recorded. Then the user starts playing and POLAR automatically begins recording. The user then stops playing and listens as POLAR loops their first take. The user then tries again and POLAR automatically creates a new take, saving the first one and muting it so it doesnt interfere with the new take.
After recording several takes, the user then begins to record several passes into the same take, creating a massive layered effect in just a few moments of continuous recording. After several more minutes of overdubbing in this fashion, the user then saves the entire POLAR session for easy recall at any time and then prints the RAM-based POLAR audio as a hard disk track in their Digital Performer MIDI/audio sequence.
Each POLAR loop, or take, is stored individually. POLAR can be set to record only when it receives audio so a user can pause and listen then start recording again - without ever touching the computer. This method of recording gives users the enormous freedom and flexibility when creating music.
Track count inside POLAR has no effect on disk-based tracks users already get with the MOTU Audio System. For example, a user who is playing 32 disk tracks can open POLAR and get dozens even hundreds of additional independent audio layers inside the POLAR window (depending on RAM).
To generate polyrhythmic material, users create multiple passes of different lengths. For example, the user could overdub a 3-beat loop against a 7-beat loop, and then on top of that add a 2-measure loop. POLAR continuously repeats each loop, regardless of its length. Layering passes in this fashion produces complex, evolving polyrhythms.
Direct audio input from BitHeadz Unity DS-1 and Retro AS-1
Thanks to recent co-development between BitHeadz and MOTU, Digital Performer 2.6 users can route the audio output from Retro AS-1 and Unity DS-1, the virtual synthesizer and sampler software from BitHeadz, directly into Digital Performers virtual mixing environment. This allows users to mix and process Retro and Unity audio directly in Digital Performers Mixing Board. It also lets users route Retro and Unity audio to any audio hardware they use with Digital Performer, such as a 2408 audio interface. Retro and Unity audio can be bounced to disk along with the rest of Digital Performer's hard disk tracks for mastering. Both 16-bit and 24-bit audio output from Unity and Retro are supported.
MAS 2.0 and AudioTap plug-in provides universal Sound Manager input
Digital Performer 2.6 ships with Version 2.0 of the MOTU Audio System, the audio engine that powers Digital Performers extensive audio recording and native effects processing capabilities. Among the many new features provided by MAS 2.0 is a new plug-in called AudioTap, which allows Digital Performer users to route the 16-bit audio output of any Sound Manger compatible software directly into Digital Performers audio environment. For example, the Sound Manager audio output from Propellerhead Softwares popular ReBirth virtual drum machine can be routed directly into Digital Performer and combined with the rest of a users hard disk audio and MIDI tracks. Users can even apply real-time MOTU Audio System effects plug-ins to ReBirth audio, such as Sonic Modulator, PreAmp-1 and even Digital Performers 64-bit MasterWorks MultiBand Compressor and Limiter plug-ins.
iMac and "Blue G3" compatibility
Digital Performer 2.6 has been developed and thoroughly tested on Apple's latest CPUs. Mark of the Unicorn no longer employs key disk copy protection, so no floppy drive is required for installation or authorization. For MIDI input/output, Digital Performer will soon be supported by MOTUs complete line of USB MIDI interfaces. In the meantime, Blue G3 users can purchase one of several affordable third-party USB-to-serial adapters from MegaWolf, Griffin Technologies or GeeThree, Inc.
OMS (Open Music System) Support
Digital Performer 2.6 gives users a choice of using FreeMIDI or OMS for managing MIDI data flow in their Macintosh-based system. Under OMS, the OMS Setup application takes care of configuration chores. MOTUs Unisyn and Opcodes Galaxy editor/librarian software programs can manage users synthesizer sounds and patch lists. OMS also gives users greater flexibility and compatibility when using Digital Performer with hardware and software from other manufacturers, such as Digidesign Pro Tools.
Color Coding of Track Data and color schemes
Digital Performer 2.6 also includes the ability to choose a unique color for the data in each track. But Digital Performer goes even further by providing users with a few dozen preset color palettes or schemes, such as metallic, pastels and Santa Fe, which they can freely change at any time. Users can customize any particular track color and even create their own color schemes. For example, a user might devise custom color schemes to suite the particular tastes of several different clients. Color coding extends to all windows that display multiple tracks, including Digital Performers virtual Mixing Board, which shows the track color in the name panel at the bottom of the track strip.
Many other enhancements are included in Digital Performer 2.6, including:
Availability and Price
Digital Performer 2.6 is expected to ship soon and will be sent automatically as a free update to all Version 2.5 users. List price is $795. A special competitive cross-grade is also available for $395.
Mark of the Unicorn, POLAR, Digital Performer, MOTU 2408, Performer, FreeStyle, MIDI Timepiece, Digital Timepiece, MIDI Express, UNISYN and Composers Mosaic are trademarks of Mark of the Unicorn, Inc. Other products are trademarks of their respective manufacturers.