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MOTU (Mark of the Unicorn, Inc.) demonstrated new features to be included in Digital Performer 3.1, scheduled for release in the first quarter of 2002. New features shown publicly for the first time include enhanced audio loop importing features that allow for "Acid-style" loop building, crossfade editing directly in the Sequence Editor window, and numerous other enhancements.

When a DP user drags audio into a track, Digital Performer 3.1 will now automatically convert audio to the project's bit-depth, sample rate and tempo according to the user's previously chosen specifications, perfectly matching the project's tempo. In addition, when Digital Performer time-stretches or pitch-shifts audio data, it maintains a link with the original source audio. If the user then time-stretches or pitch-shifts the audio again, Digital Performer uses the original source audio to create the new tempo or pitch, ensuring the cleanest, most sonically pure results possible. Changing the global tempo of a project, say from 128 beats per minute (bpm) to 132 bpm, is now effortless because Digital Performer will automatically conform all audio (and MIDI) data to the new tempo. Tempo data is now stored in the source audio file so that automatic time-stretching occurs in any DP project.

To support these automated audio management features, the Soundbites window (which lists all of the audio regions being used in a project) has been enhanced. By displaying the list of soundbites hierarchically, along with many options for sorting the soundbite list, users can instantly view soundbites by folder, parent audio file, time created, number of audio channels (mono, stereo, 5.1, etc.) and many other characteristics. For example, a user could ask themselves, "What was that audio loop I created last Thursday night?" and then view by "date created" to easily locate the loop. In addition, the Soundbite list also displays how each soundbite was created. For example, it could have been imported or created as the result of an edit, transpose operation, time-stretch, bounce, etc.

Fades and crossfades can now be created and edited directly in Digital Performer's multitrack Sequence Editor window. Users simply grab a handle at the edge of a soundbite and pull the crossfade to the desired length and position. Users can double-click the fade or crossfade to easily modify its shape using equal-power, equal-gain or independent fade curves, along with dozens of preset curves. Fades and crossfades also intelligently scale themselves during trimming operations.

MOTU representatives showed numerous other Digital Performer 3.1 enhancements during their NAMM presentation, including the following:

  • Support for Digidesign's DigiTranslator 2.0 and Pro Tools 5.1.3 OMF import/export enhancements, which now allow users to interchange 24-bit audio and complete volume automation between Digital Performer and Pro Tools.
  • Users can now drag and drop OMF files into Digital Performer's Chunks window for exceptionally easy OMF file importing.
  • There is a new Scissors Tool in the Tool palette for easy, one-click audio region splitting.
  • Digital Performer can now display rectified audio waveforms (where only the top half of the wavefrom is shown) to give users twice the amount of detail when viewing audio data. Preferences are provided for controlling when audio is displayed in rectified form, depending on the vertical size of the track.
  • New drum kit presets in the Drum Editor allow users to get started more quickly when building rhythm tracks.
  • Play-enable buttons have been added to the title bars of edit windows so that users can more easily play, mute and solo the track they are currently editing.

Also included in the Version 3.1 release are a host of new features first introduced last month at the AES Show in New York, including unlimited multiple undo with Timeline Undo and Branching Undo, post-production enhancements such as global SMPTE time format display and FireWire video playback, Recycle REX file import, and many other enhancements.

Digital Performer 3.1 will ship Q1 2002. It will be a free update to all Version 3.0 users.

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