Digital Performer 2.5 is Now Shipping
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Mark of the Unicorn, Inc. (MOTU) announces Digital Performer 2.5, the latest upgrade to its flagship MIDI sequencing and digital audio recording software. New features include a built-in stereo waveform editor, two 64-bit mastering plug-ins, sample-accurate editing of MIDI and audio, support for Digidesign's new Pro Tools|24 MIX system and many other enhancements.
Digital Performer's new waveform editor "is like having $400 of waveform editing software built right in to Digital Performer," said Jim Cooper, Marketing Director at MOTU. "In fact, anyone who's shopping for waveform editing software should take a serious look at Digital Performer 2.5. Its editor easily rivals today's leading stand-alone editors, on Mac or PC, and surpasses them in many respects."
In addition to all of the standard features one would expect in a waveform editor, such as being able to remove clicks and pops by "drawing" over them with a pencil tool, Digital Performer's editor provides many advanced, cutting-edge features, such as 32-bit effects processing, automatic crossfades on edit boundaries and background processing. The Waveform editor dovetails with Digital Performer's complete multi-track audio recording and MIDI sequencing features. In particular, users can edit, process, normalize and trim the edges of an audio region, turn it into a sampler loop, and then drag & drop the loop directly into their sampler using Digital Performer's unique Samplers window.
MasterWorks Multi-band Compressor
Digital Performer 2.5 ships with two new mastering plug-ins. The first is the MasterWorks Multi-band Compressor, which applies an independent stereo compressor for each of three discrete frequency ranges, giving users precise control over how the compressor shapes a mix. Using a unique double precision scheme, MasterWorks delivers 64-bit floating point resolution to ensure maximum audio quality. Historically, this level of sound quality and control could only be achieved at great expense.
The second plug-in, the MasterWorks Limiter, enables users to maximize apparent volume of digital audio. It also serves as a "brick wall" limiter, preventing even one sample's worth of clipping. Smooth sounding limiting is obtained via 64-bit processing and an adjustable "look-ahead" feature, which allows the limiter to react to audio transients before they happen. Unlike other popular software limiters, the MasterWorks Limiter's look-ahead value is adjustable between zero and 20 milliseconds for optimum performance on any given audio material. Users can quanitize, dither and noiseshape audio for a wide range of media applications, from 8-bit sound for web sites to 16-bit mastering for compact disc to 24-bit audio for DVD. The MasterWorks Limiter is ideal for converting 24-bit multi-track mixes to stereo 16-bit compact disc audio, providing the highest possible level of audio quality.
Support for Digidesign Pro Tools|24 MIX and MIXplus
Digital Performer 2.5 supports Digidesign's latest hard disk recording systems, Pro Tools|24 MIX and Pro Tools|24 MIXplus. Digital Performer users with these systems have full access to the maximum number of audio voices and TDM processing power provided by their Digidesign hardware.
Support for Digidesign Direct I/O
Digital Performer users can now run the MOTU Audio System engine with any Digidesign PCI hardware, including Project II, ProTools Project (PCI), ProTools III (PCI), ProTools|24 and Pro Tools|24MIX. Users without TDM systems gain the use of real-time native effects processing with MAS plug-ins such as Sonic Modulator, PreAmp-1, MasterWorks, and eVerb, which can be heard through their Digidesign audio interfaces. And some Digidesign users will enjoy more simultaneous audio voices than allowed by DAE.
Support for audio cards by Yamaha, Sonorus and Event Electronics
Also supported in Digital Performer 2.5 are the Yamaha DSP Factory audio card, the Sonorus StudI/O ADAT optical card, and the Event Electronics Layla system. Digital Performer users who have these systems can enjoy as many simultaneous inputs and outputs as their system provides, and as many audio voices and real-time MAS plug-ins as their host computer allows.
Sample Accurate Editing
Earlier versions of Digital Performer provided three global time formats for displaying and editing data: real time, SMPTE time, and Measures/Beats/ticks. Digital Performer 2.5 adds a fourth time format, samples, which, like the others, can be displayed in the program's main time counter, as well as any windows that display time. Users can zoom in to the sample level in both the audio and MIDI graphic editors and move, nudge, trim and otherwise edit MIDI and audio data by as little as a single sample. Digital Performer is the first audio sequencer to provide this degree of accuracy for displaying and editing MIDI and audio data.
New EQ plug-in
The 2-band, 4-band and 8-band parametric EQ plug-ins from earlier versions of Digital Performer have been greatly enhanced with a unique graphic interface, which displays all bands together as a continuous EQ curve over the entire frequency spectrum. Users are given numerical feedback as they drag filter points on the EQ curve. Users can even lasso-select several EQ points and move them simultaneously. Such adjustments can be made in real-time with continuous visual feedback.
Real-time MAS Effects can be applied as region operations
In addition to the new plug-ins introduced in Version 2.5, Digital Performer ships with dozens of other real-time MOTU Audio System Effects, including the Sonic Modulator, eVerb and PreAmp-1 plug-ins. All of these real-time, 32-bit effects, as well as third party MAS plug ins from companies like Waves and DUY, can now be permanently ("destructively") applied to a region of audio data. In effect, users can "print" a real-time effect in a single step. This is useful for saving processor power or for exporting "effected" audio.
Normalize, Fade In and Fade Out
The Audio menu now supplies Normalize, Fade In and Fade Out operations, which can be applied destructively to audio regions selected in the new Waveform Editor.
Insert Measures Feature
The new Insert Measures feature of Digital Performer 2.5 allows users to insert any number of blank measures anywhere in their project while preserving all subsequent SMPTE times. For example, if a film composer needed to add ten measures of lead-in music to an existing cue, they can insert the ten empty measures before the beginning of the sequence while preserving all existing SMPTE hits.
Project backup and transfer features
The new "Save a copy as..." File menu item enables users to save a copy of their current file while keeping the original file on-screen. A checkbox has been added under both the "Save As..." and "Save a copy as..." options that "collects" all audio files, fades, crossfades and PureDSP analysis files associated with a project - even files scattered across several hard drives - into a single folder, which can then be conveniently backed up or transferred to another drive.
Sometimes you will find yourself adding both sound effects and music to picture - but what if you need to change the tempo of the music after you have laid in the sound effects? Digital Performer allows you to lock tracks to an absolute SMPTE point to protect against tempo changes. Just click which tracks you want to lock in the lock column in the tracks overview window. Now your sound effect tracks will remain safely unchanged while you freely experiment with tempo changes.
Digital Performer 2.5 includes built in OMF integration tools which allow you to seamlessly export your project to a ProTools environment. OMF export does more than just copy audio data - critical information such as session offset, audio region placement, and crossfades (either rendered as audio regions or transferred as editable crossfades) is preserved.
Digital Performer 2.5 includes an assortment of enhancements aimed at productivity. "Live scrolling" enables users to quickly and accurately scroll through data. Extended keyboard enhancements include support for navigation using the page up, page down, home and end keys.
Digital Performer 2.5 will be available as an upgrade to existing Performer and Digital Performer users.