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Digital Performer: Bounce To Disk Options

MOTU Digital Performer Tips & Techniques By Mike Levine
Published February 2021

Starting with version 10.1, MOTU added significant new functionality to DP’s Bounce‑to‑Disk window.Starting with version 10.1, MOTU added significant new functionality to DP’s Bounce‑to‑Disk window.

In DP 10.1, MOTU significantly expanded Bounce To Disk with the addition of real‑time, multi‑output, and track‑by‑track bouncing.

Digital Performer has always had a robust Bounce To Disk (BTD) implementation, but starting in DP 10.1, MOTU significantly expanded it. Most notable is the addition of real‑time, multi‑output and track‑by‑track bouncing. Users now have a lot more options for exporting mixes, tracks and stems out of your projects.

Perhaps the most important feature in the new BTD window is the ability to bounce out individual tracks as separate files. It opens up lots of possibilities. For example, you could use it to create a complete set of tracks from your session to send to a collaborator on a project who’s on a different platform.

Another way to use it is to render all the tracks at their mix levels and panning, plus their insert effects, when you’re archiving a project. That would allow you to recreate your mix in the future without needing access to the original plug‑ins.

As in previous versions of DP, you can set BTD to import the files it renders into your session, either as new tracks or only in the Soundbites window. As an alternative to freezing tracks, you can render them with effects and send them back into the Sequence window of the project. You can bounce your MIDI instrument tracks to audio, and DP can even include an external instrument, connected via Audio Patch Thru, in a bounce.

Boom Selection

As with previous BTD implementations, you first must select, in the Sequence editor or Tracks window, the content you want to bounce. Generally, you’d select all (Command/Alt+A), but it’s also possible to choose non‑contiguous tracks and soundbites for BTD to bounce.

If you want to, you can select non‑contiguous tracks and Soundbites, and only they will bounce.If you want to, you can select non‑contiguous tracks and Soundbites, and only they will bounce.

Once you’ve made a selection, open the Bounce‑to‑Disk window (Control+J). By default, it’s set to Project Format for the file format. You can easily change that by selecting one of the other options in the pull‑down menu (see the ‘Formats’ section for more information).

You’ll notice that there are now buttons labelled Tracks and Outputs for choosing the bounce source. For bouncing individual tracks, you need only select Tracks. Even if the tracks are coming out of different outputs, you don’t need to specify which if you’re only bouncing tracks. DP will automatically render the tracks out of the outputs that they’re assigned to.

Choosing the Tracks option opens up a track list in which you can select which ones to bounce. Conveniently, DP allows you to make non‑contiguous selections here, as well.

Stemming The Tide

The new BTD window allows you to bounce separate stems (groups of tracks) from individual output pairs or single outputs. Start by checking the Outputs box instead of Tracks, and you’ll see all the outputs and busses on your system. Previously, you could only bounce from one output at a time, but now you can select as many as are available.

For example, with an interface that supports eight outputs, you could set all the drum tracks to outputs 1 and 2, all the guitars to 3 and 4, the background vocals to 5 and 6, the lead vocal to 7 and the bass to 8. Then you could select separate outputs and the bounce would yield separate stems for each of those outputs. Any aux busses in a session will also show up in the output list and can be selected for individual bouncing.

If you want to bounce separate tracks and separate outputs, you can check both boxes and DP will handle both tasks independently.

Now you can easily bounce out specific output pairs, which is handy for creating stems.Now you can easily bounce out specific output pairs, which is handy for creating stems.

Effects & All

Tracks will bounce with any effects that are active, as well as with panning and volume settings, and automation. If you’re bouncing them to send to a collaborator, you might want to make sure each track is panned centrally and set to a substantial level. Otherwise, the bounced tracks will mirror the mixer’s panning and volume settings, which — particularly if set far to one side or rendered at a low level — could be inconvenient for someone else working on them in the premix phase of a project.

Another critical setting is the Channels pull‑down menu. Here, as in past versions of DP, you can choose whether to export all tracks as stereo, mono, or mono with 3.5dB attenuation (the latter compensates for the gain increase when you sum stereo tracks to mono).

Two other options are also available: Same as Source and Match Track Format. The former will use the output Bundle of the track to determine its format. So, if you assign a mono track to a stereo output, it will render in stereo. To keep the tracks in the same channel format as they are in your sequence, select Match Track Format.

Make sure to choose the channel format you want before bouncing.Make sure to choose the channel format you want before bouncing.

Hearing Is Believing

Another improvement in the BTD features is real‑time bouncing. Although DP’s Offline Bounce option is many times faster than real time, you may have situations where you want to listen during the bounce. For example, if you have an impending deadline, and are required to deliver alternate mixes (with and without vocals, TV mix, etc), and you don’t want to take the time to have to check every track after the fact, real‑time bouncing, although slower, still may end up saving you time as it means you can check each export as it’s being rendered. By default, the BTD window is set to Offline Bounce, but all you need to do is deselect that box to switch to real‑time.

Deselecting the Offline Bounce box (highlighted) allows you to listen to your bounce in real time as it’s rendered.Deselecting the Offline Bounce box (highlighted) allows you to listen to your bounce in real time as it’s rendered.

Bouncing With Live Inputs

If you’ve connected live inputs (an external keyboard or microphone, say) into DP using Audio Patch Thru, you now have the option to include those signals in a bounce. In order to do so, go to File / Bounce Settings and select Bounce Includes Audio Patch Thru.

When that’s selected, you no longer have an option to bounce offline, since anything coming through Audio Patch Thru is going to be performed live. An alternate approach would be to record the external instrument to a track and then do an offline bounce.

Save The Day

With all of the choices and flexibility for bouncing to disk in DP, you may want to take advantage of the Bounce Settings Menu, which provides a number of choices for re‑running and saving bounce settings. The Run Last Bounce Again setting allows you to repeat your previous bounce without having to reconfigure it. If you noticed a problem or change you want to make after you’ve done a bounce, using Run Last Bounce Again could be a real time‑saver.

If you noticed a problem or change you want to make after you’ve done a bounce, using Run Last Bounce Again could be a real time saver.

Saving bounce settings for future use is easy with the ‘Save settings for Bounce Again’ tickbox in the BTD window. Ticking it brings up two other options: ‘Select all before running saved bounce’ and ‘Save settings as an Audio Export Format’. Note that when using these two options, you must make a range selection before bouncing rather than a Soundbite selection.

Bounce Again lets you repeat a bounce without the need to configure the settings again.Bounce Again lets you repeat a bounce without the need to configure the settings again.

Once you’ve saved a setting for Bounce Again, you can even give it its own key binding from the Edit Bounce Again Settings window, which you can open from File / Bounce Settings.

Finally, the Multi Bounce feature makes it possible to run different Bounce Settings from separate projects as a batch process. If you have varied file types that you have to bounce to in various projects, check out Multi Bounce, as it can save you a lot of time.

Formats

DP’s wide selection of bounce formats remains unchanged in v10.1, but it’s quite extensive and worth looking at more closely. If you pull down the Formats menu inside the BTD window, you’ll see all of them. The list has two main sections: the top one contains DP’s format presets. These include both interleaved and non‑interleaved versions of Broadcast Wave, AIFF and Sound Designer II files.

You can also bounce to such formats as CAF, 3GPP, AC, FLAC, and MPEG‑4. At the bottom of the list are MP3 and QuickTime movie (H.264 MP4 for Windows users). DP allows you to include any Film Scoring Events like flutters, punches, and streamers in the bounced video. As with previous versions, DP also offers extensive options for rendering a CD Disk Image or directly burning to a CD.

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