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Digital Performer: Beats Of Burden

MOTU Digital Performer Tips & Techniques By Mike Levine
Published September 2020

The Beats layer in DP10's Waveform Editor.The Beats layer in DP10's Waveform Editor.

The latest version of DP includes some powerful timing & tempo-manipulation tools.

Digital Performer has long had excellent features for manipulating beats and tempo. With the arrival of DP10, those capabilities have been significantly upgraded. This month we'll look at some tips for using DP's beat-detection, time-stretching and tempo-related features.

The new Stretch Edit Layer, which is available in both the Sequence Editor and Waveform Editor, takes advantage of the new Beat Detection Engine introduced in DP10 to offer additional functionality for editing beats and changing tempos.

You can turn on Stretch functionality for an audio track by going to its Track Settings Menu in the Sequence Editor and selecting Stretch. Even if the audio you're importing doesn't have embedded tempo information, DP will automatically conform the audio in the track to fit the project tempo. This feature will work whether you're using the Tempo Slider or the Conductor Track.

The most obvious use for setting a track to Stretch is to bring in sounds from outside the project, such as loops, and conform them to the project tempo. If you Stretch-enable all the audio tracks in a project, you can freely change the project tempo; all the tracks will automatically adjust along with the changes. Stretch will even follow multiple tempo changes in the conductor track. The quality of the ZTX Pro time-stretching technology that DP employs is excellent and flexible, so it can be applied to all types of audio material.

If you know in advance that you're going to be experimenting with song tempo, it's easiest to go to Preferences / Pitch and Stretch, and check Stretch Enable in the Default Options for Tracks in New Projects and Default Options for Tracks in Current Project categories. That way, every track you create will be Stretch Enabled from the start.

DP's Beat Detection Engine is smart enough to be able to figure out a tempo from beats even when it's...

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Published September 2020

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