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Digital Performer: Exploring Nanosampler 2

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

Nanosampler 2 adds features like sample slicing and integrated ZTX time‑ and pitch‑shifting.Nanosampler 2 adds features like sample slicing and integrated ZTX time‑ and pitch‑shifting.

With its significant overhaul, the new Nanosampler 2 offers a wealth of creative sample playback options.

Among the many new features MOTU unveiled in DP11 is Nanosampler 2.0, a significant overhaul of its bundled sample‑playback instrument. While the original Nanosampler had one playback mode, now there are three, including one that slices up your sample. The new version also integrates DP’s powerful ZTX time‑stretching and pitch‑shifting technology, giving you more control over how the samples play back.

Shape Shifter

When you first open Nanosampler 2, you can tell from its GUI that it’s significantly different from its predecessor. It’s long and rectangular rather than square, which allows for a much larger waveform display. Its design and colour scheme are darker and more contemporary.

MOTU also replaced the knobs for Sample Start and End, Loop Start and End and Fade with sliders directly above the waveform display, making those controls more visually connected. The bottom row contains the synth settings: the amplitude envelope, filter, filter envelope and LFO. The available parameters for those remain essentially the same as before, albeit with a different layout. But what is new is graphic editing. If you click on the Settings Tab, Nanosampler switches to an alternate screen that features graphic editors for all the synth parameters.

Clicking on the Settings tab brings up this graphic editing screen for the synth parameters.Clicking on the Settings tab brings up this graphic editing screen for the synth parameters.

Time To Stretch

To fully understand the capabilities of the new playback modes, it’s helpful to first look at a couple of powerful new features in Nanosampler 2. One, called Stretch, uses ZTX time‑stretching algorithms and is available in all three playback modes. It allows you to control the length of samples as they play back, keeping them sounding natural when transposed from their original pitch.

Unlike in the previous Nanosampler, where every time you transposed a note up, it played faster, and down it played slower, Stretch makes them all play at the same length. When you click on the Stretch button, you get a couple of additional options. One is to choose one of two ZTX Stretch Modes: Standard or Formant‑Corrected.

Once you turn on Stretch, you can choose which ZTX algorithm to use.Once you turn on Stretch, you can choose which ZTX algorithm to use.Either will even out the length of the sample at any MIDI note. Choosing ZTX Formant‑Corrected makes the pitch transpositions more seamless, especially for vocal tracks, avoiding the dreaded ‘Mickey Mouse’ and ‘Monster’ effects.

When Stretch is on, you can also access a setting called Length. It lets you constrain the sample duration by a selectable rhythmic value. According to MOTU, it’s especially beneficial on drums and percussion. For example, if you’ve loaded a two‑bar loop, you can set the duration to two bars to quickly conform the loop to your project timeline and tempo.

Triggering The Gate

The other significant new feature available in Classic and Slice...

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