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Digital Performer: Working With Clips

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

Screen 1: The Clips window features a cell grid for housing Clips, with channel controls at the bottom.Screen 1: The Clips window features a cell grid for housing Clips, with channel controls at the bottom.

One of the most significant features introduced in DP 10 was the Clips window, and in the 10.1 release, MOTU made it even more powerful.

Although designed primarily for real‑time clip launching during live performances, the Clips window can also function as a composing or arranging environment, where you can experiment with various combinations of loops, as well as record new ones, and capture the results as DP tracks.

Basic Functionality

You access the Clips window from DP’s Main Body, where it can be viewed alone or stacked with other editor windows. The Clips window is comprised of mixer‑like channels that correspond to the tracks in your project. They’re equipped with volume faders, pan pots, and insert slots. Each track has multiple cells above it for loading clips.

Clips can be audio or MIDI, and up to 32 measures in length. Once loaded, you can change their name and colour. You can drag Clips around the Clips window — or drag them to another window — using the hand tool that appears when you hover your mouse over the left side of a Clip. You can move groups of Clips by shift‑clicking and then dragging with the hand tool.

You can launch Clips individually by clicking their Triggers (the arrow on the right of each Clip). A horizontal row of cells is called a Scene, and you can launch an entire Scene simultaneously by clicking on the Scene Trigger, which is on the far left.

When you trigger a Clip or a Scene, it will drop into the Now Playing row, which is the active playback area. Once there, it will start playing continuously. If you trigger another Clip in the same track (or tracks, in the case of a Scene) while the first one is playing, the second will drop into the Multi‑Queue, which is essentially a waiting area (you can turn it off in the Clips window mini‑menu, if you wish).

When a Clip is in the Multi‑Queue, it will wait for a user‑selectable number of measures or beats, set in the Queue Grid pull‑down, to elapse, after which the Clip or Scene will drop into the Now Playing row and start to play.

For example,...

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Published December 2020

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