Digital Performer Update Adds Dynamic CPU Management, More
December 23, 2004
A free software update, Digital Performer Version 4.51, is now available for download for all registered DP 4.5 users. This maintenance release adds numerous features and performance enhancements.
Dynamic CPU Management
Digital Performer users upgrading to DP 4.51 (operating natively under DP's MAS engine) will likely notice the CPU meter in the Performance Monitor displaying a significantly lower reading than it did in previous versions, indicating that they have more processing power at their disposal for real-time effects and virtual instruments. This enhanced processing performance is due to a new feature called Dynamic CPU Management, which has been implemented in all of the effects plug-ins included with DP, such as the MasterWorks EQ, MasterWorks Limiter, Plate reverb, eVerb, Delay, Sonic Modulator, etc. These plug-ins now automatically disable their processing when they would otherwise be idle (i.e. generating silence). Therefore, a plug-in imposes no demands on the host CPU until it receives an audio signal from the audio track on which it is instantiated. When audio is received, the plug-in processes the audio and continues to do so until the signal dies away, fully accounting for reverb tails, delay taps, and other similar residual audio signals created by the plug-in itself. Since there are often long stretches of silence in each track during a typical DP project, the amount of CPU savings can be significant. Actual results will vary and depend greatly on the plug-ins used, the placement of audio material in each track, and other circumstantial factors.
Dynamic CPU Management is supported in all of the effects plug-ins that ship with DP 4.51. DP also provides Dynamic CPU Management for all third-party AU effects plug-ins. Third-party MAS plug-ins may or may not provide this feature, as it is up to the plug-in developer to implement this feature in their plug-ins. Most virtual instruments already practice a form of dynamic CPU management because they only require processing when they are actually generating sound.
Saving Bounce Settings and Multi Bounce
DP 4.51 allows users to save their bounce-to-disk settings by name so that they can quickly "re-bounce" any material after making further changes to the source tracks. Users can re-bounce by either pressing a user-assignable keystroke or choosing the bounce operation by name from the Bounce Settings sub-menu. The Multi Bouncecommand lets users run multiple saved bounce settings in one operation. Users can even run bounce settings from multiple DP projects. For example, a user might have 7 or 8 different multi-track DP projects from which they are bouncing stereo mixes for an album. After making many minor tweaks and adjustments during the final stages of mixing, the user could conveniently re-bounce all 7 or 8 tracks in one operation. At the end of the multi bounce session, a summary window provides detailed information regarding each bounce.
Marker locate numbers
DP's Markers window displays a new column that allows users to control the locate number assigned to each marker. Users can then quickly locate to that marker by using the customizable Go To Marker keystroke and then typing in the desired locate number. In previous versions of DP, locate numbers were automatically assigned to markers (via their order in the marker list), forcing users to relearn the locate points when adding a new marker somewhere in the middle of their project's timeline. Now, users have complete control over locate numbers, and they can preserve numbers they've memorized during the course of a project.
Additional performance enhancements
Beat and Tempo Detection -- DP 4.51's beat and tempo analysis are now significantly faster.
Movie track -- The movie track in the Sequence Editor now draws faster.
Plug-in automation -- Plug-ins with many automation parameters are handled faster, and the management of automation parameters has been optimized throughout the program. Only parameters that are actually being automated are displayed in lists and menus. Automation snapshots provide new options: they can either include all parameters (there is a new menu item for this) or only those currently being automated (i.e.parameters that exist in a track or that are enabled for automation). The latter is the default option.
Hardware-accelerated plug-ins -- Hardware-accelerated AU plug-ins load only for the currently play-enabled sequence. This is especially important for TC PowerCore and Universal Audio UAD-1 users. In DP 4.5, these plug-ins would take up precious DSP resources, even when they were instantiated in sequences not currently enabled for playback. Now, only the plug-ins in the currently play-enabled sequence will load.
Other new feature highlights
Enhanced Digidesign DirectMIDI support-- TDM and RTAS plug-ins can now receive the following information from DP: the click (accented/unaccented beats), MIDI Beat Clocks, MIDI Time Code, and meter/tempo information. For example, you can now use the Digidesign Click plug-in, as well as other RTAS plug-ins that require tempo and metrical information. As another example, you can now use the beat and tempo based features in the RTAS version of the Spectrasonics Stylus RMX virtual instrument.
Better previewing of effects plug-in region operations -- When you apply a plug-in as a region operation from the Audio menu Plug-ins sub-menu, previewing has been enhanced. When you click the Preview button, the currently selected region loops continuously until you click the Stop button (or click anywhere outside the effect window). Parameter adjustments can be heard in real time as you change them. A preroll and postroll amount can be added to the beginning and end of the currently selected region for previewing purposes. These previewing enhancements have also been made for Audio Units being applied as region operations.
Plug-in preset enhancements -- User plug-in presets are now grouped into a new User Presets sub-menu. In addition, many factory presets have been organized into convenient, categorized sub-folders.
Bypass automation for AUs -- DP 4.51 now supports bypass automation for Audio Unit plug-ins.
Pricing and Availability
DP 4.51 is now shipping. Price is $795. A free updater for Version 4.5 users is available for download.
For more information, visit their web site at www.motu.com