MOTU Digital Performer 7 Review

Digital Performer 7 is the latest version of Mark of the Unicorn’s Mac-only digital audio workstation software.

With DP7, one cannot help but notice MOTU taking a cue from Apple Logic Pro 9 by releasing an upgrade geared directly towards guitar players. As with Apple’s latest Logic Pro 9, Digital Performer 7’s showcase features are predominantly aimed at guitar players. Although there are other non-guitar related features worthy of note, this upgrade appears to be a much smaller step forward than the hefty leaps made by the release of Digital Performer 6.

New Guitar Amp/Speaker Cabinet/Effects Emulators in MOTU Digital Performer 7

One of the big highlights of DP7 is Custom ’59 – the new guitar amp emulator plug-in based on classic Fender and Marshall amps such as the Fender Bassman and Marshall JCM800. With Custom ’59, MOTU goes beyond simply emulating these legendary amps by giving DP7 users the freedom to mix and match ‘parts’ from the different amps to create custom hybrids.

The second major guitar-oriented addition to Digital Performer 7 is Live Room | G – a physical modeling speaker cabinet emulator. This new feature allows DP7 users to hear amped instruments through five different speaker cabinet models via four different mics at a time. The mics can be placed close, near or far from the cabinet and each mic has its own predelay, sidechain output, 3-band EQ, solo/mute and volume control.

Live Room | G is meant to be used in conjunction with MOTU’s pedal effects and Custom ’59 amp emulator to create authentic guitar tones as well as allowing the user an opportunity to pass any desired non-guitar signals through this virtual guitar rig.

MOTU has also added some classic pedal effects to Digital Performer 7. Emulations of familiar favorites from Ibanez, MXR, Boss and others round out the overall ‘guitarist’ focus of DP7.

Other New Features of MOTU’s DP7

Outside of all the new guitar-related toys, there is a list of other features new to Digital Performer 7 including some welcome changes to the mixing window and how DP handles music notation.

Digital Performer users dependent upon notation can now create and print lead sheets, complete with lyrics and transposable chord symbols. Channel strip information for the current track can now be viewed in any Editor window. Furthermore, channel multi-band graphic EQ and vintage dynamic processing can be controlled directly in each Mixing Board channel.

Some other less flashy but highly useful additions to DP7 include real-time crossfade computation and a new fast, yet efficient, sample rate conversion algorithm which MOTU promises will deliver “increased precision, efficiency, and transparency, with an astonishing 138 dB signal-to-noise ratio”.

Owners of Pro Tools | HD systems will be glad to know that DP7 is still 100% compatible as a software front-end for Digidesign Pro Tools hardware.

Digital Performer 7 Continues MOTU’s DAW Legacy

While this latest update to MOTU’s flagship DAW may not be as revolutionary as version 6, Digital Performer 7 is a worthy upgrade if only for the new guitar amp/speaker cabinet/effects emulators alone. Add these amazing guitar tools to the list of subtle changes to the general workflow in version 7 and most Digital Performer users will agree that DP7 is a worthwhile upgrade.

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