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The Digital Performer Tips Sheet

Discussion of Digital Performer use, optimization, tips and techniques on MacOS.

Moderators: James Steele, Shooshie

Forum rules
This forum is for most discussion related to the use and optimization of Digital Performer [MacOS] and plug-ins as well as tips and techniques. It is NOT for troubleshooting technical issues, complaints, feature requests, or "Comparative DAW 101."

Re: The Digital Performer Tips Sheet

Postby malditoyanki » Sat Mar 22, 2014 1:13 pm

FWIW I tried the extreme version of this philosophy the other day. That is, I spread my orchestral template (around 190 instruments) over just ONE instance of Kontakt per instrument. That's right...190 instances of just K5.

The result?

Disaster. Playback was sketchy and when I saved and tried to reopen after a reboot the sequence just froze time and again. Glad I saved it under a separate name! I folded everything back down to around 25 or so K5 instances and it's beautiful.

It appears there is a limit to this strategy.
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Re: The Digital Performer Tips Sheet

Postby massimosammi » Fri Mar 13, 2015 2:23 pm

Thanks Shooshie, this is amazing!!


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Re: The Digital Performer Tips Sheet

Postby Shooshie » Wed Nov 11, 2015 6:36 pm

banditblack wrote:Newbie Question here:

I've used DP's quantization and grooves features before, but I know that as powerful as DP is there must be a way I can do the following:

I want to be able to place a note rhythm into a measure at any point I want. I want to create some type of preset for say "triplet", or "dotted 8th's" or "1 and" for a 16th note figure and be able to include the rests and durations.

I would like to be able to point to say, the first quarter note in a measure and "insert" a triplet....then be able to go back to the same measure an "paste" and insert a different pattern later in the same measure.

I've figured out how to creat a "groove" for a certain pattern for a whole measure, but I know there must be a way to do more of an "on the spot" insertion of a specific note placement that I have previously saved. The specific notes don't matter, I can go back and drag the MIDI notes where I choose. The goal would be to place into a measure any subdivision of the existing beat I choose.

Make sense?

What you're asking to do is to keep a stockpile of rhythms on hand, which you would paste into place, then change the noteheads to the note you want. Let me emphasize from the very outset how tremendously wasteful of time that would be, unless you're stockpiling, say, 64th note runs that span an entire keyboard.

What you really need to be focusing on is technique. Here, you'd use the pencil tool to add notes. If you're doing MIDI, I strongly recommend that you work in the MIDI Edit Window, as opposed to the Sequence Editor or any other editor. You can do it in other editors, but they are not as adept at MIDI as the MIDI window is. I hear arguments for the Sequence Editor, but I'm very adept at that window, and I cannot do MIDI at the speed and accuracy (and relaxation of the wrists) as I do in the MIDI Edit Window.

Next, the pencil tool is your raw input device. CLICK & DRAG to establish the attack and duration of the note. The next note you click will be the same duration you made the last one, and will continue at that length until you drag again.

Beats contain 480 "tics." Those are subdivisions of the beat. You can change that number to any number of subdivisions you want, up to "sample accuracy," but it would make for a very busy timeline. The number 480 was no doubt chosen for its factors. It is eminently divisible into all the major note lengths in whole numbers.
    A Half note = 2 beats, or 960 tics
    A quarter note in 4/4 time = 480 tics long.
    8th note = 240 tics
    16th note = 120 tics
    32nd note = 60 tics
    64th note = 30 tics
    Triplet 8th = 160 tics
    Triplet 16th = 80 tics
    in 6/8 time, a dotted quarter = 720 tics
    dotted 8th = 360 tics
And so forth.
A measure, or bar, contains the appropriate number of beats for the time signature in which you are working. Triple rhythms (6/8, ¾, 12/8, etc.) require a little extra thinking in terms of durations of beats, and length of notes of various time values.

Commit those to memory. You need them.

Next, you need to know where on the timeline beats begin:
4/4 time:
    Quarter Notes: 1|1|000, 1|2|000, 1|3|000, 1|4|000
    8th notes: 1|1|000, 1|1|240; 1|2|000, 1|2|240; 1|3|000... etc.
    16th notes: 1|1|000, 1|1|120, 1|1|240, 1|1|360; 1|2|000, 1|2|120, 1|2|240, 1|2|360; 1|3|000, ... etc.
    Triplet 8th: 1|1|000, 1|1|160, 1|1|320; 1|2|000, 1|2|160, 1|2|320; 1|3|000, .. etc.
    Triplet 16th: 1|1|000, 1|1|080, 1|1|160; 1|1|240, 1|1|320, 1|1|400; 1|2|000, 1|2|080, 1|2|160; 1|2|240, 1|2|320, 1|2|400; 1|3|000... etc.
    (Note that 1|1|480 is the same thing as 1|2|000.)
Triple meters require a little adjustment to your thinking. They essentially are simple overlays on duple subdivisions, thus a dotted quarter = 720 tics, and yet a dotted quarter is a beat. A dotted 8th is still 360 tics. It's just a matter of how you draw the barlines; the time is still there underneath it all.

At first, you may stumble from time to time in trying to think of the exact spots to place notes or their durations, but the more you do it, the easier it gets. It become 2nd-nature after a while.

You also learn that there are precise spots to place notes that "swing." It depends on how much swing you want, so I'm not going to tell you how much to alter a note so that it swings, but when you play a good line, go look at the values. See where the attacks are falling in respect to a metronomic beat. It sounds like we're canning swing, but in fact you'll work a lot faster if you know the numbers. When done with a little variation for humanizing, it does not sound canned at all.

Hold down the COMMAND key to constrain notes or durations to the grid. Or if the grid is already on, the COMMAND key will toggle it off as long as it's depressed. OPTION will duplicate a selection.

The most important key when working with a graphic editor is the SHIFT command, because it constrains motion to vertical or horizontal, whichever you do first. It also toggles selections. For example, you can select a large area, then de-select the bass notes by SHIFT-DRAGGING over them. Complicated selections can be done quickly by thinking a little ahead of yourself in what to select positively (dragging and shift-dragging) or negatively (shift-dragging), and in what combination or order. I work with one hand on the mouse and the other on the Shift key (and other mod keys).

That's enough to start with. TRUST ME: penciling-in your notes is way, way faster than finding some stored notes and pasting them in. When you get a set of triplets placed as you like, you can continue a run by OPTION-DRAGGING the triplets, 3 at a time, until you have a whole row of them. Drag them to the next pitch, and you probably will only have to adjust the pitch of the occasional half-step/whole step mismatch of a scale.

Grab the pencil tool by tapping the P key twice. Or hold down the P key to temporarily invoke it. Go back to the regular cursor by tapping the A key. ("A" looks like the arrow cursor)
R gets you the Reshape Tool.
I gets you the I-Beam.
Click here for a cheat sheet for all your tool commands.

I'll stop there for this post. Trust me (I repeat and re-emphasize), you'll move a lot quicker just knowing where to place the pencil and drag.
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Re: The Digital Performer Tips Sheet

Postby bayswater » Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:15 pm

This is a bit obvious in retrospect, and it's a OS X feature, not a DP feature, but I find it useful to find menu commands I don't use often enough to remember the key command, and don't want to use the mouse to search for it.

Press Command-? and type the name of the command and it will appear.


Change Duration: Type Command-?, Type "dur", Press down arrow, Press Enter.
Get the Meter Bridge: Command-?, "met', Down arrow twice, Enter.
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Re: The Digital Performer Tips Sheet

Postby Michael Canavan » Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:29 pm

malditoyanki wrote:FWIW I tried the extreme version of this philosophy the other day. That is, I spread my orchestral template (around 190 instruments) over just ONE instance of Kontakt per instrument. That's right...190 instances of just K5.

The result?

Disaster. Playback was sketchy and when I saved and tried to reopen after a reboot the sequence just froze time and again. Glad I saved it under a separate name! I folded everything back down to around 25 or so K5 instances and it's beautiful.

It appears there is a limit to this strategy.

I know this is an old post, but this makes perfect sense. you have a 6 core machine, it runs 12 threads. running 25 tracks with Kontakt instruments that host four or so instruments is about as CPU spreading efficient as you're going to get. Streaming audio isn't a huge CPU drain, but filters and other CPU tricks on the audio is, so Kontakt benefits from not stacking 10 instruments on a single track, but not really from spreading every instrument to it's own Kontakt instance, given that each instance uses up CPU as well.
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Re: The Digital Performer Tips Sheet

Postby Rick Cornish » Mon Apr 04, 2016 3:07 pm


For those who love them (as I do), but have been stymied by having folders "nest" inside each other when you don't want them to, here's the answer:
1. In the example above, you want to move one folder below another folder without the first one being placed inside the second. To do this, simply close the second folder. This will prevent the first from being nested within it.

2. To remove a folder 1 from folder 2, simply make sure any other folders in the TO are closed, and then drag folder 1 in the space between the top of folder 2 and whichever item resides above it (track, folder, etc.).

(From Brian at MOTU via TechLinks.)
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Re: The Digital Performer Tips Sheet

Postby Shooshie » Sat Jun 11, 2016 12:12 am

Parsing phrases in the Tracks Window
Plus a discussion about the Essential Nature of DP: Working with Selections.

from a thread in the forum

foorere wrote:Thanks Shooshie.
I think you are the reason why I become more interested in DP9.
Look: viewtopic.php?f=26&t=60572&hilit=adjust+beats#p514116

I have already explored this and learned a lot from you.
I was just curious that the post above is about something else I didn't know.

I will update you along my work.
Here is my firs question: I exported a MIDI file from Ableton. When I inserted it in DP I get chunks of files, not one complete line:

OK. Permit me to expand on this topic, because you've hit upon one of the fundamentals that separate DP from most other DAWs: Region Objects (other DAWs) vs. Region Selections (DP). The "chunks of files" in the Tracks Window are merely representations of your MIDI, broken according to the rules governed by your preferences. You could call them "regions," but they're really just parsed phrases. They can be very helpful, and it's even possible to override them in the Tracks Window with OPTION-CONTROL-DRAG +COMMAND (after clicking), and select only what you want to select within them.

Here are the preference settings for parsing phrases:
Preferences: Editing / Tracks Overview / Phrase Settings
In the preferences, you can control the way DP parses phrases to some degree, but you're rarely going to get an entire block of MIDI the way you do in Logic. There is a reason for that.

Logic treats MIDI as a block of objects. DP treats MIDI as selectable events. In Logic, you work with objects; in DP you work with MIDI Selections. (The link is about selecting notes and control points together to move, cut, copy, etc. in sync. Looks complicated, takes a fraction of a second to do it.)

Why am I telling you all this? Because it's the fundamental difference between DP and Logic. People like Logic because they can click and drag their entire MIDI block in one move. I find that I rarely need to do that, and if I do, it's extremely easy to select large blocks of MIDI. What I am usually doing is working with individual notes or group of notes, controllers, velocities, etc. DP is designed to make selection a breeze if you know the many, many ways to select things. I like DP, because I don't have to override blocks on every single move I make.

That said, experiment with phrase parsing or blocks of MIDI in the Tracks Overview Prefs. You may find it helpful. Sometimes I do. Sometimes its irrelevant. What's more important is learning to select what you want, quickly, using the many, many methods of selection in DP.

Some ways to select:
    • Mouse: Drag and Shift-Drag. Hint: hold down SHIFT as you mouse through the window to prevent your selection from being lost by errant clicking.) Hold down Shift-Drag (add to selection) or Option-Shift-Drag (delete from selection) to hone your selection. Use on any or all MIDI events.
    • Select by Controller, by Velocity, or other events in the lower part of the MIDI Edit Window. Using the "SHOW ONLY" check-box at the bottom left corner of the window, you can show all events like the one(s) currently selected. Your selections and actions will perform only on those events.
    • Mouse: Double-click a note in a track to select all notes in that track
    • MIDI "keyboard" on the left of the MIDI tracks: double click a note to select all instances of that note in the current visible track(s).
    • Split Notes: Menus: Region/Split Notes. Follow the dialog carefully till you get the hang of it. Very powerful feature. (not specifically a selection tool, but selects and applies action in one click.)
    • Search: Menus: Edit/Search. (Tip: this can build on current selection, and you can have many criteria, both time and attribute based.)
    • Select from different windows: Event list excels in seeing and selecting exactly what you want amid a sea of data. Sequence Editor excels in selecting controllers and notes together, or individual lanes of controllers. Tracks Window excels at selection by barline, or by parsed blocks of MIDI. MIDI Editor excels at just about everything.
    • Markers: Click on a marker to select from that marker to the next. (or to the end, if it's the last marker) Works in the Marker Window or in the edit windows or Tracks Window.
    • Tracks Window: Select blocks of MIDI by bars or by parsed phrases. Hold CONTROL-OPTION to select a bar, otherwise you'll get the parsed phrase. After clicking with CONTROL-OPTION, add the COMMAND key to select any range, overriding bars and phrases.
    • Select by Range or by Event, or by either: Preferences: Editing / Tools / Cursor Selection Mode. There are also keyboard commands for those. Go to the Commands Window (Shift-L)

The Search feature (Menus: Edit/Search or CONTROL-S) is extremely detailed in what it can find and what to do with it. Save all your searches, because you can use them again in any DP file.

For example, I just received a MIDI file from someone who had managed to put hundreds of key changes in the conductor track, all in the key of F Major, and most of them sharing a location with 3 others. Whatever hamstrung DAW he used added a key change to each track in each section. In other words, in the conductor track they would be hard to select, because they overlap 3 other identical key changes, 4 at a time, thus requiring a menu to select the key change you want to work with. So, deletion would have been tedious and time consuming going through the conductor track key-change menus in the graphic windows.
In this case, using the Event List is a lot faster than the graphic edit windows for this particular thing, because you can easily select key changes and other conductor events when they happen together. (see screenshot below).
But with so many, scattered through the entire piece, it would have taken a long time. The answer? Search. I set up this dialog:
and instantly they were all selected. I de-selected the first one, which I wanted to keep, and then hit Delete. Problem solved. Took all of 10 seconds to do the whole thing. Maybe less.

Sorry to turn this into an unsolicited tutorial, but it's something that comes up a lot, and I thought a detailed post on how we approach selections in DP might help.

By the way, the Tracks Window is overlooked by a lot of people. There's a post in the DP Tips Sheet called "Secrets of the Tracks Overview Window," which contains a few tips that help me make it part of my workflow.
I know this feels like the tip of the iceberg, but if you start in DP with the assumption that you're going to be learning to create and hold complex selections, easily and quickly, you will quickly flatten out the learning curve. Those phrases in the Tracks Overview Window will find some usefulness as you figure out what they are and what they do. They never become the MIDI Region Object of Logic, but they are still very useful. The Tracks Window, by the way, is especially useful for large-scale editing, such as swapping choruses, inserting a whole new section, and that sort of thing. It's also unsurpassed for merging tracks, moving tracks, setting up loops, moving blocks of events, and setting up many kinds of complicated selections.


More on parsing phrases in the Tracks Overview Window.
(Now just called Tracks Window)

Here are two examples of phrases forced to break at 4 bars and 8 bars:

Four Bar PhrasesImage

Eight Bar Phrases

You can set it to break them up at any length, really. Or you can let DP decide how to keep phrases together, with a little help from you. (you set the max block length, where blocks are over x bars long)

This works a little more like other DAWs which give you blocks of events to select. Of course, it only selects them. If you want to move them in the Tracks Window, they stay together as a region block. If you switch to another window, you will still be working with selections. I like having this particular set of choices. You get a little of the region flavor without having to override regions to work on individual notes, which is most of what I do.

You can get blocks up to 9 bars in length. The field won't accept a 2 digit number, or rather, it will accept the number, but it only acts on the first digit. So, to tell it to put it in a 12 bar block, it will use 1 bar blocks instead. But you can tell it to use 1 bar through 9 bars for blocks. I find 1, 2, 4 and 8 bar blocks useful. Study the pictures above. Play with it until you have figured out its parameters.

Is it useful? Sometimes. Frankly, I find blocks of MIDI regions can be counter-productive except for when I use the Tracks Window's blocks to select MIDI events and move them around. The Tracks window excels at moving blocks of MIDI from track to track, either merging with what's in another track or just moving it.

The essential nature of DP is in learning to use Selections. Part of this post tells you how to do that. Selections are the key to everything. You select what you want, and you act on it. Learning how to select complicated groups of events and hold those selections without losing them while performing various actions on them is the key to learning to use DP at speed.

If you try to make DP behave like Logic, you will fail, and you will be frustrated and wonder why anyone uses DP. If you learn to think freely and "improvise" on the problem at hand, you'll see how MIDI is meant to be managed. DP is one of the great tools of all time for MIDI, and I think it ranks right up at the top for audio, too.

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Re: The Digital Performer Tips Sheet

Postby bayswater » Sat Jun 11, 2016 7:28 am

Shooshie, a great post. Although you're emphasizing skills in selection, the reminder about Split Notes is timely. I've used it to move notes into drum tracks, but forget all the other time saving stuff it does.
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Re: The Digital Performer Tips Sheet

Postby mikehalloran » Tue Jun 14, 2016 5:47 pm

Technically, these are not DP specific but knowing how to do a few things in Terminal can make things a lot easier for Mac users.

Terminal commands can be daunting, especially when you read all the cautions that make it look like one mistyped character and you'll never be able to use your Mac again or some such nonsense... Normally, the consequences of a mistyped command is that it won't work. Fortunately, Terminal supports Copy & Paste—copy these and you can't mistype. After every entry, hit the <return> or <enter> key.

A word about sudo commands: These require your admin password every 5 minutes. This is because they make a change or perform a function at a deeper level than Apple wants you to do easily. Having to enter your password tells Terminal that, yes, you mean to do (whatever). Are there sudo and other commands that can mess you up? Yes but I am not going to list any of them here.

I keep and update a .txt document called Terminal Commands OS X with an alias to it on my desktop. In it, I include all of these and many more. I also include directions for dealing with emergency boot and many arcane system commands that have become useful over the years. Every usb stick I own has an updated copy of that document as does every Mac that I maintain—you never know...

To me, these are the essentials:

Memory purge: sudo purge

Many DP functions such as bounce, bounce to disk etc. want all of the physical RAM that you can spare. Quitting apps often does not clear memory (by design—not a bug). Oftentimes, quitting unnecessary apps incl. browsers, then running sudo purge before a RAM intensive task will make it go faster.

Re-launch Finder: killall Finder

This is way cool. It relaunches the Finder in a few seconds without the time or issues caused by Force Quit or a reboot. It allows certain tasks to take effect without rebooting and does not interrupt a Time Machine backup.

Enable Trim: sudo trimforce enable

This works with OS 10.10.4 and later if booting from a non-Apple SSD. If you need to enable TRIM on an SSD running an earlier OS, go to

Repair Permissions: sudo /usr/libexec/repair_packages --repair --standard-pkgs --volume /

OS 10.11 and Later. Essential for DP 7.24 in El Capitán or later and a Very Good Idea otherwise. Run this after any major software install. Doesn't work in earlier OS—for those, run Repair Permissions from Apple's Disk Utility.

Show Hidden Files: defaults write AppleShowAllFiles TRUE

killall Finder

Re-hide hidden files: defaults write AppleShowAllFiles FALSE

killall Finder

Besides the files that Apple hides, you can hide any file or folder by placing a period in front of the name. The above commands show/hide these, too.

Show User Library: chflags nohidden ~/Library

killall Finder

Hide User Library: chflags hidden ~/Library

killall Finder

OS 10.7, 10.8 hide the User Library by default. It is often important with Audio applications to know what is where especially if a plugin is causing problems. In Mavericks and later, you can show the User Library in other ways but this is still faster.
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Re: The Digital Performer Tips Sheet

Postby MIDI Life Crisis » Tue Jun 14, 2016 6:02 pm

Thanks for that!
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Re: The Digital Performer Tips Sheet

Postby funkyfreddy » Fri Jan 13, 2017 6:13 am

Thank you so much Shooshie and Mike Halloran! :)
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Re: The Digital Performer Tips Sheet

Postby Shooshie » Thu Jul 27, 2017 12:59 pm

Turbo Tips!
Especially for comping audio takes, but not limited to that.

There are so many super-speed shortcuts available that it would amaze you and might conceivably cause whiplash, but only a handful of people seem to know them or use them. Here are some really good ones. I hope they help someone.

-=-=-=-=-=-=- Vertical and horizontal zoom methods:
People occasionally ask how to make the MIDI piano roll bigger so you can see it. The "thicker bars" in the piano roll are accomplished via zoom, same as soundbites. There are three ways to do it:
    • use the little vertical zoom thing in the upper left corner of the window, which looks a little like a windshield wiper, and is used for zooming the thickness of soundbite wave-forms, too.
    • Command-Up Arrow and Down Arrow — vertical zoom. Just like Command-Left Arrow and Right Arrow are for horizontal zoom.
    • Plus & Minus buttons in the vertical margin bar on the bottom-right corner. Likewise, the ones on the bottom margin bar will zoom the track horizontally.
    • Hold the Cursor over the Wiper and scroll up or down. The track will zoom horizontally with the wiper/cursor at the center. Very fast if you learn to control it.
    • Actually, there are even more methods: use the zoom commands found in the Mini-Menu under Zoom. Here you can make preset zooms recalled with a keystroke.
There are so many ways to zoom the tracks that it's almost surprising when people ask how to do it, for it's hard not to stumble onto it even without reading the manual. There's just no excuse to complain about the track being inconveniently sized.

Learn to zoom often, as you need it. Do not try to stick with one zoom level. They are there to facilitate easy work, in any context.

If you like your zoom level and do not want to change it, but you need to do some quick selection or play-enabling or similar actions, and do not want to scroll, use the Tracks Window (formerly Tracks Overview). It's fast, simple, and fast. Did I say fast?

-=-=-=-=-=-=- Save your range selection
If you KNOW you want to remember your current range selection, you can save it. (this is an existing feature, and has been for years) The command is in a drop-down menu in the Selection area of the top margin of the editor windows. It has a keyboard equivalent.

-=-=-=-=-=-=- Quick A/B Comparisons
For quick A/B comparisons, you can select a passage to play either in MIDI or soundbite, then play it using OPTION-SPACEBAR. Now, leave that selected and go looking through the sequence for other passages to compare it to. As you find them, place the wiper in front of each one and play it by hitting Spacebar, then hit OPTION-SPACEBAR again to play the one you originally selected (you might want to save that range selection, as per the above tip, in case you lose it). So you now have two areas playable instantly in an A/B fashion, using only the keyboard to compare them. Spacebar plays passages normally with the moving "wiper," while Option-Spacebar plays a range and track selection.

You can do it the other way around, so that you leave an Auto-Rewind marker at the beginning of the original passage, and play it with SPACEBAR or ENTER. Then as you find "B" comparisons, select them with the I-Beam cursor and use OPTION SPACEBAR to hear them. It's so easy to hear A/B comparisons this way.

-=-=-=-=-=-=- Link Selection or Playback to Memory for auditioning comped passages
For example, when comping tracks, use "Link Selection to Memory" and "Link Playback to Memory" to play only the comp you just selected. It will start and stop at the comp boundaries eac time you hit play. Click on another take for that comp section, and it will automatically play THAT one (when you hit Play, of course). But you don't have to hit Play for each comp of each take. Want to go through a whole stack of takes, phrase by phrase, without hitting play between them? Read on...

-=-=-=-=-=-=- Add Memory Cycle to Memory Links, for speedy auditioning of a large number of comps
If you have 20 takes to comp and want to hear each take of each passage fast without interruption, add the memory cycle (Keypad-Minus brings up the repeat signs) to the above (the two "Link" buttons). I think you can actually do it with just "Link Playback to Memory" and Memory Cycle, but I use all three buttons. Now, to hear every one of the takes, all you have to do is click the next take as it repeats the selected comp passage over and over, and it will advance to the next take each time you click a take, always repeating, never stopping. Remember the good takes as you go. Then compare the best ones. When you've heard them all, make your choice and then click in the next comp boundaries and repeat the process until you've finished the song.

To facilitate this, I usually set up the comp boundaries for the whole song before I start. It's pretty simple. Select the length of passages that make good comps, and get all the boundaries set up from beginning to end. Then start auditioning comps. Modify as needed.

-=-=-=-=-=-=- Click an I-Beam selection for an instant open-ended starting point/auto-rewind point.
When comping with the above methods, this enables you to click somewhere to go back and hear the transitions between comp boundaries, without stopping at the boundaries. It's very important to listen to transitions between comps, but it's hard to turn off all the buttons that are enabling you to work so fast. This makes it unnecessary to do that. Just click and play until you decide to stop. To bypass the auto-stop and/or auto-loop within comp boundaries, just position your cursor in the comped track itself, where the comp cursor changes to a regular pointer cursor. Now... hover over the lower ¼ of the track. The cursor turns to a crosshair; click it. This places a single line selection in the track. (you can also click in takes, if you hold down the A key, using the above technique, or hold down the I key for an I-Beam) Now hit spacebar and it will start there and play until you stop it. This means you don't have to go and turn off the "Link Playback to Selection" or "Link Memory to Selection" buttons to go back and listen to several passages sequentially in context. When clicking in the lower part of the track, whether in the Sequence Editor or the Tracks Overview window, the cursor acts as an I-Beam without having to switch to an I-Beam. You can click where you want it to start, or Click-Drag for a range that sets your starting and stopping point. This isn't limited to comping tracks. Any kind of editing goes faster when you can just click a starting point.

Much easier to see and emulate with a video, and I hope to make one soon. Will post a link here when I do. Just too busy now.

-=-=-=-=-=-=- Set up speedy and easy keyboard commands for your Link to Memory buttons
Now, let's say that you want to toggle off/on the "Link Playback to Selection" or "Link Memory to Selection" buttons. Set up a keyboard command for it in the Commands Window. I use CONTROL-KEYPAD 8 and 9, respectively. This is super-handy, and becomes 2nd nature so easily because it's so easy to reach. Right Thumb on CONTROL, and other fingers for 8 or 9. Those "link" buttons are incredibly helpful and convenient when you can toggle them with the touch of a key.

-=-=-=-=-=-=- Memorize the keyboard commands for Auto-Rewind, Auto-Stop, Auto-Cycle, Link Playback to Memory, Link Selection to Memory.
All those little transport setup buttons have keyboard commands. Plus, there is a command to toggle your current setup on and off. They are all located together in the extended keypad [X] — the brackets indicate that the key between them is on the numeric keypad.
    [8] - Auto-Rewind
    [9] - Auto-Stop
    [-] (minus sign) - Auto-Cycle/Loop
    CONTROL [8] - Link Selection to Memory (set this up in the Commands Window)
    CONTROL [9] - Link Playback to Memory (ditto)
    [7] Toggle current state - Excellent command! Does not affect Link Selection to Memory; only the playback buttons and other transport buttons (auto-rewind, auto-stop, auto-cycle/loop).
Memorize all the keyboard commands for the tools. They are SO helpful and fast. Make a cheat sheet to remember your commands. Tap and hold a command to change temporarily to that tool. Tap twice to change and stay on that tool. Of course, you knew that, right?

-=-=-=-=-=-=- Use Slip, Slide, Roll and time stretch tools for fast editing when comping
Now, back to comping. You're comping some takes together, but one of them doesn't quite fit. It's just slightly out of time compared to the rest. No problem. Select that comp section in the expanded takes and use the SLIP tool (COMMA) to slip the soundbite within its frame so that the starting points are together. Now it lines up the starting point, but the end is too early/late. No problem. Position the cursor as if you were edge-editing, but hold it over the top portion of the soundbite — the upper margin — and it changes to a closed hand. Grab that upper corner of the soundbite and stretch it or shrink it until it lines up. DP adjusts the length of the soundbite, and nobody is any the wiser. If it only needs a note or beat moved, be sure to CUT the part that needs moving, first. Find a "zero crossing" or gap on both sides of the note or passage to be moved. Hold down the C-key (scissors) and click at the appropriate spot on either side of what you're moving. Once it's a separate soundbite, you can use the Slip, Slide, Roll, and/or Time-stretch tools to get it lined up.

-=-=-=-=-=-=- Utilize Temporary Groups
Temporary groups are vital. Let's say you show 20 takes for comping. You don't really need to see those take in great detail, so why not make them very thin tracks to save screen space? Select them quickly by dragging over the takes in the Tracks Window. Now in the Sequence Editor, hold down T and vertically zoom one of the selected tracks to one or two lines in height. The rest follow. Release T. Now you can have enough room in the Sequence Editor to get things done without constant scrolling and wondering where you are. Actually, another way to do that is to shrink the original track before you show takes. They'll all come out the size of the original track, then you can expand it. The rest will stay put. But temporary groups have uses far beyond what anyone could imagine or recommend. Be ready to use them when needed.
    • Hold down W to group all visible tracks. Tap W twice to maintain it until you tap it again.
    • Hold down T to group selected tracks. Tap T twice to maintain it until you tap it again.

-=-=-=-=-=-=- Quickly edit out offensive consonants in background vocals
If you line up a stack of background vocals into a chord, you can get the consonants perfectly in alignment. The problem with that? They create massive plosives and sibilants, not to mention several separate breaths happening all of a sudden. You can quickly fix this if you are careful about it. Select the tracks you want to fix. Temporarily group those tracks (Tap W twice). Cut right at the left-edge of the offensive plosive or sibilant, deselect all (COMMAND-D), then select the soundbite you'll be fixing. Now, hold down SHIFT and select the other tracks with that same passage. Use the Edge-Edit tool to move the soundbite edge PAST the offensive consonant. All those tracks will edge-edit together, past the consonant, and you will have removed it from the stack. By itself, it will sound terrible; the pitched vowel will come in without the idiophonic consonant. But since they are all stacked precisely together, the consonants on the main melody track will suffice for ALL of them! When played together, you get all the harmony and none of the idiophonic buildup of hard consonants and sibilants. Yeah, Baby! This ain't your daddy's tape block and razor blade!

Be sure to listen for pops and fix 'em.

-=-=-=-=-=-=- Use "Play Selection" liberally as an alternative to setting up solos
When you're playing comps, you probably have the whole sequence playing so you can hear how the take sounds with everything else. But you want to hear it soloed, too, to listen closely to the comp. You don't want to set up the solo tracks each time, so solo isn't the most efficient way to play it. Use the technique outlined above: position the cursor (hold down the A key or double tap it to switch to the pointer cursor) over the lower 3rd or 4th of the track so that you get a crosshair, then drag over the part you want to hear. Tap OPTION-SPACEBAR, and you'll hear it alone. Note: if you hear nothing, your automation may have that track turned off or turned down at that point. You'll have to turn off automation on the offending track(s) and raise the fader. Or switch to a "new mix" (be sure the old mix is saved). This will start with all tracks on, but no plugins. Switch back to your saved mix before making any changes.

-=-=-=-=-=-=- Use the Tracks Window for appropriate operations. It's faster.
I haven't even touched on saving searches, using the Tracks Overview Window as a more efficient window for selection, moving selections, I/O, track colors, setup, record-enabling, and so forth. I believe I cover much of that in the Tips Sheet somewhere in a post called "Secrets of the Tracks Overview Window. This is your administrative window, selection window, and it's a great place to move things around, because it has that grid — easily over-ridden by holding down COMMAND. The cursor changes to a crosshair in the bottom few pixels of each track. Use this to drag a range. COMMAND-DRAG enables precise ranges. Use SHIFT to constrain dragging to one axis. OPTION to copy.

There are lots of things to love about DP, but you have to go find them. The above are super-fast shortcuts, but I've seen so many people who do not even realize the those "Link" buttons exist, or they don't know why they exist, or how to use them efficiently. Those are my go-to transport buttons when editing or comping. Then transport — starting point, stopping point, running through comp takes, listening in context, A/B comparison of selections, and so forth — is all done with clicking and dragging, not buttons or setting up numbers.

-=-=-=-=-=-=- MAS — Memory AutoRecord Selection — set them fast and often with keyboard commands
But since I mentioned numbers, there are 6 settings that can be set with the counter, which are extremely important, yet extremely tedious to do by hand. Use keyboard commands for them. They are the Start/Stop locations for the following:

Notice the mnemonic: MAS (MOTU Audio System)
To set those locations with the Counter, I use keyboard commands which I set up in the Commands Window. Mine are as follows:
      Start — OPTION-F1
      Stop — OPTION-F2
      Start — OPTION-F3
      Stop — OPTION-F4
      Start — OPTION-F5
      Stop — OPTION-F6

-=-=-=-=-=-=- When automating tracks with intricate fader moves, add a Trim Track
When you automate Stem Tracks that collect, say, background vocals, or instrumental sections or whatnot, add a Trim Track to your template. You'll need one for each automated Stem. Of course, you can do it with a Trim plugin, but you don't want to have a bunch of those things open. Route the stem through the Trim Track before it goes to the Submaster, Master, or Main Out. When the artist says "those background vocals are wonderful, but could you bring the whole track down about 6dB?" there's no need to stammer around or open the Trim plugin. Just grab the Trim fader and drag it down. Never automate a Trim Track. That would defeat the purpose. This is a great way to achieve the final balancing of all tracks in the mix.

-=-=-=-=-=-=- Learn all the ways you can use these quick settings to your benefit.
You can hit these while playing or recording for return later, or to set up a loop, starting point, stopping point, auto-record point, or a selection for any reasons whatsoever.

Ok, that's probably enough for now. If you learn what I've written in this post, your friends will be amazed at how fast you get around in DP. Seriously. It will increase your working speed immensely. Turbo-speed. At first it takes practice. But it comes quickly, because your brain wants to remember this stuff more than you know. Your brain secretly hates taking time out to go find a button, hover over it and click it, or select a field and type in numbers. With these methods, those actions are minimized or lost entirely.

Enjoy your newfound speed! Er... I mean the variety that does NOT cause anyone harm. This is Boy Scout/Girl Scout stuff. Being prepared!

|l| OS X 10.11.6 |l| DP 9.13 |l| 2.4 GHz 12-Core MacPro Mid-2012 |l| 40GB RAM |l| Mach5.3 |l| Waves 9.x |l| Altiverb |l| Ivory 2 New York Steinway |l| Wallander WIVI 2.30 Winds, Brass, Saxes |l| Garritan Aria |l| VSL 5.3.1 and VSL Pro 2.3.1 |l| Yamaha WX-5 MIDI Wind Controller |l| Roland FC-300 |l|
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