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MPE and Multichannel Tracks in MOTU Digital Performer 11

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Digital Performer 11 includes multichannel and MPE MIDI tracks. Marty Cutler explains how and why to use them.

Among the many new features included in Digital Performer’s latest release (full DP11 review coming shortly): multichannel and MPE MIDI tracks.

Multichannel MIDI tracks are an especially welcome update for MIDI guitarists, because their strings can send different channel messages on each string. But this isn’t only for guitarists, for example you might want to separate multiple live keyboard performances, possibly from more than one musician.

And of course anyone with MPE controllers and synths will be happy with the MPE MIDI tracks.

This story from last year explains both MPE and multichannel recording in more detail.

Setting up multichannel tracks is ridiculously simple: make sure that DP’s track input is set to Any, and just record!

As long as your receiving instruments are capable of receiving messages on multiple parts/MIDI channels, and your pitch-bend output matches your synth’s, you’re good to go.

For MPE tracks you have a few steps to take.

Digital Performer provides a Bundles Window, which lets you set up an I/O profile for audio and MIDI devices. In this instance we need to describe the MPE capabilities of our controller. Here I’m using my Keith McMillen Instruments KMI K-Board Pro 4:

Its horizontal sliders handily let you match the pitch-bend range of the synth with the controller– one less detail to fuss over. Your controller’s mileage may vary.

In DP’s Bundles Window (below), locate your MPE controller. Double-click on your MPE device and a panel will open, showing a pull-down window with a choice of MIDI protocols.

By default it will say MIDI 1, but clicking on the menu will let you choose MPE. Choose MPE for the Record Protocol.

I can ignore the Playback Protocol, because the K-Board Pro 4 has no built-in sounds. For those of you with hardware MPE synths such as the Linnstrument or the Haaken Continuum, select MPE as the playback protocol.

Once you’ve profiled your MPE device in DP you need not do it again. For software synths that support MPE (such as Plasmonic from Rhizomatic Software), consult your manual – they’re usually simple to set up.

Most of Digital Performer’s built-in virtual synths now support MPE. Set up a track and start expressing yourself!

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