Digital Performer 7 Guitar Heroes

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    Sound On Sound quick searchDigital Performer 7: Guitar Heroes : February 2010

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    Live Room G is a fabulous tool forcrafting a huge range of guitar sounds. Ittames Custom 59s distortion, and alsoworks wonders all by itself, or with asingle distortion or overdrive pedal.

    W

    Pointing to the left edge of a plug- in slot

    gives you a move hand that lets you

    reposition one or more plug-ins into

    lower or higher slots. Here the selected

    Analog Chorus and MW Equalizer plug-

    ins are being placed first in the

    processing chain.

    Saturday 2nd October 2010

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    Digital Performer 7: Guitar HeroesDigital Performer Notes & Techniques

    Technique : Digital Performer Notes

    DP7s new guitar plug-ins offer a fresh set oftones, and a contrasting approach to third-party alternatives.

    Robin Bigwood

    hats immediately apparent when you use DP7s new

    guitar plug-ins is how different they feel compared tothird-partypackages such as NIs Guitar Rig and

    Waves GTR. The all-in-one designs of the latter two allow you to

    call up chains of effects and choose an amplifier model and

    speaker cabinet within the confines of a single plug-in window.

    DP7 uses a different approach, with all of its guitar processors

    appearing as individual plug-ins. There are advantages to doing it

    in this way: you can use the Live Room G speaker-cabinet

    emulator on a Hammond organ track, for example, without being

    saddled with a bunch of other guitar features you dont need.But

    there are clear disadvantages, too. One is the challenge of co-

    ordinating the many individual plug-ins you might need to achieve

    your desired tone, and another is the lack of a formal preset

    system for groupsof plug-ins. However, there are ways to dealwith

    both.

    Chain Reaction

    Lets deal with that first point, to begin with. In DP, you assemble processing chains by placing your plug-ins

    in order, from top to bottom of the plug-in slots in a Mixing Board channel. So for a typical chorused sound,

    you might choose a chain comprising something like the Analog Chorus pedal, the Custom 59 guitar amp

    emulator, then Live Room G.That would appear in your plug-in slots as in the screen on the left.

    That seems easy enough, but what if you ever needed more

    than five plug-ins, for a more complex chainof effects? Thats also

    easy: go to the Mixing Boards mini-menu and choose Set

    Number of Effects Inserts. In the dialogue box that appears, you

    can specify up to 20 slots, which should deal with even the most

    outrageous guitar treatments!

    With bigger plug-in chains comes the challenge of using them

    efficiently, and here a tinybit of Mixing Board technique is worth

    an awful lot. By moving your mouse pointer to the left edgeof an

    occupied plug-in slot, you get a move hand. Click and drag a

    plug-in like this, and you can move it to another slot, which makes

    re-ordering a plug-in within a chain really easy. You can also re-order whole groupsof plug-ins. First, click a

    plug-in within an insert slot (this time not at the left edge) to select it, and then shift-click additional plug-ins to

    add themto the selection. When youre ready, point to the left edgeof any one of them, and all the plug-ins

    you selected can be dragged en masse to a new location.You never need to worry about channel formats

    when youre doing this either, as DP does all the behind-the-scenes work in switching the plug-in youre

    moving, or those in neighbouring slots, to maintain the appropriate mono or stereo signal flow. Sweet!

    Here are some other ideas. When youre dragging a plug-in (or

    plug-ins), holding down the Alt key will duplicate rather than move

    them which is reallyhandy for copying whole chains from one

    track to another.Holding down Alt while you click a plug-in within

    its insert slot toggles it on and off, just the same as clicking its

    bypass button if its window were open. Bypassed plug-ins are

    shownwith their names in italics. And if youre getting

    overwhelmed with plug-in windows while tweaking a long chain of

    effects, try closing all but one, and then using that ones insert

    view pop-up menu to switch to another plug-in in the same

    window.

    Total Recall

    Youve perfected a plug-in processing chain for your guitar sound.

    How do you go about using it in another DP project? The answer is

    with Clippings.

    1. In the Project menu, chooseClippings, then New Digital

    Performer Clipping Window.

    2. Name the window that appears. For the sakeof illustration, Ill

    call it My Guitar FX.

    3. In the Mixing Board, click (and shift-click) all plug-ins in your

    chain, to select them.

    4. In the Edit menu, chooseCopy to Clippings Window / Copy to

    My Guitar FX.

    Chain Reaction

    Total Recall

    Dialling Tones

    Clippings & YourMac

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    Use a plug-in windows insert view pop-

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    drowning in windows.

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    Clipping windows in DP are great forstoring presets of plug-in chains.Theyre views of actual folders on yourMac.

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    5. If the little Clippings Windows you created in step two is no

    longer visible, select it by name from the bottomsection of the

    Window menu. Then Alt-click the Clipping name to rename it as

    something more useful. Ive chosen Crunchy Drive 1.

    Having saved your plug-in chain, with all its settings, you can close

    your project and open the one in which you want to use this same

    processing chain. In the Project menu, chooseClippings / My

    Guitar FX, and then, from the window that appears (look familiar?),

    drag Crunchy Drive 1 onto your guitar tracks insert slots in the

    Mixing Board.

    Using this same technique, you can build up whole libraries of

    plug-in settings and chains for yourself. Or try some that MOTU

    have made for you: go to www.motu.com/newsitems/new-guitar-

    tones-for-dp7 and download some of the Clippings there.You can

    then drag the Clippings files directly from the OS X Finder into

    plug-in slots in DP.

    Dialling Tones

    On the face of it, DP7s guitar plug-ins seem straightforward: you

    get a bunch of different distortions,a chorus, a noisegate and

    wah, an amp simulator,and a room simulator. However, theres

    more subtlety and flexibility here than you might initially realise.

    First of all, its important to understand that Custom 59 is just an

    amp head, not a speaker cabinet as well. If you use it byitself...

    well, just dont! Not unless you like really hissy, sharp-edged

    distortion, that is. Its really designed to be used in the signal flow

    ahead of Live Room G, which adds the speaker emulation that

    smooths everything out and thickens it up.

    The next thing about Custom 59 is that it just doesnt overdrive and distort in the aggressive way that

    some more modern amps do. Maybethe clue is in the name, because MOTU apparently aimed it at the

    production o