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Help and hints for MOTU Digital Performer

Using real-time mixdown instead of Bounce


All DAW programs have a ‘bounce’ feature available to create a stereo or multi-channel mix of your current multi-track project.
In Digital Performer, this ‘bounce’ process occurs offline, and usually happens faster than real time.

What this means is that if you have a 2 minute sequence, and you bounce to disk, it takes less than 2 minutes [usually] to create that bounce audio file.

But many times the resulting ‘bounce’ file contains errors.
It simply does not sound like the mix you’ve been working on for the past week!
Automation nodes get cut off, or CC data curves controlling VI parameters get inaccurately rendered. Maybe it’s a midi data bottleneck somewhere, who knows.

These errors do not happen all of the time, or even the majority of the time. But it happens enough that Bounce to Disk is not 100% reliable.
And this is not unique to Digital Performer.
Over the years I’ve experienced the same problems with Logic as well.

So how can you get a bounce that truly sounds like your mix during playback?
Simply do a ‘Real-Time Bounce to Disk’.

This is nothing more than routing all of your audio/VI/aux tracks to a single bus output and then recording that bus output
onto a new audio track.

Here’s how it’s done.

In this example, you can see my Tracks Overview window.
The midi tracks on top and the VIs on the bottom.

There are no audio tracks in this project, but the procedure is the same for audio or VI tracks or aux tracks.
Notice the Track Folders [Project–>Track Folders]  for easy viewing:







Virtual Instruments routed to hardware outputs.





Step 1: change the output destination of the Virtual Instruments to a single stereo bus.
You can do this one by one, or first select all the VI tracks in the TO window, and then use the Audio Assignments window [Studio–>Audio Assignments] to change them all simultaneously:





The Audio Assignment window can be a time saver




After doing this, here’s how things look:





all virtual instruments now sending their audio to a stereo bus




Step 2: Create a stereo audio track.
Name it something useful, like ‘final mixdown’.

 

Step 3: Set the input for that audio track to the same bus you chose for the VI output. Bus 1-2 in this example





The mixdown track's input needs to be the output of all your audio/VI/aux tracks.




Step 4: set the output of your mixdown track to your main audio output [connected to your speakers for monitoring] so you can hear what is happening during mixdown.
Record enable and input enable the mixdown track.



Step 5:
rewind to the start of the sequence. Tap record. Now all of your tracks are being mixed down to a single audio track.
Here’s the finished result:




Mission accomplished!




You can have any number of audio tracks/midi VI sound sources/Aux tracks filled with effects plugins/stems/submixes
and the process for real-time mixdown is exactly the same.

Just route all of them to a single bus, then record the bus onto a dedicated audio track.

I have yet to get a single mixdown ‘error’ when using this method instead of bounce to disk.

Happy mixing!

11 Comments

  1. Nice site, I just stumbled across it.

    • Thanks! Good to hear that viewers are liking the site…

  2. I believed what you have desribed here is the same as what have done for years via a realtime bounce on my Yamaha 02r via an alternate stereo input (can’t think of the name at this moment). But I have never had a problem with a bounce-to-disk in DP. I running DP6 currently.

    However, I just stumbled across the site, and it sounds like you may be able to help me in another matter.

    I have a library of old reel-to-reel tapes, which I dumped over to ADATs a few years ago, when ADATs were popular. Way back then, before the ADATs, I would sync DP up with my 8-track reel-to-reel using a Datasync2 device recorded on one of the 8-tracks. When I dumped them over to ADATs, I did a direct track-to-track transfer, which included the sync tone.

    Now, I am trying to transfer the tracks from the ADAT (two in some projects), which I am able to do, but I can’t for the life of me, get DP to respond the the track with the sync tone. I consulted MOTU about this, with no successful response.

    Here’s my current gear. DP 6.x; 2-ADATxt’s sync’d via the 9-pin cable to my MOTU 424 (upgraded from the 324); Midi Timepiece2; Yamaha 02r with 2 ADAT cards; MTU’s Clockworks (latest version I think)… I have othr gear, but not significant to this.

    I can dump the ADAT data via the optical connect, but I cannot get DP to actually sync to the audio sync tone. I have connect the analog output of the ADAT track containing the sync tone to the audio input of the MTP2. I’ve tried all the “Sync to” and “Transmit Syn” options in DP, as well as MMC (midi machine control) settings, etc., but DP’s location counter never moves, and the play indicator of the Master ADAT just flashes.

    The object here is to get DP to sync up with the sync tone to follow the ADAT tape bar for bar and tempo as the original sequence.

    I guess my main issue here is how to set all of the Clockworks settings. I never really understood Clockworks. There’s icons of all my gear in two columns (left & right). I never understood the difference between the left and right columns.

    I hope all of this makes sense to you. I’ve been with MOTU since 1988, but they are practically unreachable now by phone. The online contact is even worst.

    Thanks

  3. hi charles
    great site, really sorry i’m coming at this post so late but i’ve only just stumbled across this great place!

    apparently i’m one of the 7 (or is it 8 now?) users of DP in the UK, but like you, i’m using it day-in-day out and have been for about 10+ yrs now, and still with every update i find things i never knew i could do – some of that changes with the type of job i’m doing as well, be it editing, composing, foley etc etc

    back to the topic though…. just a little tip to share: i started using the ‘long bounce’ (ie real-time mix) method around v5 when things started becoming really unreliable at bounce-down for me, and used it right up to a few months ago when i upgraded my studio machine to something that could cope with v7 and gave bounce a go again, and i’m pleased to say it’s dramatically improved, though i do still check everything meticulously in real-time before burning etc

    when i first started doing real-time mixes i was dogged by the problem that i often couldn’t hear what was going down to the mix track. the info was appearing ok, but i just couldnt hear anything till afterwards, which made mixing a nadge tricky.

    it took me ages to figure out that i needed to make sure that the Input Monitoring Mode was set to Monitor Thru Internal Effects NOT Direct Hardware Playthru, once changed – presto! i could hear everything again.

    I know that sounds really simple, but it threw me for quite a while and it’s one of thos things I would have loved to have read within 5 mins of having the problem because some other spoon had done it.

    Hence why i thought I’d share….

    Keep up the fantastic work.

    Paul D
    the frozen north
    UK

    I’m Paul, and I’m a British DP user, and I can be a spanner at times. Don’t hit me with your Logic Pro manual just cos i’m human.

  4. Thanks for the wonderful site…

    and…@ Paul D.

    THANXXX:-)

    I’ve been trying to figure it out for a loooong while!! I couldn’t hear a sound! NOW I CAN.

    Thanks for sharing

    S

    • @se….your welcome, thanks for writing!

  5. I’m very late to the game as well but just tried this and noticed something weird.

    When I use the extra bus to bounce in real time the bounce goes great. Then I listen to the mix via QuickTime and it sounds much dryer, almost as if I had cut the reverb fader down to half. When going back and forth between DP and QuickTime, I can definitely tell DP’s internal playback sounds more wet.

    Anyone else noticed this? Think it’s a QuickTime issue? I thought it might be a phase cancellation issue but I’m not seeing any way that two opposite phase reverb signals would get into the mix down bus.

    • Hi Kyle–thanks for writing.
      Check your routing settings. Since your DP playback sounds like it has all of the reverb you intend, but the bounced down track does not—I bet that your reverb sound has an output setting where the reverb sound is being sent to a different output.

      For example, it’s set to output 1-2 [whatever the default output is of your sound card]
      but for your real-time bounce setting you are routing all tracks out to bus 1-2.

      If your routing settings are correct, and the reverb is still half missing, check the reverb plugin itself to see where its output is being sent.
      The dry and wet signals might be sent to different outputs.

      If still no help, post your question at motunation.com

  6. Is it possible to mix audio and MIDI tracks into one audio track?

    To this point, I have recorded all MIDI tracks into one audio (which degrades sound quality terribly), I have been able to bounce several audio tracks together, but the recording quality of the MIDI to audio is very poor, and the bounce further degrades the quality of the audio.

    Is there a reason why the final result is so much worse that the playback?

    • Are your midi tracks virtual instruments, or are they being routed to external midi devices?

      If they are virtual, check for a master bus effect which may be present–or something in the signal chain which is lowering the volume, like a compressor without auto gain engaged.
      If you’re using dynamic processing on the midi virtual instrument, make sure they are not bypassed during the bounce.

      If they are external midi devices, check your audio input levels.
      something is clearly wrong if your playback levels are great but your bounced midi tracks have low volume.

      My money is on a bus or master bus effect which is not getting captured in the bounce.

      Hope this helps.
      If not, try posting at motunation.com

      Best,
      Charles

      • Thanks for getting back to me.

        I use two external MIDI devices – both synthesizers. I should have been a bit more precise: the playback I referred to is specifically the MIDI playback, not the playback of the recording.

        The recording volume level is sufficient and does is not the cause of any problems.

        The issue is the quality of the recording made through DP, or the quality of the recording made externally and imported into DP. When the entire song (13 tracks) is recorded, and the audio track is played back in DP, the music sounds muffled, and the individual instruments are difficult to distinguish.

        If I record a MIDI playback of the song into Quicktime (DP>Synth>QuickTime), the resulting file has very clear sound. However, if I load that file into DP, the sound is muffled, and the individual instruments are difficult to distinguish.

        I’ve been picking through the manual, but I have not had any success in changing my recording quality.

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