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Help and hints for MOTU Digital Performer

Control DP Transport from a midi keyboard

DP 7 user manual reference: page 148

There are many ways to control the transport buttons [stop, play,pause, rec…] in DP.
To speed up workflow, some users like to control DP from their midi keyboard–so their hands don’t need to lift off the keyboard to grab the mouse or QWERTY keyboard.

The easiest way to do this is found in the Commands Window [Shift-L].
All the operations listed can be activated by either QWERTY keyboard or from a connected midi controller.

Scroll down to almost the very bottom of the Commands window, until you see
the ‘Transport’ Section.

Notice that midi note A1 is already pre-assigned to control play/stop toggle.

But when you push note A1 on your midi keyboard, notice that DP does not respond. There’s no playback.

Why is this?

DP has a protective mechanism built into the default settings of the Command window.

At the very top of the Commands Window is the Midi Masters section.
Think of it as a global on/off button for midi activation of commands.
To control the DP transport via any midi device, the top entry ‘Master Master’ must be checked.
Then select which group of commands you want to control via midi [Navigation, POLAR, Step Recording, etc].
For this example you will need to activate ‘Navigation Master’…

DP's protective mechanism against unintended midi control...

DP's protective mechanism against unintended midi control...

Now try again to start/stop the transport in DP by pushing key A1 on your midi keyboard.
Viola! It now works.

When you’re ready to stop using midi control for transport, just uncheck the ‘Navigation Master’ box.
Or to disable midi control for all commands, uncheck the ‘Master Master’ box.

Note that you can choose which types of commands are effected by midi control [POLAR, Sound Selection, Step Record, etc] when you want to enable it.

This might not be practical at all–if you ever want to use the A1 key on your midi keyboard for actual note playing and recording in DP. Everytime you pushed the A1 key on your keyboard, DP would stop or start!

So you can select a specific midi input source [perhaps a dedicated USB keyboard with lots of knobs and buttons] to let your main keyboard get back to the job of actually playing notes into DP’s sequencer…

Specifying a midi input source for commands control

Figure 2: Specifying a midi input source for commands control

Notice that in the Commands Window, under the ‘source’ column, that ‘any’ is the default setting
for all midi controlled commands.

This means that DP listens on all incoming midi ports, both hardware [like your USB midi interface] and software ports like ‘DP keys’ and ‘IAC Drivers’ if you have those activated inside Apple Audio Midi Setup program.

In my case, my USB Micro Lite midi interface sending the midi input signal is not listed as an input source, despite the fact that DP clearly recognizes it–as seen in the Midi Monitor window.

If this happens to you, and you want to specify a certain external midi port as the input source for midi control of commands, there’s a simple solution.

Open the “Studio –>Bundles” menu [Shift-U] and create a new Midi Device.
This is well explained on page 180 of the DP7 Manual, so I won’t elaborate on the details here, unless readers comment that they need more instruction.


  1. I want to quote your post in my blog. It can?
    And you et an account on Twitter?

    • Sure you can quote one of our tips. Better yet, give us a link!
      Signed up at twitter [] but will not be posting the contents of my daily meals, what movie I saw last week, or similar random garbage that nobody cares about. Just DP related and maybe VI/plugin news that catches my eye.

  2. Thank’s for those tips!
    Very interesting and useful.

    • You’re welcome!
      I hope also to add some videos for multi-step tips that are easier seen than read.

  3. Hi Charles,
    I read your tip with a lot of attention.
    Do you mean, I can control the DP transport bar, from a master keyboard without any other manipulation in DP, like MMC or MTC?
    I haven’t tested it yet, so it would be great to record sequences from a Fantom into DP in a single operation.
    Best regards

  4. Yes, that’s exactly correct. Just make sure you pick a key on your Fantom that is beyond the key range that you usually play when recording your sequence. Or else you canAnd read the last section again if you want to use a dedicated controller for this purpose.

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