Motu Virtual Performer Overview | PCMag

If there is a unmarried virtual audio workstation package deal that is extra intently related to the Mac than every other, it is Motu’s Virtual Performer. Within the virtual audio-enabled model’s eleventh iteration, Motu’s flagship DAW stays a premier device for MIDI composition and movie scoring, and it comprises sufficient audio-editing gear to function a forged all-around multitrack recorder. I have been the usage of Virtual Performer off and on for 30 years, with my first revel in being with the MIDI-only Performer in a school song lab on a Mac IIsi. This newest model is a real excitement to paintings with—this is, so long as you might be now not anticipating a lot in the way in which of bundled digital tools.

How A lot Does Motu Virtual Performer Value?

Motu sells Virtual Performer in one $499 model that works on any gadget operating both macOS (model 10.13 and up) or Home windows 10. Motu says this system “seem[s] to be suitable with Home windows 11, despite the fact that ultimate compatibility checking out remains to be ongoing” as of ultimate October, however has but to totally certify it. Motu recommends no less than 8GB of RAM, which is lovely mild for a DAW in this day and age. For this assessment, I examined Virtual Performer 11.1 on a MacBook Professional 16-inch (Past due 2021, M1 Professional) operating macOS Monterey 12.3.1. Virtual Performer installs in no time, because it takes up simply 1.7GB of arduous disk house.

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When you’ve used Virtual Performer ahead of—even twenty years in the past—you’ll be able to to find the principle consumer interface atmosphere right away acquainted. The consolidated interface permits you to show a couple of perspectives concurrently, together with the association, the blending board, and notation, in the event you so want. I discovered that I favored running with the Tracks view on height and the mixer on backside except for when enhancing explicit clips or MIDI notes, however you’ll be able to create near to any setup the usage of the horizontal and vertical drawbars in every window. Additional subject matters come up with a lot of choices for the entire glance of this system, however it isn’t near to colour—the sliders, pan pots, and meters additionally trade with every theme. The only major bugaboo is the tiny measurement of the textual content and labels, despite the fact that you’ll be able to in the end deal with it in this day and age with the integrated scaling options.

For detailed enhancing paintings, the consolidated interface permits you to carry up sample-level wave enhancing of recorded or imported audio clips whilst preserving the association and combining board visual. Pitch correction for vocal tracks is treated extraordinarily neatly—to the purpose the place you could need to use Virtual Performer only for its local functions right here, which ship Melodyne-like ranges of high quality and straightforwardness of use. I used Virtual Performer for some severe handbook pitch correction paintings on a number of takes of a lead vocal, and the consequences have been totally clear. Advanced audio beat detection and complete audio stretching amenities have been added prior to now couple of variations as neatly. When recording audio, Punch Guard mode guarantees you do not lose the entrance or tail of a just right take, since the function is repeatedly shooting additional time ahead of and after your punch issues.

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After all—with the newest model 11.1—tool tracks can now grasp MIDI knowledge, eliminating the ultimate cussed barrier that Motu has caught arduous and rapid with for the reason that early days of “Virtual” Performer, again when it first added the power to report audio tracks. You not want a separate MIDI observe for every tool. Doing it that manner had some minor benefits, and you’ll be able to nonetheless separate them if you want, however now Virtual Performer works the similar manner as each and every different primary DAW when recording with digital tools.

Digital Performer Piano Roll

MIDI enhancing stays as powerful as at all times, with a lot of detailed changes and to be had gear. Lately, Motu has added many options that lovers of this system have lengthy requested for, equivalent to MIDI match muting, computerized grid resizing, and lane-based observe automation. Tracks have non-destructive quantize and transposition, like Good judgment Professional, so you’ll be able to take a look at out grooves and key signatures at the fly with out intensive enhancing. The Notation view now helps slurs and textual content articulations, and you’ll be able to assign traits to them with Articulation Maps. Model 11 provides multi-channel MIDI tracks, and this system’s Retrospective Recording function now screens audio in addition to MIDI, so you’ll be able to by no means lose a good suggestion simply because Report wasn’t operating.

Tools, Blending, and Movie Scoring

Virtual Performer’s greatest vulnerable spot stays its tool package. There is not any bundled sampler plug-in with the exception of the extraordinarily rudimentary Nanosampler 2, and there is not even a sample-based synthesizer workstation plug-in. Synthesizer lovers have a just right palette to paintings with, as every of the 5 tools (Bassline, Modulo, MX4, Proton, PolySynth) be offering first rate arrays of pads, basses, leads, stabs, and drones. Model12 provides kind of two dozen, most commonly cheesy-sounding acoustic and digital drum package presets that are not even balanced as it should be. Ok, the “LA Trailer Manufacturing” package is a ton of a laugh to play with, because of its melodramatic, room-shaking rises and crashes; I will give it that.

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Digital Performer MasterWorks Compressor

When compared, although, just about all competition to Virtual Performer come with huge collections of multisampled tools (pianos, guitars, organs, orchestral tools), acoustic and digital drums, and copious loop programs, none of which you’ll be able to to find right here. It would possibly not topic in the event you’ve already were given extra-cost third-party tools you favor, however it is a curious omission for the reason that Good judgment Professional, Cubase Professional, Ableton Are living, and maximum others all include such a lot in this day and age. You’ll be able to open any of Virtual Performer’s key competition (with the exception of the $60 Reaper) and compose an entire piece of song the usage of the bundled digital tools. You’ll be able to’t do this with the inventory DP tools until you might be actually into minimalist analog synth techno.

At the plus aspect, Are living Efficiency Mode now guarantees that in case you are the usage of Virtual Performer’s very good Ableton Are living-like triggering mode, all results processing shall be finished in real-time for on the spot reaction to controllers. I am not a guitarist, however this system does have forged digital amp simulations, with a bunch of amp fashions and digital stompboxes, together with the reasonably new MegaSynth and MultiFuzz results.

There are greater than 80 bundled plug-in results, together with the splendidly named Springamabob, which is a antique spring tank reverb, and SubKick, an invaluable kick drum enhancer that provides sub-bass frequencies and overdrive in some way that will be difficult to get out of an ordinary parametric EQ. The Plug-in Chooser makes organizing your plug-ins a snap, and contains preset chain beef up. In contrast to in Good judgment Professional, you’ll be able to drag channels round within the Blending Board view, which makes it simple to stay your mission arranged. Model 11 brings resizable channel strips to the combination console, and you’ll be able to nonetheless alter the scale of the meters and open a separate meter bridge. MasterWorks FET-76 1176LN limiter and Teletronix LA-2A compressor plug-ins come up with some colourful choices to govern your mixes.

Digital Performer Notation

Certainly one of Virtual Performer’s strengths has at all times been scoring for footage, and model 11 continues in that vein. Its “Chunks” approach of organizing sequencer and digital tool knowledge is unprecedented for writing separate stems of song, letting you prepare and rearrange movie song cues or independently alter their pace to observe the director or editor’s whims. The playback engine permits you to display screen video at 720p or 1080p—both inside the principle interface, on a 2nd show, or out of a video interface by way of HDMI or SDI. An in-line keep an eye on panel permits you to consolidate display screen house on the identical time.

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A Stellar Performer

At this level, it is turning into very tough to crown one virtual audio workstation the winner over the others. If you are taking your time to be told your manner round a top-name DAW, you’ll be able to create a success report with near to any one of the crucial primary sequencers. Virtual Performer excels in notation, movie scoring, and post-production paintings, and it is a nice MIDI sequencer for composition functions. However you’ll be able to do all of the ones issues in all the different primary DAWs as neatly. Most likely a greater means is to easily learn the opinions, run demos the place you’ll be able to, and test the function lists to peer which one appeals to you on a extra visceral point.

Avid’s Professional Gear stays the business same old for post-production, however now not as a result of it is essentially extra succesful—it is that such a lot of other people use it, that it is simple to proportion initiatives, and its blending workflow and audio engine steadiness are 2nd to none. It isn’t as adept as Virtual Performer for composing song with digital tools, although. Apple Good judgment Professional nonetheless holds the Editors’ Selection identify for Mac customers because of its incredible price. All advised, in case you are on the lookout for a stellar platform for web hosting digital tools, composition, notation, and in particular movie scoring, Virtual Performer stays a phenomenal selection. Movie composers spend their whole skilled lives on this tool with just right reason why, and model 11 solely seems to be to improve its grasp on them.


  • Complete MIDI, notation, and movie scoring gear

  • Extraordinary integrated pitch correction

  • Strangely just right reside efficiency amenities

The Backside Line

So long as you might be now not anticipating integrated tools, Virtual Performer stays a premier device for MIDI composition and movie scoring, and it is also subtle sufficient in a different way to paintings as an improbable all-around DAW.

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