Digital Performer, and Performer before it, has been a Mac-only program for almost as long as you’ve been able to buy a computer called “Macintosh.” The first Performer release was available in 1985. (Professional Composer, before that, was out in ’84.) Performer, accordingly, has had a big impact on the history of the sequencer, and later the audio and MIDI arrangement hybrid that came to be known as Digital Audio Workstation, throughout the history of the genre. But it’s never run on any Microsoft platform – until now.

In an announcement I doubt anyone saw coming, MOTU has announced they’re shipping Digital Performer 8 for both Mac and Windows, in both 32-bit and 64-bit modes. That means, of the major conventional DAWs, nearly all run on both platforms: Pro Tools, Cubase/Nuendo, and now DP, to say nothing of tools like Ableton Live or Reason. All that’s left are Cakewalk’s SONAR, and Apple’s Logic – and Logic is the one made by Apple. Of course, being cross-platform isn’t always good for business – just ask the ghost of Opcode Studio Vision Pro – but recent changes in how software is developed have made cross-platform compatibility and testing more straightforward than they once were.

For Windows users, you get VST plug-in support and ReWire compatibility.

Other new DP8 features for both Mac and Windows:

  • “Punch Guard” adds four seconds of audio before and after each record, in case you punch in too late or out too early.
  • A new video engine supports 720p or 1080p with flexible output options – aside from your main screen, you can use a second display or HDMI or (very cool) SDI. In the producer community, I often hear skepticism about who uses DP. One major answer: the scoring and video production markets, in a big way. And MOTU’s recent developments in video hardware (hello, Thunderbolt) make them a player to watch, even when industry heavyweight Avid is casting its shadow.
  • New guitar amp and bass cabinet plug-ins, guitar pedals, modeled analog delay, multi-band dynamic EQ, de-esser, kick drum enhancer, and modeled vintage spring reverb. Give a DSP programmer a cookie, and … you wind up with a DAW full of fun sound design toys.
  • Themes for the UI, including “None More Black,” ensuring full Spinal Tap joke compliance for this industry-leading DAW.

That means that Mac users still have plenty to sink their teeth into.

Also, if you happen to be using the CueMix FX software in MOTU’s audio interfaces, you can now control that software via an iPad. Here’s what’s cool there: they’ve done the implementation in OSC (OpenSoundControl). It’s great to see a big industry player throw some weight behind that format.

That’s all we’ve got now – that and a screen shot – but I’m interested to know, any Windows users intrigued by getting to run DP? Or do you have no idea what it actually offers?

Getting anyone to switch DAWs seems to me generally near-impossible – and with good reason, given the investment in workflow. But could this make you keep your DAW, but buy a PC? Or… return to a DAW you miss from when you had a Mac? (Or switch, really?)

  • JPD

    I interned with a TV/Film composer who used DP and it seemed pretty solid for the job. I have too much time invested in Cubase to bother looking at it, the only other Daw I'm interested in is Ableton because it generally offers a lot of new workflow possibilities. I guess if I wasn't happy with Cubase DP would be a serious windows alternative. Maybe this will give Steinberg some development focus. 

  • aje

    It always seemed that MOTU were loyal Mac fans, there from the time Core Audio and MIDI were first developed, and totally committed to that platform… I wonder what they forsee ahead for music production on the Mac, and why they have changed their mind. 

  • peterkirn

    MOTU is devoted to the Mac, but recall that they also do drivers and plug-in software for Windows – meaning they're already touching both lower-level audio performance and higher-level UI. And while DP relies heavily on some native Mac frameworks, it's likely that, as with other audio software, big chunks of the codebase are essentially platform-independent. 

    I assume they also wouldn't do this without first hearing from their customers.

    You could make an argument for going cross-platform in light of Apple's Mac App Store – what do you do when a competing vendor opens a store on the platform? But it's also possible it was purely development- and customer-driven. Anyway, I don't think 'why' matters nearly as much as how well it works, and how MOTU does supporting both platforms.

  • Eric Beam

    Very interesting. As a former Logic user (pre-apple accusation) I have had a rough journey of changing DAW's. I've been a Sonar user for the past 4 years, On & off with ProTools for utility/transfer needs with the post world. After Logic I originally jumped to Cubendo but had horrible stability after SX. I then went head-first into Live/Protoosl, It's a powerful combo but I am very "Live Recording" orientated & Live's multitrack tracking capabilities are very lacking. I finally looked into Sonar. I was very anti-Cakewalk for sometime due to the clumsy vst2dx wrapper, but Sonar 7 fixed that. I have to say Sonar was a bumpy ride at 1st. It had some ridiculous aspects but advancements from 8.5 to now X1 have been really nice. For the windows platform, X1 has been rock-solid stable. I'm happy with X1 but I fear abandonment of advanced hardware midi support. I have a rather complex hardware sequencer/synth setup. It's currently working well with X1 & Sonar has always worked hand in hand with the windows platform. Cakewalk is always the 1st to take advantage of the OS, and I like this. But being that my multiple midi interfaces are MOTU & DP's history with video/composers, I am very curious if they will take the Windows platform seriously. I am intrigued.

  • freesoulvw

    I just hope this trend can make its way to the FL guys and we see some FL Mac love in the future. As if a million bucks doesn't sound like a good enough reason to push development. 

    • freesoulvw

      I understand that FL framework is rooted in Win deeply. 

  • Jonathan Adams Leonard

    Wow, motu just scored some coolness points.  For those of us using dp for live playback, its nice to know a redundant config can be done on cheaper pcs.  Very interesting!

  • DBM

    IL Is as far as I know still developing their FL Studio for OSX . It's not truly native , but rather built in to a custom Wine  ( or the other way round ? )  Kinda like SM Pro audio's VFX  win VSTi Rack/player for OSX .
    That said DP in Windows ….strange kinda like Arturia making Analog hardware . Strange year 2012 has been so far . 

    • aje

      …and Waves have dropped iLok… didn't see that coming either!

  • vanceg

    Tangential to your comment about OSC finally showing up in more and more products: There was a installation audio company showing at NAMM (They make ceiling mount speakers, distributed audio systems, WallPlate mounted control interfaces, etc for places like office buildings, corporate boardrooms) who told me that under the hood, their new control panels were speaking OSC to their audio processing/routing hardware. Ethernet based audio and control communication has been commonplace in that part of the industry for several years. This is the first implementation I know of OSC being used as the standard command protocol for this market. Just a side note.

  • chaircrusher

    I'm still mad about Opcode getting shut down by Gibson. Wankers.

  • peterkirn

    Ironically, part of what doomed Opcode *before* the Gibson buy-out was burning resources trying (badly) to support Windows. But development tools – and the market – were not in the mid-90s is not what they are in 2012.

    • Chris Roberts

      Peter, I disagree with your assessment, based on my experience as a software developer at Opcode. While there was an investment in Windows development, it did not detract much from the Mac side. In fact, the opposite was true for a long time, ie. the Windows project did not get enough investment, with a majority of the Windows project being handled by two new software engineers. It was also a time when Digidesign was being less than forthcoming with help (back when third party apps could access the digi hardware), along with Opcode's the ridiculous investment in 'edutainment' software.. It was a great place to be, with fantastic and smart people.. It's taken me 15+ years to end up somewhere (Universal Audio) I feel has the same vibe..

  • SkyRon™

    Ah, Opcode Studio Vision Pro . . . good times!
    (p.s. – – I know this isn't Craigslist, but does anyone actually have a copy of OSVP that still runs? I have a bunch of ancient sequences to export to some more contemporary flavor of MIDI. Price negotiable . . . .)

    • peterkirn

      There used to be a free download of SVP, though I assume that disappeared years ago. I think it was even updated for a late revision of OS 9.

  • svpUser

    @ SkyRon™ – – – For Opcode Studio Vision Pro related into, software, hardware, advice etc. see

    • SkyRon™

      Thanks, svpUser! Will certainly check it out!

  • Gil

    I suspected that something were going on when DP7 started to support WAV files and added file extensions to its audio files….

    • peterkirn

      You're joking, right?

      I mean, I've used Macs since around 1988 and I frequently deal with both those things.

      But I think you're joking. 😉

    • cbird1057

      Yeah, that was pretty strange when DP started saving in WAV. You can still change it back to AIF in the preferences.

  • robin

    You forgot Samplitude / Sequoia, which is also Windows-only, and as convincing an argument to buy into that OS as Logic used to be for the Mac. No other product makes complex editing so easy.

    • aje

      I've heard that Magix are porting that to the Mac though….

  • Kim

    You should all switch to Reaper. That being said I will be buying a copy of DP as it will enhance my my workflow on the PC.

  • trauma norms

    is this cos in 5 years Mac and PC will be dead?

  • Albi

    I recently moved from being a long term Cubase user on the PC to Presonus Studio One V2 on MAC and am convinced that this DAW is the future. Nothing beats it in terms of super fast workflow options, stability, incredibly easy to learn and use and it sounds great. 

  • Sono

    It's a shame DP is just dang hard to use. There's a lot of potential and advantages but the workflow and the teeny tiny interface come in the way. And i would really WANT to like it.

  • Javist

    Don't know, but perhaps the increasing tendency in the pro area of run away from Apple, not something desired, but the perception of Apple doesn't bother any more with the pro area. The long renewal cycle of the Mac Pros, and finally Final Cut Pro X are getting the media studios going to Windows (and Linux in some areas), just in case…

    Apple has becoming the quintessential of laptop as musical instrument/tool, but the professional studios can't keep investing in Mac workflow if they are not sure they would be able to keep on working so in a couple of years. And if they leave, so make the (non Apple) software.  Or at least getting an insurance.

  • cbird1057

    This is great news, especially if it's as solid in Windows as it is on the Mac. I've been through a lot of sequencers since 1987 and always come back to DP. I use it mainly for MIDI orchestration and audio editing, not live recording. The creative tools such as echo transpose are outstanding.

  • James Pun

    How come no one saw this coming, considering the amount of manufacturer/developer cooperation that needs to take place? And does MOTU's platform switch mean mean Apple will in the long term stop support for pro audio / post?

  • Jeff Sepeta

    DP has likely lost sales to Logic, forcing MOTU to look to new markets. Also seeing how Apple f-d up with FCP, a lot of video pros are migrating to Avid & Adobe. Why not run DP on a fast Win 7 box? This is good news for the industry.

    I miss Studio Vision & Galaxy+ Editors. But Gibson’s move with Opcode doesn’t piss me off as much as Apple killing S

  • Jeff Sepeta


  • Owen

    Me, I can’t wait for DP on Windows. I’m just not a Mac guy anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of the “Apple is overpriced consumer garbage” crowd – I just work with Windows machines all day long (I’m in IT). I stopped using Macs awhile ago and I’m not really interested in going back and re-learning the OS X interface and all of its quirks to make it really work well.

  • Jadan

    I am with Owen on this, I just found out today about DP on windows. I have been on windows and have never felt whole, when it came to Windows machines. I am definitely excited about DP on Windows

  • Jon

    Cakewalk is a very well run, super smart company.  If they port Sonar 2 Mac, they probably know they will be competing very quickly with a $99 Logic.  Because Logic is becoming Apple’s big time, “loss leader.”  Sonar is much better on Windows Only, where it can dominate the market along with Cubuendo, and I’m guessing DP is about to shake things up!  In the house yo!!

  • theBOOCH

    I’ve been using both Macs and PCs for a while now. I’ve had to run my DAW (Logic) on my Mac even though it is not my better machine (6 year old MBP vs brand new custom built pc… ) I’ve been contemplating getting Sonar for a while now (because I’m not a big fan of AVID since they slaughtered Sibelius, so no ProTools, and I’m not really interested in Cubase and can’t afford Nuendo), but I haven’t really been sold on it. With the release of DP for Windows, I really don’t have to make a choice anymore. Cross compatibility is a huge plus for me even though I intend to go PC only soon enough, but more importantly, DP has much more cred in the electronic music/electro-acoustic field and film scoring/film audio fields that I am connected with. Plus, MOTU rocks so how could I say no? Very big game changer for me.

  • Bogmusic

    Just found this article while searching for news on the windows release. I am switching from Sonar as soon as the windows version is out – main reasons:

    Fun factor – I just love the DP interface, totaly about personal taste (design is important)
    Six Strings – The new guitar oriented effects will come in handy
    Hardware – My audio interfaces are all MOTU
    19 Inches – My superPC is black, silent, rackmounted and easy (if you are me) to upgrade.

    Bring it on, I can’t wait