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Saving synth patches in MOTU’s Digital Performer 4!

Q: “When I assign synth patches to my Digital Performer 4 tracks, the sequencer doesn’t remember them after I’ve saved the sequence. If I open a different sequence and then come back to my new song, the patches from the old sequence stay assigned to the tracks. What’s up?”

A: This is an issue Performer users have dealt with for years before Digital Performer ever existed! There are two columns for Program Changes in Performer and Digital Performer: the Patch column and the Default Patch column. The Default Patch column saves the program number in the sequence file, and it sends the correct program change message when it is selected and every time you press play. To ensure that Performer remembers the correct patches in your sequence, enter the patch name or number in the Default Patch column.

The Patch column sends a program change message to the instrument just once and does not save the program with the sequence. This is useful for situations where program change messages are used for some other purpose than a program change, such as an effects unit using program changes to control an effect parameter. If you choose a program in the Patch column, close the sequence and open it again later, the program change will be lost.

By the way, neither the Patch Column nor the Default Patch column actually writes the program to the track. If you want to export a Performer or Digital Performer file as a Standard MIDI File (.SMF or .MID) you would need to insert the Program Change directly into the track. You can do this in the MIDI Sequence Editor or in the Event List.

This situation is not a problem with virtual instrument plug-ins in Digital Performer 4 – in the “Project” menu, simply click on “Add Track” and then select “Instrument Track.” A list of your installed plug-ins will appear for you to select.

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