Advice on VSTs please

As a new user, I’m not sure 3rd party VSTs are something I need to be concerned about. I happened to run across a video talking about the Vienna Sound Libraries and they certainly look interesting, however, I have much to learn about Dorico as it comes packaged. I started off with Elements and upgraded to Pro 3.5.10 and don’t understand the options there. What supplied VST would someone advise me to set a a default in my novice stage? I attach a photo of my Playback Template dialog. Also, if I’ve started a project in Elements, will I completely mess up the project by changing default VST?

BTW: Haven’t figure out how to attach yet in new forum format.

NotePerformer, hands down. It’s a huge step up from the default sounds, and it’s effortless to use.

Most virtual libraries are intended to be used in a DAW, so most of them don’t sound great in Dorico without some effort and tweaking. NotePerformer is made for notation software.


And no, you won’t mess anything up by changing your playback template. You can make those sorts of changes at any point in your project.

Thanks for the tip on Note Performer. Also, for what it’s worth, I figured out how to upload my screenshot. You are my test case.

You should indeed start using the HSSE+HSO (Pro) playback template, but do make sure that you have downloaded and installed the Dorico Pro content installer (direct link to Mac installer), otherwise you will find that you miss a load of sounds.

I think(?) I might have done that when I made the upgrade. Is there a way I can check from within Dorico? In preferences maybe?

Run Steinberg Library Manager (which is a separate application: easiest to just start it via Spotlight). You should see a whole bunch of things in there, but an entry for HALion Symphonic Orchestra is the best sign that all of the necessary sounds are installed.

I, in fact, did not have it. I ran the content installer successfully. I’m good to go. Thanks.

Dan, a quick follow up question on Note Performer. (Once purchased and installed) does one simply choose Note Performer as the default Playback Template and then it works seamlessly with Dorico? They certainly make it sound unique on the web site.


Precisely! It really is that easy, and it sounds quite good. You won’t regret it. And plenty of other Dorico users would echo my endorsement!

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NotePerformer and VSL are both very good. VSL works great with Dorico, but NotePerformer’s balance is better without any tweaking. If you’re interested, I did a brief comparison a couple of weeks ago in this thread:

What type of music do you typically write? That will obviously play a big factor in any purchase decision.

I have played a woodwind quartet with note performer and the results are shockingly good. It imparts realistic expression (vibrato) and everything.

Thank you for posting those samples. I found them very interesting and particularly your comments and others responding to the post. I am not a professional but have some musical background playing trumpet in a youth orchestra as a young man, chamber groups, organ and brass, one of my fondest memories.

I have taken up the trumpet again after 50 years absence and loving renewing the exposure to classical music. For me, Dorico is just pure fun. What a tool! Could not even imagine such a tool 50 years ago. What a marvelous era we live in.

I’m jumping right into Dorico by tackling entering the score to Hayden Trumpet Concerto in Eb with the intent of have a full orchestral accompaniment while I play the solo. What a hoot of a concept! So far, I’ve completed the first page. For a new user, what a delightful shock to listen for the first time to a score played back with full orchestra, hence the new interest in exploring various playback templates.

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Like other users, I really like NotePerformer. It’s inexpensive and frequently gives excellent results with no need for tweaking.


Hi Dan: I’ve been trying out Note Performer today and initially it was working flawlessly. I then went exploring options of NP and subsequently lost all of my sound playback. I fiddled some more and got some sound but very low, almost inaudible. I’ve checked all my audio input output, all fine. I also switched template back to HSO which works fine. Any idea how to get back my original sound with NP?

Sorry to bother you again Dan. Not sure how I caused the problem in the first place but I did a complete system restart on my Mac and it now works as when I first installed it.

Hi thaupt. I also use NotePerformer and have two suggestions for things to try. First, as I recall, it is quite straightforward to simply download and install NotePerformer a second or third time and this might be worthwhile trying. Second, the NotePerformer manual is included on their website and has separate sections for Sibelius, Finale and Dorico, including recommended settings for each. I hope this helps.

As you may have seen, I seem to have fixed the problem by simply doing a reboot. My next step was to be the re-download routine. I read their user guide. It has a few tips but was not terribly extensive. My first day with NP. I do like the sound and articulation better. I’m sure I will like it. Thanks for your response to my predicament.