BBCSO Core Template and dynamics

Hi everyone, I have installed bbcso core and I am at the first use with Dorico. The sounds live up to expectations, but using the Dorico template I noticed that there is a strange response on the dynamics, for example if after an “f” I want to put a “p” there is a very strong decrease in volume. Also when I restart the song from the beginning, the samples are playing at a much lower volume than the initial one … do you have any ideas about it? The problem does not arise if I do not load the template, but on the other hand there is no response on the dynamics. Anyone have any idea how to set it all up?

Are you in the habit of placing a dynamics mark at the beginning of your scores fir each part? Any expression map entries which are triggered by PT that are directions (as apposed to those that are attributes of a note, etc.) are in effect until something changes them. So, yah, if the last triggered dynamics marking was a “p”…

Are you saying that the difference between p and f is too much for you? There are different ways to configure that, from adjusting the curve to changing the minimum setting especially if you don’t want niente. Is it a general concern or just in one place in the score or instrument.?

I started experimenting simply by writing a short melody, and I find it strange that if at the beginning I put for example “mf” and after “p” the melody does not restart with the dynamic “mf” but starts again with a lower value. With other libraries this does not happen and when I bring the playback back to the beginning, the song is played correctly, besides the fact that there is not a big jump between the dynamics. It’s a general concern at the moment, as I’ve tried other sounds from the library as well. Paradoxically it sounds much better without the playback template and I could even think about using it by creating the expression maps for the sounds needed in the project at the moment. From what I have read in similar threads here on the forum the solution could be to act manually on CC1 and CC11, certainly not comfortable but at least it can be a solution.

I’d need the specific project to be sure but MIDI chase often doesn’t too work well with BBC Core - in other works if you start playing from a certain point, the dynamic is often wrong – usually but not always too loud. It corrects itself as soon as there is a change in dynamic or sometimes sooner. If it’s playing sometimes softer from the beginning, it may not be picking up the initial dynamic if it’s set f for instance.

Good Afternoon Fabrizio.

I understand the feeling, but there isn’t a mechanism for MIDI to silently send "all of the MIDI commands that WOULD have come before if only you’d started from the beginning before it starts playback at measure 37 or whatever.

You might have a plugin/expression map that has something in its “init” expression map entry that might make you think it doesn’t have the same problem. But you can only have one “init”. So with all the different things you can do in a score, all VST are going to bite you at some time or other- like say not playing pizz. if you stopped in an arco section, and then backed up into a pizz section. but not all the way to the actual pizz direction…

Playing CC or KS by hand won’t be any different in that regard.

If it’s of any interest I have found this workaround and now the library sounds much better : i took the expression maps present in the playback template and I removed the flag from “use secondary dynamics”, in “volume dynamics” I set CC1. (I made this change on all expression maps and saved these new expression maps separately.) In the spitfire player I set the midi channel to “any” while in Dorico play mode I set the instruments on different midi channels, violin 1 ch 1 violin 2 ch 2 etc …
In this way the vst responds to the dynamics and starts from the beginning with the right dynamics without volume changes, the sounds are much more defined.

I would not myself recommend this. BBC Core is specifically designed to be used with both CC1 and CC11 as they have different functions, one being the overall volume and the other the timbre. With brass instruments in particular, you may want more volume but not a more aggressive timbre or indeed the other way round.

I’m not quite sure why setting the MIDI channel in the player to “any” would help but I’ll certainly have a look myself as it seems to be doing something for you! What do you mean by “the sounds are more defined”? Is it possible to share a project or part of one?

Hello dko22, you are absolutely right when you say that disabling CC1 is not recommended, but in this way I can have a stronger tone, keep in mind that I am experimenting to get the sound I have in mind and I am not an expert in purely technical matters. When I say that the sound seems more defined to me, I mean this :
If I use the one made for Dorico as playback template and write a simple arrangement for strings (2 violins 1 cello 1 bass) the first thing I notice is that cello and bass have a much louder volume than the violins, if I then add a sound change from “long” to “legato” the volume transition seems quite evident to me and the “legato” sounds much less defined than “long”. This is just one example. If, on the other hand, I use the workaround I was talking about, the sounds are more balanced and less muddy. As soon as I have time I will post the project I am using to test the sounds and I would be happy to have your opinion on it.
I know that you also have this sound library, does it give you such problems? :sweat_smile:
Thanks for the support! :slightly_smiling_face:

I don’t have any of the sort of problems you are describing. The loudest string section is generally the first violins which have deliberately been programmed a bit louder than the seconds in the (completely erroneous in my view) impression the firsts always have the tune. Cellos and basses seem slightly quieter but this may just be the acoustic impression that make high notes generally seem louder than low ones.

As for legato and long in the strings, the “Long” patch is only to be used for slow, chordal music. As the attack is slow to kick in, it tends to seem too quiet otherwise. I, myself have changed the “normal” patch to “legato” in the Expression Map as this seems much more flexible.

I would indeed be interested in seeing the project as that should make it easier to see what’s going on. Depending on the kind of music, there will certainly be more than way to programme this library but what you’re describing doesn’t seem to match my experience.

I am partially heartened to hear that you have no particular problems, but do you use the playback template that can be downloaded from the Spitfire website? Have you made any changes?

yes, I use John’s playback template from the Spitfire site as a base. My main modification is to change in the strings the “normal” patch to “legato” and create a separate one for the “long” articulation which is largely used for polyphony/divisi within an instrument.

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Ok, thank you very much, I just have to try again, and as already said I’ll put two separate projects, one with John’s playback templates and the other with the modifications. I have intel core i5 16gb ram and windows 10.

Dear dko22, I discovered the problem and I have to admit that John’s templates do not hit at all nor my speculations about separate channels. What blocked everything and made playback difficult was the reverb I added from the spitfire player to each track. If you play the samples without reverb everything runs smoothly even with large orchestral projects. So if it can be useful to someone, I strongly advise against putting the reverb on individual instruments, especially if, as in my case, you don’t have a lot of ram and a latest generation microprocessor available.

I hardly ever put reverb on individual instruments. Like you, I have a quite modest system and that is asking for trouble. The same would apply to the full BBC SO using lots of microphones. Even the best systems can struggle here. Anyway, good you’ve found the culprit!

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Anyway, as a former sound engineer, I’d say using individual reberbs on each instrument is a bad idea. You should use the insert to add a reverb (I use LX480 as a replacement for the stock reverb, I find it’s way cleaner and easier to use), so that there’s consistency in the space in which the instruments play…

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Sibelius does this. It’s up to the notation app to look back from the start point to see what was going on, and send that to the instruments.

yes, but I didn’t find it didn’t necessarily work any more reliably than Dorico. It ought to be simple but somehow doesn’t seem to be.

IME with programming nothing is ever as simple as you initially expect it should be. I can imagine it’s a gnarly one, but should be doable - may need to go right back to the start of the entire piece though to catch every code, and then scan forward until you get to the start point, accumulating and cancelling out codes that are mutually exclusive etc. I find in general Sibelius does a pretty good job doing that, as far as dynamics ad articulations are concerned. I don’t know about instrument changes or mutes etc. It doesn’t often bother me, so it gets it mostly right enough of the time.