Comparison of 3 orchestra libraries: VSL - Spitfire BBC - Iconica Sketch



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Hello Dorico friends, here you can get a sound impression of three different orchestra libraries. I selected an excerpt from Mozart Symphony No. 40 (first movement). VSL used Synchron Strings Pro, Synchron Brass and Synchron Woodwinds, Spitfire BBC in the Core version, Iconica Sketch is the new library from Steinberg, which is now included in Dorico 5.1. The original expression maps of the three libraries were used for this.
Track 1: VSL / Track 2: BBC Core / Track 3: Iconica Sketch

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Thanks for this work. I think the tempo is really slow for this excerpt but I might be misled by some recordings…
I think it’s typically the kind of music where NotePerformer shines, so it could be a great idea to redo the same test bit using those libraries through the appropriate NPPE… If you don’t have them, I could do it, providing I have the Dorico file.

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Yes, Mozart’s tempo is Allegro molto.
Henning, in the audio samples the violins sound with dotted rhythms, is this an adjustment you did manually? bar 20 and following:

Example Camerata Salzburg: https://youtu.be/N1cexwLOvtY?feature=shared&t=40

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No you’re not being misled. Perhaps @Henning has a reason for such a sluggish tempo (I’m always open to explanations as non-standard interpretations can sometimes be insightful!) but as things stand, the comparisons are not too helpful for me when they additionally put in gratuitous accents, dotted rhythms and staccatos which I don’t remember hearing before. Dorico doesn’t seem to have a preset for “allegro molto” but perhaps “Allegro vivace” crochet =176 would be a reasonable starting point.

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Yes - are those ‘accents’ deliberate, or is it just a mismatch of volume between short samples and long ones?

That’s certainly a point where NotePerformer would be nearer to a real performance. Those are ridiculously dynamic and break the phrase. Hence me wanting to try NP out :wink:

OK that prompted me to try…
Here’s my NPPE Iconica Sketch…

Tempo: h=96.
I used the 1/2 section strings and dialed back the NP mixers to 95 except for the violins. No other adjustments. I can work with this.

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A much more reasonable tempo; I couldn’t listen to the ones in the OP.

There’s a wrong note in bars 16–19. Maybe 1st Bassoon playing F♮ instead of E♮?

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Well spotted. It was that joke horn player using the wrong crook!

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Ok, who wants to play a game of guess the “library?” Some of the old timers will remember this one, perhaps not too fondly. (The reverb was added, definitely not part of the original experience.)

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Does anyone have a .dorico file of the Mozart Symphony, so we can all play along at home…?

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I just mocked up the opening 60 bars. Extend at your leisure (I used the version without clarinets from IMSLP)

mozart40-Silent-edited.dorico (1001.8 KB)

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Thank you ! I like what VSL gives me (through NPPE), especially with the Synchron Prime Elite strings. Which is logical, since it’s probably the appropriate size for that symphony. (I think bars 26-27, Vc and Cb should play F♮)
I added some Rev lab LX480 Large Hall + Stage (as always) and a UA Studer 800 (more subtle effect).
I tweaked the length of the two slurred quarter sixths and removed the extra accent on cc11 (maybe due to some playback option…) to get a more natural rendition.

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Here’s ‘bare’ NP4:

… and BBCSO via NP:

… and Iconica Sketch via NP:

No adjustments from a newly applied Playback Template. (Except q=108)… ! :wink:

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Hello Dorico friends, I’m a little amused by the comments, I was mainly interested in comparing the three orchestra libraries, rather than a correct interpretation of Mozart. I got the piece as XML from a friend a few years ago and it seemed suitable for comparing different libraries. I’m just a Mozart fan, but not a specialist. The tempo of the three examples has become too slow; I added the dotted notes myself because you can hardly hear them otherwise. A problem of sampling articulations, as opposed to a real orchestra. I have uploaded the Dorico project (first movement complete), so anyone interested can work and experiment with it. I would also be interested in the result with Note Performer, I don’t have this program yet. Have fun!

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Mozart Sinfonie Nr. 40 (KV 550) - Satz 1 - Molto Allegro (Iconica Sketch).dorico (3.3 MB)

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benwiggy and MarcLarcher: sounds really nice with Note Performer…

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I launched a mega-thread using Mozart’s little night music and NotePerformer last year… to compare different string libraries. It turned out VERY interesting but really mega big :scream:
NotePerformer is really a great tool for this kind of music, and now that it hosts great string libraries (through the NotePerformer Playing Engines) the results are very satisfying, with very little work. What’s more: I find NP very effective as a tool to proof-read, as you can clearly hear pitches, phrases, accents… with very little discrepancies due to the “instrument”. That’s not the case when using expression maps only (at least, not that I know — I always find some problems between articulations that have nothing to do with the score, but only with the internal balance of the library).

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… and just for fun, here’s “Ben’s Personal Orchestra 6”:

Still a work in progress; woodwind and brass still under construction.

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