Dorico + NotePerformer + non-NotePerformer libraries?

My original intention was to put together the simplest system possible meaning Dorico w Noteperformer and compatible libraries

That I will still do, but now Spitfire has a sale on some pretty nice libraries so I am being lured off the straight and narrow original plan

That sale ends on the 25th so the question is semi-urgent

I’m wondering what I will be getting myself into if I attach these other libraries along side Noteperformer, will it all work out gracefully?

The beautiful spitfire chamber strings(kontakt) is the main temptation here so also if anyone has opinions about that one I’m interested

Mducharme after posting this I just saw your post on the other thread about this so that may be all the info I need

those chamber strings sound really good, I am torn though if it means putting in hours of tech drudgery

I have created many hybrid NotePerformer + other library setups. It works pretty well once you get the hang of it.

For me there are a handful of scenarios where it’s handy:

  1. adding non-orchestral and non-traditional instruments which simply do not exist in NotePerformer (I do a lot of hybrid scores with unique and world instruments, as well as jazz instruments, rock, guitars, mandolins etc);
  2. supplementing NP with an articulation it doesn’t offer… stuff like wind/brass FX (falls, doits), extended articulations, unusual percussion sounds (Spitfire has some good stuff to explore there)
  3. swapping one single part or instrument for another which I find to be more agile or able to pull off articulations better than NP or any NPPE which I own.
  4. simply put there’s a library which I like the sound of better than the stock NP or any of the NPPE’s. I almost always use my own separate harp, piano, and percussion libraries (which fortunately are a lot easier to set up than strings!)

#2-4 can be done even down to a note-by-note basis by separting voices into different ‘tracks’ and routing them accordingly. With a little mixing and automation it works great!


  • It can be a lot of initial set up to get it working right.
  • You will sometimes really have to fight expression maps to deal with volume and delay compensations so they sit right with NP. It can require a lot of manual overrides and tweaking.
  • On the whole NP is quieter than other VSTs so there’s a bit of mixing to be done; though Spitfire libraries tend to be on the quiet side.
  • I personally don’t prefer making unique playback templates for adding one single instrument, so right now you can’t import endpoint configurations (instrument preset basically); so it requires a little work every time. Ideal to save project templates.

All that said, I do not recommend any of this for libraries which are basically already covered by NP in full. It’s a bit of a fool’s errand. Spitfire Chamber Strings is a great library, but like many I have tried creating expression maps for it and it’s… a pain. When combining with NP I would spend more time fighting timing issues, volume misbalances between shorts and longs (notes sticking out suddenly too loud or too quiet). The beautiful thing about NP is that it handles all of this for you so you are free to focus on writing and not tech support.

I can’t speak for Wallander but I do believe SF Chamber Strings are on their list to create an NPPE, since it’s often requested. As a library it sounds great in a DAW. In the meantime I have used VSL’s Elite Strings which are about as close as you can currently get to a chamber string ensemble using NPPE – though I think SF Chamber Strings sounds better, at least VSL is functionally useable without making me want to throw my computer out the window.

In conclusion, if you’re looking to spend money on the Spitfire sale, I personally would focus on instruments which NP cannot offer you.

If you don’t have it already, BBCSO Pro with NPPE is a match made in heaven, sounds great out of the box with almost no additional tweaking, 85% of the time.

Yeah I agree about the Elite Strings recommendation - I don’t have it myself (I have their larger Duality Strings product) but it’s a great library. VSL is very strong regarding consistent programming, and libraries like that work very well driven directly by Dorico. But, Elite Strings is also supported by NotePerformer.

Here is a film score style track I composed for the Ryan Leach Composing Competition with Dorico, without NotePerformer. Mostly VSL libraries.

I don’t like to use NotePerformer where the final product is a properly produced recording like this - I feel it is using it against its purpose. NotePerformer is really best suited for making a good “demo” of a piece that will be performed anyway, with a minimum of muss and fuss, and I use it for that all the time.


Thank you for all of that, this has been very helpful

The bbc so is beckoning at 50% right now, probably worth it just for instruments not included in cinematic studio series, and who knows maybe would draw me into the symphonic world. Sub-question is the choice between core and pro

For my purposes it’s all about chamber music so the closer I can get to that within NP I think the happier the experience will be

There remains some confusion for me here as I don’t see VSL nor the Elite Strings in the noteperformer list of libraries?

Also SF chamber strings doesn’t seem to come up in my internet searches?

Elite strings are both available in the Synchron Prime and Synchron NPPEs. Just open those and check out what they contain (it’s listed in the NPPE app).

When I look at this from Canada, the prices on the Spitfire site are US $449 for Core and $999 for Pro which are the usual prices. Are you able to get a discount code from another site?

They have a deal where the entire shopping cart contents are 50% off at the moment, except for products otherwise on sale.

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SF Chamber Strings = Spitfire :wink:

I have BBCSO Pro, but I had originally taken the upgrade path from Core. Might be worth trying Core first to see what you think and next time they have a sale you could get an upgrade price to Pro if you want. I don’t remember the main differences off the top of my head, I think Pro has a few more instruments (Core might not have stuff like bass clarinet or contrabassoon cimbasso etc etc?), a little more articulations per instrument (not sure if that makes a difference with NPPE since they don’t support every articulation, worth checking those pages to see); and lastly Pro has more mics/mixes. The website should have a comparison chart somewhere. I remember Core being a pretty great entry into the symphonic world for me.

Chamber-sized stuff can be tricky with NP. BBCSO does include soloist/section leaders, but it’s not really possible to do a medium sized chamber ensemble (you can chose the close mics which sound more intimate, but regardless the primary string section is a standard large orchestra) – which is why I mentioned VSL Elite (or Duality) as I think the only current chamber-ish size supported by NPPE, if that’s your cup of tea. If you’re not in a hurry, VSL runs sales throughout the year too.

Chamber is more my cup of tea but bbc at 50% is a temptation tough to resist partly because it has some instruments I’d have to get elsewhere outside the NP realm

Both Cinematic Series and Elite Strings would fit my needs

Another choice looms between Elite Strings and Duality and the examples I’ve heard in both are beautiful

Or both

Synchron also has some gorgeous pianos

This is a much tougher process than I thought it’d be going into it

There are worse things in life

Functionally speaking Core and Pro probably work equally as well w NotePerformer?

My impression is that Pro has more for the person working in DAW + a few extra instruments

Thanks again to everyone chiming in here it has been very helpful

SF Chamber Strings = Spitfire :wink:

I live just south of SF + am easily confused

Good to know and BBC SO could hold me over for the time being

I feel a nap coming on

I will have to check but I think the discount code is labsplus50

I don’t do any symphonic stuff but who knows and I need some instruments it has that will work in noteperformer

Currently deciding between core and pro

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do check your computer is up to spec if you want to use BBC Pro with NPPE. And remember that both BBC orchestras have a warm full orchestral sound (which is what I actually want) – if you prefer a thinner, clearer sound, it might not be ideal. Both Duality and Elite have a fuller sound than Spitfire Chamber but could be a good compromise if you’re unconvinced by a full string section.

The machine is a new MacBook Pro max3 with 128 gb ram and 2 tb storage

I bit the bullet for the ram would think it adequate but looking at all these libraries maybe should’ve got 4 tb ram

Far cry from where I left off with 4 gb ram

BBC pro vs core is still a question mark but i doubt I’ll get enough into fine tuning to warrant pro

Which my understanding is what it’s about

Thanks again

That machine should be fine. I’m running large sessions using BBC Pro via NPPE on a mac studio m2 with 128gb ram and I don’t really have any issues.

Re: Pro vs Core - I really think the most notable difference as seen on the NP engine pages is that Pro simply supports more instruments and also solo strings (which Core does not have).