Dynamics in VSL Synchron Strings Pro

Hi Everybody,
I started using the VSL Synchron Strings Pro library with Dorico and I noticed that the gradual dynamic changes that are written in the score are barely noticeable via playback (unlike NotePerformer for example).

I’m used to working with NotePerformer and quite happy with its ‘out of the box’ sound but with VSL I feel I need to tweak quite a few settings in order to get pleasing results. Working with professional sound libraries is not my specialty and I’m not really sure how to tweak those things (especially controlling the dynamic changes in playback).

Any advice on the easiest way to adjust the dynamic changes?


I’m not familiar with the SSPro, but I noticed something puzzling with the VSL supplied Expression Maps for the Synchronized Special Edition… Dynamics were set to Velocity and Velocity Crossfade (VelXP - (CC2). In my experience, nuanced dynamics is impossible with this setting (somewhat depending on the number of sampled layers, of course). In my (extensive, but somewhat dated) experience, it’s not possible to achieve a natural dynamics spectrum (for classically oriented music at least) without involving expression (CC11). Extensive overhaul of the Expression Maps will in any case reveal a wealth of sonic possibilities…

I guess I’ll need to dig into this subject.

As far as I know currently you can’t control the expression automation (and other automations) in Dorico 4, right?

I found cc2 primary and cc11 secondary (or vice versa) works better than velocity+either cc2 or cc11 in my VSL stuff. I’m not sure the Xfade is enabled by the supplied expression maps, but it is easy enough to implement in the init entry: cc28 +value>0

Sorry for being a newbie, but can you explain how to do so or refer me to a place where I can read about it? I didn’t really find the exact action I need to do in the tutorials or the manuals.

Go to Library/Expression Maps, and scroll down to the map for the instrument you want to edit. Click on it to select. You’ll now see a list of expressions, and the first entry should be Init. Looking at my <VSL SYzd SE - Dimension Violins and Violas> I see that Init is blank.

In the command area, you’ll see icons for CC, PC, and Keyswitch. To add CC28, click the CC icon, and edit the values in the row that gets inserted. The middle column identifies the Control Change type, and the right-hand column is for the value. I assume that any value above zero will work in this instance, but I put 127.

I did what you said, but it doesn’t seem to change the playback behavior. The Expression slot stays static and only the Vel.XF slot is moving like before. what am I missing here?

Here’s a link to Q&D screencast as an example of what I mentioned initially. CC11 instead of Velocity

When the Playback template VSL SYzd Special Edition Vol 1 is loaded the celli are given the Expression Map VSL SYzd SE – Cellos

The only thing I changed was this: (for the natural and legato articulations only, just to prove this point)


You could also try setting the Expression controller to the same CC as VelXF (1 or 2) .
The impact for each can still be controlled independently by the XY square (controller curve) to the right…

This is akin to technical support asking: ‘have you plugged it in?’, but have you assigned the expression map to the output?

One thing about making changes to the default map is that you should rename and save it so that you are clear that the one you are using is yours, and not the original.

In the Play view, select the instrument, go to the Rack panel on the left, and look for the gear symbol that belongs to it. Click on that to bring up the Endpoint setup, and assign the appropriate Expression Map.

@fratveno is certainly along the right lines. The official map released by VSL has some strange decisions! My own VSL Expression Maps use CC1/2 as the Volume dynamic and CC11 as Secondary dynamic. The dynamics lane (if you’re using Dorcio 4 already then it’s temporarily missing) will generally show the Volume dynamic which adjusts tone as well as volume. I think this way round works better but it’s certainly open to debate.

Anyway the crucial thing is ensuring the controller allocation in the EM matches that in your Synchron interface. Although the VSL Special Editions libraries default to CC2, others more often use CC1 (which is the most common with libraries from other vendors as well), I think. I don’t have the new(ish) Strings Pro but it is quite likely that uses CC1. If you use CC2 in your EM, it won’t work unless you change it in the Synchron interface — probably easier to do it in the EM.

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Thanks fratveno, it worked!
The question is do I need to manually change every technique individually or is there is a faster way?

haha, that wasn’t the problem. I did what fratveno said and it seems to work :slight_smile:

Thanks anyway for the help!

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simply select all the techniques (SHIFT+select first and last) and change just the CC value.