Enabling both primary and secondary dynamic control


Does it make sense to activate both the primary and secondary dynamic control in an expression map item?

The case I deal most often: with VSL libraries, I can use either Velocity or CC to control dynamics. If I enable both Velocity and CC as dynamic controls, can I simply turn the one or the other control in the preset, and have Dorico control it with one of the two dynamic control types?


Hey Paolo,

I’m still not a VSL guy - just to warn you. Course if you’d like to donate a license… :slight_smile: Anyway, when I use both controls its typically when a library has dynamic intensity layers that I want to trigger with say the Mod Wheel, but they don’t affect the actual volume enough like I need. So I may use CC 7 for the actual volume in addition. If I understand your second question correctly - the controllers used and their settings are per PPT in the expression map, so you can switch them on or off by switching techniques. I have been known to create some additional techniques just for that purpose when I want a purely library switch instead of a musical one. Hope that helps or triggers some other thoughts…


Greg, this is how I understand the two dynamic controls are intended. Yet, in the maps supplied by VSL for the Synchronized SE libraries, I find both of them programmed. But those libraries can’t respond to both controls at the same time. So, I wonder if the system can have an alternative way of working.

Sorry for the license, but I don’t have any spare at the moment! :slight_smile:


the simple answer is yes. Scale the CC11 to a proportion of the primary – I currently have around 60-120 set but there’s plenty room for experimentation. Do not simply duplicate the primary as quiet passages will be far too quiet and the dynamic range out of balance. Doing things like this will definitely produce a more expressive and dynamic performance than just the one controller. I don’t understand the comment that the VSL libraries can’t respond to both dynamics (CC1 or 2) and Expression (CC11) at the same time as it seems obvious to me that they can!? Perhaps I misunderstood something.

The VSL maps use primary velocity and operate in a completely different way to my approach. If you want to find out the logic behind their decision, I would say ask on the VSL forum. It doesn’t work particularly well for me.

The Soundiron Requiem Light library has two ‘vowels’ in each slot, which you can crossfade between. Each has their own volume control: CC72 and CC73, so you need both at the same time.

I suspect we are referring to different things, here. Sorry if I’ll describe something you already know, but I want to make my question clear.

There are various ‘loudness’ control with MIDI instruments. One is Channel Volume (CC7), usually used to adjust the channel fader in the mixer.

Another one is Expression (CC11), often used as a complement to dynamic control (for added volume, changed loudness while maintaining the same timbre/intensity, or to fade to al niente).

Then there is the Dynamic control (usually CC1 or Velocity), changing volume, crossfading between dynamic layers, acting on related parameters like brightness.

CC11 is usually left as a channel control, acting on the MIDI volume, with no interference on the instrument’s internal parameters. CC1 and/or Velocity are directly linked to the instrument’s sound generation. This is what expression maps are codifying.

In most instruments you can decide to control the internal Dynamics parameter either with an instant control (Velocity) or a continuous one (modulation, usually CC1). Dorico allows codifying both. Some instrument can use both (Velocity for initial dynamics, CC1 for its variation over time).

VSL instruments can use the one or the other, not both at the same time. What it demands is written into the presets and patches. So, when Dorico sends the one or the other, a VSL instrument responds to the message it can recognize for its current settings.

My doubt is if having both Velocity and CC1 written in an expression map makes Dorico send both messages at the same time, therefore letting a VSL instrument respond to the one or the other, depending on its settings. Or, is the Primary Dynamics control to prevail, with the Secondary ignored if the instrument is not set to respond to two messages?


I understand the basic relationships between the normal use of the CC’s but you’re right, I answered your question with the answer that it works if you only use CC’s as I do which isn’t really what you were asking, I realise in retrospect! Trying out the VSL playback template drawing harpins in opposite directions in the Dynamics Lane and Velocity editor, it seems that If you activate VelX, that the dynamics lane settings are used and if VelX is not active then velocity settings are used. There does not appear to be a situation where the influences are combined which would seem to prove your point. But I don’t really understand or get on with this programming and it’s best to ask VSL directly unless another poster understands their logic better than me.

Andi of VSL says that both Dynamic control streams work at the same time. So, whichever of the controls is chosen in the patch or by sending a CC28 switch, Dorico can send the correct dynamic message.


that may be but I don’t see them working in the way I would expect. I guess you’ll just need to experiment – I’ve already made my decision :slight_smile: