Fixing playback of suddenly louder short notes?

I find this an issue most often with brass and woodwinds, while using NotePerformer + NPPEs. One fast short note will really stick out as much louder than the rest, unnaturally accented on what should be unstressed weak beat, like a sore thumb. Also happens with grace notes. Obviously I want players to sound naturally dynamic, but some notes are excessively louder than the rest in a passage which is distracting.

My first line of repair is to turn the velocity down on the selected note. When using certain VSTs outside of NP, this usually seems to work. However NP appears to ignore this. I can of course manually draw automation, but I find it easier to just insert immediate dynamics like so and then hide them:

Screenshot 2024-06-05 at 2.58.56 PM

This does fix it 95% of the time but… is there an easier and faster way? Do any of the playback options or playback overrides in the NP map address this type of thing? Maybe duplicate the NP map with different overrides for the problem instrument? Not sure if any of the humanization settings might have an effect here, though I don’t want to globally turn humanization or pitch contour emphasis off since it normally sounds good.

NPPE is a wonderful product in so many ways but I have given up trying to make exposed longs and shorts in brass and wind passages sound natural. Lyrical passages can sound wonderfully realistic and I remain hopeful that Arne will be able to work some of his magic to correct what are presumably imperfections in the libraries.

Does this happen with all NPPE VST’s or just one or two?

Because you don’t say which VST’s exhibits this problem, addressing your complaint is pretty much impossible.

I don’t own every NPPE, but I own and have noticed on the following: BBCSO, SSO (2017 and 2024), VSL Synchron. From what I’ve noticed it does happen on all of them, most frequently on high brass and woodwinds.

It is hard to guess when a VST will address this issue using velocity or not, so I haven’t memorized the pattern. Just today I was working on a mix with VSL Synchron Brass (NPPE), but added horn from the Piccolo Trumpet using SampleModeling brass (VST). In this instance, the piccolo trumpet notes which poke out suddenly were easily tamed by bringing velocity down; exact same phrases (where I was doubling) on the Synchron brass, velocity adjustments made no difference. As mentioned above the immediate dynamics on a note-by-note basis fixed the issue for those, but I was thinking maybe this could be addressed more simply through some of the humanization stuff. I see people on here talk about adjustments made to humanization playback settings and pitch contour emphasis, but I don’t understand enough about that specifically to know which one might be increasing dynamics.

It’s also hard to say when and why it happens, there is no clear-cut case I’ve observed, which is why I suspect it’s a humunization setting.

Hi! I might be wrong, but it would make sense for Brass and Woodwind instruments to respond to CC1 (and probably CC11) rather than to velocity. Those are all instruments that can control their dynamics at all times during the emission of sound, not only at the attack. Maybe try and tweak those CCs instead of Velocity?

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Hi! I might be wrong, but it would make sense for Brass and Woodwind instruments to respond to CC1 (and probably CC11) rather than to velocity. Those are all instruments that can control their dynamics at all times during the emission of sound, not only at the attack. Maybe try and tweak those CCs instead of Velocity?

It depends on the library. As I mentioned, some VSTs’ shorts do respond to velocity as the first line of dynamic. In particular short patches such as staccato, they are more velocity-based, but also use CC1 and/or CC11 as a sort of master control. Some will respond to velocity changes, such as SampleModeling Brass where I was able to fix loud notes (but SM brass also uses CC11 as a master control, so a combination of both).

Then, if I must, as mentioned I will manually draw automation for CC1 or CC11 (depending on the library or expression map setup), but I prefer to do the hidden dynamics trick within score view only because it’s a little easier than leaving the score window and effectively does the same thing. With NP, this override does work, my question was more centered around if there is a humanization setting which can be reduced which might be causing my issue in the first place.

Hope that makes more sense, thanks!

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