Gentle Dorico users,
With the latest improvements in Dorico 5 – especially pitch contour emphasis and space and stage – is Noteperformer 4 now redundant? Is there any extra gain in purchasing a Noteperformer “playback engine” for your favorite sound library?
What do folks out there in Dorico land think?
Curious for everyone’s views,
I don’t think they’re the same at all. I certainly can’t speak to the vision of the Dorico team regarding playback engines they might develop, but NP and NPPE is quite different imo.
Many of NP’s sounds are better than Dorico’s, and the NPPE for VST libraries is a game changer. NPPE and Synchron Prime wirk better than VSL’s own Dirico Synchron Prime playback template-IMO
I’ll add that NPPE made Spitfire Core/Pro quite usable for me where before I really never used it.
Great to hear, Winknotes and Laughreyg. Can one use “space and stage” and “pitch contour emphasis” along with an NPPE, or does NP override that? I know that NP already has its own version of pitch contour emphasis, but the user isn’t able to fiddle with the degree of it, as far as I know, like one can in Dorico 5.
NotePerformer has its own mixer, and its own effects processing, so in general you don’t need to use Dorico 5’s space and stage templates when using NotePerformer, either with NP’s own sounds or when using NotePerformer Playback Engine with a third-party sound library.
You can think of Dorico’s features as being an alternative to using NotePerformer, if you want to use sounds that are not handled by NotePerformer, or if you want to exert more control over how playback is set up.
Thanks for the explanation, Daniel. Am I right to understand that one can combine the space and stage templates and Dorico’s pitch contour emphasis with a NPPE, if one wants that greater degree of control you reference? – Mike
You can, but in general that’s not a good idea, because the sound libraries you can use with NPPE are all recorded in situ, i.e. when the pan control is dead centre, the sounds are already panned because that’s how they were recorded. Similarly they have the recorded reverberation of the room/hall/studio where they were recorded. Applying more pan and reverb to sounds with pan and reverb baked in is unlikely to give you the kind of result you’re hoping for.
Got it. Helpful advice. Appreciate it! – Mike
NotePerformer can control 8 different libraries; but if you use any other libraries, then you will need to use Dorico 5’s new features. Alternatively, you many want to do things more ‘manually’ than NP allows with one of the those libraries.
Dorico doesn’t make NP redundant, because NP does it all for you. Otherwise, you’re messing around with Stages and Spaces, and Playback settings and Expression Maps and CC data, etc.
I did not know this about the “pre-panning.” That is very interesting, especially since orchestras don’t always set up the same way (for example, sometimes Violins II are next to or behind Violins I, and sometimes Violins II are on the opposite side of the conductor; timpani and xylophone can be in different positions; basses can be on the far right or on the center-right). There is also Classical v Romantic v Modern set-up.
I find the ‘best’ sounds often depend on the particular instrumentation of the piece I’m working on. I did a lightly latin, easy- listening jazz orchestra type arrangement of Rock of Ages. I tried NP, and NPPE with Synchron Prime. The best overall sound- by far in this case- was with Dorici’s sounds and the stage/space templates. That surprised me, honestly. But, it’s true🙃
My understanding of the original question is a comparison between your favourite sound library using Expression Maps in the normal way but with the new pitch contour emphasis and space and stage features v your favourite library with NPPE.
It must be said at the outset that there’s a lot more to NPPE than just these new Dorico features. NPPE completely reprogrammes the internal balance between instruments, the latency timing, the crispness of articulation and legato phrasing. In most cases with libraries I am using, namely CSS and BBC Core, the results are much improved, esp. with NP 4.1. Soundstaging also seems better. And although I agree entirely that you would not want to activate the space and stage templates in this situation, I haven’t myself found pitch contour emphasis incompatible with NPPE – they can more often than not compliment each other rather than conflicting.
So the simple answer is you should definitely buy a NPPE for the above libraries and probably others as well, though the downside is increased system resource requirements in some cases (not VSL Prime) which means greater loading time among other things. For me (and most others who have seriously investigated this), the trade-off is worth it.
NP still does some things better! Especially the playback rules for longer notes and their envelope.
I recently purchased the Sample Modeling Strings, the Aaron Venture Brass and WW and made fairly detailed expression maps. These libraries are made to perform live. The good thing for Dorico is, that they are very consistent. So in many ways they sound better to my ears then HOOPUS an NPPE.
If Dorico manages to make good playback rules for longer notes (or gives us the possibility to make them in the XM) and maybe a simple tool to manipulate longer musical phrases I see me using NP less.
BUT! Arne is in my opinion one of the most genius minds in the industry… and when I have to get serious work done fast I still rely on his engine. And he won’t sleep!
So: if you haven’t got NP4.1 yet, go and get it