"Is there a good jazz library?"

Not impressed… For that price you’re better off getting the VSL bundle. Or for more popular uses WARPIV, although they’re way overpriced!

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Okay, here we go:


I chose all different samples for the various instruments, (e.g. there are actually 4 separate and different trumpet sample sets!), meaning I did not use the section samples, who sound nice as well.
It’s all Dorico’s “Default” expression maps, no editing whatsoever, with the exception of the Bari and Bass Trombone, which had to be transposed up one octave.

For this library, there are Cubase EMs available, importing them COULD be a nice starting point…

Have fun,

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This is all Chris Hein right? I think the Tenors are playing in the wrong octave in the audio of the full ensemble. Something is muddying up the voicings there anyway.

This is exactly what I would expect for something right out of the box without any cc manipulation. It’s not the worst I’ve heard, but far from the best. It goes to show how hard this kind of mock up is - especially with big band. Nothing comes close to the real thing.

I’m beginning to think it might be better to do this kind of chart using a Rhodes for the saxes, maybe piano for the bones and trumpet? Making my ear work a bit harder and not rely on samples? As close as we may be getting - I am still focusing on how much it doesn’t sound like real saxes instead of hearing how the voices are working together.


Back in the pre-Garritan JABB Finale days, I used to use the string patch for the saxes, as the default Finale sax sounds were so atrocious.

I was also wondering if anyone has experimented with panning to make the overall playback effect more realistic. Obviously a lot of older big band recordings are mono, but I just quickly listened to a few favorites, and was surprised at how varied they are. This is just a few seconds of one tune in each album, so there are likely errors here, and it’s also quite possible different tracks were panned differently, but here’s a quick look at some panning:

Basie - Straight Ahead
Reeds hard L
Brass hard R
Guitar slightly R
Piano slightly L
Bass C
Drums C semi-spread conductor

Ellington - Far East Suite
All Soloists C
Reeds hard R
Brass hard L
Piano C
Bass C
Drums CR (maybe semi–spread conductor)

Thad Jones - Consummation
Thad CR
Reeds C
Trumpets R
Trombones L
Piano C semi-spread
Bass C
Drums semi-spread conductor?

Joe Henderson Big Band
Joe C
Reeds spread R
Trumpets spread C
Trombones spread L
Piano C semi-spread conductor (not player)
Bass C
Drums spread conductor

Maria Schneider - Allegresse
Reeds L
Trumpets R
Trombones C
Guitar R
Piano L
Bass C
Drums R

Christian McBride - The Good Feeling
Reeds CR (panned conductor)
Trumpets C
Trombones CL
Piano spread player
Bass C
Drums spread conductor

Not a lot of consistency here other than Bass in the center!


I did a bit of panning on my Swing! version. Not as much as I might do if I were really trying to make it sound the best it can. I followed the Basie/Ellington model, expect I believe I reversed the sections, putting the reeds on the left and brass on the right. But not hard in either direction.

I will usually collapse the piano stereo field a bit and move it slightly to the left as well. I will also usually leave the drums center and put the bass a bit off to the right. Again, assuming I am thinking the mockup will be the final product. In your stated example, with the end result being live players, I wouldn’t spend too much time on those details. Pan a bit (as I did) and work with that.

Funny that you would use strings - to me, they seem a bit mushy for the rhythms and attacks I would want to hear - but that is just me. Depending on the samples, they may work great. Being a pianist, I am keen to the sound of the Rhodes, so it is certainly a personal preference.

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Personally I think SM brass is pretty much there with very little massaging. Saxes, on the other hand, there are none… However! And my business partners will kill me for this, there is a library coming out, hopefully this year, that will be a total game changer. It will just be saxes to begin with, but it uses a new technology that allows for seamless transition between articulations without any artefacts or strange digital quirks. So far in tests I can’t tell the difference and I’m a sax player!

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Wow, looking forward to that! If you’re allowed to say, is it from a new company, or just a new release from an established one?

Well, as I said, no tweaking whatsoever, and I’m pretty clueless about Bigband anyway… :joy:
But then again I wouldn’t expect anybody to get a library of this complexity/cost and not take the time to make proper expression maps and such…
I think it can sound pretty great in more knowledgeable and experienced hands!


New company… Keep an eye out on VI-Control, I don’t know how Steinberg feels about commercial announcements here…


Will do. If you’re affiliated with them feel free to PM and nudge me too when they are available.

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Me too!!

I do always some panning like this. Also the last minute from Straight Ahead with this panning I normally use. Sorry with Noteperformer. The Ample bass I set the mic setting to mono I think that is more clear. Also the reverb on the saxes are a litlle bit less then the Brass. That brings it a bit to the front.

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Some of the NP phrasing made me crack up on this! Also the missing fall on the bridge, LOL!

I’m curious, do you prefer panning the way the voicings typically are arranged top to bottom over the way the ensemble is set up? Like the saxes you have panned 12345 instead of 32145. (Or Duke would do 34125 with the tenors together) In my basic default (which I used for any audio further up the thread) I simply have the saxes 32145 spread across the center in MIR like below.

I think I’m going to experiment with some different configurations though.

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I’m curious, do you prefer panning the way the voicings typically are arranged top to bottom over the way the ensemble is set up?

Yes I prefer that because I want the more low end in the middle. So I have the low end of the saxes and the trombones more in balance and the high end more on the outside beause they make the stereo image to my taste more clear without extreme panning. I realize that is not the way you would record it. The high end of the trumpets is then in the middle. maybe an idea to set them in the right playing order. Or Tr. 1 and 2 on the outside. and 2 and 3 in the midle.


This thread, along with the discussion going on about expression maps over at VI-Control, made me wonder…

I duplicated the Noteperformer playback template and changed one setting: In the ‘Natural’ Base switch, I changed Controller 19 to “1” instead of “0” so that it matched legato. Now when I write plain eighth notes (assigning my new ‘Noteperformer Jazz’ as the Endpoint Config, they play back legato and connected, instead of individually articulated. One little tweak! Hope that helps some of the NP users here.


Wow, this was a really impressive mock-up just playing out of Dorico! I’d love to be able to get playback like that without having to do it all over again in a separate daw

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I think the recently released Atomic Big Band by StraighAhead should be mentioned here, which in my opinion eats all pre existing libraries in this domain for breakfast:


Do you have it? I don’t see a manual for it posted online. Just curious how well it works with notation software. Can the falls, doits, etc be triggered with Dorico’s jazz articulations, or do they need to be triggered while the note is sounding? I hear mutes on that top example, is there a list of included brass mutes? Are the instrument ranges posted anywhere? Thanks!

Yes, I have them. Haven’t used them in Dorico yet though. The special playing techniques are triggered via Keyswitch, so I presume it should be no problem to get them to play in Dorico.

Lead Trumpet: C4-G6
Tpt 2: Bb3 - D6
Tpt 3 & 4: E3-Bb5

Lead Trombone: E2-D5
Trombones 2/3: E2-Bb4
Bass Trombone: G1(pedal G)-G4

Alto 1/2: Db3-Bb5
Tenor 1/2: Ab2-F#5
Bari: C2-Ab5


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