Joshua bell solo violin in Dorico?

Does the Joshua Bell solo violin library by Embertone play decently “out of the box”?
Meaning can I enter notes as I usually do, and expect Dorico’s playback to handle phrasing in at least a semi-realistic manner?

I used to get an awesome sound from the ancient “Garritan Stradivari Solo Violin” (and the Gofriller Cello) with very minimal tweaking (a few non-printing instructions here and there, some volume adjustments on certain notes, etc…).

But since I’m switching to Dorico slowly, and the old Stradivari violin is no longer supported (I can’t update my registration for it), I need a new option.

Otherwise am I better off going with XSamples library? Their solo strings were quite nice, though didn’t compare to the Strad or Gopher.

Aren’t some of the GPO5 Solo Violins based on the older Strad? I can still get quite a nice sound out of the GPO5 violins, though there are a few blotches here and there.
NotePerformer’s Solo is also pretty fair, as long as you’ve got slurs on everything.

for me, the solo strads in GPO don’t compare in any way to the Stradivari solo, which was not part of the same sample set. it had amazing ability to do portamento, and gorgeous a tone, I was even abele to transpose it down a 5th to make a “strad viola”.

the GPO instruments sound very electronic to me.
I had a violinist friend listen to an excerpt of a solo viola work, and she asked me who was playing. it was that convincing.

GPO5, the newer “Orchestral Solo Strings”…

An undocumented tweak I found that helps a good deal is knowing that there is a way to adjust the sample start point for the scoring variants of those sounds. Notice that in the notation variant of these string sounds the ‘sample start’ knob is missing; however, CC119 can be used to set the attack phase much later in the sample. Without knowing this it’s hard to get those solo strings to work with faster arco bowing styles (seem to be way too soft relative to everything else going on, and also seem to lag way behind the beat as the blow ‘ramps up in speed/pressure’).

So, the secret sauce is to use later starting times for a more continuous motion type of bow sound.

I discovered the CC119 thing by poking around in the instrument sfz files.
Lines 31&32


So, as a general rule of thumb, if using the key-switching options via Dorico expression maps, I’ll just go ahead and add a CC119 @ somewhere between 70 and 127 in the instrument initialization, and allow specific articulations to bounce that value around as needed.

I make the same adjustments in Sibelius and Finale instrument maps.

CC119 is a HUGE help with the newer strings found in the ‘Orchestral Strings’ folder of GPO5!

If not using key-switches (but rather channel bouncing with articulations spread out over several channels in an ARIA instance), then I’ll opt to use the regular patch over the ‘notation’ variant, and tune up the sample start time with the knob in the ARIA GUI (there is no CC assigned to this by default, but you could probably tweak out the XML files for the GUI and/or the instrument opcodes to add it). I’ll just make a pallet of articulations to choose from via channel. I don’t think CC119 works with the standard versions of these “Orchestral Strings” as things are currently set (again, you could tweak the GUI XML, and instrument sfz files and add all sorts of stuff if you like. The sfz opcodes are pretty simple).

For both the newer and older GPO4 strings…
Legato Pedal! (CC68 for the scoring variants, or CC64 for the standard).

Have a fast moving section and can’t hear most of it without cranking the volume way up, then it still sounds pretty bad? Well…engage the legato pedal before your ‘runs’, and I think you’ll find things much improved. An easy way to do this is to assign it to some some sticky symbol that you can throw in a score (legato on/legato off) and ‘hide’ (set transparent) when you don’t want it to be seen.

Legato Pedal cuts out that ramping-up attack phase and mushes the samples together more smoothly…I.E. Bow never stops moving…just the fingers do, right?

Scoring apps have no way of knowing this…so we have to help them out a bit and teach our instruments (No, the bow is already in motion here, so I don’t want a start of a phrase attack here! I want it to ‘flow’ because I’m already in the ‘middle of a phrase here’!).

So…Legato Pedal. Learn it, use it…

I might even suggest having the legato pedal engaged being your ‘default initialization’ in the Dorico expression map. For up/down bows, starting phrases…that’d be when you want to disengage Legato pedal. Might or might not like it that way at initialization, but it won’t hurt to give it a try.

I do have the most recent GPO instruments, but am really not satisfied with the sound.
Like I said, I’d like to as much as possible have out-of-the-box playback.
I’d like to enter the notes in my score - as I’m doing now - and have the playback sound better than what I’m getting.

I tried the VSL solo strings, and while yes, they DO sound better, they involve WAY too much fiddling (no pun intended) under the hood to get the correct playback techniques to respond. Legato notes aren’t always legato, it doesn’t handle multi-stopped chords very well (it adds glisses between notes, or simply doesn’t play certain notes). It sounds great on single-note melodies, but that’s simply not realistic enough for a solo string part where there WILL be regular use of chords and double-stopping.