Noteperformer sounding… weird? [Solved]

I really don’t know how to describe this. I usually use Noteperformer for sound-checking. I know they are not realistic-awesome-ditch-your-orchestra sounds, but they are generally agreeable sounds and use a very no-time-wasting interpretation algorithm. Enough to satisfy my sound-checking needs.

But today, I started writing as usual… and everything sounds awful. I don’t know how to describe it. It almost sounds as if I’m using general MIDI. Even the general MIDI clarinet sounds better than this.

I’ve tried resetting the Playback template, shutting down my computer, opening a new project… nothing. I tried opening other projects and they also sound weird. I thought I was going mad; maybe my ears today were a little too picky! But I have some mp3 I had exported previously and those sound right… so it has to be something new. Any ideas?

EDIT: Just found out that any project created before Dorico 4 is sounding all right. So it IS a project-wise issue. I even copied a passage from an old project to a new project and it sounds all right in the old project, and sounds horrible in the new one. Both projects are open at the same time.

Can you upload an example project file?

Can you try resetting the playback template in the problematic project? Do Play > Playback Template, re-choose the NotePerformer template, and click Apply and Close.

I already did that, but the issue persists.

Sounds right.dorico (1.0 MB)
Sounds weird.dorico (1.0 MB)

The levels in the mixer in the “sounds weird” project are all up extremely high - +4.5 instead of -6 - so you are probably getting distortion as a result.

The sounds are not distorted at all. They just sound extremely “synthetic”, very MIDI-y… Still, I’ve just reset the mixers levels to -6. It sounds the same, just with a lower volume. But the issue continues.

I think it’s a combination of dry sounds –every sound cuts abruptly–, and no vibration or “natural” oscillation of sound. Also, it sounds with uneven bass quality, as if very poorly equalized. Nothing of this happens in the ‘Sounds right’ file. And both are basically copy + paste; the only difference being one is copied on an old project and the other one on a completely new one.

When I read what you describe, then I get the impression that instead to NotePerformer all MIDI gets sent to DoricoBeep, the synthesizer for the metronome. Press F3 to open the mixer window. On which instrument channel do you see metering during playback?

Aside from the levels in Dorico’s mixer, the other odd thing about the “sounds weird” file is that the Reverb in the two NotePerformer mixers has been turned down to zero.

The default value is 50% I think.

I must say that the differences between the two files which I hear can be entirely accounted for by the correctly identified difference in the reverb (in particular) and mixer settings. NP dry can sound pretty unpleasant. It would be interesting to hear the audio export of the “sounds weird” file so we can see if there really is something further caused by something incorrect in the OP’s setup.

Metering is seen in the Noteperformer channels.

No idea how those settings got manipulated. Even more, how the default was changed, because every time I create a new file right now, it defaults reverb to 0. But I think this solves the issue; I’ll keep trying to find how to reset to factory defaults Noteperformer (maybe a fresh install?).
Thank you everyone for your observations and very valuable help!

I did some testing on this the other day (while trying to work out what was going on in your score) and it looks as though when you load a completely new instance of NotePerformer, it will use the Volume/Reverb values from the last time you loaded it. So if you start up Dorico, start a new project, turn down the NP volume, close the project, then start another new project, it will use the values from the first project. Basically NP seems to be “cacheing” the Volume/Reverb values and then using those for new projects (for existing projects it will use whatever it saved in the project itself).

Anyway, the point is that if you quit and restart Dorico, this seems to clear the cache and NP will start to use its default values when starting a new score.


Oh… I get it. Thank you. I have been opening the problematic projects first to tamper a little more in order to find the problem. That’s why new projects continued the wrong settings.
Thank you for your observations.