Panning not working in NotePerformer


I have a string quartet set up in Dorico and the playback is with NotePerformer. I was playing with the panning of each instrument in the NotPerformer interface and the panning controls don’t seem to have much effect. They move the sound around but not like I’d expect.

In particular, even when I have the cello panned hard right, with reverb at 0, it sounds like it’s coming from middle-left. You can even see in the level meters both in NotePerformer and in the Dorico mixer that there is a lot of audio in the left channel.

I’ve also noticed that sometimes when the violins are playing multiple stops, it sounds like some of the notes are coming from different locations.

I’ve tried reset playback overrides, reapplying the playback template, changing to different instruments. Nothing seems to work. I’ve reproduced this in other projects, too.

I did notice that the panning in the Dorico mixer does work as expected, but that affects all the instruments since they are being played through the same instance of NotePerfomer.

I’m on Dorico and NotePerformer 3.3.2.

Has anyone else seen this?


I guess this might be a topic to forward to Note Performer support… Or @Wallander directly here :wink:

Hi @lancejabr ,
would it be possible that you post one of those not panning project files here or, if you don’t want to do this publicly, send it directly to u dot stoermer at steinberg dot de?
Thank you very much.

I could be normal behavior. NotePerformer uses a binaural panning technology, so both channels will still have energy.

Due to how NotePerformer deals with voices, double stops in strings may sound like they’re two different players if you have very good ears. The same technology separates individual players on brass and woodwind staves.

NotePerformer 4 will bring about many changes and options in these areas. While we won’t make the Q1 release estimate, it’s not far ahead.


Here is the project in question. I think it is more apparent here than in other places because the instrumentation is sparse.

I hear weird stuff all over, but especially in the cello. Try turning reverb all the way down and soloing the cello in the NotePerformer plugin interface. Then pan it all the way right or left. For me, the panning changes but it always sounds like it’s coming from the left. It’s also interesting to select notes and chords in write mode. If I select any one note, the panning sounds okay, but if I select a double or triple stop, the notes sound like they are coming from different places.

I’m trying to push NotePerformer to get as realistic a sound as possible, so that’s why I’m doing this.

@Wallander I get that there may be energy in both channels regardless, but when I have the cello panned hard right, there is MORE energy in the left channel. Is that expected? Also hey thanks for making this plugin!

Appreciate your input.

Debussy Quartet.dorico (1.5 MB)

Thanks for the project. Also here with me, if I change the panning in the Dorico mixer, something is actually changing, but not quite as expected. In the Dorico mixer the pan-pot does work though but not in the NotePerformer GUI.
So @Wallander , please also check that project file.

The cello sound isn’t monophonic and seems somewhat left-heavy in the low register. With binaural panning, high frequencies are panned more than low frequencies, which is why it looks imbalanced in the mixer. Much of the panning is carried out by timing differences rather than volume differences.

On my system, disregarding the mixer levels, the sound very distinctively goes between the left and right channels when I pan it. Is that not the case on your systems?

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In the Dorico mixer it does pan as expected, but not in the NP mixer. The sound does change somehow, but not really moving to the left or right

Here’s what it sounds like for me. The sound is panned far-left and far-right.


I don’t know but my ears tell me, the left channel stays same and the right one fades in, so to speak. A panning I would expect more extreme. Just my perception…

Listening carefully on headphones (both together and individually), it gets slightly quieter in the left, and slightly louder and brighter on the right. Nowhere near what we call ‘hard’ panning (which would be unrealistic).

It’s the same binaural algorithm which was always used for all instruments in NotePerformer.

Panning is a subjective art with pros and cons. On the positive side, binaural panning sounds pleasant and natural with speakers as well as headphones, and the instrument balance is retained even if you’re closer to one speaker. It sounds more like you’re surrounded by sound rather than instruments being point sources. On the negative side, the left/right separation is not as dramatic as power panning.

As mentioned, NotePerformer 4 will bring about changes also in this area.


Oh pleeeease give us a sound teaser of NP4!!! I’d bake you a cake!

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What do you mean with binaural panning?
Are you using HRTF-convolution?
Or just a combination of ITD and ILD?

Convolution-based methods are much too resource-intensive for this application, and typically, smears transients too much. I won’t go into the exact details since it’s part of our IP, but have proprietary algorithms based on ordinary IIR filters and time delays.


Ok, but it is HRTF based, as I see… or at least direction dependent EQ-ing, I guess.
Interesting how well it translates to loudspeakers without CTC! Kudos!

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