I have spent some time this morning on Mozart’s Eine kleine Nachtmusik, especially on the different renditions I could have on my computer.
So I made different file versions : one with NotePerformer (each string section manually set at 1/2 section), one with VSL Elite strings, one with BBCSO pro and one with Spitfire Solo strings.
NotePerformer wins with a very large victory. And the worst was BBCSO, by far too. This has helped me refrain from buying libraries during Cyber Monday (sorry Iconica, not this time).
It was a real life test, where I would not spend hours working on the play mode lanes.
If anybody’s interested, I could edit a video out of this.
Glad to read your conclusions. I agree that NotePerformer offers excellent renderings with little effort.
I’d rather spend my time composing music for live performers and simply have the adequate digital examples that NP offers.
I’d love to hear what you’ve done.
S’il vous plait.
I think it’s very easy to fall down the rabbit hole of spending many hundreds on samples libraries, all chasing perfection that’s just out of reach.
My own experiences of purchasing multi-hundred libraries have all come with considerable disappointment, whereas Noteperformer (and even good old Garritan) continue to punch above their weight.
Can’t wait for them to go M1 native!
I would love for NP to bump up a notch. Improve the string vibrato, suspended cymbal rolls, chimes, etc.
I’d gladly pay more for an “NP+” edition with higher quality sounds. I wish Arne would give an update if he’s working on something new. It’s been radio silence.
If you don’t have time to make a finely-chiseled audio prototype, NotePerformer is incredible. I’m very curious to hear your result with a classic-era chamber piece, that I’ve never tried.
If you have time to do a more detailed work, I find that full sample libraries can get much better results. But it is a lot more work.
I’m sure you know this, but please remember that Dorico flattens all the instrument’s Volume values to 100. VSL instruments have different Volume values by default, and moving all of them to 100 would destroy their balance and make them sound like molasses.
I thing Arne has been kidnapped by the sample library industry, to prevent him to complete NP+. That could be the end of all sample libraries.
Maybe Arne is waiting to release NotePerformer 4 until Steinberg incorporates changes that allow him to make NP4 fully compatible, rather than just beta compatible (as is the case now), with Dorico 4. Fingers crossed!
Yes to the video!
I certainly would not expect a rendering of Eine Kleine in NotePerformer to be among the leaders though on occasion I do hear something which is far better than I expected, given its known strengths and weaknesses (and to be clear there are certain kinds of works where it can hardly be beat) If you can do something better with NP in than various VSL demos for instance or, perhaps even better, the one from here Cinematic Studio Strings – Cinematic Studio Series, this I’d be very surprised. So the challenge is on, Marc
PS the BBCSO is not designed for that sort of thing – it’s big bold romantic scores which are its forte.
Apples to apples, though. He said he didn’t want to spend any time tweaking CC values… don’t you always have to do that sort of thing with other libraries?
I read that as “hours”. Even NP does require some work, though admittedly less than just about anything else out there.
Hi @MarcLarcher ,
Very good idea to make such comparison! Personally I would love to watch the video you are talking about.
About NotePerformer, many months ago I offered Arne to create another, separate, version of NP which uses high quality samples, something similar to the Staffpad Payer, which is able to host samples from Orchestral Tools, Spitfire Audio, CineSamples… etc.
I really like how NP AI works for playback, but the samples are terrible and useless for end production. The current version of NP is great for laptops with small amount of RAM and preparing scores for live orchestral performance, but it can’t be used for end products, like film music or arrangements.
I hope Arne will come with some nice solution! Even we could address this to VSTi team at Steinberg. They could also create a player that combines the possibilities of NP and the Staffpad Player.
NP is fairly terrible for jazz unfortunately. There are issues with the quality of samples of course, but the AI is just completely wrong for jazz phrasing. I would be curious what Arne could do with the same samples but different jazz AI. Obviously I would insta-buy a jazz version of NP with different AI and different samples if he ever came out with it.
I’m also very curious to hear the differences between different libraries … I would be grateful if you would share your experiment!
Same here - I’d love to hear them…I presume you used the appropriate expression maps for the other libraries. Even without tweaking the CC lanes, I would expect at least the VSL library to sound pretty good without much work, providing the expression map was set up correctly for dynamics and maybe note length conditions.
Especially the string sounds of Noteperformer are hard to stand. It’s far from any natural string section sound. But the playback musicality (phrasing, dynamic, balance) is outstanding! Depending on the musical content one or the the other aspect is more or less important. Writing lush pads that sound great even in simpler sample libraries are not Noteperformer’s strength. Noteperformer is not ‘nice’ or ‘sweet’ but reliable and really easy to work with.
Sample libraries need to switch between articulations a lot and use CC’s or velocity differently on each articulation. Good old hand work. That’s what the sample libraries are missing in Dorico.
yes, it’s a given that the competition must be set up properly with good EM’s and dynamic controllers. I don’t find VSL, for instance, requires much work once that has been done.
Well, this is what expression maps do, and even NP uses its own EM. The issue with traditional sample libraries is that the supplied EM are not always complete or as carefully refined as the one Arne supplied for NP, making it totally transparent to the user.
Well, no video. I exported the first movement in four different libraries. I also put the score used to output these audio files.
Again, this is a real life experiment, I mean, I maybe spent five minutes tops to balance each library (faders, panoramics, reverb). I use LX 480 Medium hall on all of these. Nothing else. Each library was driven by its expression map (those can be found in the forum).
Mozart – Eine kleine Nachtmusik Premier mouvement.pdf (225.0 KB)
Spitfire Solo Strings
VSL Elite Strings
To me, the most interesting sound is VSL Elite Strings, and the most useful library (respects rhythm, dynamics, etc.) is NotePerformer. Of course, I could do much much better than this with those libraries (Spitfire’s and VSL’s) with some manual involvement into CCs, but this was not the point of my experiment. Sellers have great examples of what you can achieve with their products.
This is closer to what an average Dorico user is getting out of the computer when working on a score.
Credit where it’s due, the score was downloaded from MuseScore, shared by ClassicMan. I XML’d into Dorico.
Thanks for this! Everything I do in Dorico will eventually be played by actual musicians so about “five minutes tops” is all I want to spend on a mockup as well.
That BBCSO phrasing sure is odd. It almost sounds like it has swing 8ths turned on, LOL.