Questions about Infinite Brass/Winds expression maps

I just purchased Infinite Brass and am blown away at how beautiful and playable it is (and such a small footprint…). But I’m having some difficulty with the Xmap. I’m sure it’s due to my ignorance, as this is new territory for me. (yes, I’ve watched the videos)

I can’t get it to play back correctly. In this horn phrase at bar 17, only the first note plays back:

The documentation says dynamics are controlled by CC1. There are no articulations or keyswitches, and the instrument is legato by default.

I’ve successfully set up Xmaps for other instruments, but I’m not sure why this one isn’t working.

Project file is here: https://www.dropbox.com/s/54pgmqqwc76vhy5/I%20Will%20Sing%20Your%20Mercies.dorico?dl=0

EDIT: I can see that it’s because the dynamics value resets to 0 every time I start playback, but I’m not sure why:

I fully expect to have to record in CC data, but shouldn’t it at least give me a vanilla playback that reflects the written dynamics?

Also, as soon as I try to use MIDI learn to assign the dynamics to a control fader, the VST audio engine hangs.

Hi Dan,

The problem is twofold - one is that your “Init” setting is setting CC1 to 1, you probably want to remove that. The other is that your “Natural” articulation has volume dynamic set to note velocity, it should be CC 1 instead.

Also, if the library defaults to legato, it may be sensible to set the legato percentage to 100%, rather than 105% …

That did it, thank you!

Now just wondering why it’s so incredibly quiet… I have the fader all the way up in the Dorico mixer.

Ok, more issues. This library sounds incredible, and I know it’s going to be worth it…

Here’s the excerpt:

And here’s what I’m getting: https://www.dropbox.com/s/vk8xtxfzv12mtv0/IB%20sample%201.wav?dl=0

It’s a similar problem with the winds. Here’s an excerpt:

Which Dorico plays back like this: https://www.dropbox.com/s/8tfc0ve8rg7xgy6/IW%20Sample.wav?dl=0

But when I play it myself, I get this: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ke0vrpnuvevoqgv/IW%20sample%20-%20played%20live.wav?dl=0

So it’s some sort of issue with the legato function. Any idea what might be going on?

Well, I got an answer, though not the one I was hoping for. From the developer of Infinite:

The main 3 parameters are CC1, Note Velocity and Note Duration. The sound is the interplay of these 3. If you line up shorts, they’re gonna sound mechanical unless each note has a different length. This happens automatically while punching in a performance, but just clicking in notes and with notation it doesn’t happen just like that and you have to adjust the length of each note manually. Then you have to draw in CC1 and adjust note velocities (or rather set up what velocities should the notation program play for each dynamic marking). If you’re gonna be doing that already, all of that is easier to do inside a DAW. So compose/orchestrate in notation, then export MIDI and go to a DAW. You’re done way sooner. Notes need to overlap, not merely touch, for legato to trigger I don’t know how it works in Dorico.

So it looks like Dorico isn’t really able to fully utilize a library like this, unless there’s a way to humanize note durations that I don’t know about yet (I’ve tried fiddling with the humanization options in Playback Options, but they don’t seem to make a difference here). Bummer.

If you have the humanisation settings turned on then that changes the start time of the note. I think that the end time may still be the same, so the note durations may also be randomised. If you set up CC1 and note velocity as primary and secondary dynamics respectively then those would get randomised too. If you find that the dynamic variation is too extreme, then try reducing the range of the primary or secondary dynamic in the expression map. Also if you have a slur than that will overlap all notes by default.

Infinite Brass uses velocity to control the attack of the note. The velocity probably has to be lowered quite a bit on the first and fifth trumpet notes.

Also, I don’t think the infinite brass developer realizes what Dorico retains when you play in a performance. You are able to keep the note start offset and end offset, and I think it probably even keeps the velocity. The developer doesn’t know Dorico, and is making assumptions based on notation software in general. It is easier in a DAW for sure, but Dorico is much closer to a DAW than other notation programs are.

Success!!! Thanks Paul. Michael (mducharme) had helped me though that sort of thing, but I had missed it here. I also had the timing humanization set to 10%… I reset it to 40%.

The winds now play back correctly. They are a little bland at this point, but that’s to be expected until I do some CC recording.

The IB horn sounds decent. I have to say, the Note Performer horn is (IMO) really, really good. Better than IB out of the box. The IB trumpets sound… really awful. I’ll post some audio for comparison, but I’ll post it at the other thread on mock-ups.

A question about timing:

So I did this flute mock-up of Harry Potter in a DAW, matching velocities to the original flautist very closely. It’s remarkable how similar this is to the original recording. Makes me wonder why I ever bought Spitfire. Anyway… the flautist slurs a few times. Let’s say I turn humanize up in Dorico to 100%… is Dorico smart enough to know to make each note different, but still overlap notes for slurs and trills? Note lengths being unique is half the battle with Infinite, as it was designed for live playback. Thus I ask.

Listen: https://soundcloud.com/sean-jackson-817789051/harry-potter-aaron-venture/s-zt8NeyBhilj
Full image: https://i.imgur.com/5F6gbB3.png

This is very close to being the best pairing of a library to Dorico IMHO. Infinite doesn’t use keyswitches, so expression mapping is very minimal (mutes, basically) and all of the playback is basically up to Dorico. It certainly seems to have the most potential for a great out-of-box sound in Dorico over libraries that are much less agile. I just couldn’t find a YouTube video on humanization explaining some of the mechanics behind the scenes, which is what I want to understand more. A quick side note: my wife is convinced Anthony Hughes sounds like Bennedict Cumberbatch. Maybe the accent isn’t exactly the same, but… I kind of see where she’s coming from. He could have been in Star Trek. Definitely.

In the current implementation, I don’t think it is guaranteed that the notes will overlap, but: the humanization varies the start position of each note and keeps the end the same. I think the range of variation of start positions is generally smaller than the note overlap percentage, so notes should normally remain overlaps.

I’m sure Anthony will be flattered by the comparison, but I can confirm that he is able to pronounce the word ‘penguin’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-GnLDJAgrws

I’m dead

Hey Dan, I recently acquired these libraries myself and are curious if you have any expression maps or settings (mostly related to humanization) that tend to work well within Dorico. They work great played live at a DAW and I have a decent understanding of how the parameters work, but I’d like to see if anyone else has solved part of the puzzle before I go headfirst into trying my own expression map and settings.

I created a quick & dirty expression map which works reasonably well for my purposes. Might be good starting point. Infinite.zip (1.8 KB)

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there does seem to be a general movement in the way of incorporating the standard range of articulations into the actual playing and if it’s done well, it’s probably the best way forward. With Infinite, the real comparison test will come when the Strings are released shortly. Even with CSS, I have just completed a piece which uses legato to at least 95%. This is because legato includes fast playing which usually works nicely but does sometimes come unstuck and so it’s interesting to see just how much further Infinite can take this concept. What doesn’t seem in doubt is that dynamic transitions – often an issue even with the best conventional libraries – really do seem smooth here.

The reviews (and indeed the Harry Potter extract) show some quite breathtaking virtuosic playing, however for most kinds of music that is notated, I’d say that the realism and depth of the actual sampling is at least as important. There’s not yet enough material available I would say to form firm conclusions as yet – opinion so far seems divided with some finding some of the instruments too bland despite the fun of playing live. However, I do expect the system can be made to work with Dorico, just as the supposedly notation incompatible CSS does and I’ll certainly be keeping an eye open for developments.

UPDATE what I meant to add first time round is that it is going to get increasingly tricky to provide all the playing techniques without articulations the more variations there are. Mutes are technically a different way of playing as you generally have to insert or attach a separate object but when we come to consider strings, obviously there pizz., harmonics and so on without extra “hardware”. In the halfway house of CSS there are already holes in the programming (particularly I would say in the area of long detache) so I’m interested in seeing what Infinite will be able to do with no articulations at all when the strings are released. At that point it should be clear if the Infinite collection can really be a first rate general purpose library for notation or whether it will be primarily a tool for for great live performance.

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