Should playback condense

When solo parts like 3 flutes or 4 horns are playing identical parts, Dorico condenses the parts a3 and a4, which is a great feature.
But when using identical solo instruments from sample libraries for playback, the result is not always what’s expected (phasing problems can happen).
Most sample libraries offer different patches for solo and ensemble instruments.
So wouldn’t it be nice to be able to use the ensemble patches in case of condensing identical solo parts?
Maybe a condition in the expression maps?

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This isn’t really possible at the moment without a lot of faffing around, but I’m not sure it should. Ideally the any phasing issues should be sorted out by the library, or with the options they give you so that you don’t have those issues. In the end it really is two (or more) solo players playing, and that’s how Dorico is designed. The ensemble patches are really designed for DAWs when you want to input one line and have the sound of more instruments.

I thought the ensemble patches were the solution provided by the libraries.

Correct, having multiple different solo instruments in a library could help but they’re not always available (which library has 4 different solo horns?)

Condensing to one line seem to me like the same thing. One line ‘a4’ -> sound of more instruments

But what I understand from your response is that this not something that will be possible.
A workaround with one part as section and the other as solo, is also not an option because they are not condensing.

Garritan’s GPO5 has 12.
NotePerformer has 8.

One tip here: Apply a bit of pan to the individual instruments. Like, maybe Flute 1 is L10, Flute 2 is L7, Flute 3 is L4… doesn’t need to be much. All the phasing problems dissapear

Having all solo instruments condensed still playing with the original sounds can be useful when you have all the needed separate instruments.

What I would do is consider the solo instruments playing in unison, and requiring a dedicated patch, as a totally different instrument. This is a bit old school, but it gives the same result as condensing.

But if you add the ‘a4’ instrument to the section, you can write unison parts in the stave of the ‘a4’ instrument. When empty staves are hidden, you get the ‘a4’ stave alone.


I’ve been playing around with unison combinations and in the end It seems not all that bad.
Sometimes the unison parts sound better, sometimes the ensemble patches. But this will depend on your library.
So the proposed feature would be ‘a nice to have’.

Can you explain a bit more cause I don’t understand.
A workaround I used is having a custom playback technique that triggers the ensemble patches and mute the playback of the other parts (in case of condensing).

I love the improvements that were made to the expression map functions with version 3.5, but I agree that having an intelligent option of triggering unison patches, when several players are playing lines in unison, would be an important feature especially for the brass section.
As others have stated elsewhere, the phasing issues are not the only point in having unison patches — 6 horns playing together have a very distinct sound, that cannot convincingly be emulated by adding up 6 solo horn patches, even if they would be all different from one another. The whole, in this case, is definitely more than the sum of its parts. And although of course I am entirely clueless about the complexities that are going on ‘under the hood’, I’d like to believe the condensing function provides a very usable starting-point for integrating this feature, by already being able to recognise the ‘a 4’ unison passages for instance. All it needs would be a possibility to combine this with triggering it’s own ‘a 4’ expression map.

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The ‘Horns a4’ player will be an additional player (added to Horn 1, Horn 2, Horn 3, Horn 4). It may be a section, if you like.

When the horns are playing separate parts, you will write music in their staves.

When they will play in unison, you will write music in the Horns a4 stave.

When hiding the empty staves, it will be as if you have had condensing of the individual horns.