So I hope that this is the right place to ask this question, I currently use noteperformer 3 for Dorico and while I love it’s realism and easy to use, I feel that I want to invest in a more high quality sound orchestral library for my works, and the Spitfire BBC Core has come to my mind as a very interesting option, but I’m wondering how compatible and well it works with dorico, is there an expression map template that you can download to make it work smoothly and realistic as for example with noteperformer?
Are there other good libraries out there that are compatible with dorico that you might recommend?
I can’t help but feel rather disappointed with Spitfire’s solutions… VSL synchron prime might give you better results than BBCSO core, and if you need to upgrade to better vsl products, you’ll benefit from a special price. Probably better for you (but I would love to be proved wrong, as I spent quite some money on the UK company)
Or wait for NP4 (as we all do).
providing you first of all take advantage of the free BBC Discover (you need to wait for two weeks) as a basis for upgrading to Core and wait for the likely Black Friday sale, I regard BBC Core as very good value. It provides a surprisingly warm and expressive orchestral sound – much more so than the budget VSL offerings, but the strings in particular can be a bit of a handful to phrase correctly. There do seem to be a number of bugs and inconsistencies in the programming and VSL is more predictable in its operation. BBC also takes a surprisingly long time to load the patches and uses more system resources than you might expect for a relatively small footprint. It’s the only library where I haven’t designed my own Expression Maps from scratch as the supplied ones, though needing some adjustments, are an above average starting point.
Still, I use either Core or Cinematic Studio for virtually all my orchestral works as the results are generally more involving. I use NotePerformer in only one where the glissandi (which aren’t supported in Dorico anyway, yet) are fundamental to the concept. VSL I use for many chamber and smaller scale works to which it seems best suited.
The other big quality all-in-one is probably Orchestral Tools Berlin Orchestra but I’m not sure it offers as much as CS for a similar price all in but I haven’t actually bought it so am going on features and demos primarily.
All of these products are designed to be played live and not used with notation software. All of them, despite all the disclaimers from the vendors, can work perfectly well with Dorico once you learn what you’re doing.
Well, here the most important questions you need to ask yourself are “How deep I’m going to dive in world of orchestration with Virtual Instruments?” and “How much money I could invest in good libraries?”
I have Spitfire Audio - BBC SO Pro on my computer, but I’ve had to “fight” almost half an year until they gave me some BBC Player Settings that made it work on my HP Z820 Workstation. Still the library missing many things… some articulations, divisi funtion…
For the Strings and Harp I’m using VSL VI Dimension Strings and Synchron Harp.
I recommend VI Dimension Strings over Synchron-ized Dimension Strings because the one for VI player performs much better than the one for Synchron Player + there are few articulations that are missing in the Synchron-ized version.
Another great libraries are Orchestral Tools - Berlin Wodwinds, Brass, Percussion and Strings.
They are one of the richest, when it comes to articulations, on the market and one of the best sounding. The downside is absence of Divisi.
Of course you could combine different libraries into a single orchestral template. Actually this is the most recommended way in order to avoid artifacts like phasing, which is common problem when one uses libraries created by only one company. This could also bring more realism to the orchestra, too.
In conclusion, I would recommend you, if you are serious about the virtual instruments, and you have enough powerful computer, with enough RAM memory… don’t waste money on limited products like BBC Core. Invest in those which have as much as possible articulations and decent sound.
NotePerformer is great piece of software and it’s a very comfortable when working on laptop, or on project that is going to be performed live. I don’t know what the plans are for version 4?! If Arne is able to provide something with the sound quality of Staffpad… would be amazing!
Well, I can say that I am fairly serious with investing in virtual instruments since I intend to produce content and audio with a professional sounding standard, regarding budget I do of course have limitations because I’m a student, but the price range of BBSCO Core is within my range which is why I considered it.
However I have just looked up Berlin Orchestra from orchestral tools, even if it’s slightly more expensive than core they do offer a 40% discount for students which is truly huge and then also within my price range, do you have any experience with Berlin Orchestra? It seems really interesting and maybe worth the investing. As you said - one of the most important factors (aside from tone quality and available instruments) is that they offer at big amount of articulations but also different and essential techniques.
(regarding computer power I can say that it should not be an issue for my case.)
I also truly love noteperformer, but it’s also not something that I would upload as a professional sounding audio, but you’re right, maybe we’ll get a happy surprise by the 4th version?
Yes I have experience with the Kontakt version of the Berlin Series. No doubt that this library is one of the best on the market. To me Orchestral Tools is probably the only direct competitor to VSL in this category of hi-end libraries.
Actually I prefer the Berlin Woodwinds and Brass over the VSL Synchron Woodwinds and Brass.
But for the strings… still VSL Dimension Strings is probably the best product - rich of articulations, and it’s the only product that supports real (section, per desk and per player) Divisi.
VSL also have 40% discounts for students so, worth to check them, too.
Here you can find Expression Maps for VI Pro Dimension Strings:
About NotePerformer 4, still no news from Arne, the developer, Once I shared with him the idea about the Staffpad libraries approach. Version 3.3.2 was released many moons ago so, he has enough time to bring a game changer to the world. Unfortunately only Arne has an idea when version 4 will be released.
But don’t worry! You wouldn’t feel sorry if you invest in good libraries. You will be able to use them not only in Dorico, but in DAWs like Cubase, Studio One, Cakewalk, Logic Pro, Reaper… too.
The Berlin Orchestra --ie the relatively new all-in-one runs under the Sine player and not Kontakt. If you’re a student, then the price/performance ratio of this will work out more favourably, even if the range of articulations is not particularly large. The older individual sections of the Berlin series may well be outside your budget in terms of system hardware requirements, never mind upfront costs but are among the market leaders. In terms of scope and articulations, it’s undoubtedly a battle between VSL and Orchestral Tools at the top end but that’s not what you’re really looking at if I understand correctly.
Symphonic Riot have only created presets for the older Vienna Instruments player series and the new Synchron libraries or Synchron-ized version of the older ones is what VSL are pushing these days. Both series have their advocates (I myself switched to Synchron) but it’s important to remember that VSL are no longer actively supporting or updating the older series.
I still think that, on sale, the BBC Core, is cheap enough to be worth getting even if it doesn’t turn out to be the primary library. I paid less than €/$250 for it if I remember correctly. I don’t believe that the technology and lack of sample depth with NotePerformer could really bridge the gap with the better sample libraries in terms of pure tonal realism-- the leap would have to be much greater than with the initial versions – but I wouldn’t rule anything out.
I have owned BBCSO CORE for a year now and I must say that the main problem is that it requires a lot of work to give good results, it is also very heavy on the ram if you do not disable all the articulations that are not used in the project. I agree with dko22 in saying that as a virtue it has a warm and very expressive sound, but probably in the future I will orient myself on the vsl syncronized series which has a more neutral sound, but from what I understand it is much more manageable. I am also very tempted by Orchestral Tools Berlin Orchestra, but I 'd not like to find myself in the same situation as the BBCSO CORE, therefore a valid product but very difficult to program with the aggravating circumstance of a very high cost. I personally would advise against it because with Dorico it requires a lot of additional work at the expense of the creative process. It must be said that after the appropriate adjustments the sound is really good, but not always (at least in my case) there is time and desire to spend more time programming the sounds than composing
the VSL SE Synchronized or newer Synchron Prime (which is currently on special offer) certainly have the merit of being reasonably predictable and easy to programme. There are enough Expression Maps kicking around including a number from VSL themselves (although they do have some errors and oddities). Probably more than for Sine and the Berlin Orchestra which is also around twice the price if you’re not a student.
I don’t always find the BBC hard to programme but certain rhythmical patterns for instance can cause difficulties in choosing appropriate articulations or correcting timing. One thing it’s strongly advisable to do is to change the default string “natural” to the “legato” patch as the “long” is really only useful for chordal textures and is far too slow to use as a default. Not doing so will often result in mud in faster-moving music. There’s a case for doing the same with woodwind and brass but here the choice is much less clear-cut.
In the end, there’s no simple answer as everything is a trade-off between price, ease of use and power and all five options discussed so far (VSL, Cinematic Studio, BBC, OT and NotePerformer) all have a completely different sound from each other, quite apart from the other differences. VSL at least have free trials from time to time so there’s no risk involved when that’s the case.
This is similar to my experience as well. I was disappointed with BBC Core playback through Dorico (but love the sound of the library) so I’m resolved to just use Noteperformer with Dorico and VSL/SE and BBC in a DAW. I decided it wasn’t really worthwhile to make any of these libraries work with Dorico knowing I’d probably end up using a DAW for a recording anyway.
Having said that if Dorico becomes that software that successfully bridges the gap I may put in the effort.
Agree. I use Synchron Prime. They even have a Dorico playback template for it. While few (if any) vst instruments will be ‘perfect’ or give us everything we want, I’m very pleased with the results I get with Synchron Prime.
In the beginning I was leaning towards OT-Orchestra but the more I read about VSL it seems like an interesting choice just because they seem to have expression maps and templates that works with notation softwares, while Orchestral tools doesn’t seem to put any effort in that direction or have any clear solutions themselves (I just mailed them and asked).
If I buy VSL as a student, will I then have 40% discount every time that I buy one of their Synchron instruments?
How would you say that the sound from VSL (Synchron Series), OT-Berlin Series, and the BBC-Series varies, and which tone/sound do you enjoy the most?
I also suppose that, the Synchron Prime, the OT-Orchestra and also the BBC - Core versions are pretty equal to each other when it comes to value and what you get?
In the beginning I was leaning towards the OT-Orchestra package, since they also have a discount, but now I might consider the VSL Synchron prime package, since they also have a discount and additionally seems to care for people who works in software notation.
The BBC to me would sound most like a real symphony orchestra (in the sense of an English orchestra as of course orchestras also vary considerably in character even today) were it not for a few bugs and some muddiness at times. It’s very different from what you might associate with an orchestra for Hollywood-style film music. I have the Synchronized SE which is not the same as Prime which I admit I haven’t tried-- that is a newer take on the entry-level orchestra which may be slightly easier to programme (not that VSL is in general hard) and has a rather different articulation set – there are no trills for instance. The sound is going to be largely comparable. Without discounts, Berlin orchestra is almost twice the price of VSL Prime or SE vol1. Both Berlin and VSL have a fairly bright sound to my ears – perhaps VSL is a little thinner making it more suitable in my view for chamber or smaller arrangements – this is a widely held view.
No library, other than NotePerformer, is designed for use in notation software but you can ignore all the disclaimers from the other vendors that their products are unsupported in Dorico --I have yet to find a library which doesn’t work and many of the companies are unaware how sophisticated playback is now becoming in Dorico. Even if you use Expression Maps designed by others, to get the best out of any library, you’ll want to know at least the basics of doing your own programming so you can modify maps to your own taste and requirements.
If you are thinking about Orchestral Tools - Berlin Series, here on the forum you can find Expression Maps shared by @andhy :
From the shared in this topic you may need those for SINE Player.
In this topic, too:
For VSL, yes, they create their own expression maps for Dorico, for most of their libraries except Dimension Strings, Woodwinds and Brass, they don’t create Expression Maps for their largest libraries, so you should buy them here:
As someone who has experience with VI Pro Dimension Strings and Synchron-ized Dimension Strings, I would recommend the ones for VI Pro because of these reasons (actually answers given directly by the VSL team):
In the VI Pro DS you are having articulations and effects that are not present in the Synchroni-zed version, and there is no plans to be included in the future.
It’s almost impossible to use the full orchestra SY-zed DS without any issues, because the presets were designed to push the CPUs to their limits. Probably this situation was improved in the last Synchron Player update.
The Expression Map for Synchron Harp doesn’t play tremolos/ bisbigliando correctly when dynamics are involved. Anyways, this library sounds great!
Of course I would agree with @dko22… definitely you should learn how to program your own Expression Maps sets. Yes, it’s a time consuming job, but it’s not too hard.
In general, the best practice is to have libraries from at least two different companies, because this would avoid phasing issues and will lead to more realism.
It’s also important in what kind of music you are going to use your libraries. Dimension Strings are perfect for classical music sound, while Synchron Strings Pro are more suitable for film music.
Unfortunately the only product that gives you ability to create real Divisi is Dimension Strings.
Yes, you’ll have 40% student discount on every product they sell. It’s not one time discount. Just you need to provide the needed prove that you are an active student every time you are purchasing a product or multiple products at once.
Before choosing the library ask yourself “What needs of mine it should cover?”, “What style of music I’m going to compose/arrange/orchestrate with it?”, “Am I going to use it in my education, or not?”… Asking yourself always will lead you to the right decisions, just you have to ask the right questions!