Spitfire SSO (Symphony Orchestra) expression maps?

I also see your track inspector shows routing to channel 6. I suspect that should be channel 1?

Nope. It’s the sixth instrument of the Dorico multi instrument I created for this library (which is divided into 14 instruments) to work in Dorico…
FWIW I’ve just updated it to Kontakt 7, not knowing that FredGUnn had solved the problem… In any case, if anyone is interested, it’s available and free — and I added individual outputs, now that I know how it works in Kontakt :person_shrugging:

Yes, but not the instrument being loaded by @Ian_Hook05

Earlier this year, Spitfire released a great update for SSO, let’s call it SSO 2024 : Did anyone begin working on expression maps for it ?

I completed maps for the new SSO 2024 Brass, although as I did it I ran into the realization that for some reason Spitfire didn’t release Trombones with a soloist (only a2 if I recall), which can be unfortunate in a brass ensemble mix when a single Trombone staff suddenly sounds like two players in unison – making it less “complete” feeling to me for proper ensemble writing purposes (odd too, as it’s the only section I believe that is missing a soloist). I am happy with how the Trumpet sounds, though, the legato is pretty agile.

Otherwise the general frustration around dynamic levelling and delay compensation has deterred me from completing all the other sections. I am looking forward to NotePerforming updating their NPPE to support the new SSO (fingers crossed!).

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Oh indeed, forgot Noteperformer may support it ! Do you think it would make expression maps obsolete ?

Yes and no – for my use cases, when writing for orchestral instruments, they have kind of made EMs obsolete primarily because it sounds much better and everything is just simply levelled out and fixed so that I can focus on the reason I’m doing this in the first place: creating music! So in that sense, I have little interest in fighting EMs for instruments which I already have supported by NP.

However, NP is also firmly orchestral in its focus. There isn’t strong support for untraditional instruments. I write a lot of hybrid stuff using all kinds of alternative percussion, unusual string articulations, guitars, dulcimers, mandolins, saxophones in every register, you name it. Also extended playing techniques beyond the norm of traditional orchestral writing. So I still do create a lot of EMs for those one-off instruments, meaning I do not think they would be obsolete for that reason. I am just not going to struggle creating one for a regular violin library that might be already be supported by NP, saving that effort for the more unique sounds I want to use.

Thank you, I’ll have to give this a try. How do you think NPPE compares to a handmade DAW mockup ? Are we finally at the point where notation → music workflow is more straightforward ?

I think that depends. A handmade DAW mockup can give you more overall control especially regarding mix and volume automation, where you can get incredibly precise and therefore sometimes you can end up with a more convincing mockup. But from my experience the amount of work you have to put inside of a DAW to get it there is a lot more and it’s not the most interesting or musical process - more of a technical experience of drawing automation curves all day long. What I enjoy about creating mockups using notation via NPPE is that it handles all that technical background work, allowing me to focus on the music itself.

One simple example - Let’s say I had a passage across a large string section but I want them to all play legato and with the same dynamics. I could select all my strings across several bars and hit ‘S’ and now I have slurred what I need, and at one go I could create a simple hairpin that goes from ppp < f >. 95% of the time it sounds great immediately without the need for additional technical work on my part. It feels musical to me.

Whereas doing this in a DAW requires a lot more background technical work - diving into each individual piano roll editor for every string region - editing all the notes to be legato - then drawing manual automation for both CC1 and CC11 if that’s how it works best for your library, going crazy with the pen tool and perfecting curves. Using this example, what takes 20 seconds with Dorico/NP can take 20 minutes in a DAW, and in a case like this the DAW version might really only sound 2% better if at all haha.

Taking this example to a more extreme level, if you you want your entire orchestra to play tutti chords at the same volume – in notation you could lasso select every single staff and write an immediate dynamic and hairpin, add marcato desired. In less than 10 seconds you could hear this result and decide if you like it or not. To do that effectively in a DAW across numerous tracks in a large template could take upwards of an hour (depends, but with articulation switching and drawing automation) - only to decide you changed your mind after hearing it lol.

Not to mention NP allows me to pull off combined articulations I never could with some libraries and inside a DAW.

Plus if you write a passage that quickly alternates back and forth between staccato and legato, you can simply do that on one staff of music and NP figures out the volumes and timings. In a DAW you frequently have to separate this onto different tracks for shorts and longs and do all kinds of manual automation and overlays to make it sound like it’s from the same instrument.

In short, my time is more valuable than being a perfectionist about a mockup, personally. I only really go the full DAW route if I’m going to do something a lot more synth/hybrid heavy, using perhaps impossible instruments which don’t actually exist in reality, or if I’m comissioned to do media scoring where there will never be a budget for actual orchestral recording - so the mockup IS the final piece - in which case I may still write inside dorico/NP to get it started and then import via midi into DAW for finesse.

Hope that helps!


Thanks for taking time to share your insights, that was interesting to read !

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