Straight Ahead Samples: Atomic Big Band Dorico Playback Template

Spotted this in their mail-out this morning.

I don’t own the library, but I’d be interested to hear from anyone who does and has given this a go.

Playback Template is available free here:


Last year @FredGUnn did a fantastic demo of a Cannonball (Adderley) solo excerpt realized in NP and V Horns in the context of an NP discussion, which included a really nice realization by V Horns alto.

It’s exciting to learn that Straight Ahead Samples has released an NPPE template. Anyone have Atomic Big Band “vs.” V Horns experiences to share?

(I’m wondering if Acoustic Samples is working on an NPPE template as well. Any official word or scuttlebutt…?)

[Edit] It occurred to me after posting that I’m conflating NP playback engines (PEs) and templates (PTs). Am I correct in understanding that only @Wallander makes PEs, as opposed to PTs like the one Straight Ahead Samples released for Atomic Big Band? Nevertheless, I’d love to hear about any Atomic-vs.-VHorns experiences. [/edit]

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I don’t either, but am seriously considering purchasing it with the current sale. I do own quite a few of their other libraries though. The Smart Delay feature is cool, but does screw up the green playback bar. I posted a feature request thread just a few days ago about compensating for this. I think as more and more libraries use algorithms that can “read ahead” in the music to get optimal results, we’re going to need more controls in Dorico for these.

If you skip ahead to the Basie Straight Ahead example in their video, you’ll notice the green playback bar isn’t synced with the playback and is off by a bar. A setting to compensate for that would be great!

It’s just a regular Dorico playback template, not a NotePerformer Playback Engine. Straight Ahead Samples has their own Smart Delay technology that is separate from NPPE. I would love to see NPPE expand to incorporate jazz idiomatic phrasing, but that currently doesn’t exist.

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And as I said in that thread, I think one of the delay plugins I mentioned should work for the negative delay in Dorico. Others did report that similar negative delay plugins worked.

In the Cubase mixer there is a spot where you can manually specify a negative track delay for each track without needing a plugin. I’m not sure how easy it would be for them to add this to the Dorico mixer.

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I really appreciate your help, but I couldn’t get either of those plugins to work with a negative delay. I uninstalled them now, but IIRC neither Voxengo nor DMG allowed a negative offset in Dorico, only positive values. Perhaps I just didn’t have them set up correctly. :man_shrugging: @johnkprice’s solution with the negative offset to the properties combined with separate playback and display staves works, but is really a colossal PITA to set up.

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But the Voxengo plugin can only do negative offsets, it can’t even do positive ones. As I said, I think the way the Voxengo one works is you enter an offset (which looks positive) and it is treated as negative.

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I’m not ruling out my own user error/intelligence here, but I just redownloaded it, and I still can’t seem to get it to work.

If I take this simple example …

using the Straight Ahead “Art of the Alto” library with Smart Delay turned on and all default settings …

I get this playback, where it is of course off by 4 beats:

Setting Voxengo to the max setting on the Alto track, if it is functioning as a negative offset …

displaces it a little bit earlier, maybe just over a half a beat, but nowhere near an entire bar.

Am I using it incorrectly? Is there a setting with this that will sync playback between staves? I can go the other way with MonoDelay and delay the piano but the green playback bar will be off as in the Basie Straight Ahead example that Straight Ahead Samples released.

Ahh I see, so it seems like it is working, but just isn’t going back far enough. You can try stacking a few more latency delays as inserts for now - if you have multiple the delays should be additive. I’m going to look around and try to find another plugin that does this.

The DMG track control works for me in Dorico (I’m on Windows, not sure if that makes a difference). I set a -2000ms delay in it and it brings the one track back a full bar earlier at 120BPM. It seems like the allowed range is between -2000ms and +2000 ms. I’ll also download the Voxengo latency delay as well and try that.

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@FredGUnn So the Voxengo one doesn’t go back far enough, you’re right, just part of a beat. Not nearly enough. The DMG one can go back 2000 milliseconds when you set it to -2000 which is exactly 1 bar at 120BPM in 4/4.

I’m just testing this with two Halion instruments loaded in different instances of Halion in Dorico, but there’s no reason it shouldn’t work with Kontakt too.

At first the DMG track control wasn’t doing anything and the meters in it were not responding either, until I clicked on the DMG Audio logo in the top left corner of the plugin window and it told me it was not licensed, and then I figured out I had to separately download and install the license from the user area. Then after quitting Dorico and going back in, it started to show it was licensed to me instead of being unlicensed, and it started working normally.

It either lets me double click in the ms spot to enter the -2000 or I can click and “drag down” until it goes down to -2000.

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This is very cool and all, but we should really nag Daniel about an offset setting for the green bar… :wink:


It would be nice but I suspect nagging irritates more than it works.

Changing tack a bit… I enjoyed the video, thanks to stalkpiece for posting. It’s great to see libraries getting behind notation to this extent and not just posting it as advertising, leaving you wondering how on earth they did it, but walking you through it step by step.

Very impressive.

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Ah, but I used “nagging” in jest and well-meaning, assuming that Daniel would take it as I meant it, being “respectfully requesting considering it’s a well-founded issue with growing application in a not-insignificant part of the user base”.

The tendency for “look-ahead” interpretation of written music seems to gather steam quite a bit (see Noteperformer, of course), and it seems only a matter of time until the implementation of true AI in these libraries.
That being said, it appears I expected a little to much from this sample in the OP, the interpretation is clearly not at the level of orchestral stuff a la NP.
But the fact they are offering this apparently as a Dorico exclusive is very promising and should point to more exciting developments in the future.
And I don’t even write for Bigband… :wink:


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Boom! This works!!! Thanks! Topping out at -2000 is obviously insufficient as it won’t work with Smart Delay for tempos under quarter = 120, but it works for everything faster than that. The green playback bar syncs up too!


No slow groovers or ballads for you, @FredGUnn . :smirk:

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I often get the fast burnout solos with big bands IRL anyway, LOL! (Here’s a bootleg of me at maybe quarter = 330. )




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You can probably use two of the DMG track control plugins as inserts on the same channel set to different delays to get more than 2000 ms of negative delay. I would expect it to sum the two together.

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Some "Bird’ in hand…!

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