String library recommendation

it all remains a total mystery to me.
I tried using the Synchron Special Edition instruments today, and simply couldn’t get a single note to play.

In your myVSL account at the Vienna site, under ‘notation related’, download and install the Dorico resource file. In Dorico then load the playback template for Synchronized Special edition. Then load some Dorico instruments if you haven’t already and you should have sound…

It took a while of poking and prodding, but I DID find a VSL for Dorico Installer…
I downloaded it, but now what do I do with it?
I don’t even know what it did.

Do I need to re-download a “dorico version” of the VSL Synchron-ized Special Edition instruments?

That’s the problem with too many of these companies. They don’t tell you what to do in any way, shape or form.

I sort of got it to work, but the playback is stilted and full of little scratch sounds and static.
nothing huge, one extended measure of just strings.
but the playback is horrible.
it does recognize slurs, dynamics, and playing techniques (pizz, in this case), however.

Could this be a buffer size issue?

Do you have the Special Edition installed on a SSD? That can make a big difference.

In any case, open the Synchron Player, and click on the little cog wheel in the tool bar. At the bottom of the database window are two buttons. First click on Reset Preload Sizes, the on Rescan Speeds. See if that makes a difference.

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Hi @Michel_Edward,
First of all, everything related to the String Library depends on your needs and budged. :slight_smile:
Unfortunately there isn’t a single string library that fulfills all our needs, so that’s why most of us having 2 or more libraries (not only for strings).
The Xsample Strings sound much decent than NotePerformer. Actually the strength of the N.P. is it’s AI engine, but the samples are extremely poor. I find it very useful when I’m using Dorico on laptop, or writing for live musicians.

If you would like to invest in hi-end String Libraries check the following:

  1. VSL - Dimension Strings Bundle (For VI Pro player) /My main String Library/.
    Pros:
  • Amazing and very detailed sound.
  • The only library on the market that has real Divisi.
  • Very rich of various articulations.
  • It has patches for Solo Quintet
    Cons:
  • Expensive
  • There are no modern music effects
  • There aren’t Expression Maps provided by VSL, but there such by third-party company (on sale):
    https://www.articulate-preset.com/articulate-map
  1. Modern Scoring Strings, or L.A. Scoring Strings 3 by Audiobro
    Pros:
  • Great sounding libraries
  • MSS has more articulations than LASS 3
  • Both having only a section Divisi function MSS - Div. in 2, and LASS 3 - Div. in 3
  • MSS has modern music Effects.
    Cons:
  • The Divisi is very limited
  • Both aren’t cheap
  • There aren’t Dorico Expression Maps produced by Audiobro. Only for Cubase.
  1. Orchestral Tools - Berlin Strings /another library that I’m using/.
    Pros:
  • Amazingly decent and detailed sound.
  • Probably the articulation richest library.
  • Tons of modern music effects.
  • Has First Chairs library that can be used for a Quintet
  • Expression Maps for Dorico are available in this topic:
    Expression Maps for Dorico 3.5+ - #30 by dspreadbury
    Cons:
  • No Divisi possible in this library
  • It’s expensive
  • No Expression Maps from Orchestral Tools for Dorico
  1. East West Hollywood Orchestra Opus Edition
    Pros:
  • Has limited Divisi function
  • Has many articulations.
  • Has some effects
  • There are Expression Maps for Dorico in the topic I’ve posted above.
    Cons:
  • The Divisi is limited
  • /I don’t have much experience with this library to share more information/.
  1. Cremona Quartet (solo instruments) by e-instruments.
    Pros:
  • Very Good choice for Quartet works
  • Pretty rich of articulations
  • There are Expression Maps for Dorico created by me. The could be found at the very same topic above.
    Cons:
  • There are no modern music effects

This was just a brief overview. :slight_smile: I hope it’s helpful! :slight_smile:
Of course there are many other libraries on the market, so I would recommend you to spend time checking and comparing them.
Of course the Divisi function is one of the key factors if we would like to create something that sounds realistic.
Would be a game changer if NP4 provides an option to use third-party sample libraries, in a way that Staffpad does. Or if the VST team at Steinberg make such AI (plus additional manual control) player that will do it. :slight_smile:

Best wishes,
Thurisaz :slight_smile:

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thank-you, Thurisaz. I’ll look into those.

I’m not looking for hyper realism, but I don’t want the sounds to be grating on the nerves, either.

I used to really like the XSample Chamber Ensemble ones. I don’t know if they’ve changed their samples since.

The NotePerformer solo strings just won’t cut it for me. They are whiny and grate on the nerves. For string sections, they’re not perfect, but will do in a pinch for a demo reel.

I don’t exactly have thousands to spend on a sample library. Composition isn’t the most enriching (financially speaking) job in the world.

1 Like

No worries, @Michel_Edward! :slight_smile:
I don’t have any experience with Xsamples. They sound far better than NP, just I don’t know if they have Divisi function?!
I think the company is one man project, so don’t know how often the libraries get updates?!
Personally, after having issues with Overture scoring software… I prefer to stay away from one man companies.
If you don’t want to invest in something like VSL Dimension Strings, then, I would recommend you
Audiobro - Modern Scoring Strings, or East West Hollywood Orchestra Opus. Both has serious discounts right now.
Another library to check is the following one:

It has autodivisi. Unfortunately there are no modern music effects…

Best wishes,
Thurisaz :slight_smile:

I believe NP is not based on sampling, but uses synthetically generated instruments. Therefore, this is not likely to happen. I like NP for its ease of use and expressivness, but I think some people don’t like the artificial sound of this type of instrument modelling.

Hi @Andro,
According to this statement:

Patented virtual instrument technologies

We use our own in-house technologies, bridging the gap between samples and synthesis.

Available on the NP website, I think that it uses samples like General MIDI, plus additional synthesis in order to make them sound better than the GM.
So, most probably the Staffpad scenario is possible with NotePerformer, too. :slight_smile:

There are some instrument modeling libraries that sound unexpectedly well, but still this technology can’t fully replicate the authentic sound of the acoustic instrument.

Best wishes,
Thurisaz

The simple truth is that not a single sample library sounds realistic - until it behaves like musicians. You can listen to whatever sample string chord: if it’s played like an organ - simple note on and note off without dynamic development over time - it will sound artificial and unpleasant.

Some sample libraries cheat in a way that they record long notes with a dynamic curve which sounds very nice if listening to one note. But in context those single note dynamic curves get in the way when you build phrases.

If you want to have a realistic performance out of sample libraries you have to perform… all the curves have to be drawn or recorded.

Noteperformer3 doesn’t have the greatest sounds but the engine does exactly what untreated samples are missing: an automated way of dynamic changes over time just by analyzing the score. Same in StaffPad and the new Musescore (still beta) library.

The Expression Maps help a lot to change articulations. But especially on long notes it’s either necessary to add curves in the Key Editor or kind of over-notate every dynamic movement like fading long notes at the end of a phrase (things that real players do anyway).

2 Likes

I don’t care for “real divisi” sounds, that’s really not a priority for me.
I’m just looking for something that I can write the notes down, and the playback will be nicer than an Atari machine playing the theme to Legend of Zelda from the 1980s.

I won’t put the work in to draw curves or whatever.
I put notes on staves. I put in all the expressive markings, the slurs, the dynamics.
That’s all I’m interested in doing.

Likewise, I don’t expect absolute realism in the playback either. But at least tolerable sounding instruments. As I said, most of NP3’s sounds are absolutely fine for me. The solo strings aren’t.
I find myself happy to share orchestral project recordings with the people who commission those works.
But when it comes to solo string music, I’m always ashamed of how awful the sound is and am not excited about sharing the audio from my computer.

If you are not in a hurry I’d wait for Noteperformer 4.
Probably expected in Q1/23.

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I still use the old XSample Chamber Ensemble on Dorico and they work reasonably well, though I’ve yet to master the legato settings - which can sound lumpy.

do you use the version from when they used Kontakt Player?

The version I had seems to no longer be supported. I tried to use it but could not get it activated. I think they changed players or something at one point. My copy is over 10 years old.

The original version I had ran on Kontakt2 . It now runs quite happily on Kontakt7. But I did need to uninstall it from the old machine using Native Access. Once that was done it loaded and was authorised fine on my current PC.

It hasn’t been mentioned on this forum, but on the VI forum, Arne Wallander has said:

NotePerformer 4 won’t be released before the end of the year, but I dare to say it will be released in Q1 2023. The core engine is already in a fully functional state, but there’s still NotePerformer 3 functionality left to port to our NotePerformer 4 platform, and some polishing to do. I know it’s been four years since NotePerformer 3 was released, but we’re going to introduce some disruptive notation program technology. I think everyone on this forum will consider it worth the wait.

We will have a free upgrade path to NotePerformer 4 with no cost penalty, so there’s no reason to hold off on your purchase.

For the record, we don’t plan to charge for updates to our core software, but we may charge for supplementary content, which is optional for the user.

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In the VSL world, I would also suggest to consider Synchron Prime + SYzd Dimension Strings. The SE version of these latter is fine, to stay on the simpler and inexpensive side.

Paolo

to be honest, solo strings are probably the hardest thing for a library to get right – especially in combination such as in a string quartet. You’ve already discovered that NotePerfomer is not (yet) up to the job. For a huge range of articulations and styles, VSL solo strings can do a lot but not everyone likes the tone. The VSL Special Edition offerings are not the most attractive (I use the SYzd Dimension strings in certain situations when I want a naive child-like tone). Orchestral Tools is another with extensive, expensive and detailed top libraries. For a warmer, vibrato-rich sound, Cinematic Studio should certainly be considered for considerably less money. Their legato is particularly good.

None of these will work optimally without a bit of moulding of dynamics, etc which is not in the least onerous in the Key Editor. If you want decent playback, you have to put a bit of work in, even there are already third party Expression Maps all ready for you.