Vsl, Bbcso, Berlin Orchestra or Note Performer 4.0?

As a Dorico user I have to admit that I am more interested in the playback aspect than the graphics (I don’t currently need to print or otherwise send scores), in this sense the latest updates I find them really fantastic from that point of view and I hope that the team will also try to implement the playback part in the future. These days I am composing an orchestral piece and I am using both Note Performer and BBCSO Core at the same time. Note Perfomer I use it for ideas as it already manages to give movement and meaning to the composition, while I am using BBCSO for the final result. My impression is at the moment that although you find Note Performer brilliant and very comfortable, the BBCSO sounds if properly treated give a much superior result. At the moment the real limit lies in the fact that to get good results you have to arm yourself with a lot of patience and time to get a nice sound, even if since I have VE Pro I have been able to manage the overall performance a little better. Having said that and obviously hoping for Note Perfomer 4.0 with renewed sounds, I wonder if the sounds of the Vsl SYNCHRON-ized Special Edition optimized for Dorico are a good investment. Maybe I’m wrong but compared to the BBCSO sounds I find them colder and more neutral. At the moment my favorites are those of Orchestral Tools specifically I refer to the Berlin Orchestra. The problem lies in the fact that for my pockets they would be a considerable investment (about € 1035) and I have no idea if they work well on Dorico. So ultimately what would you do in my case, would you keep the sounds I currently own, or would you invest in the sounds of the VSL or the Berlin Orchestra? Or better to wait for Note performer 4.0? I apologize for the long post, but as you well know the sounds are expensive and we are all going through difficult times. :sweat_smile:

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as far as I’m aware, we don’t yet know when NotePerformer 4 will see the light of day and it’s not that likely the considerable gap in the accuracy of the strings at any rate compared to the top libraries will really be bridged, despite the undoubted merits of the library as a whole. I use the BBC Core and find it actually sounds at least as much like a real orchestra as any though isn’t easy to programme as you say – it needs more micromanagement than VSL libraries. I agree entirely that the BBC has a warmer and more involving sound for full orchestra (VSL can be good for chamber groups or where clarity is required).

Like you, I was rather put off by the price and system demands of the top Berlin orchestra packages and have only a very limited investment with them so far so others may be in a better place to advise on any particular pitfalls using this under Dorico although I’m sure it can be made to work.

My current favourite is actually the Cinematic Studio collections though that wouldn’t work out much cheaper than Berlin. They have a great expressive legato and work fine with Dorico once you understand a few basic principles.


Thanks dko22 always very kind, I also thought about CSS, but the cost if you buy strings, brass and woodwinds exceeds the cost of the Berlin Orchestra … or am I wrong? I agree with the BBCSO realism discourse, Note performer in my opinion excels from a rhythmic point of view in giving movement to the piece, but unfortunately if it is okay to make a demo, it is not suitable to get the song in its final form.

after the first CSS set you always get a discount of at least €100 per set for the remainder – the more you buy the more the discount so it will certainly be under €1000 for the three anyway. And of course the Berlin Orchestra is not OT’s top package. CSS don’t do many sales but there is usually a discount around Black Friday time if you do want to save another 100 or so.

I agree that rhythmic dynamism is NP’s strongest suit.

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One thing wondered about, and haven’t experimented with, is could you export the NP MIDI data and then map its CC values to appropriate settings on a sample library?

There’s a lot of talk about NP magic, but I guess at the end of the day it’s still a MIDI instrument operating on CC values? Though if it were easy to map, perhaps Wallander would be generating CC data for existing sample libraries (something I’ve heard lots of people express interest in) rather than synthesizing sounds from NP.

No, it doesn’t work like that. Dorico sends the same MIDI data to NotePerformer as it does to any other VST instrument. The magic all happens inside NotePerformer itself. When you export MIDI from Dorico, you export the MIDI that is sent to the plug-in(s), not the audio data that is produced by the plug-ins.


Hi @dspreadbury,
I would like to suggest the development of Steinberg’s native AI sampler, similar to NotePerformer that can be used in Dorico but, of course, with better and more decent sounding instrument samples. Here as a good example could be taken Staffpad with it’s lightweight libraries by Orchestral Tools, Spitfire Audio, CineSamples… etc.
I believe the team that is involved in the development of Halion, Groove Agent, Retrologue, The Grand… with the help of the guys behind Dorico, Cubase/Nuendo and OT Sine Player, could realize such big project. :slight_smile:
This will allow even devices with up to 8GB of RAM to be compatible for large orchestral works with decent sound. Obviously the sample compression used for the Staffpad libraries is enough good since the sound has almost the same quality as their bigger brothers.
Collaboration with the major VI developers like VSL, Orchestral Tools, Spitfire Audio and Best Service (for folk instruments) will be enough.
Please, think about this idea! :slight_smile:

Best regards,
Thurisaz :slight_smile:


I have no doubt that our talented and capable instruments development team who are responsible for HALion and all of our other VST instruments would be able to develop such a thing if it were deemed an important enough priority, with sufficient commercial benefit to the company as a whole, to displace everything else they are working on for Steinberg, but that is not going to be the case.


Well, if we are talking about commercial benefits, no doubt it will be one of the best selling VI products of Steinberg, if it can be used on PC, Mac and iPad. Of course Steinberg could provide the same selling strategy as Staffpad - per library basis. The player itself could also cost some amount, of course it should include the Halion Symphonic Orchestra as free download. If someone wants to use libraries from third-party companies, like VSL, Orchestral Tools, Spitfire Audio, CineSamples… he/she should pay additional fee per library (the libraries should be divided by sections - strings, woodwinds, brass, percussion, keys, plucked instruments; the same for the folk instruments). At the end one would be able to use strings from one company, woods from another, brass from third one… etc., or from the same one. :slight_smile:
Such, well designed and sounding, AI player, which will allow us to use a high end audio sources on devices with few GB of RAM, and use the final audio for post production, will be a game changer.

I remember when Dorico was released and I insisted about the importance of the Key Editor in Write Mode. Your answer was similar… that you are not planning to realize it. Well, few years later the Key Editor is in Write Mode. :slight_smile: Back then I was the only one who asked about it, and I was “attacked” by some users about it, but nowadays most of us are thankful and happy that you made it available. :wink:

The situation with the AI (of course with option to turn the AI On/Off) player is the same. The one who make such thing available will be the game changer.
NotePerformer is a very good technology, but it lacks enough control and decent sounding samples.
I’m not sure, but probably Halion could be used as a platform for such player?!

Best regards,
Thurisaz :slight_smile:

I know it must be tempting for you to try to take sole credit for the Key Editor appearing in Write mode in Dorico for iPad and Dorico 4, and if it makes you feel good, then by all means imagine that you’re responsible, but it’s not true. For starters, it’s quite an obvious idea, after all.

We had considered – at great length – whether or not the piano roll editor (as we conceived of it back then) should appear in Write mode from the conception of the application a decade ago. The reason we chose not to do it at the outset was that we convinced ourselves that it wasn’t possible to satisfactorily reconcile the fundamentally different approaches to how musical time is handled in terms of horizontal spacing.

Piano roll displays, of course, need a consistent horizontal ruler in order for the music display to make sense. Traditional music notation, on the other hand, needs a flexible approach to horizontal spacing based on musical context, available system width, etc.

We could not come up with a way to satisfy both of these requirements – and we tried out a bunch of different approaches in paper prototypes, including interesting ways of superimposing the piano roll on top of the notation itself – so we shelved the idea altogether.

When we started the planning work for what would eventually become Dorico 4 and Dorico for iPad, I had the (in retrospect, obvious) insight that in fact it wasn’t necessary for the horizontal spacing to be reconciled between these fundamentally different views of the music. All that was necessary was for the user to be able to easily orientate themselves when switching their attention between the two different views.

We didn’t get that right first time, since I still believed that it was important to maintain the link between the two views such that the same range of music is always in view, even if they are spaced differently. But after listening carefully to user feedback we rejigged the way linked mode works in Dorico 4.2, and I’m very happy with how you can orientate yourself when switching focus between notation and the piano roll in the current version.

On the subject of developing a competitor to NotePerformer that uses third-party samples… this is also not a novel idea. It has been espoused many times by many people, here on this forum and no doubt in countless other places around the web, particularly with regard to StaffPad.

Such a product would of course be very appealing indeed to Dorico users, but it wouldn’t have anything like the same appeal to Cubase or Nuendo customers (who of course greatly outnumber Dorico users and who are a much larger proportion of Steinberg’s business). Cubase and Nuendo users start with their own live, recorded performances.: you would be hard pressed to find Cubase and Nuendo users who do all their note input by pointing and clicking in the Key Editor or even the Score Editor in the sequencer.

Despite not being a new idea, it’s certainly not a bad one, of course, as evidenced by the high regard with which both NotePerformer and StaffPad are held. But it’s unlikely to be something that can deliver greater returns than the things that are already on the HALion team’s roadmap, particularly given the significant effort that would be required to build it.


I am not at all knowledgeable in the field of AI applied to Dorico, nor do I allow myself to teach professionals their work, my “dream” is simply to arrive at a certain point to be able to fully exploit the potential of the libraries currently on the market with Dorico and not only through DAW. in any case as a customer I am extremely satisfied both for the software itself and for the assistance and dialogue.

Daniel hi,
Thank you for your feedback! :slight_smile:
Actually I don’t care about any credits related to the Key Editor in Write Mode. :slight_smile:
I’m happy to see it finally there. After all the idea isn’t mine. It’s something that I found very useful in SonicScore’s - Overture 5. So if someone deserves any credits for it, this is Don Williams, not me.

About the AI Player I’m talking about… well, it could be designed in a way to available for Cubase, Nuendo, Cubasis and VST Live (for live concerts) why not even with the upcoming MuseScore 4th gen, Overture, Encore 6, Finale, Sibelius and Notion, too?!.. Actually that was my initial idea. :slight_smile:
After all, when Dorico and Cubase/Nuendo are going to become more closer, Cubase and Nuendo should adopt many things from Dorico - easier way to use full articulation instrument per track, divisi function…
I’m a Cubase user for a very long time, so I would be very happy having such player which can produce enough decent source material for good sounding demos, especially when I’m working on my laptop while I’m traveling, or on vacation. The Staffpad libraries produce the needed quality.
I know that what I’m proposing isn’t a new idea, but still no one fully realized it.
NotePerformer has nice trained automatic AI engine, but unfortunately we can’t touch the parameters too much, otherwise we are risking to destroy the overall playback of the player.
My appeal towards Steinberg VST team is about AI Player with trained presets (following the scores of Tchaikovsky, Rimsky-Korsakov, Beethoven, Brahms, Mahler, Bruckner, Ravel, Wagner, Richard Strauss, Bartok, Marin Goleminov, Pancho Vladigerov, Jerry Goldsmith, Bernard Hermann, John Williams, James Newton Howard…) + option for partial and full custom presets.
Of course would be nice if such player could be hosted in VE Pro, too. :slight_smile:

@Fabrizio_Amapane, my idea is about a player which can use high compressed non destructed decent sounding samples. Such player will allow us to focus more on the creative process, not on tweaking too much the parameters, but in case someone isn’t enough satisfied with the integrated presets, he/she could be able to customize it. :slight_smile:

Steinberg is the leading company on the market, when it comes to innovations and standard protocols like ASIO, VST… :slight_smile:

Best regards,
Thurisaz :slight_smile:

I shall no doubt get into trouble (again) for this post, but here goes… IMHO Dorico is first and foremost a notation program [though I know the dev team emphasise and seek to enhance the sonic capabilities].

As a notation program, it still has many shortcomings, despite being quite brilliant in what it does.

Top of my list, and many miles ahead of clever AI playback, would be:

  1. fixing the spacing restrictions around system objects (and especially top of the page spacing)
  2. improving the functionality of text frames to allow simple WP-style text formatting and text overflow from frame to frame
  3. allowing bar repeats in parts, but not in score
  4. better support for polymeters and aleatoric graphical representations…

But, hey, we each have our own particular needs and frustrations!


Hi @Janus,
The team that eventually will be involved to develop the AI Player I’m talking about is the one behind Halion, Groove Agent… etc.
The team behind Dorico won’t be fully involved in the developing process, so they will have their time to improve all those important things that you are talking about.
For me they are all very important, too. :slight_smile:
Just I’m discussing this idea with Daniel, if he find it interesting and share it with the the VSTi Team at Steinberg. After all if someone who is an important part of the company share an idea, the other guys will, perhaps, think more seriously about it. :slight_smile:

Best wishes,
Thurisaz :slight_smile:

So why are you cluttering up this forum?

Janus, read the comment carefully and you will find the answer of your question. :slight_smile:

I read it very carefully. Feel free to continue your discussions with the dev team in private.

Since I’m not the only user in this forum… maybe someone else would find this idea good and, eventually share some more thoughts about it.
Another major reason why I’m sharing the idea in the forum of Dorico, is because I really respect this team, since you are a member after the release of Dorico, probably you don’t have an idea how terrible was the communication with the other teams at Steinberg… To me Daniel and his team, brought the Wind of Change at the company and the other teams started to pay a bit more attention on the users here, still not at the level of Dorico’s team.

If you find it interfering, feel free to ignore this discussion. After all no one forces you to read it. :slight_smile:

Best wishes,
Thurisaz :slight_smile:

Daniel has already said that features are not added based on a popular vote, and he has already responded to your suggestion above.

Doubtless Steinberg does thorough market research based on more than anecdotal evidence and takes advantage of opportunities their findings uncover.

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So which library did you end up investing in? I’m currently pondering over the same issue. I am tempted in berlin orchestra, but it’s still pretty expensive - even as a student with a 40% discount, and also OT prices are exclusive vats, so it feels ridiculously expensive for an entry beginner package (compared to the competitors).
Spitfire sounds like a great option too but I think that I love the colder and neutral sound more, that OT and Vienna has.

Would love to hear what choice you ended up doing, I’m currently relying on noteperformer but I feel that it’s not enough for the final versions of my compositions.