VST3s that work with microtonal playback?

Dear all,

It is great to see (hear!) the microtonal playback in Dorico via VST3 note expressions. I would find it very useful to collect a list of those libraries/plugins with which this works.

For example, I just tested the VST3 of EastWest Play (v 5.0.4). Unfortunately, microtonal playback does not seem to work with that (it loads fine and plays, and shows in the about dialogue that it is a VST3 plugin, but seemingly does not support note expressions, i.e. not VST 3.5).

I only tested it with the classic EWQLSO – perhaps it depends on the libraries in question and note expressions work for other EastWest libraries? Alternatively, did anyone have a chance to test EastWest Play version 6?

Steinberg lists Vienna Symphonic Library as VST3-ready (https://www.steinberg.net/en/products/partner_products/pluginzone.html). Any luck with that? If so, with which VSL software/instruments?

Any other libraries/plugins beyond Steinberg products like HALion, where microtonal playback works?

Thanks a lot!


PS: Attached is an extremely simple Dorico file demonstrating that EastWest Play does not work (if you have that installed). Feel free to use that as a template for further tests, and then simply change the respective plugin in play mode.
Microtonal-Play-5.0.4_noMicrotonalPlayback.dorico.zip (277 KB)

Alternatively/additionally, are there perhaps plans for Dorico to support MIDI Polyphonic Expression (MPE, https://www.midi.org/articles/midi-polyphonic-expression-mpe) as an alternative to VST 3.5 with note expressions for microtonal playback at some later stage?

While there seem to be very few instruments/libraries out there that support note expressions, all instruments/libraries effectively support MPE already: you would simply have to allocate multiple copies of an instrument/instance with different MIDI channels to the same part (as many copies and MIDI channels as notes should be modulated independently per part). Not an elegant nor economical solution, but it should work, and after all, Cubase’s Note Expression feature already supports this as well.

Besides, various sound generators already have explicit MPE support, which make the setup more simple and (hopefully) less expensive in terms of resources, e.g., see http://www.rogerlinndesign.com/ls-recommended-sounds.html That list includes already EastWest Play.


Any more information on this topic?

In the next update Dorico will also support the VST2/3 detune parameter. This allows for microtonal playback in compatible plugins, including NotePerformer. I don’t know which other plugins support it though.

EW has several libraries that come with dozens of different non-Western microtunings, e.g. Silk. See screenshot. You can choose from Western / Chinese / Arabian / Persian / Indian, with many variations of each. Sounds fantastic. I have no idea how to integrate this with Dorico, however.

I tried Pianoteq 6 with a microtonal score in Dorico but it did not respond to the tuning. Pianoteq is VST3 and its microtuning functions are among the most advanced in all softsynths. Has anyone here got it working, or should I send a request to the the tech support of modart/Pianoteq?

I don’t have Pianoteq to try this out, but you might ask Modartt’s tech support whether Pianoteq supports the VST2.x detune parameter, as that’s what Dorico will be sending. (The detune parameter was introduced in VST2.x but is still part of the VST3 spec as well.)

Ok, thanks, I will. I thought that Dorico tunes VST3is using the VST3 expression parameters. Is this true only for Steinberg’s VST3is, and not for third-party VST3is, or is all microtuning handled via the VST2 detune parameter?

As to the onboard instruments and NotePerformer in Dorico 2.1. - microtuning now works brilliantly - thank you for this!

At the moment we only use VST3 expression for HALion Sonic SE, but in the future we hope to make this available for other VST3 plugins.

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What is the advantage of using VST3 expression for re-tuning, instead of VST2 per-note detune?

VST3 Note Expression has greater range and resolution and also can vary over time. Dorico doesn’t currently take advantage of that, but it may open up interesting possibilities for things like bends and jazz articulations in future versions.

Have the issues with pianoteq microtonal playback been resolved/addressed with the 2.2 update?

No, we didn’t change anything in this regard in Dorico 2.2. Provided Pianoteq responds to the VST 2.x detune parameter then you should find that the playback works in the same way as it does for e.g. NotePerformer.

Microtonal playback works nicely with Pianoteq (Standard version), you’ll just have to enable “MIDI Tuning” in the Pianoteq MIDI options.

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Welcome to the forum, @ulrikserges.