Started by c#minor, September 05, 2008, 03:57:27 PM
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Quote from: krummholz on May 25, 2023, 01:10:01 PMNever knew about this thread. Okay, now that it's here in Composing where I check regularly, I do have a question, and it concerns using Sibelius with 3rd-party libraries. I've been a happy NotePerformer user for three years now, running inside Sibelius, and I'm gratified that Arne has fixed some outstanding issues in NP4 and added support for selected 3rd-party libraries, but... there is always a but... the selection is limited. I'd like to prepare a mock-up of my first String Quartet that actually sounds realistic, and I've started on a second SQ (just yesterday in fact) that would REALLY benefit from this technology, but there seem to be few options for solo strings in the libraries currently available for NPPE - in fact, for a full string quartet, only the Cinematic Studios libraries currently. I've heard mock-ups of string quartets produced with CSSS (including one of my stalled Beethoven sketch variations), and it seems there would be a lot of work involved as the results are full of errors due to latency in the library, and the balance between the instruments is very different than in NP.The other alternative in the running is VSL SYNCHRON-ized Solo Strings - which has no support via NP at present. My understanding is that for something that uses solo strings together with other instruments, this library would be useless without a supplemental library for the Synchron player as one cannot simply substitute individual instruments from an unsupported 3rd-party library for NotePerformer's native synth.Is this correct, or can it be done anyway? If so, how? Please note that I'm new to MIDI terminology and do not yet fully understand what MIDI "devices" and "channels" are. NP is plug-and-play... now I'm going to have to actually learn something about this technology.
Quote from: relm1 on May 26, 2023, 06:16:05 AMYou can definitely insert VST instruments into Sibelius but a warning, it seems like the capability should be used cautiously. It quickly adds awful latency. I've set it up to have 16 channels through kontakt VST. The other instruments are all NP. With these 16 channels in VST, my latency has gone to barely noticeable to maybe three or four seconds which might not sound like much but it's on the verge of unusable. You also have to manually insert CC1 modwheel to control dynamics because while NP has scripts to read the score, VST do not so plays ppp and fff at the same dynamic unless you put in modwheel. In short, it is definitely doable but not that well implemented. It is just barely usable. When I added 32 channels of VST, latency went up to 30 or more seconds. I quickly reverted back to NP.
Quote from: krummholz on May 26, 2023, 07:09:02 AMThank you for the cautionary note! This implies something quite different from the way I imagined it to work - I thought the notation software sends dynamics information to the playback device, in your case Kontakt. If dynamics have to be controlled manually through MIDI messages, even for dynamics changes within phrases (e.g. hairpins), then that is terribly inconvenient (as would be the latency, which is noticeable even with NP).If I may ask, what library were you using for this? The Cinematic libraries use Kontakt and are now supported by NP4 and its NPPE, which is supposed to make this as transparent as with NP, assuming you're using a supported library. Notwithstanding the limited availability of supported libraries, I'm now thinking that might be my best option.
Quote from: relm1 on May 26, 2023, 05:12:04 PMSibelius is NOT a mockup tool in any way. It does not send dynamic information to a sample. It just happens that NP wrote custom scripts to add midi controller data that only applies to NP. For example, they use panning to adjust vibrato for their samples. So if you switch an NP flute for example to Berlin Winds, all of NP control details will be ignored and you'll hear a vanilla Berlin Winds flute at a single dynamic and articulation sounding very mediocre unless you start adding the controller information separately. Sib doesn't have a native or intuitive way to do that, so you literally have to go phrase by phrase and craft it and I'll guarantee you it's a bazillion times slower than just using a DAW for the same purpose. That defeats the purpose of having high quality instruments entirely! So be selective on supplementing the right VST instrument in Sib. Strings...absolutely not good candidates because NP interprets performance text like legato, con sordino, tremolo, marcato, etc., none of which would apply to the VST instrument. In contrast, percussion works reasonably well because they have rather limited performance techniques. Even then, you'll get awful artifacts like timpani rolls having to trigger a different sample than timpani hits. So I loaded two different samples - one for hits and one for rolls which meant my score now had two timpani parts - hits and rolls. You start to see this is getting to be a real mess. The overall impression I came away with is the value of doing this is few and far between. I think it makes sense to replace the celesta with a VST celesta where I'm using a celesta sample library. That instrument will almost always be quiet and not much variation in how it gets read. Strings absolutely out of the question. You generally get the impression this clearly wasn't conceived in the best way to solve this problem but was pigeonholed into Sibelius. I used some of Spitfire percussion and Berlin brass, I played around with some Berlin winds and some of Spitfire strings but realized it was a big mistake overall and just have a few percussion remaining. It is a reasonable approach on symphonic percussion like bass drum, tam-tam, etc., where most of what you need to do is send a dynamic rather than a CC1 modwheel. Was a horrible mistake for strings, woods and brass but an interesting experiment. Let's say you don't mind adding all these extra samples, then remember the issue I made earlier about horrible latency. I find 1 second very annoying and 4 seconds completely unusable. With 16 VST instruments, you are in the 3 or 4 second latency range and with 32 VST instruments 20 or 30 seconds depending on your library. Worthless waste of time to do this in Sib in this current iteration.
Quote from: krummholz on May 27, 2023, 04:17:55 AMOkay, I get the picture that supplementing NP's synthesized orchestra with 3rd party strings is probably not going to work too well. But as far as Sibelius not supplying dynamics information from the score, I'm confused to the point where my head is reeling. This completely contradicts Sib's own reference manual, and also what a composer on a different forum told me, which is that he used VSL solo strings with Sib "for over a decade" and never had to use MIDI messages to control dynamics or anything else. Not mixing and matching instruments, mind you - this was for writing and producing mock-ups of string quartets. VSL does supply their own soundsets, written specifically for Sibelius - I have no idea what Spitfire and Berlin supply with their libraries, if anything. I know that if I tried to use Cinematic Studios libraries without NPPE support I would be in uncharted territory, as Cinematic specifically disclaims that they offer no support for Sibelius. And I know that NP hooks into Sibelius and actually reads the score, so it could be that it gets info from the score that way and not from Sib... but still, why have playback dictionaries and all of these hooks to playback devices if this information is not sent from Sib's reading of the score?If I'm understanding you correctly, it sounds like Sib is useless for producing mock-ups without something like NP that essentially replaces Sib's entire playback engine. If that's true, then it means that Sib's functionality in that area has gone downhill compared to a decade ago when the composer I mentioned was using it with VSL.
Quote from: relm1 on May 28, 2023, 06:19:27 AMWhat I meant is that Sib doesn't supply CC1 modwheel simply from reading the score that drives VST instruments. If you want to put this crescendo in to a score: A Kontakt VST will ignore the information just in the score. NP in contrast will read it as part of their custom scripts. To get a VST instrument to play this crescendo back, you need to insert midi controller data through this "Add Continuous Controller Changes" plug in. And the process is cumbersome. It requires a line to attach the controller data to (notice my line that I'll later make invisible in the score above the notes...that is only there to attach the controller data to). So above the notes, I added a line and then set the controller to CC1 (modwheel) starting at 20 and gradually reaching 127 through the course of the line. Now the Kontakt VST instrument will play this crescendo. I wish there was a plug in that would automatically interpret dynamics and hairpins from the score into continuous controller data. So technically, the Sib marketing is correct, the software can do this but you see it is a very inefficient approach. Add to this the terrible latency and it's just not a great, elegant approach to doing this.I don't know if I'd go as far as saying Sib is useless for producing mock-ups. Rather modern sample libraries are very large and rich and having access to those controllers and samples is definitely not native to Sib. If your goal is something immediately listenable, NP is a good option. If you want to enhance this further, you have ways to add additional kontakt VSTs but these are resource intensive and add significant latency...it is clearly not what Sib was designed to do which is in contrast to what a DAW does well - but what a DAW can't really do well is produce a finely engraved score. Yes, yes, they offer score engraving capabilities, but it won't be anywhere near as good as a notation software designed specially to do that task. If you want to make Sib mockup sound like DAW produced mockups simply by reading the score, look elsewhere or wait for something better. I think Musescore 4 has good out of box playback using NP approach so hope a new version of NP is in the works that can kick the can down the road to improve the out of box sound quality.
Quote from: krummholz on May 28, 2023, 10:27:58 AMOkay, yes this is in direct contradiction to what another composer has said who has used Sib with VSL. I have heard some of the results - though the renderings were made with Dorico, not Sib, but he reports similar experience with Sib and I trust that he is not lying.So I have to assume that VSL supports notation software in a way that is closer to NP than Kontakt. From what I heard there are some things that NP gets better - specifically the dynamic shapes of notes, especially at their endings, and it certainly gets *expression* right over a large range of musical contexts without the composer having to do too much hacking. My main objection to NP is that their sound is synthesized rather than produced from samples. For most instruments that works well, but strings are a special problem. Their solo strings have a very limited range of timbres and their string sections sound scratchy and very unnatural.BTW you're aware, I hope, that NP4 has a playback engine that supports several libraries that use Kontakt? I haven't tried it as it's an additional cost item and you have to buy the libraries themselves elsewhere, but I'm pretty sure you wouldn't need to control dynamics with MIDI messages. (I was hoping they would support VSL, but so far they don't.)
Quote from: relm1 on May 28, 2023, 04:03:38 PMPerhaps he knows something I don't know (very possible) so if you have an opportunity to get further details. Also, how good are the results? I do not have VSL but still think they'll use CC1 as the standard modwheel controller for dynamic crossfading. NP is NOT using standard controllers so isn't particularly transferrable. Actually, one very important point that might explain the difference that I just realized while writing the prior sentence, perhaps my experience isn't normal because I've been using NP for years and tried to embellish the sample sounds by switching an instrument that used to be in NP to kontakt VST. Perhaps that actually screwed up the controller information because that's how NP reads the score and doesn't translate directly to other kontakt instruments.Wait, no I didn't know that about NP4 and see I'm not on that one! I'm on NP3.2something. I haven't yet switched to Dorico. more accurately, I've purchased Dorico and haven't learned it.
Quote from: relm1 on May 28, 2023, 04:03:38 PMPerhaps he knows something I don't know (very possible) so if you have an opportunity to get further details
Quote from: krummholz on May 29, 2023, 05:21:35 AMThe results - at least with Dorico - are VERY good sonically; the main drawback is that any extra shaping of phrases that NP does is missing. I noticed especially that there is less dynamic shaping of notes - apparently NP really does some of this without extra hairpins - e.g. when a note ends, it just ends, like the lifting of an organ key.Yes, undoubtedly the VSL soundsets use MIDI messages to control things like dynamics and vibrato (how else could they be doing it?), and I'm not surprised that the semantics of those messages in NP are non-standard. Probably VSL assumes the standard meanings of the different CC messages and thus to mix and match, you would need to carefully assign the VSL soundsets to their instruments. I finally got an answer from Wallander (a very helpful tech support person named Alexander) to my query about this - he directed me to a section of their Sibelius support document that describes how to do this, though it calls the third-party VSTs "plug-ins", which I thought was confusing, since NP also uses "plug-in" to mean their own specialized scripts. I think you have to manually assign a playback device to each staff in the score in the mixer. He did not say whether this was practical, i.e. whether the added latency would quickly become intolerable, but I guess I'll find out if I decide to go this route. Right now my main concern is with how much "musicality" I would be giving up with VSL vs. NP.Just so you know: since you already have a license for NP, there is no cost to upgrade to NP4. You'll get a link to a download page that's specifically tied to your email address. The download replaces the old NP3 files so you might want to rename the folder containing them just in case, so they aren't overwritten. There is no difference that I can tell in the quality of the sound - it's still all synthesized. But you do get the ability to add libraries that are supported by NPPE, which at least tries to give NP-quality playback for those libraries. If you have any of them already, you can try the NPPE playback extension for free - but you'd need to pay for it (the cost is between $69 and $89 depending on the library) if you wanted to export a rendering from Sibelius.
Quote from: lunar22 on May 29, 2023, 09:00:44 AMI though I'd just chip in here as my first post on what is, to me, a new forum as I've been discussing this with krummholz. To use VSL libraries in Sibelius, you need to use the configuration files which are supplied free in your download area. This includes the critical soundset which instruct Sibelius in the CC's used for dynamics for instance so it's certainly not necessary, either for hairpins or straight dynamics to do anything more than write them in the score. Of course, using the Inspector, you can modify them as I frequently did with hairpins in particular as you'll want some to be stronger than others. You can actually modify the soundsets with the editor but that can be hard work in Sib., unlike in Dorico -- just for clarity, I now rarely use Sib. as I moved to Dorico a good couple of years ago and the version I have is 7.1.3. But I don't believe core features would have suddenly been removed in recent updates! Dorico is much easier to achieve mockups in for at least a couple of reasons a) there is a piano roll editor which has most of the features of DAW equivalents and 2) the Expression Maps -- the soundset equivalents, are fairly transparent and can easily be created and edited by end users as well as having powerful features like patch automation by note duration. There can be different ones even for each instrument which makes it relatively easy to mix and match libraries. Sibelius has one advantage over Dorico for NotePerfomer and that is a good glissando emulation which is still missing in the latter (although in the pipeline, apparently). And I agree with krummholz that NotePerfomer's phrasing (apart from some bizarre timing errors) can be very impressive and is one of the main reasons I myself invested in both the CSS and BBC SO plug-ins. Of course these can be used in Dorico, Sibelius (and Finale) interchangeably if desired
Quote from: lunar22 on June 02, 2023, 08:31:59 AMalthough Dorico is, to quite a large extent, written by the same team which Avid sacked a few years ago, the design is totally different and takes some getting used to. In my view, it's worth persevering, though -- ever more people are making the switch.
Quote from: relm1 on July 31, 2023, 05:23:50 PMDid you play around with this?
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