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Posted on Tue, Sep 01 2020 01:10
by create-compose
Joined on Fri, Nov 25 2011, Posts 21

I was amazed to find out the same age old argument is still being discussed.

I use several Sound Libraries including VSL.

Sibelius is for composing music and hearing your work on virtual instruments. But no one is satisfied with the sound of their sound libraries, no matter how expensive and sophisticated, no matter how many libraries you own, the experts will still tell you, as they did 15 years ago, that  you must meticulously and in my opinion tediously manipulate each and every note in your score with a DAW if you really want realistic sound. Lots of tutorials on how to go about this. They all make me feel it’s like buying a new Lamborghini and then learning that if you really want it to go properly you have to get out and push it all the way home. Considering the amount of work that goes into creating the expensive and incredibly sophisticated sound libraries one would expect them to sound fantastic. What I keep asking myself is how come no one seems to be able to create software that will make the sound libraries sound good. I remember ages ago Sibelius was boasting about the humanizing tool that one could instantly turn on.  That was a step in the right direction. Looking and  listening to the tutorials for using DAW’s to make the libraries sound like real instruments it is clear that all this could be done automatically by very sophisticated software, not necessarily very expensive software. I can just hear the reaction of all the experts. “A but you don’t understand that each piece needs special treatment” To which I say, if there is self-learning artificial intelligence that can challenge any human, it must be possible to produce very sophisticated software that will automatically understand how to best alter the sound of each note in each particular Sibelius score to make it sound decent. 

Posted on Tue, Sep 01 2020 02:49
by civilization 3
Joined on Sat, May 16 2009, SF Bay Area, Posts 1838

"To which I say, if there is self-learning artificial intelligence that can challenge any human,"
Thing is, there isn't.

never mind, useless to go into something so obvious

MacBook Pro 16,1: 2.3 GHz 8-core i9
64GB 2667MHz DDR4
Mac OS 11.6.1
VE Pro 7.1056, Cubase Pro 11.0.0
Posted on Tue, Sep 01 2020 15:02
by Pieman1560
Joined on Mon, May 07 2018, Gloucestershire, UK, Posts 69

Hi create-compose 

I have to say that I'm more than happy with the results achievable with Sibelius...so much so that I hardly use logic at all now for tweaking anything.

There was a time when tweaking things in Sibelius was doable...but blimey it was a pain in the neck!..adjusting Midi CC data with voices and lines..and adjusting things with the inspector was completely doable...but took ages and wasn't user friendly at all...but plugins have come along that make all of that a joy to use as its all laid out visually over your score.

so now there is a choice..stay in notation...or edit piano roll...and I know where I prefer!

Have a good one mate

Kindest

Paul

Posted on Tue, Sep 01 2020 20:20
by create-compose
Joined on Fri, Nov 25 2011, Posts 21

Thanks for the replies .

Paul wrote "but plugins have come along that make all of that a joy to use as its all laid out visually over your score." Could you expand a little on this, it sounds interesting, I'm afraid I don't know what you mean.

Some people have recommended a program called NotePerformer 3, unfortunately it can only use its own samples. Such a program that could use any sample library would perhaps be a good thing. 

Posted on Wed, Sep 02 2020 14:58
by Pieman1560
Joined on Mon, May 07 2018, Gloucestershire, UK, Posts 69

Hi Create-compose

There is a plugin for Sibelius called 'Graphical Midi Tools' that allows you to enter midi CC curves for any CC value you like, straight into your Sibelius score, and the midi curves are laid over the score so you can see the ebb and flow of everything in a really nice way.

You can also adjust velocity of individual notes, and adjust note timing to fine tune legato passages for example.

It's wonderful...I use it all the time and is the main reason I don't use Logic Pro!

I've done a few video reviews of it on my YouTube channel..heres the link https://youtu.be/JibWXzWr2Xw

And here's the link to the developers website https://santiagobarx.com/

With a library like VSL's Solo strings......it's just magnificent!

Noteperformer is ok..but in all honesty cannot really compete with VSLs samples. If you have any VSL instruments you'll be able to install the sound set for them so they work in Sibelius perfectly...its brilliant...and if you choose to do so, I hope you enjoy it just as much as I do mate

I hope that helps

With kindest regards

Paul

Posted on Wed, Sep 02 2020 15:12
by Macker
Joined on Tue, Aug 21 2018, London, Posts 382

I was appalled to hear that not only is Sibelius not designed to let you programme MIDI CCs, but worse (as I've just now discovered) it won't even let you alter individual note velocities! And then to make matters even worse, what if, like Create-Compose here, you dislike or even hate today's DAWs? Well, for starters that would appear to mean that your control of phrasing and expression in the piece you're writing would be ... erm ... pretty much absent, wouldn't it? Shame on the Sibelius app - Jean Sibelius must be turning in his grave!

But wait - all is not lost, thanks to Pieman. Hoorah for the "Graphical MIDI Tools" plugin that fills the unforgivable void in Sibelius. Now you CAN take control of phrasing, expression and other important stuff, directly from within Sibelius. Whoopee!

Posted on Thu, Sep 03 2020 15:56
by create-compose
Joined on Fri, Nov 25 2011, Posts 21
I will start using NotePerfomer. Highly recommended by members of Sibelius forum.
I was most impressed by
The Ultimate Test for NotePerfomer: Stravinsky's The Right of Spring https://youtu.be/-m76cWER3C8
If the sounds are the unaltered sounds of NP they are really very good.
Since I have and like Vienna Instruments, Garritan Orchestra 5, Garritan World Intruments and Sibelius library, my choice is also Graphical Midi Tools https://youtu.be/JibWXzWr2Xw https://santiagobarx.com/ that has been higly recommended to me by members of VSL forum , I find it’s way of functioning right on Sibelius very appealing and will I suspect become my standard finishing tool for all sound libraries.
Reaper has also been highly recommended to me here inspite of my autlandish comment of hating DAW,s . It is apparently very good, free or very inexpensive. I suspect it will be useful for extreme fine tuning when I feel like doing that, so I will use it occasionally.
Considering I knew nothing about any of this when I started this thread in Sibelius and Vienna Instruments it is clear that I have learnt a lot from all of you.

I very sincerely thank all of you so very much.

Only a week ago I was just about to, right on the verge of, purchasing EWQLSO silver + EW Quantum Leap RA, their credentials and demo's are extreamly impressive, but just before entering PayPal I decided to read some more reviews. It was reading very lukewarm reviews of EW that drove me in desperation to start this thread.
Posted on Fri, Sep 04 2020 14:47
by PaoloT
Joined on Tue, Dec 27 2016, Posts 1191

I'm using Dorico with various VSL libraries. This program is a blend between an advanced notation program and a DAW. What this means is that one can enter notes in the usual ways (by typing, or with a mix of piano keyboard and numeric keypad). Or can record parts by following the metronome.

Once the notes are there, the usual editing tools of a DAW can be used: piano roll, CC lines, sound maps. Notes exist in two parallel streams: precise and quantized notation, and free MIDI input. They can be adjusted separately.

I've been using NotePerformer from the first minute it was introduced, and I think it's great, but I prefer to do all the sound playback work, after entering the music, with better sounds. Being able to finely editing attacks, durations, dynamics, articulations, tempi, is what give life to the written score.

Paolo

Posted on Fri, Sep 04 2020 22:07
by create-compose
Joined on Fri, Nov 25 2011, Posts 21
First impressions :
Not SO terribly impressed with Graphic Midi Tools, perhaps when I get more proficient at it I will change my mind.
Very difficult to get used to the playback time delay in NotePerfomer, I enjoy reading in actual time when playing back the bit I've just written, I don't know if I want to get used to this, makes me feel like writing with a normal sound library and switching to NotePerfomer for final playback. Very nice articulations and realistic sound playback.
Have not downoaded Reaper yet.
Posted on Sat, Sep 05 2020 13:17
by create-compose
Joined on Fri, Nov 25 2011, Posts 21
Paolo, pleasa explain how exactly you do this "I prefer to do all the sound playback work, after entering the music, with better sounds" I am really very interested in this.

As for Dorico, Iv’e allways liked the really innovative team that created it, but I am so used to Sibelius 7 that changing would be to big of an effort, from what you described it seems that Sibelius with Graphic Midi Tools will be similar to Dórico in that respect. Thanks
Posted on Sat, Sep 05 2020 16:55
by PaoloT
Joined on Tue, Dec 27 2016, Posts 1191

What I do is usually to first enter notes, and in general do a first draft, with NotePerformer as a preview. If I need particular sounds that are not in NotePerformer while composing, I immediately recall them.

When the draft (or the copied music) is ready, I launch VSL Vienna Ensemble Pro to host the final sounds, as in an instrument's rack. In Dorico, I select a "playback template" I have prepared, and this automatically recalls all or most of the sounds and effects I need. If I need so, I do any further cabling to different/additional sounds in Vienna Ensemble.

Now, I’m ready to do what I would do in Logic or Cubase. With the Score page open, I also open the Play page, that is the equivalent to a DAW's piano roll. Here, I can see both the notated lengths, and the sounding durations. I can adjust these latter, maybe to make an attack smoother or a staccato softer.

I then draw any tempo change, in addition to those automatically added when writing a tempo indication in the score. I refine the dynamic curves or the velocities in the dedicated lanes under the notes. I enter any other data, like the MIDI CC controlling the attack speed or the portamento speed.

All this work is reflected on how the score sounds. I'm using the final sounds, so I can hear what I’m doing, and how the finished mockup will actually sound.

Paolo

Posted on Sat, Sep 05 2020 18:03
by Macker
Joined on Tue, Aug 21 2018, London, Posts 382

Having read the sales blurb and listened to the demos of NotePerformer, I'm frankly amazed to find it has any place at all among the workflows and technical accoutrements of VSL library users today.

I'll put it bluntly: the quality of the provided sounds reflect NotePerformer's cheap price tag; overall, the 'best' demos sound to me like performances on a hypothetical slightly updated version of a Mighty Wurlitzer cinema organ. I simply cannot get past the day-and-night difference in quality between VSL collections and NotePerformer's sounds.

I get the main technical and monetary advantages of using a hybrid of sampled and synthesised instrument sounds, as used in NotePerformer: dynamic articulation and expression changes can be ostensibly achieved using way fewer recorded samples. Also, no doubt the Wallander Instruments devs have done something quite clever with their AI-based automatic phrasing. And so I do kind of get why this product still sells today.

Nevertheless I still remember the often ghastly results, a couple of decades ago, of my best efforts to produce decent-sounding orchestral music from the primitive sample sets of those days. NotePerformer just tends to drag me back towards those days, seeming to make a mockery of the good, steady progress that's been made in the world of virtual instruments since then.

Hope you'll forgive me if I just sound like a sound-snob, but that's the truth of how I feel about NotePerformer. In working with virtual instruments I happen to believe the saying "no pain, no gain" still holds true.

Posted on Sat, Sep 05 2020 21:50
by create-compose
Joined on Fri, Nov 25 2011, Posts 21

Thanks for the explanation Paul, to advanced for me but I do understand and congratulate you .  However I wonder, being that you understandably prefer the final sounds to be those  of VSL , why  not start with VSL, why bother with NotePerformer?

Posted on Sat, Sep 05 2020 22:03
by create-compose
Joined on Fri, Nov 25 2011, Posts 21

Macker, for me it is a little to soon to judge NotePerformer, undoubtedly many more expensive libraries have bettet sounds, unquestionably VSL has, many demos of NotePerformer are rather poor, but still, the one I mentioned before of Stravinsky's Rights of Spring  is quite amazing, if you have not heard it I do recommend it. I found myself actually enjoin listening to it. It is the only sampled piece of music  that I have honestly enjoyed listening to. As to my music I have mixed impressions, I used it on an old Symphony of mine where I could never get the violins to sound decent, that section sounded good for the first time, however some other parts of the same symphony  with delicate work sounded terrible. I must give it a chance.

Posted on Sat, Sep 05 2020 22:05
by GilP
Joined on Thu, Aug 31 2017, Posts 86

Hello,

I used also Sibelius with VSL but for a few reasons I'm switching to Dorico as Expression Maps in Dorico 3.5 can lead to possibly better results than Sibelius (waiting for Andi's Dorico expression maps for Synchron-ized SE).

Macker, is a NotePerformer performance like the following one sounds still not very good to your ears?

Star Wars Suite-Note Performer 3

Best regards,

Gil.

Posted on Sun, Sep 06 2020 01:07
by Macker
Joined on Tue, Aug 21 2018, London, Posts 382

Create-compose and GilP, sorry but I'm sure you understand that VSL's forum is not the place to invite or proffer critiques of any particular midistration pieces based solely on non-VSL sounds. I stand by my posted opinion on NotePerformer and I prefer to leave it at that.

Posted on Sun, Sep 06 2020 01:50
by PaoloT
Joined on Tue, Dec 27 2016, Posts 1191

Originally Posted by: create-compose Go to Quoted Post

However I wonder, being that you understandably prefer the final sounds to be those  of VSL , why  not start with VSL, why bother with NotePerformer?

When just entering notes, NP can be the quickest way to prelisten. It's light, requires no configuration, makes an expressive and musically meaningful playback. Immediately dealing with the final sounds sometimes forces you to lose time on the details, instead of completing the rough draft.

At the same time, lately I've been composing starting with VSL's BBO libraries. They are relatively light, very expressive, and inspiring. In that case, (when composing and not just transcribing), I find that having the right sounds under your fingers is mandatory.

Paolo

Posted on Sun, Sep 06 2020 02:26
by Macker
Joined on Tue, Aug 21 2018, London, Posts 382

Paolo, your use of NP as a rapid-prototyping or rough-drafting tool makes sense to me. I've sometimes used synths for the same purpose - though not as a regular thing.

I guess you're not at all put off or distracted by NP's sounds, just as I'm not put off or distracted by synths. Alas, lol, I know I'd suddenly have to veer off-course to try to fix some weird-sounding articulation-change etc in NP, so it wouldn't serve me as it does you. But there we are, we each have our own ways. Oh and amen to your last sentence.

Posted on Sun, Sep 06 2020 08:15
by PaoloT
Joined on Tue, Dec 27 2016, Posts 1191

Originally Posted by: Macker Go to Quoted Post

Paolo, your use of NP as a rapid-prototyping or rough-drafting tool makes sense to me. I've sometimes used synths for the same purpose - though not as a regular thing.

Yes, these things are like the old "let's try it at the piano". They let you hear a wireframe of the actual composition.

Paolo

Posted on Mon, Sep 07 2020 00:41
by create-compose
Joined on Fri, Nov 25 2011, Posts 21
Hallo again..
I've been looking at the VSL's BBO libraries, are they all Tutti? Meaning all instruments sound simultaneously always?I saw no instrument lists. Just reference to groups of instruments.
I understand the mock up idea, it probably stems from an academic and structured method of composition, I compose in a naive uneducated way, letting the thing grow out of it's own accord as I go along getting new ideas. Which is probably why I still can't Identify with Paolo or Macker in respect to first doing the framework on an inferior sounding library . I must be honest. I feel. Why compose on a rickety old piano if you have a Grand Steinway right beside you? I would say the Steinway has the right sound under your fingers.
Also I feel that it is hearing good sound as Paolo puts it "under your fingers", that sparks my composition ideas. So as a very personal thing. No point in me starting with anything but the best sounds I can afford.
l do agree with Paolos comment of trying it on the piano first. I find that the piano sound and the fact that the piano can play 10 or more notes simultaneously and sound good makes this instrument an excellent starting point. I often first play it on the piano, write it down, and then disect it into different voices testing which Intrument fits each voice best.
If it was not for modern technology, to do this I would have to enslave a thousand musitians, preferably from all over the world, so I could make them play my melodies on their instruments when ever I liked, even at 3.00 am in the morning. I would even have to enslave a few ghost musicians to play on instruments that produce imaginary sounds.
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