NotePerformer updated to 1.4.0

News

NotePerformerBoxTest01Wallander Instruments has updated its NotePerformer sound library to version 1.4.0. NotePerformer is a third-party integrated library and playback product designed for automatic integration with Sibelius.

NotePerformer 1.4.0 is the first update to the product in eight months. While a version bump from 1.3.3 to 1.4.0 may not seem that substantial, the improvements are rather significant.

Here is a list of the new and fixed items, according to Wallander:

  • Added bowed pitched percussion (glockenspiel, vibraphone, crotales, chimes, xylophone, marimba).
  • Piano was replaced with new sounds.
  • Drum kit was replaced with new sounds, optionally played with brushes.
  • Strings were replaced with new section-building technology:
    • All string sections are now, under the hood, constructed from individual solo players who will automatically play divisi. There’s also a new option to assign 1/2 sized sections, from the mixer, which allows splitting the section in half over two staves, or for creating smaller sections.
    • From now on, when using the solo strings, you tap straight into the players of the section, one by one. This means the volume for solo strings will appear lower because they have not been adjusted for a close-up perspective, but they remain in an orchestral perspective.
  • Improved tuning, and better random pitch algorithms.
  • Dryer/more close-up sound, across the board, with updates in both reverb and synthesis/DSP algorithms.
  • The built-in panning law now uses a more traditional approach, with a stronger left/right separation.
  • Brass intonation problems have been fixed.
  • Piano now allows using different dynamics for different voices in the score.
  • Long notes are now played will less separation.
  • Various Sound Set (NotePerformer.xml) fixes.
  • Glitches and clicking loops was fixed.
  • Improved string glissando sound.

In addition, the update notes say that “you can expect a considerable difference in sound, balance and reverb amount when updating to this version of NotePerformer.” A link is provided to download version 1.3.3 should the user prefer to re-install and roll back to that version after installing 1.4.0.

We reviewed the initial release of NotePerformer in September 2013, and since then, the already very good product has continually improved. It continues to be a smart addition for users who compose primarily orchestral music and need realistic-sounding playback within Sibelius without fussing with MIDI data and sequencers. A license costs $129 and a free 30-day evaluation period is available.

Comments

  1. Brian Monroe

    Tried it out. It actually sounds pretty good – but it does NOT want to play nice with my sound system. That means that if I export the file as audio it plays back as expected – but I cannot play it back in Sibelius without strange things happening. Very odd – it never happened before.

  2. Gary Carpenter

    On my Macbook Pro, glissandos crash Sibelius on Noteperformer 1.4 – on both
    Sibelius 6 and 7. Rolling back to 1.3.3 solves the problem – so I assume there must be a bug, which is a pity as the update looks amazing!

    1. Philip Rothman

      Gary, Brian: You should definitely submit these problems to Wallander support directly at http://www.noteperformer.com/?mode=support. I know of at least one other user experiencing a crash when playing back glissandi in 1.4.0.

      1. Gary Carpenter

        Thanks – there is already a bugfix! Just got notification! Efficient or what?!

  3. Arne Wallander

    Sorry about the glissando problem! There was a last minute bug with 1.4.0 causing woodwinds, brass and choirs to crash on pitch bend (glissando or quartertones) but I’ve issued a quick fix for this. Your old 1.4.0 download links should still be valid, and will automatically provide you the 1.4.1 download.

    1. Philip Rothman

      Arne: Thanks for the quick fix!

  4. Al

    Hi guys,

    Is it just me or does the new update use brass solo sounds instead of ensemble, ie the Trombone now sounds like a solo instrument as opposed to 2 or 3 in unison. Is there a way to change this?

    1. Arne Wallander

      The brass have always been solo instruments. You need to notate multiple notes either on the same or on multiple staves if you want section playback.

      The difference is, the new version isn’t as out of tune…!

      1. Frank Wilhoit

        I had always assumed that the detuning was deliberate — I realized long ago that a slight randomization of pitch would be the key to avoiding the organ effect. For that reason, I am very glad to hear the detuning that has been brought back in 1.5.0; don’t “fix” it again. But the brass are still *too*well* in tune in 1.5.0 and are distinctly organlike in loud sustained chords. 1.3.3 was better in that single aspect, although the later samples are better as samples.

        Thanks,
        FW
        .

  5. Zach

    Hey guys,

    I can’t seem to get the pitched percussion bowing to sound. Is there anything specifically I need to do to get it to sound? Thanks!

  6. Jochen

    Am I the only one who feels, that NotePerformer 1.4 sounds a lot less realistic than version 1.3.3? Being a huge fan of NotePerformer from the very beginning, I’m disappointed by the latest update, because the dynamic balancing of the sounds seems unnatural by default and phrasing, tremolos, trills sound terribly “mechanical” in Sibelius 7. I hope, NotePerformer will bring back some of the old sounds in version 1.5. The slightly detuned brass sounds were no big deal to me since this might happen with real orchestras, too… ;-)

  7. Brian Monroe

    Awesome customer service response. I do not have any more problems with the program. The sounds are a bit different but I think that is because the original dynamics etc were set to compensate for the other version. Nothing that can’t be overcome. Great product.

  8. Al

    For trills, I always put a slur and then hide it in the score to give it a much more natural and smooth feel.

    Try turning off live playback as it intereferes with noteperformers dynamics (I believe)

    For future updates I’d love to be able to adjust the amount of ‘out of tune-ness’ for brass instruments.
    Also it would be great if noteperformer would recognise the number of woodwind/brass playing a single note. IE, adding a2 to the score would add a duo in unison or a3 a trio in unison.

  9. Arne Wallander

    I recommend grabbing the 1.4.2 update that was sent out the other day! It will not just fix the glissando crash problems, but the updated documentation contains info on the new sounds. In particular the new strings and the bowed percussion. If you just want to read the docs, you can download it from here:

    http://www.noteperformer.com/NotePerformer%20-%20Users%20Guide.pdf

    I agree it would be brilliant to have a2/a3 keywords working. However this cannot readily be solved by NotePerformer without also updating Sibelius’s functionality.

  10. Derek Williams

    I had the gliss./port. issue as well, and it’s fixed with 1.4.2

    Thanks for the speedy fix!

  11. Brian Monroe

    Another trick that helps is copying the score to an updated manuscript paper. This solved a lot of problems with scores that started life in earlier editions of Sibelius. Fantastic update.

    1. Gary Carpenter

      Ooh, that sounds very interesting (updating MS). How do you do that?

  12. Brian Monroe

    Updating the MS: Create a new score using one of the manuscript papers that came with your CURRENT version of Sibelius (usually blank works well). Create the EXACT SAME staves you have on the older version. Then select all on the old one and paste into the new one. If you don’t have the exact staves strange things might occur.

  13. Roberio Molinari

    Hi everyone,

    Jochen: you are not the only guy who feels, that NotePerformer 1.4.2 sounds a lot less realistic than version 1.3.3. Me too.

    The new technology for the strings divisi, I think, is the big problem. I agree we now have more control over the strings, but the former strings, mostly the violins section, were definitively better.

    The other point I see is the type of reverb and/or the amount of it, also. Although the score now could sound more transparent, it unfortunatelly takes off the former naturality of the whole ensemble, that in v.1.3.3 was superb!

    I would be very pleased indeed with an upgrade that could had the old strings and the new ones. And also if the ambience of the entire ensemble could be enhanced, nearly the former version, although preservating the cristaline sound of the instruments we have in the new version.

    Nevertheless, I sincerely congratulate the owners of this great product, since it lead me to far away from my expectations.

  14. Roberio Molinari

    Al and Arne,

    I’ve dealed with the problem of the 2 or 3 instruments playing in unisson creating the keywords “a 2” and “a 3” in the playback dictionary of the Sibelius. The parameters:

    Effect: Dynamic Change
    Dynamic/Attack: 125 % (a 2) / 140% (a 3)
    Change for: all subsequent notes
    Sound ID: +chorus
    Word properties: Whole word

    I can reset the “a 2” and “a 3” effect with the hidden keyword “non unis”:

    Effect: Dynamic Change
    Dynamic/Attack: 100%
    Change for: all subsequent notes
    Sound ID: -chorus
    Word properties: Whole word

    It has worked pretty well since then.

  15. Arne Wallander

    Hi Roberto, and Jochen!

    I do respect your opinions, and due to experience I did indeed anticipate mixed reactions to this update. It’s inevitable when you make considerable changes to the sound, because users get accustomed to the existing sound in their compositions.

    Had the versions been released in the opposite order, there would be someone here right now asking why the new version made “everything sound mushy and out-of-tune, and why there’s a chorus on everything”.

    I’m not saying you’re alone. There are at least 5-10 people who are vocal and negative about this update on forums and Facebook, and I can estimate that about 100 people in total have decided to stick with the previous version. But with those numbers, please consider that NotePerformer has several thousand highly active users.

    And, although there are obviously clouds in the sky, the vast majority I’ve spoken to regarding this update have been absolutely thrilled with the crisper and more detailed sound of the new version, and the improved tuning. Plus, one cannot ignore that the added flexibility from having an unprocessed sound is absolutely vital to a large portion of the user base and, although I know some people would disagree on this, my opinion is that it serves better as a compositional tool when you can actually make out the different instruments in an ensemble. And the technical benefits from having divisi strings is practically endless. It may not make a difference to you, but it does to me.

    So version 1.4 is here to stay, but as you both know I’m still offering 1.3.3 as a download if you prefer that version, whatever your reasons are. If you want to downgrade, that’s not a problem for me. You should use what works for you and there’s nothing wrong with that.

    The new update may not have been what you had pictured it to be, but then again, NotePerformer wouldn’t exist as a product if it wasn’t for the fact that I’m often prepared to do the unexpected, and take my software in a direction others wouldn’t anticipate. One can like it or not, agree or disagree, I’m not forcing anyone to share the same vision I have for my products. It’s perfectly fine to say “this is my stop, and as far as I want to go” and stay with a version that suits your needs. But it’s not going to stop me from driving the bus, wherever I want it to go.

    Best regards,
    Arne

    1. Philip Rothman

      Just a note to say thanks to Arne and all of the NotePerformer users for contributing to this very helpful discussion.

  16. Terry Dwyer

    I too prefer version 1.3.3 and have written to Arne about my concerns: chiefly the enforced divisi which makes double stopping a new problem, but also the other matters that people have raised above.
    But God bless Arne all the same.

  17. Frank Wilhoit

    Presumably, many of you have noticed that 1.5 brings (to a great extent) the “best of both worlds” of 1.3.3 and 1.4.2 . I am having to go back through all my scores and recalibrate the reverb but it is worth it.

    Most importantly, the new “solo solo” strings have nice bow scratch on multiple stops and spreading on triple stops. I take this to prove that there MUST be some way to get these aspects into the ensemble strings. If it can’t be done with the playback dictionary, then I have new hope that Arne may figure it out by, say, 1.7 ;-)

  18. Frank Wilhoit

    I thought I had a clever idea…probably not. I tried using the new soloist strings in NP 1.5.0 with a chorus effect to make them sound like sections. A revolting concept; the result was actually better than it had any right to be, but the vibrato on the soloist strings is excessive. (Perhaps it was modelled on the 1980s Juilliard Quartet, who executed their vibrato from the waist — half the fun of watching them was always waiting to see whether any of them actually fell out of their chairs.) Anyhow, by the time the chorus effect gets through with that vibrato, the entire universe has turned to jelly. Is there a way to dial the vibrato back, or is it baked into the samples?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.