Playback Engines

'NotePerformer Playback Engines' is an alternative to loading VST3 plug-ins directly into your notation program. We can host the VST3 with a targeted playback engine (an add-on purchase). It's a superior experience to having your own Sound Sets, Expression Maps, or Human Playback Rules.

It requires third-party VST3 sample libraries bought from other developers (we don't sell samples). You also need our add-on Playback Engine for hosting that VST3 in 'NotePerformer Playback Engines'.

You can replace one or more sounds with a VST3. Unassigned instruments fall back to NotePerformer's built-in sounds.
  • The NotePerformer Playback Engines application is installed with NotePerformer.
  • Run it in the background when you want to incorporate high-end sample libraries with NotePerformer.
  • We include a sound library so you don't need to use this application. It's a power-user extension.
  • We want you to know that...
  • Deep-sampled libraries piece together thousands of samples, some with artistic flaws. You will encounter inconsistencies. Sample libraries are music production tools—timing and dynamics are only approximate.
  • Samples can't perfectly replace NotePerformer's built-in sounds. Our engines are for those who want a particular library and understand its limitations. The samples can be better, worse, or different from NotePerformer.
  • We support only fast SSD hard drives for sample libraries (4.8 Gbit/second or 500 MB/second). External SSD drives must connect to USB 3.0 ports or faster. USB hubs may cripple speeds.
  • An engine may use 50 Gigabytes of RAM memory for an orchestra. Not enough RAM means only a few third-party instruments can be loaded at a time.
  • A powerful computer is required. Please pay attention to our system recommendations. They may be significantly higher than the manufacturer's requirements.
  • NPPE is a rule-based AI that sequences music. Its main feature is speed and convenience. A skilled musician can find ways to sequence music more intelligently in a DAW if given unlimited time to solve the same task.
  • You must first purchase the associated sample library. Our playback engine doesn't include any sounds.
  • From NotePerformer Playback Engines, you load third-party VST3 plug-ins into NotePerformer.
  • Our associated Playback Engine is also required. It's an add-on purchase ranging from $69 to $89.
  • You can try all playback engines for free in an unlimited number of 1-hour sessions, with limitations:
  • The sounds unload after 1 hour.
    You cannot mix-and-match libraries.
    You can only save, not load templates.
    Audio exporting is muted.
    Stem exporting is disabled.

  • Please ensure the sample library works in the manufacturer's standalone player before using it with NotePerformer.
  • Click for our library compatibility chart →
  • NotePerformer's Playback Engines replaces the hosting of VST libraries directly in your notation program.
  • You no longer need targeted Sound Sets, Expression Maps, or Human Playback Rules.
  • NotePerformer serves as an intermediate between your notation program and your high-end library.
  • Samples are separated from the notation program. You don't reload samples between projects. Your documents stay lean without heavy VST settings. VST crashes don't risk the integrity of your documents. Samples are closed, opened, and reloaded independently from your notation program and the projects you open or close.
  • As far as possible, our engines have unified dynamics and articulation. We select and combine library patches intelligently to fit the musical context, and strive for NotePerformer-compliancy.
  • Sample libraries are supplemented with extension NotePerformer-technologies such as microtuning and brass mutes.
  • This is the add instruments screen for a playback engine.
  • Select the instruments you want to load.
  • From the "Select Multiple..." menu, you quickly select or deselect entire instrument families.
  • For multi-microphone libraries, you may also select what microphone configuration to use.
  • Some playback engines draw from multiple sample libraries.
  • Use the filters to hide any sample libraries you don't own.
  • Loaded sounds are represented as slots.
  • Each slot maps to one or more staves in your score (MIDI channels).
  • From this screen, you set up how staves in your score should map to different sample libraries.
  • Your NotePerformer Playback Engines template can combine many different sample libraries.
  • Staves routed to the same slot are automatically managed for solo vs. section playback.
  • Solo and section samples are selectively used and with an appropriate balance for the number of players.
  • One slot per instrument type is customary unless you want to layer multiple sample libraries. Each slot may serve up to six staves.
  • Playback engines produce a staccato sound on note entry. You can use it to identify what staves are connected to an external library.
  • Sample-library layering can be done with multiple slots of the same kind.
  • You access the sample libraries from different staves.
  • The overshooting staves fall back to NotePerformer's default playback.
  • Multiple slots should target different samples to avoid phasing. Please leave it to NotePerformer to manage multiple staves drawing from the same samples.
  • Click on the sample program to open the Change sample library menu. It's a multi-purpose menu for changing sounds, deleting slots, or changing the order of same-kind slots.
  • The arrow button opens the slot's settings.
  • Customize the stereo width, microphone balance, EQ, reverb behavior, panning mode, and more.
  • When applicable, the slot has a microphone balance editor. Our software automatically adapts the total volume.
  • The three-dot menu    is available for most editors. It presents additional options, such as copying those settings to all instruments or the instrument family.
  • By default, sounds are routed to NotePerformer's reverbs. Early reflections is a short reverb that adds density (roominess). Late reverberation is a long reverb that adds tail.
  • The EQ button opens the parametric equalizer and spectrum visualizer. It's covered in a separate article.
  • The stereo-width menu includes options for the panning mode.
  • Natural panning + HAAS delay is the default mode of operation in NotePerformer.
  • Power panning means changing the left/right channel balance by altering the volume. This is ordinary panning.
  • Binaural panning means the sound is equalized for the left/right ear. It sounds more natural than power panning but is limited in width.
  • HAAS delay means panning through timing differences. It exploits the precedence effect; natural to human hearing and recording techniques with spaced microphones.
  • Original panning means microphones are presented as recorded. Only close microphones are panned.
  • Slots have a parametric equalizer.
  • Drag or mouse wheel to alter values.
  • Double-click to reset a value.
  • Bypass filters is for A/B testing.
  • Output gain is for custom template-balancing.
  • The three-dot menu    is for copying and pasting EQ configurations between instruments.
  • Includes an FFT visualizer.
  • Click-and-hold on the visualizer to isolate a frequency region. This feature is good for finding disturbing frequencies.
  • Saturation brightens the sound by harmonic distortion. It adds "air" but may produce unwanted distortion if overused.

    If you want saturation by default, you can save your default value from the three-dot menu in the equalizer.
  • The 'Advanced settings' menu includes additional options and features for the instrument.
  • You can open a plug-in window for basic problem-solving. Edits don't affect playback and are reverted once the window is closed.
  • While currently only applicable to Dorico, slots can be routed to different stereo outputs.

    Audio is always outputted by the first NotePerformer instance, even if the MIDI was produced by a higher NotePerformer instance.
  • The stereo output labeling in Dorico doesn't currently match that of NotePerformer, but it resolves to unrelated instrument names. It's a known problem.
  • Instruments with solo and section samples have the item 'Using solo & section samples,' indicating that both are used. You may force the instrument to solo or section samples by toggling this option.
  • Staccato and marcato overlays may be turned off if you don't want short samples to be contextually layered with long notes.
  • Support more voices adds extraneous plug-in instances to the slot. This flag may be required for slots with unusually high polyphony (large chords).

    Even without this flag, a slot will use many plug-in instances. NotePerformer uses multiple instances to support polyphonic legato and individual-note processing.
  • The settings menu in the footer is for global features.
  • Hall noise adds a gentle room tone to avoid dead silence between samples.
  • Reverb time scales the length of NotePerformer's reverb.
  • Export stems bounces all slots to individual WAVE files. They can be split into microphone signals if applicable to the sample library.

    Stems are exported without room noise or added reverb.
  • If bounces overshoot, there's a flag for reducing the export volume by -12 dB.
  • With concurrent notation programs, the playback engine automatically attaches to whatever program initiates playback.
  • If there's a problem, try manually switching notation programs or click (Repair connection).
  • The CPU meter is relative to one CPU core and may exceed one hundred percent. A value of 194 % means that 1.94 cores are being used.
  • The spinning memory-loading indicator means the sample library isn't ready for playback yet.
  • Playback or exports during loading isn't harmful but may produce silence, dropped notes, or incorrect sounds.
  • Orchestral percussion slots work differently.
  • They are assigned per-sound and serve all percussion staves in your score (single-line and compound percussion).
  • The sounds are exclusive. You can only load one orchestral snare drum slot into a template.
  • Consequently, a compound percussion staff may draw sounds from various sample libraries.
  • Unlike orchestral percussion, drum sets are ordinary staves and can't be mapped to individual sounds. They're mapped to drum sets and follow ordinary staff count rules.
  • Orchestral templates are saved from the ordinary system dialogs.
  • .np_template files are raw text files describing the state. They can be edited by hand to manage templates without interface access, for example, by the visually impaired.
  • You can load a template at program startup by naming it autostart.np_template
  • The screenshot shows the mixer in Finale and Dorico, where a white frame indicates being routed to NotePerformer Playback Engines.
  • Sibelius uses the integrated mixer with NotePerformer.
  • The volume and panning for a slot are taken from the uppermost staff routed to the slot. Subsequent staff controllers are disabled. This is also applicable to Sibelius.
  • Orchestral-percussion slots is a special case since they have a different routing methodology which isn't based on staff count. The volume and panning is set on a per-staff basis. Use single-line percussion staves if you want to pan them individually.
  • From the upper-right menu, you can deactivate a playback engine.
  • You can deactivate and re-download the playback engine at any time.
  • The folder we store files can be opened from the same menu. It's our location for user preferences, bounced stems, saved templates, and downloaded playback engines.
  • A mouse is required, but there's limited keyboard control.
  • The Up/Down keys for scrolling or jumping to the previous/next slot when editing settings.
  • The Escape key returns to the previous screen or closes settings.
  • The + key equals "Add instruments" for screens having that button.
  • The Enter key opens the focused library or the centermost instrument slot.
  • The e key opens/closes the equalizer when editing a slot.
  • The Backspace key deletes the currently edited slot.
  • When adding instruments, instrument families have shortcuts:

        w: woodwinds
        b: brass
        p: pitched percussion
        u: unpitched percussion
        k: keyboards
        s: section strings
        S: solo strings
        a: select all
        Enter: add selection
  • This applies to Kontakt libraries.
  • We recommend disabling Multiprocessor Support (VST3 - Plugin) for Kontakt.
  • The Kontakt plug-in window can be opened from the instrument slot's Advanced settings menu.
  • It's a one-time setting.
  • If samples don't load from external drives or other locations on macOS, try activating Full Disk Access for NotePerformer Playback Engines.
  • You may have accidentally pressed 'Deny' when macOS prompted you for access.
  • It's in System Settings > Privacy & Security > Full Disk Access.
  • The Full Disk Access privilege also permits loading samples from external volumes without macOS asking you to allow it.
  • If your Windows computer has a fast internal SSD drive with lots of free space, you can use the drive to extend your RAM memory by increasing the paging-file size.
  • This expert mode is at your own risk and shouldn't be attempted unless you're comfortable.
  • The setting is located at: Settings > System > About > Advanced system settings > Advanced > Performance > Settings... > Advanced > Virtual memory > Change...
  • You uncheck Automatically manage paging file size for all drives, select the internal SSD volume and set a custom paging file size for both initial and maximum.
  • Assume your system has 16 gigabytes of RAM, and you enter 128000 megabytes for the initial and maximum paging file. Windows now takes 128 gigabytes from your SSD drive and turns it into makeshift RAM memory, making the total available memory 128 + 16 = 144 gigabytes. This setting requires plenty of free space since 128 gigabytes is taken from the available storage on your SSD.
  • An SSD drive is slower than RAM memory. Still, NotePerformer was optimized for streaming without RAM preload, so a paging file might suffice if the drive is high-speed.
  • You should use SATB choir sections in your score despite a choir being divided into women & men.
  • The soprano and alto sections resolve to a mutual Choir women slot, and vice versa for the men.
  • Solo voices won't resolve to choir slots since they are reserved for soloist sounds.
  • Use the 'Oh' programs in NotePerformer to target 'Oh' slots.


Click on the library for more details
(Our engines were created with these software and library versions)
BBC Symphony Orchestra Core →
BBC Symphony Orchestra 1.7.0
BBC Symphony Orchestra Professional →
BBC Symphony Orchestra 1.7.0
(may freeze during loading)
(significant single-mic RAM use compared to Core)
Berlin Orchestra Berklee Edition →
SINE Player 1.1.2
(significant RAM use)
Cine Series for Kontakt →
Kontakt Player 7.6
(turn off 'VST3 Multiprocessor')
CineBrass CORE/PRO 1.8.0
CineHarps 1.1.0
CinePerc 1.3.0
CinePiano 1.0.1
CineStrings CORE 2.0.0
CineStrings Solo 1.3.0
CineWinds CORE/PRO 1.4.0
(brass requires both CORE and PRO)
Cinematic Studio Series →
Kontakt Player 7.6
(turn off 'VST3 Multiprocessor')
Cinematic Studio Brass 1.0.0
Cinematic Studio Piano 1.0.0
Cinematic Studio Solo Strings 1.0.0
Cinematic Studio Strings 1.7.1
Cinematic Studio Woodwinds 1.3.0
Hollywood Orchestra Opus Edition →
Opus Software 1.3.4
(Opus Diamond/ComposerCloud+ or equivalent)
Iconica Sections & Players →
HALion Sonic 7.0.20
Iconica v1
(significant CPU use in idle)
(limited interface responsiveness)
Iconica Sketch →
HALion Sonic 7.0.20
Iconica Sketch v1
(significant CPU use in idle)
(limited interface responsiveness)
(significant RAM penalty)
Nucleus →
Kontakt Player 7.6
(turn off 'VST3 Multiprocessor')
Nucleus 1.2.0
Spitfire Symphony Orchestra (2017) →
Kontakt Player 7.6
(turn off 'VST3 Multiprocessor')
Symphonic Woodwinds v1.4.0b7
Symphonic Brass v1.4.0b7
Symphonic Strings v1.4.2b54
Percussion Redux 5.1.1b12
Spitfire Solo Strings 1.4.0.b66b
Spitfire Symphony Orchestra (2024) →
Kontakt Player 7.6
(turn off 'VST3 Multiprocessor')
Symphonic Orchestra 1.0.1
Synchron →
Synchron Player 1.3.526
Synchron Prime →
Synchron Player 1.3.526
SYNCHRON-ized Special Edition 1 →
Synchron Player 1.3.526


Built-in sounds
BBC Symphony Orchestra Core
BBC Symphony Orchestra Professional
Berlin Orchestra Berklee Edition
Cine Series for Musio
Cine Series for Kontakt
Cinematic Studio Series
Hollywood Orchestra Opus Edition
Iconica Sections & Players
Iconica Sketch
Spitfire Symphony Orchestra (2017)
Spitfire Symphony Orchestra (2024)
Synchron Prime
SYNCHRON-ized Special Edition 1
NotePerformer by Wallander Instruments
Copyright © by Wallander Instruments AB and original authors. NotePerformer™ is a trademark of Wallander Instruments AB. Windows® is a trademark of Microsoft Corporation. Mac®, Apple® and macOS® are trademarks of Apple Computer Inc. Sibelius® is a trademark of Avid Technology, Inc. Intel Core™ is a trademark of Intel Corporation. Finale®, Dolet® and MusicXML™ are trademarks of MakeMusic, Inc. DORICO® is a trademark of Steinberg Media Technologies GmbH.