Real big band vs vst big band

Computers and virtual instruments are incredible tools for composers. I’ve certainly loved being able to realise pieces with them that would otherwise have remained ‘silent’.

I recently put a lot of work into realising a big band piece with all vst’s. And I think the result was pretty good. But I was persuaded to take the plunge and get some of the finest musicians around -yes, playing real instruments :wink: - to play the piece. And has come alive - it is of course a whole different world. It’s just a reminder to me that, as great as they are, vst’s are just a stopgap, until we’re able to get our music played by real people on real instruments.

I’m working on a video of the performance, which I’ll share when ready. But in the meantime here’s the audio.


And for those interested in the comparison, here’s the vst version. No doubt there are others who could have made a more convincing virtual performance, but I did my best, and feel it’s not bad, considering. It’s just not the real thing! :wink:

If you want to compare this with the vst version, here it is:

1 Like

I could really tell the difference with the live band. you could hear all the instruments better and the dynamic changes felt cleaner. I hate working with VSTs myself and so i tend to use Dorico Pro scoring software with Noteperformer. Yes, it’s still VSTs/modeled instruments, but the playback is AI based and so the dynamic changes and all sound more realistic than drawing modulation curves in the DAW.

Nice relaxing jazz piece. Great job Mark!

1 Like

Thanks Matt. Yes, I agree NP playback can be incredibly good - and it just ‘understands’ the score with no effort from me. Whereas getting a convincing performance with vst’s in Logic can literally take days of tweaking and mixing. Even if the quality of the sounds is potentially much better. I tend to back and forth between the two approaches.

But the ‘real thing’ is another level. Unfortunately it’s not economic or practical to make use of for me outside of exceptions. But I loved getting it done here.

1 Like

Great job on this fantastic piece of music.

1 Like

Thank you so much! I really appreciate you saying that.

And Merry Christmas :wink:

And here’s the split screen video, for those of you who are interested: