Using pre-recorded VSTs - and panning

• Oct 6, 2023 - 09:42

Musescore includes stereo panning features, but recently I noticed that some VST providers are recording samples for individual instruments as though they are played by performers at "standard" locations in space. Thus orchestral instruments are likely to be recorded with the first violins on the left, the trumpets on the right at the back, etc.

Apparently this is what Spitfire do with the Discover and BBC Core packages, and Berlin Studio strings also have some form of standard layout for their instrument VSTs.

What is the situation re the inbuilt Muse Sounds instruments in MuseScore 4?

So what should be done if trying to use this type of VST plugin? Should the panning in MuseScore be left dead central, to get the best effects?

Maybe this is just something to be aware of. Clearly anyone who doesn't want such a predefined spatial location for an instrument can either use another plugin, or simply pan the stereo anyway - which will most likely work. If anyone wants to use the original baked in direction, but mirrored about the mid line, then using a stereo channel swap effect on that instrument in the mixer should enable that.

Given the fairly artificial nature of using virtual instruments anyway it probably doesn't matter too much, but as commented in the para above - "something to be aware of".


In reply to by bobjp

Unless the spatial locations are built into the sounds, they are missing out on a lot. It's now one of the first things I do.

Putting instruments into different spatial locations changes the overall quality of the sound, and also can make some instrumental lines much clearer. It may also change [better or worse?] any harmonic clashes.

In reply to by bobjp

Which of the BBC SO libraries do you have? I think there are others which don't have the swells - but they may cost quite a bit more.

It didn't occur to me until quite recently that some sounds do have inbuilt spatial locations, so presumably if the pan setting is set to zero they "should" sound OK. However it is a bit confusing, and not always helpful.

I just tried a different score with a string quartet - and using Muse Sounds it seems that the different string instruments are in different spatial locations even if the pan setting is zero.

I still really - on the whole - detest the sound of the Violin 1 in Muse Sounds, so expected it to be panned differently when I changed to Violin 2 - but that does seem anomalous.

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