View Full Version : Working With Sibelius

Thomas Kresge
07-28-2008, 12:10 PM
As a composer, I do essentially all of my writing in Sibelius (version 5.2, to be exact). I purchased EWQLSO Platinum Pro XP, but I'm having some trouble getting it all to work with Sibelius. I was hoping that somebody here could give me some answers to my problems.

1. In Sibelius, I'm able to load the VSTs and then assign instruments to the different staffs in my score. Do actually get a sound to go with the score, though, I have to open up Kompakt from Sibelius and then assign the sounds to the eight channels (slots) corresponding to the channels that Sibelius assigned them. When doing this, I'm able to write in music just fine. Of course, it's a little tedious trying to assign instruments individually to channels designated by Sibelius, but it works for now. Hopefully there's some way around this? I have been trying to figure out Sibelius's sound set maker, and hopefully that will help me out.

2. This is the major problem: keyswitches. Is there a way to make them work? For example, how do I set things up so that if I mark "pizz." in my score, the violins will switch to playing pizzicato, and then back to bowing when I write in "arco"?

3. Finally, is there any way to make EWQLSO work with Sibelius's included version of Kontakt 2 so that I don't have to use Kompakt?

4. I'm considering just leaving Sibelius purely for notation and then getting a sequencer to make playback recordings, as that seems to be the better choice. Given that I make this choice, what are some good, user-friendly sequencers that I should look at purchasing?

Any help on any of these matters would be greatly appreciated!

07-28-2008, 12:20 PM
I was wondering the same things !
Now that I got my EW Orchestra I'd like to make it work with Sibelius and encountered the same issues, but could not put all of them in english words, so I'm glad you asked this and hope that there will be answers ! :p

07-28-2008, 03:10 PM
Hi Thomas:

I have been using Sibelius 5.2 as well EWQLSO for some time together now - they work quite well now. The easiest way of making them work is to use Kontakt (not Kompakt) and create manual soundsets in Sibelius (Play menu > playback devices > manual sound sets tab, see the manual for details) and save those as a separate configuration. In Kontakt 2 or 3, you then create a multi with the corresponding instruments, and assign the correct MIDI channels. This will enable playback to exactly those instruments you want to use - and they won't change around (like the Kontaktplayer 2 does in its own mysterious way using Sibelius Essentials). You may find that you have to reload the multi just to be sure that the instruments are all there but that is a small effort. Note that you need the full version of Kontakt, not the built in Kontaktplayer 2 (which is a "smaller" version designed to work with Sibelius Essentials).

Having said that, the "better" but also much more complicated way is create a sound set. The reason for doing so is the ability to use keyswitched instruments (which I cannot achieve with midi messages and manual soundsets). That is a pretty tall talk and you have to know really well how the SO is structured in terms of midi, and be comfortable with MIDI.

If you search these forums and especially the chat page of Sibelius there's quite a bit of information on this. Also, in addition to the official manual, Marc Schonbrun (one of the Sibelius ambassadors) written a book which has just been published last week: "mastering Sibelius 5" - which provides a very clear layout of the various ways Sibelius works with virtual instruments.

I am now waiting for Play, and my 64 bit computer to come back from the shop - once I have those I will get back to creating soundsets. So stay tuned, there is more to come.


07-28-2008, 05:27 PM
I've been waiting since June 2007 for a SoundSet for EWQLSO Gold XP, when I was told it would be available "soon".

I sure hope some kind soul makes this available some day.

07-28-2008, 05:43 PM
I've been waiting since June 2007 for a SoundSet for EWQLSO Gold XP, when I was told it would be available "soon".

I sure hope some kind soul makes this available some day.

Well, perhaps I will be that "kind soul". Getting my EWQLSO libraries to work seamlessly with Sibelius has become something of an obsession to me, and I am absolutely determined to get this done - especially now that Play is coming out - and by nature I am a pretty dedicated guy. I even hired a consultant (a Sibelius expert) to help me with this.

The only problem is that I am a little slow catching up on midi and everything -- so it may take a while. But we'll get there - don't give up.

Realistically, don't expect an official soundset to be put out by Sibelius - I don't think that that is going to happen - they are just too small, and guys like Daniel have too much on their hands already. This has got to be a private user initiative, and it will be.

Thomas Kresge
07-29-2008, 12:46 PM
Thank you so much, Peter, for the quick response! Is it possible for you to make an estimate on how long it'll be until you get a sound set working? It's nice to know there's people out there doing this. I'll try messing around with sound sets and such for the time being.

One last question: I'm debating weather or not I really want to upgrade to Play. I just barely purchased my EWQLSO Platinum and now I'm wondering if it's gonna worth the extra $300 to get Play. Would having Play, for whatever reason, make any of this Sibelius-compatibility any easier?

Thanks again for the help!

07-29-2008, 05:23 PM
Hi Thomas:

1. To be very honest, I have no idea how long it will take me to create a soundset for the EW libraries - I really do not have any sense how much work it really entails. Yes, I know the mechanical steps to do this (download and install the sound set editor from the Sibelius webpage - did that months ago) - however I do not have enough indepth knowledge of MIDI to input the correct data. I have been working with Marc Schonbrun (he is a Sibelius guru, just published a book "mastering Sibelius 5") from time to time and will hook up with him again. In truth, I am probably one of the least qualified persons on the planet to try this, being a relative novice to midi - only thing I have got going for me is that I am really patient, and I have a lot of endurance, and usually don't give up until the bitter end. So I'll get there eventually, but whether it is this year, or next year -- only the Lord knows.

2. Play - that is a very tough question, since I am waiting for Play myself (as well as my big computer coming back from the shop). My uneducated guess is that it will things a little easier, in that Play will better integrate with EWQLSO - but the issue with soundset is still there. If I were you, I would sit back and wait and see for a couple of weeks, and watch my experiences and those of others. I purchased the Play upgrade since I want the best of the best, and I am willing to throw a little money at experiments (though I have a real good feeling about Play - not just a random experiment).

Sorry I can't be more specific, but making Sibelius work with EWQLSO is not Kindergarten stuff -- but stay tuned, we will get there.

Take care,


Thomas Kresge
08-02-2008, 02:00 PM
Thanks, Peter! I'll just stay tuned still something happens. I've found my own (hopefully temporary) ways of working EWQLSO with Sibelius, so I'll just sit tight till something amazing comes out.

08-02-2008, 02:29 PM
Hey Thomas,

I found a way, it's what Peter described (thanks very much by the way ;) ) and it's a video tutorial, go there :


and download the "Sibelius 5 & Vienna Ensemble (NEW)" video.
It will show you how this is set up with vienna library, but it's the same with EWQLSO, I tried with my CCC and it works perfectly now.


V o n h ö g e n
08-02-2008, 02:38 PM
I've been waiting since June 2007 for a SoundSet for EWQLSO Gold XP, when I was told it would be available "soon".

I sure hope some kind soul makes this available some day.

I wouldn't wait for that soundset any longer if I were you. It's like using someone else's Kontakt 2/3 template for EWQLSO. It's completely useless, because every piece is different and there are way too many articulations in EWQLSO to let some else decide what your composition has to sound like.

I suggest you read the soundsets-chapter of the Sibelius manual. All you need to know is there, all very easy to understand and very easy apply. I have worked with Sibelius and EWQLSO for years, and I must say that using articulations in Sibelius has never been easier. The Sibelius 5.1/5.2 soundset options are a great improvement over previous versions and will save you a lot of time, especially when transferring scores to your sequencer.

- Jerome Vonhögen

P.s. there have been several threads on Sib 5+ soundsets in this forum. Maybe you'd like to do a search in the forum-archive?

08-02-2008, 04:42 PM
Thanks, Hoketus - But, what Sibelius manual? When I upgraded to 5.2, all I got was a 72-page "Upgrading to Sibelius 5" pamphet.

I've also worked with Sib and EWQLSO for years, been involved with computers and music for decades, and still find the soundset stuff sufficiently challenging that I give up in the hopes that the company will provide it (since they promised!).

Maybe you're right and it's time for me to face reality, but I'm certainly not looking forward to it.

08-05-2008, 06:07 PM
In addition to Jerome's comments, I can also recommend Marc Schoenbrun's new book "Mastering Sibelius 5" as well as the video tutorial by the one and only Daniel Spreadbury, posted on the Sibelius website, posted on the help section of the Sibelius website. Both give a very clear explanation on how Sibelius works with audio.

You don't really absolutely need soundsets to make Sibelius work with your libraries - with a little tinkering you can get a long way - even without another sequencer - I recently did a couple of scores just using Sibelius, and it works quite well. I am not just talking about the EW libraries, but also the libraries built into Kontakt 3 as well as other Native Instruments libraries.

08-07-2008, 11:04 AM
One more thing to add to this thread: even if you had Sibelius soundsets for the EWQLSO or other libraries, you would still need to create manual soundsets since Sibelius cannot automatically load the appropriate instruments. Daniel Spreadbury, the Sibelius guru and the "brains" behind many of the latest upgrades in Sibelius 5, confirmed to this to me. In order for the instrument to be automated, Sibelius would need to have certain information about the "API" in Play (whatever that is) and they do not have that.

ps I have a couple of wish lists, one of them for Sibelius upgrades, but this API thing is on my wishlist for EWQL - hope that the administrators and the other good folks at EW are listening. You guys could have an edge over Vienna Instruments - though there are soundsets for some of the Vienna libraries, the instrument loading is also still manual with manual soundsets! Just look at the video for which Djoule posted a hyperlink, above.

09-16-2008, 01:30 PM

We met over on the Sibelius forums. You sent me some stuff. I have written a soundset for the creative soundfont player that works and I am now doing one for Colossus and then EWQLSO. I am not up to speed on keyswitches yet, but I have done enough tinkering to know that if you can to a manual sound set then you can do a real sound set. I suspect that you can use program changes instead of keyswitches, for articulations as your references and others have suggested). For Kontakt 3 at least, you cannot put the library just anywhere you want. The easiest choice is to put the libraries in the same main directory where the Kontakt 3 installation puts them. (I found that the changes in the registry that are supposed to work for Kontakt 2 do not seem to work for Kontakt 3. I believe that if you know how to change the settings in Kontakt 3, you could probably put the libraries where you want, but why make life difficult for your self at the beginning) So, if Kontakt 3 installation puts the Kontakt 3 Library in x:/user/tom/Native Instruments/Kontakt 3 then you put your libraries there. A good starting point would be to start with Sam's (of Sibelius) sound set for Kontakt 3 Library. Study that. You do not have to have all instruments defined to get automatic loading to work. You can pick say 7 instruments and get things working with that before you try to do the bigger sound set for a whole library. When doing the drum sounds, be aware that notes in Kontakt 3 are an octive lower than Sibelius when doing the drum maps. So, if the Kontakt 3 keyboard shows note C1 to play a certain drum, then the soundset will have to show C2 for that drum. If you use C1 in the sound set, you can watch the Kontakt 3 keyboard note play nothing because no drum is setup there. You will see the note get pressed on the Kontakt 3 keyboard, but no sound response because there is no drum there. You do have to do some of the registry settings mentioned in the Sibelius support article, but don't assume that the registry settings for the library path will work on Kontakt 3. The libraries need to be where Kontakt 3 is looking for them. I found that out from the file and registry monitors from sysinternals web site.

When I am done, I can share if anyone is interested. I am sure that there will be debugging to do.
I found out the hard way about the 1 octive difference in drum sets, confirmed afterwards by Daniel of Sibelius.

Tom Field