For now, I think the best thing to do is try different DAWs, expriment, and go with something in budget that you really like working with. Already, you can grab a third party plugin and at least get a DAW to sync up with Dorico’s transport if all you need is to sync audio tracks. In that case, the DAW needs to be able to sync to MTC timecode.
There are already a few perks for staying in Steinberg world. The most obvious would be if you try Cubase and LIKE IT. Otherwise:
- They both use the HALion engine out of the box. There is a good bit of duplicate content in terms of the ‘sound libraries’ bundled with Stienberg Hosts. This can save some disk space if that matters to you.
I.E. Basic and Artist libraries for HALion SE only have to be installed once. It comes with both hosts, and works in both without ‘multiple copies’ of the vstsound archives involved.
If you were to install a non Steinberg DAW, that ships with a lot of sounds of its own, count on all those extra sounds using up more disk space. They ‘might’ be loadable directly in Dorico, but then again, they might not!
It’s also interesting if you do much sound auditioning and/or design in Cubase using HALion, that you can use the Cubase Media Bay to audition HALion instruments, and drag them directly into instances that are being hosted in Dorico.
I.E. Open Media Bay in Cubase. Click through a dozen HALion piano presets in search of one you like. Upon making a decision, just drag it into an open instance and instrument slot of HALion that’s being hosted in Dorico. In some cases this might also work for 3rd party instrument plugins.
While Dorico doesn’t feature a media bay, you can indeed also drag things from HALion Instances hosted in Dorico over to a HALion instance hosted in Cubase.
(These drag and drop and features also work in similar ways for Groove Agent)
The VST effects are similar as well (Cubase will have a good bit MORE, but the staples will be nearly identical). This can help out some when it comes to familiarity among your tool set. REverence in Cubase should behave and sound the same as it does in Dorico.
- If you have both your Dorico and Cubase keys on the system, there is quite a bit of additional content that ships with Cubase that would then also work in Dorico (and vice verse). Examples include content and players for Groove Agent SE (MPC Style percussion instruments, ability to quickly and easily make simple percussion sets yourself by dragging samples onto pads, etc).
There is quite a bit of content and extra plugins for synth sounds. I.E. Padshop, Retrologue, and more. This stuff would also be usable directly in Dorico once installed (provided the Cubase Key is also on the system).
It also works the other way around. Dorico comes with some stuff that isn’t included with Cubase. HALion Symphonic Orchestra, Olympus Choirs, etc. Right away, this stuff should also work in Cubase, provided your Dorico key is also on the system.
‘Some’ of the instruments mentioned will also work in other DAWs provided you’ve installed the latest HALion SE updates, and the right license keys are in place on the system; however, the content itself specifically ships with a given Stienberg host. If you like and want the sounds…the only ways to get them are to buy the relevant Steinberg hosts, or buy HALion 6 and possibly some other separate libraries on their own.
Drag and drop support from Cubase to Dorico exists to some extent (not well documented but it can happen). I.E. You can drag a part from the Cubase Project View onto the Dorico Setup or Write mode window/tabs and get a dialogue to import the track into a new Dorico project where it’s easy to cut and paste the result into whatever Dorico projects and staves/positions you like. It at least saves you the step of having to export the track as midi first, and then import it into Dorico.
There are a few documented considerations Dorico can make when ‘importing’ XML scores and parts generated using the Cubase Score Editor that can save some time and effort. I don’t have much personal experience with it so I can’t say how effective/helpful this is, but it does already exist.
The future? It’s conceivable that someday loads of options for integrating Dorico and Cubase/Nuendo will come to be that will prove difficult if not impossible for non Steinberg hosts. Simpler implementations that may come about in the near future might include native support for Stienberg’s own VSTLink protocol, which allows apps to synchronize and stream audio and data to one another. (Doesn’t exist in Dorico yet, but it’s something that’s possible, and less likely to work with non Stienberg DAWs if it does get implemented).
Other things on the horizon might include support for Steinberg stuff like VST Cloud, VST Connect, and VST Transit. For Cubase this allows remote control and collaboration of work sessions. I.E. Have a buddy on the other side of the world hook up a mic, MID controllers, etc, and record them remotely. They can also be given access to remotely tweak certain elements of the project. VST Cloud and such provides options to store and share projects from the cloud. It’s possible that at some point in the future, Dorico might tap into some of these existing technologies in order to offer more collaborative options to users.
Then there is a hope for even tighter integration. Nothing I know of is being ‘promised’ at this time, but it’s possible we might see more direct integration at some point. Perhaps abilities to quickly-easily import-export higher level project files between the two apps. Maybe Dorico gets the ability to import Cubase midiloop files (instrument end points are intact for these). Maybe someday we even get ‘dorico tracks’ integrated into a Cubase project (click the part to edit it, and Dorico opens as an editor instead of the built in Cubase score editor)? Who knows…but it’s all more possible if your complete setup is in the same Steinberg eco-system.