Automation Newbie question

Hey Folks,
It’s the first time I’m trying automation in Dorico; I’ve only ever engraved in Dorico and I usually do my automation in Logic Pro.

I’m confused by the CC in Dorico play mode, because I’m used to Logic Pro labelling each possible automation track by what parameter is available on the instrument or effect (see screenshots). I’m hoping to just stay in working in Dorico rather than switching between an engraver and DAW, so please let me know how if there’s an easy way to figure what the CC means for various instruments and synths (I’m using Spitfire and Arturia instruments on this project).


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It depends on the particular sample library/synth you set up in Play mode. Each instrument (indeed each voice within that instrument) can point to a different VST - how each VST responds to various CCs is not within Dorico’s control. So you have to work back from the VST to work out which automation lanes to use for any instrument.

But I would like to have the ability to label CC numbers with something meaningful.

Thanks @Janus. I suppose this is what I’m confused about. In Logic, almost all of the controls of a VST, no matter how many are being used, are within Logic’s control and can be automated. How am I supposed to figure out each CC for each VST? I’ve looked at instruction PDFs for these VSTs and I can’t find any listing of what CCs do what in that instrument.

Only if the VST also supports host automation.

If the VST has not reserved CCs for specific functions, it might allow you to use MIDI learn to assign a CC to a VST knob/slider. To do so you will have to set it up using your MIDI keyboard, but thereafter you can send the actual CC data from Dorico. (It’s a bit of a faff, but works)

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Sorry, I should have clarified: The screenshots I posted of Logic and Dorico were of the same plugin loaded onto a single instrument (Spitfire’s LABS). Logic had automatically given me a list of available parameters (as it does with every VST or Effect I’ve ever loaded into it), and Dorico gave me blank CCs.
Thanks @Janus you’ve given me the term I was looking for :slight_smile: Is there any way to access host automation in Dorico, and avoid using CC?

None that I am aware of. For Labs you can use the MIDI learn route for some parameters (just right click on a slider/knob in LABS instrument).

I guess this is turning into a feature request then haha. @danielsteinberg is adding host automation — it could optional vs automatic; like a user could choose CC or choose to see host automation — for any VST loaded in Dorico a possibility in the near future (i.e., Dorico 5) or is it on a maybe list for someday in the future?

It’s not something that we will be adding in the next version of Dorico, no. Whether it’s something we can add in future, I’m not sure, but I’ll talk to the wise people at Steinberg who know about such things.

Thanks, @dspreadbury, I appreciate the quick and honest update.

So, are there any other former Logic Pro users that have transitioned to Dorico-only automations and have some friendly advice on how best to adapt and forge ahead?

Daniel, this functionality is not available in Cubase either, despite being requested for many (and I mean -many) years. If you learn what the difficulty is and could share it, I for one would be grateful to learn.

I asked my colleague Yvan, our VST3 guru, about this, and he tells me that VST3 provides a means of defining a mapping between MIDI CC and VST3 parameters, and that this is the way you would be able to access these kinds of parameters by name in Cubase. My guess is that perhaps the plug-in vendors therefore aren’t implementing this mapping in their VST3 plug-ins.

Dorico doesn’t currently show VST3 parameters in any case, but Cubase does.

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Of course Cubase can access and lists all controllers for host automation. Look at the Track Quick Controls where you can auto assign the first 8 controls, or choose everything from the list or use the Learn function.

Right, I misread the entire thing.

It is indeed possible to set up assignments in Cubase in its automation lane:

and, unless I’m mistaken, it’s probably also possible to give these assignments custom names through the Remote Control Editor.

I confused the first image in the OP, of an instrument automation, with Cubase MIDI Track automation which doesn’t allow the user to create a custom name or an alias for a CC lane.

It’s possible to give custom alias names to audio interface inputs and outputs in Cubase, but not to CC controllers. And since there are so many controllers involved in setting up Expression Maps, it’s very easy to get confused and make mistakes with the generic names:

I do hope it might be possible to add a custom name to a CC controller in Dorico someday. Sorry for the mix-up!

Thanks everyone! I should have simplified the question from the start by using a Steinberg plugin. The attached screenshots show the automatic automation options for Retrologue upon loading it into Logic; I didn’t do anything except load the plugin on the track. The other screenshots are from Dorico after loading the Retrologue, and there are no options to access any of the host automation.
So my questions:

  1. @ebrooks and @Christian_R Can one access the host automation of Retrologue in an easy way like this in Cubase, using what you’re calling Quick Controls? I assume it’s not the automatic loading I’m referring to above, but at least a processes that’s only a few steps? And can one access host automation of other companies like Spitfire and Arturia easily in quick controls?
  2. @dspreadbury if this is already in Cubase, then would it be possible to add it to Dorico 5 or at least Dorico 5.something?
  3. For Yvan (I don’t his handle) Every plugin, no matter the company, that I load into Logic has these host automations available immediately, so it’s not the case of the vendors not implementing mapping but something Steinberg hasn’t implemented yet. What message board can I start a thread to ask why this is missing? Cubase or Nuendo? It’s an intuitive way for a user to explore a plugin’s parameters and create.

Thanks folks!