Confused by play window and mixer mismatches

I’m new to Dorico 4 in Windows 10. Very puzzled by the disconnect between instrument order and assignment in the score vs the mixer. After rearranging the players in my score, moving the player that was at the bottom (Piano plus three percussion instruments) to the top, the track assignments in the mixer don’t match the new order or assignments in the score and the play window. The channel labels match, but not the sound assignments. The piano part now in instrument 4 plays in channel 1 of the mixer (labeled Mark Tree). The notes in the fourth instrument down from the top of the play list (piano) show there, but the piano sound shows up in track 1 of the mixer and the mute button of the top instrument in the Play window (Mark Tree) stops the piano notes in the fourth instrument from sounding. This is baffling. I’ve been all over the Dorico 4 manual to no avail. Have looked in the forum to no avail. What do I need to do to get the mixer assignments aligned with the order in the Edit, Engrave, and Play windows?

First, @Mark_Pritchard , welcome to the forum.

What would happen if, after rearranging the order in Setup, you reapplied your desired Playback Template in the Play menu?

Track assignments do not follow score order, they follow the order instruments are added and might be further messed up if independent voice playback is activated on one or more instruments. Score order can often be restored by re-applying a playback template.

Thanks for the feedback. Tried reapplying the playback template (NotePerformer). Nothing changed. The labels and colors for the play page and the mixer reflect the score, but the actual playback must still be in the order the instruments were added because piano still is controlled by channel 1 or the top line in the play page even though the notes show up in the right place (the piano part). see attached screen shot

Tried to find a way to re-order the mixer channels, but no success. Is there at least a way to re-label the channels to reflect the actual channel operations in the play page and the score? I guess I could live with the order in the mixer being different than in the score, but have the play page and mixer wrongly labeled definitely doesn’t work for me. Having the mixer channels hard-coded to the order in which instruments were added makes no sense to me. It seems like next time I’ll need to consciously add instruments to the score from top to bottom only, and no changing positions after that. Maybe I even need to redo my current score to get it right.
I’m coming over from Sibelius by the way, where everything had reached a fluid and intuitive level. It’s hard switching to a complex program that does everything differently, but I’m willing to hang in there for the promise of better percussion parts and more playback assignment flexibility to get sounds for non-standard techniques.

I’m not sure what you are doing. NotePerformer should only show a single channel as it has its own interface.

Perhaps others can help more?

Try applying the playback template “Silence” (which should unload NotePerformer completely I believe) and then reapply the “NotePerformer” template after. You might also try saving and closing the file after applying “Silence” (before reapplying “NotePerformer”) if that doesn’t work.

EDIT: I think I misread the issue. What you are seeing is normal and you should use the NotePerformer mixer instead of the Dorico mixer.

It is expected in the current design that if you use NotePerformer that you would use the NotePerformer mixer and ignore the Dorico mixer. Dorico is not really designed for the case where the plugin only sends back a single audio channel for multiple instruments, like NotePerformer does, and the current recommendation is to use the NotePerformer mixer instead. You’re also probably not familiar with the NotePerformer mixer because I don’t think it even works in Sibelius.

One thing you should be able to do is hide the extra unused audio channels from the Dorico mixer so you don’t even see them, by going into the “Endpoint Setup” (the gear icon in your screenshot above) and changing “Number of audio outputs to show in mixer” to “1”. Then instead of seeing nine mixer channels you would just see one, named “Mark Tree”. Then you can double click on the remaining channel name in the mixer to rename it to something like “NotePerformer 1” so it isn’t stuck with the name “Mark Tree”. Doing this rename is possible in Dorico 5 - not sure about Dorico 4.

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Thank you, Michael, for the reminder about NotePerformer using its own mixer. That does explain the situation.
So it seems that if using NotePerformer, Dorico Play mode is pretty much irrelevant and I need to get a second screen to show the additional mixer windows for each NotePerformer instance (in this case 2). Yikes! How many windows would I need for an orchestral score?

Do any of the sound control functions in Play mode work or affect the sound (like the volume sliders for the one remaining channel)? There is nothing in the Dorico manual about the drastic effect of NotePerformer on the Play mode. Perhaps I should look for other posts about Dorico and NotePerformer to see what others are doing.
Thanks for your help.

In most cases, you should only need 3. Each NotePerformer instance can have 16 instruments loaded. So something like:

2/2/2/2 4/3/3/1 strings

With no percussion would use 24 channels and would therefore completely fill two instances. Percussion and additional instruments could easily bump that up to a third instance, but you shouldn’t need a fourth unless the forces are huge.

Most people don’t go into the mixer all that often for NotePerformer as the default balance is generally pretty good, so it isn’t a big deal for most.

If you really want to use the Dorico mixer instead, there is an alternative template for NotePerformer that someone else on the forum made that uses one instance of NotePerformer per instrument. I haven’t tried to use this myself. I would expect this to use more system memory, but it should theoretically give you full control via the Dorico mixer:

Is there a reason that you think you’re going to have to use the mixer so frequently that you would have to keep it open all the time?

Play mode in general is not really suited to NotePerformer in my opinion. NotePerformer is basically designed to give you a reasonable balanced playback while taking most control away from you, so a mode that gives you full control over the sound (Play mode) is naturally not going to be the best fit for it. You can do a few NotePerformer-specific things in Play mode, like there is a special MIDI CC in NotePerformer 4 that lets you override the written dynamic, and other CC’s that let you set the string ensemble size in terms of number of players in each section or control the vibrato amount, and you can theoretically use those to tweak things somewhat, but the intention of NotePerformer is really a bit antithetical to the fine grained controls available in Play mode, in my opinion. Outside of those override MIDI CC’s that I just described that NotePerformer itself gives, any tweaks to other controllers or key velocity adjustments could have unpredictable results, if they even did anything. NotePerformer can be thought of as somewhat of an automated robot that gives you some limited controls but it is generally meant to do its thing without any input from you.

Where Play mode really shines is when you use third party sample libraries without going through NotePerformer as then you can have essentially full control over all playback details that you would normally have in a DAW.

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Thanks again, Michael, for an informative response. You make some good points and help me to adjust my perspective.
It will soon be time to start digging into my sample libraries for some of the sounds in this piece. Looks like I can get some help on that from a couple of those playback templates in the article. I got lazy with Sibelius and NotePerformer because it does standard instruments so well with so little effort. Time to start climbing up to the next level if I want truly great exotic percussion and non-traditional sounds.

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Things like divisi requiring IVR enabled will bloat the number of channels pretty quick.

That is probably because NotePerformer is a 3rd party product.

There are several mentions of third party products in the manual. NotePerformer is mentioned several times but only in reference to details like trills or VST plugins allowed. This impact is much greater than just trills and deserves a cautionary note at least.