CPU Drain with Dorico 2.2

Hi, Everybody. I’m a new member of the forum and a new user of Dorico 2.2, currently watching the clock run down on my trial version. I’m director of a new M.F.A. program for screen composers based in Sofia, Bulgaria at the Film Scoring Academy of Europe. We are considering an institutional purchase of Dorico for our students, and the implementation of it as our standard teaching platform at FSAE. All students would compose to picture in the Dorico environment, and it is in this environment that their writing would be evaluated prior to live recording. Thus, the DAW-like features of 2.2 are very attractive. However, most students and teachers will want to bypass the default assignment of instruments from HALion and use their own third-party libraries. In experimenting with the trial version, I’ve noticed an extreme drain on CPU power and some very troubling sluggishness and bugginess, particularly in the mixer section, with only 5 VST instruments loaded and only two bars of music recorded! I do have a 4 minute video clip imported, but a typical scoring session might have ten times that many. Here is a screenshot from my Activity monitor with the session running. I am on a new MacBook Pro 2.9 GHz with 16GB RAM and a 1 TB SSD, and I am running Dorico and all my libraries from an external 2 TB SSD.

Welcome to the forum, cinemuse. Can you be more specific about the nature of the “bugginess” you’re experiencing? Certainly the Mixer is slower to update than it would ideally be, and we have plans to rearchitect this window in future versions to improve its performance, but it’s not unreasonable that the VSTAudioEngine process would be using a lot of CPU depending on the weight and resource-intensiveness of the virtual instruments you’re using. Perhaps you could say which virtual instruments/libraries you’re using, and how many players your project uses.

Apologies for the delayed response, Daniel. John B was kind enough to refresh my trial code so I’m back on the system today. In the current ‘dummy’ session, Ive loaded 3 Kontakt VST’s (Project Sam Swing jazz bass, Spitfire Mural Core Violins, and Spitfire Olafur Arnalds Felt Piano), 1 E-W Play VST (Hollywood Strings Gold 2nd violins), and 1 VSL instrument (vibraphone). I’ve also imported a 3 minute video clip (29.8 MB). My flow currently contains just 8 bars of music. During playback, the Mac’s activity monitor shows the VST Audio Engine using between 49% and about 136% of CPU and Dorico itself using between 22% and about 33%. Now, I am new to both Dorico and to the Steinberg/Cubase protocol, and I am no expert on troubleshooting CPU use, but I reported the problem because of our intended institutional use of Dorico and the concern that much larger sessions with multiple flows and videos would either become intolerably slow or crash student computers. I saved some of the reports as I thought they might aid your efforts, but I don’t see an attachment utility here so I’ll try to drag and drop.

/Users/AndyMacBook/Desktop/Dorico CPU 1.jpeg/

Volumes/Extreme SSD/Dorico Trial/Dorico Reports

So you’re using multiple instances of very heavyweight virtual instruments. It makes sense that this would be loading the CPU of your computer quite heavily. You might find it instructive to try e.g. exporting a MIDI file from your Dorico project and importing it into a sequencer/DAW and loading the same set of plug-ins with the same sounds loaded, then seeing what kind of CPU usage you get during playback. Because Dorico uses Cubase’s audio engine, which is engineered to be efficient and high performance, my guess is that you would see similar kinds of CPU load when running those plug-ins in another host. In other words, it’s the plug-ins themselves that are loading the CPU, not the audio engine.

in the DAW universe this is a pretty modest demand … I would definitely try loading the Kontakt, Play and VI instances in Vienna Ensemble Pro and see how that improves the overall load. If not, there are some hidden gremlins acting up… :slight_smile:

One thing that would also be helpful: when you see this large amount of CPU usage, create a spindump of the VSTAudioEngine process as this will help us see where it’s spending the time. See Daniel’s instructions at Problem opening 2.1 files in 2.2 - #7 by dspreadbury - Dorico - Steinberg Forums

Try Noteperformer! Best way to concentrate on writing while having a reliable output without CPU trouble and technical problems. From there the nerds can add their own VST stuff when neccessary.

Thank you all. Fratveno, I wondered whether I might be able to mitigate this problem with VEPro. I haven’t paid the fare for it yet as I wasn’t prepared yet to learn how to use it properly! But a number of good friends, including Peter Schwartz at MacProVideo have recommended it. It still seems weird to me to see this small group of fairly common virtual instruments put such a load on a new MacBook Pro, and I do worry about what might happen if I attempted to score a feature film in this environment. Some of this is probably just me getting used to Dorico, and also trying to find a way to remove the DAW from the writing process until the final stage of production, using Dorico as a kind of standby DAW for auditioning cues without needing to go to the lengths of a full mockup. That may be asking it to do more than it’s designed for!

I love NP as well, but for serious mockups, it’s still not equal to handpicked, high-quality libraries.

As soon as expression maps and velocity control are complete, I’m headed towards real mockups. I’ve got some $$ invested in excellent libraries and can’t wait to use them in Dorico. (I know it’s possible now, just not yet mature).

I don’t think the output of a notation program is the right way for serious mockups anyway. You need the recording and editing options (and the editors) that no notation program offers today. It’s still DAW territory. Very different workflow with mixing and layering and using different libraries for different articulations with different latency and all that. Noteperformer doesn’t sound ‘high end’ but it has at least a musical output.