Crash when creating an empty kit

Working with a small chamber orchestra, 14 strings , 18 percussion instruments, woodwind section and 5 brass instruments. Any time I do anything like add an instrument to a section player or create some percussion instrument Dorico crashes VE Pro. When I try to reconnect it starts to load and then crashes again. If I shut everything down and restart Windows I can get it to load the project, but as soon as I do any of the aforementioned processes I get a crash again.

I am trying to create an instrument for a Thundersheet which is not available in Dorico’s instruments, when I click create Empty kit Dorico crashes. I’ve repeated the process several times even after restarting Windows, but it keeps happening.

Please consult the FAQ thread and follow the steps under “Dorico is crashing. What do I do?”, and attach the produced crash dumps.

Hi Daniel, as always you make me fee guilty when you reply on a weekend… :smiley:

I want to try address these issues separately, since I’ve been able to solve the empty kit one and I’m working on replicating the crash:

Crash when creating an empty kit:
The procedure that causes the crash is
1.- click on the + sign on section player
2.- click on create empty kit
3.-input name and short name (thundersheet, thndsh)
4.-click apply then close window
5.- click on the newly created instrument and click on edit percussion kit
6.- click on Single-Line instrument
7.- click on + sign
8.- click on create empty kit and voila! Dorico crashes!

No crash dump is produced from this process, however I’ll attach the application log.
Note worthy, if I repeat this process without Vienna Ensemble connected to Dorico then there’s no crash. But either Vienna Ensemble or Vienna Event Input connected will cause a crash.

The crash is avoidable if I create the new instrument in one procedure i.e. skipping number 4.
Application (1.38 KB)

Is there is a crash log for the VSTAudioEngine2.exe ? Can you try increasing the buffer size in Edit/Device Setup?

No, no crash dump was produced with this procedure. The other crash I will address in a moment does, so the crashdump is functioning.

Yes, I have tried everything I found online before reporting. Changed buffer size, sample rate, soundcard, just VE Pro, just VE Event input, both, none, restarted computer, reinstalled Dorico even deleted the VSTAudioEngine_64 folder. I’m trying to be as methodical as I possibly can. :smiley:

Dorico keeps crashing Vienna ensemble pro 5

With one instance of VE Pro and 3 instances of Event input (about 41 instruments).

1.- Dorico is extremely unresponsive: refuses MIDI input unless I go back to preferences disable MIDI input, apply, enable again, Apply. Refuses double click on staff for input notation and does not change the playback sound when changing to a different staff.
2.- Latency need to be set at 4 Buffers in VE Pro, despite this exact project working fine at any resolution in other notation programs.
3.- Constant clicks, pops and tears in sound playback, whether during input or playback (playback is obviously much worse).
4.- Eventually VE Pro crashes, sometimes Dorico (difficult to replicate exactly, happens unexpectedly every time).
5.- When Dorico crashes VE Pro freezes and it’s incapable of shutting down the project. If I run Dorico again it will try to load the project but Vienna Server will crash after a few seconds. If I terminate the server, load Dorico, initiate Vienna Server and try to connect the Server will crash again.

I’m hoping the attached crashdumps are the correct ones, I cannot attach the vienna one here as it says it’s too large. (807 KB)

Oh and the rest of the Dumps/logs. (1.02 MB)

Certainly the application.log file suggests that you are experiencing a buffer overload problem whereby the buffer size is set too small, and Dorico is being flooded by messages from the audio engine telling Dorico that it’s unable to process the audio in the time slice being offered, which, ironically, makes Dorico less responsive and thus exacerbates the problem. In the forthcoming update we have ameliorated this problem, but I do believe you should find that increasing the buffer size in Edit > Device Setup to e.g. 512 or 1024 samples should significantly improve Dorico’s responsiveness and hopefully reduce or even eliminate the crashes you’re experiencing.

Hi again Daniel, the two buffer size option are already set at maximum i.e. the vienna ensemble settings buffer at 4 and the soundcard at 1024. This is the very first thing I did. Unfortunately I had to (yet again) return to Sibelius to work on this project and I’ve used the exact same configuration/project and I get no issues at 256 samples.

Please understand I am not complaining at all, I’m just pointing out the fact that Dorico should be able to deal with such a large project better than 25 year old code. Again, not complaining, just letting you know our (unreasonable) expectations.

Good to know about the update, but I hope you’re giving notation a priority (articulations such as fall, scoop and symbols), since playback is just a bonus feature.

I’ve had a look at your crash log and it is one that no one else has ever reported before. It appears to be just happening during regular window focus operations. Normally the application does this many times per second (as you move the mouse around) without problems, so I dug a bit deeper into why it might be going wrong on your system. I found that you had another couple of dlls that were running as part of the Dorico application: StarDock ObjectDock and ShellFix. ObjectDock appears to be an dll that hooks into the application and overrides the window furniture. ShellFix seems to hook into the application to override where application windows are positioned. In my experience over the last 15 years or so, I’ve experienced innumerable crashes that have been caused by such 3rd party addins that mess around with the internals of other applications. If there’s a bug in them then they cause the host application to crash. I strongly recommend uninstalling such 3rd party addins as they cause no end of problems.

It is also quite possible that these other components are interfering with the delicate timing required between Dorico and the audio engine, which can cause the clicks and dropouts that you’ve been experiencing.

Dear Paul, I’ve had these two very useful applications running on this computer for ten years and I have never had a crash, freeze or any type of problem with any of the programs I use. Objectdock I can live without, because it’s just a taskbar replacement to get more screen real-estate. ShellFix is perhaps the most important thing I use for work because basically what it does is, it remembers which folders and windows were open the last time, which is invaluable for my workflow continuity.

I was already pretty annoyed that you force me to use that hideous Aero, which not only slows down the computer, but also forces me to look at a white screen for 10 hours a day, but I did not complain. No other program has this requirement and I have plenty of the latest programs (Acrobat, Cubase, Overture, etc). I am more than willing to continue testing, including temporarily disabling ShellFix to see if it is indeed the problem. And please understand that I am not upset and I’m trying not to complain, but at this point Dorico is appearing like a needy child that doesn’t do much at all for what it’s asking… I shouldn’t need to completely reconfigure my 10 year perfectly running machine for just one program. And I do need ShellFix, it’s just too useful… (Although there might be a replacement).

PS: a further thought, isn’t Dorico using the same Audio Engine as Cubase? Please correct me if I’m wrong, but if I’m not I don’t understand why Cubase runs so smoothly but Dorico gets affected by other configuration issues.

There are several different things in this thread which are clouding things somewhat.

  1. The crash when creating an empty kit.
  2. Problems with VE crashing.
  3. The Dorico crash dump that you posted.
  4. The clicks and glitches that you get during playback.

For number 1, we’ve fixed a crash for the next update which looks to be in similar circumstances to what you describe.

For number 2, if Dorico crashes under any circumstances then it will often also take down the audio engine (and vice versa), and so any plugins with standalone executables may also either crash or behave unpredictably. If things are not running as expected after a crash then kill any Dorico2.exe and VSTAudioEngine2.exe processes to be sure. A reboot can often be beneficial.

Number 3 - this appears to have no relation to the kit crash. Rather it’s just in the process of doing some regular window messaging, which is what it does in normal operation without problems. The question is why it is misbehaving on your system. For context, previously I worked on Sibelius 2-7 and over the 12 years or so there I diagnosed many crash logs and a huge number were consistently from applications that hook into the windows of other applications. I cannot say definitively that either of those applications you have are causing problems as there isn’t enough to diagnose that, but I can say that applications of that ilk can be extremely problematic.

When looking at cases like this where there is a crash that no other user has reported the first question is ‘what is different about this system?’. I hadn’t realised that you were on Windows 7 which we do not officially support. We do endeavour to keep it running, but there limits to what we can achieve with an OS that is end-of-line. Next I take a look at what else is running in the process, which led me to highlight those two applications.

Number 4 - we have many users on a wide variety of hardware and I’m not aware of many that have the same problems you report with the clicks and dropouts. It should be possible to run at quite a low latency. Many users have reported using VE Pro without incident. Once again one has to ask what is different between your system and theirs. One factor is the old OS and one is the presence of these extra components. Dorico has a different architecture to other notation applications and one major part of that is the main application and the audio engine are separate processes. These two processes are very tightly bound together and if anything interferes with that timing loop then that causes problems (as an example, there was a bug reported with NotePerformer (now fixed) where some extra plugin window updating caused Dorico and the audio engine to delay messages, leading to strange things to happen with playback). Once again, when I look at third-party applications that inject themselves into other processes and mess around with the window furniture or other logic, then this is a big red flag. There is great potential to mess up the delicate timing loop.

In answer to your question about whether it is the same audio engine as Cubase: sort-of. It’s the same core technology, extracted from Cubase but repackaged as a ‘headless’ engine.

I have some questions which may help to narrow down the problems with dropouts.

  • What does it sound like? Is it a nasty digital glitching sound? Or is the audio itself ok, but the notes are late or have irregular timing?
  • What soundcard are you using?
  • Are you using a native ASIO driver or the Generic Low Latency driver?

Wow! You see, this is why I bought Dorico… I knew it was in its infancy but damn did I miss you guys and your wonderful and friendly support. That’s by far the best Dorico feature :wink: Now to business:

1.- That’s good, but since it has a simple work around (create the complete instrument first) is not a big priority, but good to nail it anyway.

2.- Yes, I always do this as a matter of course!

3.- Hmmm, yes, I suspected that. I am not a computer expert and I spent several hours trying to replicate the bug. The previous day it happened every single time, with restarts included. But the day of replicating the crash it was more erratic and worse yet, it wasn’t producing any crashdump. Like I said, after over an hour of regularly, but unpredictably being able to crash it, it eventually gave out a crashdump, but I did wonder if it was actually related.

On a side note, Windows 7 is supported till 2020 and as you may know, industry never updates to the latest OS. I have always followed this advice from experts and try to stay very behind the latest technology to avoid dealing with problems (I have a Surface Pro with Windows 10 and it’s riddled with bugs). I stay off the internet on my work PC, so don’t have antivirus (I do a yearly scan, but never found anything) and I only update when and if I install new software that requires it. These habits have given me decades of headache-free, perfectly stable Windows systems where I have never experienced a crash, freeze, blue screen or other… I know, I’m spoiled!

4.- Yes I understand, it is unfortunate it cannot function with its own separate dependencies. I should’ve pointed out, don’t know if it’s relevant, that my first attempt with Dorico was actually with a Big Band project where I did not need VE Event Input, it worked fine with no glitches. It was only on this 2nd project with a full orchestra that I get all the problems, so:

  • 16 or less instruments don’t cause a problem

  • VE Event input “seems” to cause problems

  • Both projects were XML imports, haven’t tried Dorico with a project from scratch

To answer your question:

  • I’ve always found it hard to describe sound, but it’s very similar to running a very large project on a low sample rate. When the sound does actually come out it’s fine and clear, but there are constant glitches, pops and dropouts. Like tearing, distorted sounds.

  • It’s an EIE Pro, for Dorico set at 16 bit, 44100 Hz.

  • I’m using EIE’s own Asio driver, but for the purposes of testing it I also tried all the experiments using my default card (with its own Asio driver) wich is a Lexicon Alpha. Both gave me identical behaviour.

At this point I’m not sure what else to suggest. The fact that everything is ok if you aren’t using VE suggests that the basic soundcard configuration is ok and there aren’t any performance problems on your system with a moderate size score with (I assume) the default HALion configuration. So the problem could be specific to VE. Unfortunately I don’t have VE and have never used it so there’s not much more I can offer. Have you searched the forum for other users with VE Pro who may have some insight into getting it all working together? Or on VSL’s forum?

Hi Bollen, very complicated your case. As you describe the sound, then it is the audio engine dropping out from time to time, because there is not enough cpu power to process the necessary audio data for a time slice. This can happen if either the project setup itself is too heavy (too many instruments) or if other programs (could be even Dorico because it is running in a different process than the audio engine) take away too much cpu time.
You say that you have also Cubase (which version?), so what if you do a MIDI export from Dorico, import into Cubase and set up VSL in a similar way, does that give you any different result?

Hi Paul, it seems to work without problems with Halion or like I said before, just VE Pro without the VE Event Input plugin, but that might also have to do with the fact that Dorico then thinks it only has to play 16 instruments as opposed to 47.

You might want to consider getting it, it would be very useful for you as a dev to test the behaviour of large projects. I’m sure Steinberg would fund it for the sake of research… :wink:

Yes I have tried on the forums, but there are few people out there using Dorico at this level at the moment, since so much of the playback is still not useable (trills, expression maps, etc.). Hence why I’m spending the time now to test and report, I want to help get this software up to an industry “useable” standard.

Hi Ulf, thank you for your time! I posted earlier that I have tried the exact same configuration not only on Cubase, but also Overture and Sibelius 6! It works without a glitch… Albeit, slow to react in the latter. In fact I’m having to continue this project on Sibelius for the time being because I have a deadline (it’s being recorded with an already booked orchestra in September).

As for CPU, I also posted earlier that I can run at a considerably lower sample buffer setting in these other programs, more on this below.

Vienna Ensemble Pro (server or standalone plugin) has four CPU alleviating settings you can configure to help a computer deal with a big loads, these are:

  • A latency compensator which is independent of the soundcard. Settings are from 0 to 4 buffers.

  • A multiprocessing thread count, in my case from 1 to 12

  • Within Vienna Instruments it is also possible to limit the amount of preallocated voices (from 256 to 8182) and how much is loaded into RAM (from 1536 samples to 32768)

  • Finally there’s the option of loading only the samples/patches that are being used, therefore utilising only a fraction of the actual sample library

In other programs, including the very old Sibelius 6, I can run with all settings at near maximum except for buffer size which is at medium setting and the computer barely struggles with it. In fact I have run vastly bigger orchestra configurations in the past (I’ve always wondered why people need a dedicated slave PC) and this computer can certainly cope. With Dorico, even at minimum settings I get similar results. However, there is certainly an improvement so it is related to overload.

My version of Cubase is 7.5

Note worthy: I have not tried with a MIDI file only XML and MXL, I have also not tried starting a project from scratch. I Don’t know if this would make a difference.

PS: I did test it with the two possible conflicting programs (ObjectDock and Shellfix disabled from system configuration startup) and there were no changes in behaviour :cry:

Paul, I’d like also to encourage you to get VE Pro. If you are going after the film scoring market, you need to have what many film composers use and test against it.

And thank you for making Dorico so great already!


@Bollen, could you please get a Cubase 9.5 trial ( and try with that one? The audio engine has changed quite a lot since Cubase 7.5 and the Dorico audio engine is based on that of Cubase 9.5.

Furthermore, I have now also VEP 6 running here, but I have no experience with it and it’s quite tedious to set up for a full orchestra.
Is it possible that you send me your Dorico and VEP project so that I get the same setting as you have?
It goes without saying that I will keep it confidential and only use it for helping you in this case.
Please send to ‘u dot stoermer at steinberg dot de’. Many thanks.