Create an ensemble with multiple instances of same vst

Hi - I’m certainly no expert here but I noticed that e.g. in Cubase I can easily add several instances of the same vst and then proceed to alter each one to taste so I arrive at an ensemble of different versions of the same vst; however, I can’t see how this can be done in Dorico. Here’s a use case copied from the Audio Modeling website:

If it can’t be done in Dorico, can that functionality be added in the future? And, is there any other way to do it using Dorico in tandem with another piece of software?


I often add multiple instances of Emvoice, so I’m sure it can be done from the VST Tab in Play mode.

Yes, but can you send one instrument from your score to those different instances? AFAIK, Dorico has a one-to-one approach here. You should duplicate the instrument to make this happen.

I wasn’t under the impression that @honjr wanted to send a single track to all instances, but I may have read his post incorrectly.

Thank you for your responses. Initially for violins, I tried to add the second violin to its own midi channel to allow for Expression Map independence (I’m not sure that is the correct way to do it, but that approach worked perfectly for all the other instruments, viz., viola, cello, and double bass, which occupy resp. channels 2-4). The Mixer would not allow that though for a second violin - the Mixer channel “Violin 2” unfortunately would not respond to input, although the Reverb and Output channels did respond. So then I put violins 1 & 2 into the same midi channel and it actually seems to work. Further, I tried to trick the software by adding a horn in Setup, but loading another violin under the horn banner, and putting that into an open channel. Failed again - had to put it back into violin 1’s channel! There must be a way to make Dorico consider that violins #1 and #2 are different instruments (as they would be in real life), even when they are the same vst, just the way Dorico can distinguish between violins and violas.

Could you post an excerpt of your Dorico file (just a few measures that contain the two violins playing together) so those of us here who wish could see how you have notated and distributed the parts in the VST instances?

Sure - but I need to know exactly what you mean by excerpt - do you mean some of the score, or a .dorico project?

A Dorico project.
That would let folks see how you assigned voices to the various players and staves as well as see how you linked them to VST sounds in play; and it would give folks a way to fuss with the settings to see if they could offer a solution.

Here’s the project excerpt. For this I ended up putting all vst’s (2 violins, 1 viola, cello, and bass ) through the same midi channel because I found that the Mixer was not registering all of the instruments (it would cut out the viola e.g.) unless I did that. The “project” is just a way for me to test (1) adding an extra violin and (2) seeing if my Expression Map would work independently for all instruments. My worry had been that if I assigned more than one vst to the same midi channel, and all vsts used the same expression map (which they do here), that the map employed by one vst would override the notation for another vst. Apparently not! There’s a dummy space for another violin in the Play vst panel that was left over from an experiment that you should probably be able to ignore. It seems that this solves my problem so don’t feel you have to waste any time, unless you are interested in knowing why using separate channels does not seem to work here.
SWAM Quintet Excerpt for Steinberg Forum.dorico (1.1 MB)

Am just checking in quickly and have not yet had a chance to look at the file, but remember: expressions maps are assigned by channel, so different instruments on different channels can have different expression maps.

Yes in theory that seems logical. However in practice I find that putting different vst’s in different channels leads to Mixer glitches - lack of specific channel recognition for certain instruments e.g. the cello Mixer lane does not register cello input. Only if I put all of these vst’s in the same channel can I get the Mixer to work. I have not yet tried putting different EM’s, one for each instrument, into the same channel but I believe that might work because when I moved my viola from track 2 to the violin’s shared track 1, I noticed that the viola was playing back according to the default EM but the violin was playing using my custom EM. But that still has to be tested more fully. Certainly, Dorico can register different EM’s for different vst’s in the same channel.

Thank you for sending this to help me understand what you have already done.

I don’t have SWAM, so I set it up with individual VST incidences in HALion Sonic. (I used solo strings for each part even though you have Violas set up as a section.)

Perhaps looking through how I set the VST’s, the instrument assignments, & each separate Expression Map will suggest something parallel you can do in SWAM.

I watched the mixer in the lower panel as I listened to playback, and this seems to give you what you indicated (except for the vib notes, perhaps).

Good luck with your project.

SWAM Quintet Excerpt for Steinberg Forum Altered.dorico (2.0 MB)

Thanks Derrek! I’ll review tomorrow and give you my parallel results and any questions.

OK I reviewed your setup Derrek and that is basically what I’ve done to make the sounds, EM’s, and Mixer work: make sure all instruments are assigned to the same channel (channel 1 here), and make sure each instrument has the correct EM. Seems to work! Can’t figure out why assigning different instruments to different channels does not seem to work with the Mixer even though it does work with the sounds and mappings. Guess it’s time to stop trying to do that. Thanks again for verifying what I found, very helpful and appreciated.

Ok again - finally, I tried one more time to set up vsts in separate channels. If in Setup I just “add a single player” four times for say a string quartet, then Dorico automatically assigns the single Players separate channels and I can get everything including the Mixer working properly. However, when I start to add/subtract Players I could get into trouble that way. So far, assigning every vst to the same channel seems more stable.