Dorico 2 preliminary questions from a new user

Hi everyone this is my first post,

1)I was wondering if there is a way to change the midi velocity of the notes in the Play mode? Or if you import midi to the score which has velocity information does this translate upon playback?

2)Has anyone used a lot of 3rd party VSTs such as Play or Kontakt to run a full orchestra? If so how has Dorico 2 performed on playback and with cpu/ram, is it similar to cubase, or the fact that it is at the same time running the notation engine add to the cpu and bog down the more cpu intensive plug ins?
I am running a decently poweful system that can handle many instruments/voices playing at the same time in Cubase, just wondering if it runs really well for others similarly in Dorico, and what your experiences have been?

3)Combining the first 2 questions above, I do not see what the point of using the vst plug ins would be if you can not control the velocity as this is very crucial and basic to how most orchestra vst plug ins work/sound (e.g. for kontakt or play where there are multiple velocity layers which trigger different samples), and being able to edit on a per note basis is part of the midi note message, if this is not included in Dorico 2 I think it should be an obvious update in the future? One of the reasons I purchased Dorico 2 (instead of Sibelius) was because I didn’t want to have 3rd party expression maps for proper functioning of the vsts, which is just a huge waste of time, in relative to if each sound/track just functioned as it does in a DAW you do not necessarily need expression maps to program in just a legato violin at different dynamics for instance. I feel like the play mode editing of midi should include all these kind of basic features of a DAW for better playback. Hopefully it already does and I have just not discovered how this works yet?

Why not include this functionality? One of the most exciting things to me about Dorico 2, is the idea/potential of programming in the midi for precise playback in Dorico itself (think really amazing sounding playback like when you program music in a daw with your favorite vsts), so if I export the midi to my DAW I will just have to mix, master, and bounce it out without having to fiddle around with changing anything (does anyone do this ALL in Dorico!? - just wondering?). So if one can use Dorico not only write out the score, but in the same sweep have the midi editing power for programming whatever sounds you are using for the actual finished music track finished - precisely for a streamlined workflow into the daw or maybe even ALL done in Dorico itself.

-Is the only way to get this type of functionality still through expression maps? Or has any one programmed in cc1 or cc7, etc. midi data for this with success?

e.g.loaded 8dio adagio violin patch to test it and it was only playing at one velocity level, so even though it sounds better than Halion (to me), since you can’t change the velocity per midi note it makes the sound seem not that much better than the typical cheesy notation software music sound, in other words it does not sound like a music track, but a representation/example of the composition.

4)I had a feature request, that is when you open a plug in window in Play mode you can still press space bar to play/stop the piece, this is normal functionality in Cubase and I think it is very helpful if you are tweaking sounds in the vst while the score is playing. As it stands now I do not believe you can start stop the piece without first closing the open vst plug in window.
Related, what is the key command to go all the way back to the start of the score for playback (on mac)? Figured out to step back in jumps to the beginning, but you have to press multiple times to hop back, or hold the - key on the number pad until it reaches the beginning of the score. (of course I will be reading the manual/updates history soon, but just wondering what this command is as I will use it when I am still learning/reading the manual and will make my life easier, for the time being as I just purchase this last night.)

5)Can you use midi notes for keyswitching without seeing the notes on the score?

Really like where this program is headed, like how the creators think - very musician friendly and in depth. Thanks everyone.

At the moment, you can’t edit the velocity of individual notes in Play mode, but this is planned. I don’t believe any detailed benchmarking comparing the performance of Dorico and Cubase has been carried out (it certainly hasn’t by us) but I would expect you to get broadly similar performance in terms of VST instruments and effects between Dorico and Cubase because they have the same audio engine; a large score in Dorico does occupy quite a lot of RAM, but provided you have at least 8GB RAM in your system this shouldn’t be a big problem.

To add keyswitches etc. you do really need to use expression maps. We may in the future make it possible to specify that a note added in Play mode should not appear in Write mode, but this is not yet the case.

The key command to move the playhead to the start of the flow is . (full stop or period) on the numeric keypad. You can of course assign your own shortcut if you like, on the Key Commands page of Preferences.

That is Great! thanks.

I will answer my own questions as well, a little bit, by saying I am having success with using Kontakt/Play and some other synth plug-ins using cc1 and cc7, etc. in play mode/midi editor, It is working smoothly on a few tracks (I am just using the “Coldplay - Clocks” factory demo to test out various vsts functionality in play mode) just like it would in a DAW - very nice. Really excited, and thanks for making such a wonderful tool for musicians and working so hard to always improve and get it right.

I will update more as I learn, so far so good, this is amazing.

Correct me if I am wrong, but seems that midi velocity responds to forte or piano , etc. - dynamics markings - even though it is not visually represented in the midi data yet, it is changing the literal midi note velocity. I was testing it with Storm Drum 3 to make sure it was not just changing the volume and to my happiness it seems it is changing through velocity layers, not just volume.

Can anyone else confirm? This is very good news for those waiting for the velocity editing in the midi data itself (in page mode), it means you can program in the velocities to respond with VSTs that have velocity sample layers (e.g. “piano” triggers one sound sample played quieter and “forte” triggers another sound sample of your instrument played louder, etc.).

The only thing is I cannot seem to get the accent marks (>, ., etc.) to change the midi velocity as well, unless it is extremely hard to hear, it sounds like it is doing nothing - whereas changing the dynamic on a per note basis is extremely audible, and I am about 100% sure it is changing the midi velocity. So what this means is to control the velocity on a per note basis you have to put how hard you want each note or group of notes to be played (e.g. you have to put forte or piano under each note or a group of notes to have extreme control over the midi velocity like you would in a daw by simply changing the velocity in the midi piano roll) - so you end up seeing a bunch of F FFF P mP, etc. under the notes.

Anyways I am excited this can be done in general, this is WHY I wanted to get Dorico. It will be even better when midi velocity can be edited on page mode in conjunction with real time recording that sets the note lengths you play as well as writes in the notation (unless there is already real time recording in Dorico 2 and I missed that?). And all of this in addition to being able to edit midi cc’s in general. Nice.

Dynamics do indeed change the velocity of the notes, and you can adjust the amount of velocity change generated by accents on the Dynamics page of Playback Options.

Awesome!!! Thanks for that tip! I will say it is really stable, no crashes, or any hiccups running many cpu intensive instruments at once in addition to mixing plug ins, very impressive indeed, Thanks again !

May have missed this, but was wondering if there is a track delay setting (in milliseconds) for lining up certain plugins which audio samples have a prolonged attack and therefore are usually a few milliseconds off the beat? If not that would make a great update - Cubase has this setting available for each track in a project by default.

BTW further “testing” Dorico 2 by importing a long video, using plug ins in the mixer, and using intensive sample libraries for all the sounds of many instruments - all running at the same time, NO CRASHES, RUNS PERFECTLY SMOOTH, very stable, hard to find many products this stable, it seems. And the music notation always adjusts and LOOKS VERY NICE by default. Very intuitive, user friendly, stable, and powerful. A job well done to say the least.
I see this as being a great tool for scoring, notating in general, composing, and importing/exporting midi to and from your Daw (interfacing with DAW) for various music oriented workflows.

Here’s my main update requests after use (some are repeated - but gathered here for convenience):
-track delay in mixer for each sound (if this is not already an option?)
-real time recording of midi/notation to a click
-midi quantization (if real time record becomes available)
-ability to adjust midi velocity in play mode midi piano roll editor
-a setting option for the default midi note size. A lot of times I find myself manually dragging it out 100% midi length (maybe there is a setting for this I am missing, but I could not find it?), by default the note is not 100% length in terms of midi, but stops before reaching the the next note - it seems it is usually about 90% midi length by default - practically I find this sometimes preferable, and sometimes not.
-have a progress bar when importing a movie (I did not see one, so it was a bit confusing to know how long importing was taking and when it would be ready to use, but it imported fine! Maybe I missed the progress bar, but did not see one. I did see a film picture appear on the flow bar eventually though indicating it had finished importing, I believe.)
-have ability to use Dorico as the default score editor in Cubase

Dear Dorico,
You can set the duration of default notes under Playback options (cmd+shift+P /ctrl+shift+P) -> Timing. Does this help?

Yeah! Thanks for that, exactly what I was looking for, you can scratch that off of the update requests now.

Dear dorico7,
I have read a very interesting thread (you might find it if you search well — or was it on Facebook ?) where Paul Walmsey (who is in charge with the Playback mode if I understand well) says that it would be interesting that Dorico could know, via some velocity or other MIDI control, how much timing should be removed to get everything in synch. I thought this would be absolutely awesome, especially with some libraries that have very slow legato options. But this is not implemented yet, so do not look for it now in Dorico, it has not been implemented yet.

Yeah, speaking of this - was literally thinking recently what if a software could detect the first attack transient of the sounds and align them to the grid automatically via track delay, as you say, and secondly if you could offset/randomly offset it forward or backwards a few milliseconds (~1-14 milliseconds) to give a more human feel ‘around the beat’, as sometimes having the sound be just before or afterwards is more ‘human’ than exacting precision right on top of the beat (aka ‘robotic feel’).

If Paul Walmsey could develop something like that then so much for the problem of having to detect how much to t.delay your sample libraries!

Concerning using modern sample libraries and Track Delays:
Most modern sound samples have ~10-80 milliseconds before the onset of the note’s attack peak and they do this for more realism in the sample libraries in the envelope of the sound, whereas old libraries started right from the peak of the attack transient so the sound sample was always on the “grid”. These longer attack transients of modern libraries are one thing that contributes to the hyper realism of some modern sample libraries in addition to sample velocity layers, transitional samples, and round robins (I am not sure where the Halion’s library stands on this?). So it is almost essential in a mix to have this feature if you are looking to actually get a mix to be rhythmically coherent.

A lot of piano players who record live into Cubase are so talented they can compensate for the attack of the sound and live record rhythms on the grid no problem - but if you are programming in notes and you can not adjust the start times one sound may be +80ms out in front of the beat, whereas another is +34ms and yet another is +59ms, etc. so when you program in the sounds a lot of musicians are left wondering why it doesn’t sound right. I do think a workaround could be some sort of plug in on the tracks in Dorico that could do a ms track delay in the plug in even if it is not in built in Dorico yet (I can not think of one audio plug in off the top of my head - but I’m sure there is - maybe you can do this track delay in Vienna Ensemble Pro now that I think about it, and then essentially load instruments into Dorico from Vienna Ensemble Pro template w/the track delay already set in Vienna Ensemble Pro itself) - that is one solution, was just thinking it would be convenient if they eventually added it in Dorico itself - yet, this is definitely a issue with clear workarounds and not the end of the world unless your using Dorico for your final mixdown/master. You all probably know exactly what I am saying, but maybe some people do not, so mind as well spell it out for them, because it is not only super interesting, but very important musically speaking, in particular if you’re actually bouncing out your songs - it is fundamentally your rhythm at stake.

Ultimately I am sure you all would agree it is very important to make sure each instrument from the sample libraries are all working together/in sync around the click rhythmically/musically speaking because if the rhythms are all off - even by several milliseconds - it can really throw everything out. Another solution to this, if you are not looking for a final mixdown in Dorico, and only to compose and hear essentially what your songs will sound like before mixing them in a Daw… then you can do all the delay compensation after exporting the midi to Cubase or whatever DAW you may use. But yeah I think the potential and even already where Dorico is headed is really exciting (mind, they have already accomplished ALOT) because it is sort of merging the history of music together - the classical idea of notating and the modern invention of digital audio workstations/computer music/ and now even scoring to video. One final interesting point is the idea of recording latency/plug in latency, essentially any of this is in addition to the sound sample delay of the attack, but if you use your ear you can manually compensate for this in the same way as you would with plug in track delay - just play a click and adjust the sounds until they are playing with the click in the musical fashion you desire - I found it really helpful personally when I realized how important it is and how easy it is to set your tracks in the right spot with a simple track delay for any kind of delay compensation problem aka rhythmic problem, because that is what we are talking about here.