Dorico 2: Syncing to Audio?

Can Dorico 2 import audio files?

Can Dorico 2 import midi tempo maps to successfully sync with audio files? I frequently record without a click, and then tempo map the audio to create a grid for myself.

Thanks all!

Dorico cannot import audio files, and nor can it currently import just the tempo map from a MIDI file.

Thanks for the quick response! (even if it’s not the response I was hoping for)

Does it import tempo information from MIDIs? In theory, could I start a project by importing a MIDI, and then hide the MIDI track and make my score from there?

And, could I make a dummy video file that has the audio file? I know that you can listen to the video’s audio from a youtube video I saw.

I’m trying to figure out if there’s a hacky way to do what I want. I do a lot of string arranging for pop singers who send me their demos. I’d like to be able to score the strings, and hear playback of the strings and the demo audio simultaneously.

Is there a way to request these features? Or, are there any plans already to implement it? I imagine that this would be really useful for a lot of arrangers who are adding to demos or to recorded material.


I haven’t checked and should let Daniel answer, but I’m presuming if you import a Midi track from your DAW (either blank or with 1 midi note in it you can subsequently delete/hide, etc.) that it will import into Dorico along with it any time signatures, key signatures, and tempo changes you’ve added in your DAW, and then (as you suggest) you can hide this track (or even delete it after adding your “actual” tracks in Dorico). I’ve exported tempo maps this way for years…

  • D.D.

It is certainly possible that we will add the ability to play back audio tracks in a future version of Dorico. We don’t want to get into the world of audio recording (we’ll leave that to Cubase) but we do want to help with the transcription and arranging process, and I agree that this is one way that we can provide useful assistance in the future.

I’m presuming even just a nice “Rewire”-type syncing with Cubase and other DAW’s for the audio portion could also be helpful of course (down the line), as I think you’ve alluded to…

  • D.D.

I have been doing almost precisely this for a series of pieces I transcribed which was my intro to Dorico. If you’re interested, here’s my workflow…

Initially, in Cubase I did a tempo detection, and created a midi track with a single event at the the end, in order to allow a MIDI export from Cubase. The tempo track was included when I imported the resultant file into Dorico.

I found, however, for the purpose of doing transcriptions, using Cubase tempo detection was overkill, and I eliminated that step, because adding tempo points in Dorico is so easy.

In Dorico I set the original tempo by ear, then added the tempo points as I went along to accommodate the tempo variances. It was not necessary in my case to have it be 100% synced, close –meaning the playback cursor would visually cross the barline on beat 1- was good enough for transcribing. But, if I needed it to be more precise for proofing in unison with the source performance I refined the tempo where it was needed.

I created the ‘dummy’ video file using the free version of Davinci Resolve, and attached it to a flow in Dorico. In the Video properties dialog, and in the Play Mode window it was a simple matter to move the start of the audio, including accommodating repeats.

This was the smoothest experience I have had using a computer to transcribe, more comfortable than Cubase, in fact, which I have used a lot, and I found it easier to focus on the task since there are fewer elements on the screen to deal with.

Thanks Steve! That’s super helpful. Still mulling the switch from Sibelius, but if it could be a better transcription tool, that’d make a huge difference

All things I would like to see in the future as well. Until then I’ve had some success with supplemental software.

If Dorico is the Master [sync source] one can use ReWire VST to create a ReWire connection (Audio: 1 Stereo bus, 6 mono busses, MIDI: at least 16 MIDI channels over 8 ports [possibly more than 16 channels per port, with duplicates for layering but have not tried it yet]).

I’ve personally used Bidule to sync simple audio tracks with Dorico, as well as for a variety of real time audio rendering applications. I’ve a registered version so I can host it directly in Dorico as a VST or VST/i without needing ReWire; however, one can experiment with the free demo version via ReWire using ReWire VST.

Obviously the major catch with the ReWire VST plugin under Dorico, is that Dorico has to be the “Master” DAW in the equation. Cubase can’t be a ‘slave’ under Rewire, but there might be some form of audio tracking DAW out there that can (I use BIdule, but it’s not really a ‘tracking’ style setup). Sibelius and Finale can both be a ReWired Slave to Dorico (Not very pragmatic, but possible to sync with Dorico if one ever needs to do so). The single stereo, 6 mono Bus setup of ReWire VST takes some getting used to as well, but it works. I wish they had a straight 16 stereo bus version of ReWire VST, but it is what it is, and it does work for me with Dorico, and remains stable.

Another option I have had success with is to run Bidule (or some other DAW/Host) in their own stand alone mode first, then open Dorico. Next, I can use virtual MIDI ports (PC, Mac), and/or ReaStream VST to bridge the two apps. Again, Dorico pretty much needs to be the Master [sync source] Application.

Is it worth all the trouble? To me, Bidule has been a great investment for all sorts of reasons…Diagnostics, Re-routing, hosting instruments over a LAN server, fudging in feature sets that any given host might not have natively yet, etc.

If the project is destined to have a score and parts printed from day one. I find it can be worth the trouble to begin the workflow in Dorico and use such tools to supplement the work-flow. In contrast, if the mock-up quality of the project is first in the order of Priority, or I need much precision to sync it with video or something, then I’d much rather start the project in CuBase and export enough of the project for a proper score in whatever Scoring App is appropriate later.

As for using it with Dorico to ‘sync with audio’ I’ve used Bidule VST or VSTi for the following:

  1. Lock a single stereo master of a recording so it Syncs to Dorico for transcription in Dorico. (Can also be done through ReWire)

  2. Make and play back quick vocal or live instrument tracks to go with, and sync to a Dorico Project. It’s not as easy/intuitive to do as it would be in a true tracking DAW, but it works. (Can play through ReWire, but to ‘make’ such tracks through Dorico, one needs the registered VST variant of Bidule).

  3. VST Chainer, since Dorico’s current mixer only gives us 4 slots per channel and sends to a single FX channel…it also comes in handy for forcing various effect side-chaining scenarios that Dorico does not yet do on its own. (Registered VST/i variants only).

  4. On an older system that can only handle so many VST/i plugins…I sometimes render heavy processing/memory VSTi plugins into an audio track to free up system resources for more/new virtual instruments. I.E. I’ve some acoustic piano plugins that nearly max out my particular system on their own. I’ll render such a piano stave into a wav file then disable the resource hogging plugin. (Registered VST/i variants only)

I realize you have a very long to do list, with many issues of a much higher priority, but please consider adding this to the list if it’s not already there:

Instant Render a stave into pure audio with a toggle to disable the plugin and play back the audio version, or disable the audio version and trigger the Virtual Instrument.

I.E. User has a plugin that uses a lot of computer resources. He needs to add a stave for some more parts, but is out of head-room to load the sound. If the user could select a batch of tracks and ‘instant render’ them to pure audio, he could disable enough VSTi plugins to keep working.

Some plugins out there push a CPU hard, and/or use a lot of memory, particularly if they are using some kind of encrypted/protected samples optimized for Intel cores, and we run them on weaker AMD cores.

Drives me nuts when some of my favorite plugins in terms of the sounds they make start spiking CPU and glitching. In CuBase I can push through it via Instant render. It’d be nice if we can someday do something similar in Dorico as well.

I also realize it might not be practical to include the project audio files as part the saved dorico project…so any instant rendered stuff could be ‘lost’ when moving the project to a new system. Not sure how it would work there, but even if it’s a temporary thing, per ‘session’, it’d still be helpful I think.

Thank you, Brian! I could swear you had mentioned ReWire VST in these forums, but for the life of me I could not find it while searching. I’ll consider giving it a try. One can already do a lot with Dorico has the master, though it’s not ideal.

As for freezing tracks, it was suggested in the past and I was thinking about it the other day as well.

Just saw this as well, though I have not tried it:

On a quick glance, and provided it runs stable in Dorico, I’m assuming one could meld multi-track recording to Dorico with the Energy XT VST plugin, and no ReWire would be needed.

Audio engine

    32-bit audio engine with time-stretching/pitch-shifting algorithm from zplane development
    Supports industry standard VST instruments and effects
    Thread-based disk streaming and audio recording
    Automatic plugin delay compensation
    Offline render to 16/24/32 bit mono/stereo wav files at any sample rate
    Runs with ASIO, ALSA or as VST plugin

If one just wants synced audio tracking with Dorico as the Master, it just might be an option.

I can see that a basic drag & drop feature from cubase to dorico was established. Unfortunately I thought I can drag & drop a midi file containing the tempo map and time signatures into a new or existing flow (but an entirely new project is created by using drag & drop instead)

So both features, importing just the tempo map from a MIDI file and improved drag & drop support between Cubase and Dorico, would help save some time here. (movie scoring)

Cheers, lokotus

Thanks Brian. That vst audio player looks like that could be a great solution. I’d love to know if anyone is able to successfully use it.

I’ll see about giving it a try. Maybe there is a demo on the site. It’s not very expensive if it ends up working, so that’s a big plus.

I grabbed the Demo and could not find a way to host energyXT as a plugin inside Dorico (or any other VST host I have for that matter). I have sent a message to the support email address at the energyXT website to see if I might be missing something (perhaps it’s not included in the demo, but available upon registering).

I tried the ReWire VST plugin in Dorico as a VSTi and a demo of Reaper, which can provide audio tracking abilities in sync with Dorico. It seems to work OK [at hosting plugins and playing them] with some simple tests here on my Windows 10 rig. Note, this configuration does not give you the full scope of power in getting an audio source directly from audio hardware ‘into’ the workflow without using some sort of work-around. I.E. You could sync pre-made audio tracks to Dorico with no problem. You could drive virtual instruments loaded in Reaper, and even record/render them to audio tracks in Reaper with no problem.

[update 7/8/2018: I am having trouble getting the Reaper transport to sync with Dorico. Things started falling apart when I tried to have Reaper play some audio tracks in sync with Dorico]

The good news is you can try some things out using demo versions to see if it might be worth the bother to you. The bad news is, if you want to record live audio from this same work-flow, there are limits that make it far from a simple ‘out of the box’ solution that doesn’t require a variety of third party hacks.

The problem lay in getting other audio sources into Reaper for making audio recordings within the Dorico workflow, such as a microphone, or the output of the Dorico Mixer itself. Dorico currently does not provide any obvious way for the user to select and route any audio input source into the mixing matrix unless it comes in through a valid VSTi plugin. Since Dorico currently ignores hardware audio inputs, they don’t show up in the ReWire matrix, so you can’t use them in the ReWired Reaper instance to record with either.

There is a simple work-around to at least get audio to stream out of Dorcio into Reaper if you want that. This can be done with the ReaStream plugin in any Dorico VST effect slot(s) you’d like to make an outgoing stream for. I.E. If you wanted to record a full mix of Dorico’s audio output onto a stereo track in Reaper, you could run an instance of reaStream in one of Dorico’s Master effect slots, and do the same as the input for the audio track in Reaper. Of course Reaper’s audio will be output into the Dorcio Mixer via your ReWire VSTi plugin.

As for getting audio input from an audio device (such as a live microphone) into the workflow, it’s possible, but currently it is a bit of a pain. The simplest method would be to open some other app with access to the hardware and record it there, then import that audio file into Reaper (or whatever ReWire slave you like). Since the ReWired instance of Reaper is capable of sending MIDI sync signals over a MIDI port (something currently lacking in Dorcio), the recording app could be synced to Dorcio/Reaper’s transport if you really want/need.

I have my way of syncing and locking all sorts of stuff with Bidule VST/i instances in Dorcio (multiple instances of various apps, best with more than one audio device in the system, or even on two independent synced computers), but until we get control over audio ‘input devices’ in the Dorcio Mixing Matrix, and/or a way to send MIDI sync information form Dorico over MIDI ports, I have to use a variety of third party routing apps to make any sort of ‘live tracking/recording’ possible from inside a Dorico Work-flow.

I am working on a project right now where I needed the singer’s track available while scoring the arrangement. I did this by shooting a video of the singer. Timing is not an issue because he was singing to a basic rhythm track I had already created in Dorico. This works OK, but it seems like overkill to have to do a video when all I need is an audio track. And Rewire seems like unnecessary complication for such a common, basic need.

Packing audio into a video wrappper is a great idea. That’s certainly one sure fire way to get some audio synced up…
Free muxing tools that would make it possible to turn any ole audio file into something that syncs through Dorico’s native video player are out there…so I’m glad you brought this up.

It’s true…I’ve been writing about hacks and work-arounds to currently missing feature sets. These are all things that are on the list to be added to Dorico at some point, but some of us want or need various abilities now. It’s not for everyone, and it does have pros, cons, and additional work-flow fuss to learn to manage. That IS one of the selling points of the VST protocol however. Extending the music making abilities of a host DAW via plugins is part of the industry standard.

It is not worth the bother unless you already have such supplementary plugins and know your way around them (or don’t mind, or even enjoy learning them), and you find yourself needing and using them on a regular basis. For me, that’s been the point of registering Bidule. It hosts, monitors, chains, bridges, mixes, matches, patches, and transforms on the fly. If there is anything about an audio or midi stream you wish to manipulate or re-route in real time, it’s one heck of a tool…

I got a copy years before Dorico was even announced to the public. It’s been something of a staple for live performing and practice situations. It’s allowed me to fudge major feature sets into apps that don’t have them, breath new life into older hardware that I’d have throw away otherwise to host/serve more instruments when needed, and mix/match/mesh plugins from a universal setup which allows me to easily transfer entire sets of sounds across nearly any app with a similar instrument management work-flow. It’s made it possible to fit square pegs in round holes so to speak…with tasks like running vst3 or au plugins in apps that don’t do that yet…sync up some audio with an app that doesn’t do that, or host MIDI things in apps that don’t do that, and so on.

I spent some more time trying to slave Reaper with the ReWire VST plugin. I’m having problems getting Reaper to sync transports with Dorico. It will host instruments and the mixing desk works, but I can’t get the transport working reliably. There are dozens of adjustments one can make in Reaper regarding ReWire, so it might be possible to force a sync somehow…I’ve yet to find it though.

With Bidule [no Reaper involved] however, I’m able to get a reliable sync, and attaching audio that syncs to the Dorico transport and moving play-back carrot/cursor is pretty easy. I did make a few bidules that force the native audio file players in Bidule to sync up (it syncs to the audio stream clock), as well as a bit of logic making it easier to manipulate the starting point of where a wave begins and stops playing (a simple offset one can set with a couple of UI sliders). Keep in mind, it’s not a fancy tracking style workflow, where one can visually edit, nudge, and snip disk based files via pre-generated wave-forms and spectra graph data, as Bidule is primarily a ‘live stream’ routing/morphing tool. For audio sessions that involve advanced file based sample editing, as far as I know, one is presently better off to export MIDI files and move the project to a full blown Tracking DAW.

As for Cubase, even with Bidule hosted in Dorico with the intent of fudging some kind of sync protocol, I’ve not yet found a way to generate a full blown MTC/MIDI Clock signal out of Bidule that can sync up with and control the CuBase transport.