Dorico 2 unreliable playback initialization

This has been a problem for me for awhile now, but I have refrained from posting here in the hope of being able to characterize the problem better. Unfortunately, I have yet to detect a reproducible pattern.

The issue is that when I start up Dorico 2 and load my project, playback doesn’t always work. Specifically, I load the project and hit the green play button in the upper right corner. Sometimes all is good, and playback starts as expected. About half the time, it doesn’t. Hitting stop/start generally does no good, and in fact can lead to hanging Dorico. Sometimes restarting Dorico after force quitting it works, sometimes not. Sometimes it takes a machine reboot (Dell XPS 15 Windows 10 home) to make things well. I’ve taken to running the task manager and watching Dorico’s CPU usage and waiting until it looks like Dorico has finished initialization. This too doesn’t seem to make a difference.

Race condition in the audio system startup code perhaps? Any Windows 10 and/or Dorico settings I should check?

One thing that would be very useful in diagnosing this is to wait until the next time something goes wrong. If Dorico crashes or hangs then start it again and from the Help menu choose Create diagnostic report (it includes the logs from the previous run). It will leave a Dorico Diagnostics zip file on your desktop. You can then attach that here and we can take a look. Please provide as clear description as possible as to what you experienced

Here’s one diagnostic zip file. Dorico was hung before presenting the main screen and was reporting “Audio Process Died”. This is a new failure mode I haven’t seen before.
Dorico (293 KB)

I had a look at the diagnostics report, but unfortunately could not read too much out of it. The contained log files don’t give a 100% clear view.
Dorico keeps log files of the last 10 runs and the audio engine (a separate process) of the last 2 runs.
1 log file of Dorico is completely missing, so maybe Dorico crashed that time.
The time stamps between the Dorico logs and audio engine logs don’t match up as expected. For the run where Dorico says the ‘audio engine process died’, there is no corresponding log information for the audio engine, so it is difficult to tell what really went on in that case.

So we have to keep an eye on this, please post more diagnostics reports in case strange things happen on your machine.

Also, please have a look at C:\Users<yourname>\Documents\Steinberg\CrashDumps, are there any dump files from Dorico or VSTAudioEngine?
If so, please zip up and post here.

Here is another batch of log files. This was the more typical failure.
Dorico (321 KB)

Sorry, again, the log data does not match up. There are two log files of the audio engine from July 12th and everything looks normal there.
Then, among the last 10 Dorico log files there is the 4th last file which shows an “Audio engine process died” message as last entry, but that happened already on July 8th, so 4 days earlier.
So, what was it that you think did not work correctly on July 12th? Could you please elaborate?

Started Dorico 2. Loaded my project. Hit Play, nothing. Hit pause, green play button enabled again, hit play, Dorico hung. Force quit. Restart Dorico. Use help->create diagnostic report.

I searched my C drive for a CrashDumps folder, but no Steinberg\CrashDumps folder exists.

Here is the log file from typical misbehavior prior to hanging. Load project, in write mode, hit play button - nothing, hit pause, hit play button - nothing, switch to play mode, hit play button - nothing.
Dorico (322 KB)

It’s so weird, because again, from log files everything looks fine. But you say it does not always happen, right? So sometimes it works as expected and only sometimes it does not play back, right?

What if you go to play mode and bring up the HALion Sonic editor windows? If you start playback, is there any indication that it receives MIDI notes? The numbers left to the 16 slots shall flash up as well as a “red LED” on the left top corner of the editor window. Also, there is a VU meter that flickers when audio data does get processed.
If you choose a piano sound and play with the mouse on the on-screen keyboard, does sound come out?

Mark, you may need to follow the steps under “Dorico is crashing. What do I do?” in the FAQ thread to ensure that Dorico creates crash dump files on your Windows computer.

I just installed 2.1 and am sorry to report that this problem persists with the new version, and if anything, appears to be worse. With 2.0 some sequence of starting Dorico, quitting or force quitting it, and restarting it would get playback working within a few minutes. This morning with 2.1, I have yet to get playback to work for my project. Dump files attached. Hopefully this time they will be more useful. I made the registry change per the FAQ. Also, FWIW, the sample project Taylor Green Trees are Bending has the same problem.
Dorico (1.2 MB)

Hi Mark,

I’m sorry to hear that you’re still having problems. The crash that occurred is one that we have seen before and is under investigation.

As for the problems with playback not working, can you try the following?

  • Create a new piano score
  • When you press play, does playback start? (ie does the playhead move and the time readout change)
  • Switch to Play Mode and open the HALion Sonic SE window with the ‘e’ button. Ensure the ‘MIX’ tab is selected. Select the channel with Piano in the left panel and press a key on the HALion keyboard (in the white key range, not the grey ones). Do you see any VU activity in the HALion window?
  • In Edit/Device Setup can you tell us which ASIO driver and Stereo Output is listed?
  • Is the Stereo Output routed to the main monitor output of your soundcard?
  • If you change between the ASIO driver for your device and the Generic Low Latency device, does that cause it to work?
  • If you change the sample rate, does that help?

Thanks for the super quick response!

New piano score worked fine in the same session. Also after I saved and closed the project, exited Dorico 2, restarted and reloaded.

Edit/Device setup shows the same settings both for the piano test project and my project: Universal Audio Apollo Twin USB / Mon L, Mon R

Strange thing is that after this experimentation, my project is loading and playing back reliably after quitting the project and Hub, and restarting. Only caveat is that the initial playback has the right instruments but wrong notes/rhythm. Using the transport control to start from the beginning seems to fix this

Will see after reboot …

That sounds like some useful progress, at least.

Sorry to say that this problem has been ongoing. It happens with small test projects in addition to my larger big band score. The attached Dorico diagnostics file is from a small test project of only a few bars containing drumkit and piano.
Dorico (662 KB)

There’s nothing that looks wrong in that diagnostic file. Can you describe exactly what is happening at the moment?

That’s unfortunate. I opened my tiny drums/piano project. Waited 30 seconds, then hit the play button in write mode. Playback cursor didn’t move, no sound, but transport is showing the stop button. I hit the stop button, then hit play. App freezes. I didn’t force quit via task manager, but I think I did close the window. I then got the reporting error to Microsoft dialog.

And there are no crash dumps under /Users//Documents/Steinberg/CrashDumps ?

In order to try to work out what’s going on we need to be able to correlate the log files with what you’re observing, so please could you do the following:

  • Continue to run Dorico until you next experience a problem
  • When something goes wrong, make a note of the current time
  • If Dorico has crashed or hung then kill or restart it
  • Create the diagnostic report again.

If there are any crash logs then the diagnostic report will contain them. If the application has hung then there’s more to investigate.