Dorico 3.5 - issues with Mixer

The situation is as follows:
I have 2 windows open, one in Write mode, one in Play mode. Without mixer I can start playback on any of them with no problem. I open Mixer and on both of them the problem begins immediately.
I close Write window but Play and Mixer are active, the problem persist.
I close Play window, but Write and Mixer are open, all gets back to normal.
So, what do you think is happening?

Does the problem happen though if you do this?

  • Open the mixer
  • Click on the main Dorico window (in Write mode or Play Mode)
  • Press P

OK, one window only and the Mixer. In Write mode all is OK, in Play mode the problem with playback reappears. No hitting of P or space would make the playback move.

You haven’t said whether you did the important bit in step 2 to click on the Dorico window.

Yes, every time.
But a few minutes ago I have discovered something that may be helpful. I have just downloaded a simple three-instrument MIDI file I opened with Halion Sonic SE. All worked flawlessly, so either the size of the score has something to do with it, because the score that gives me problems is full orchestral piece, or the fact that all instruments are from BBC SO. However, when I changed 2 of the three downloaded instruments to BBC SO and the third to Play all still worked correctly as well.

Last 2 weeks I was working with Dorico very, very intensively and again found a few hiccups that I managed to live with, but which best would disappear in the next update. These are:

  1. copy-pasting dynamics from one instrument to the other once every two-three times is not executed in Play. To make it happen I have to delete what was copied and re-enter it manually
  2. The similar situation happens when I correct dynamics at the beginning or end of the hairpin. From time to time hairpin is not executed unless I delete and re-insert it.
  3. Occasionally in Play the curves of controllers do not appear until I make a change. Adding a line and hitting PLAY recalls the automation of a given controller.

Advice about Expression Maps.
If an instrument has both short and long articulations, with short ones using Vel and CC#11 for dynamics control I suggest adding to every long articulation and extra setup parameter of CC#11=127 (or the level of CC#11 used for this particular articulation). This way we avoid surprises that out of the sudden the legato supposed to be played ff after staccato played mp is no longer ff. It is caused by staccato’s mp lowering CC#11 level and this level is passed to legato instead of being reset to its required value.

  1. and 2. I can confirm as happening quite frequently. In the Play window, the hairpins simply don’t show and thus don’t play back even though they are fine in the score. I haven’t yet got round to systematically testing this for a pattern. If there is a clearly defined set of circumstances which causes this, it would be great if Paul or someone else could chip in, otherwise I’ll try and investigate at some point.

On Expression Maps, I don’t get this. The screenshot below shows what happens when the violins (BBC Core in this example as this seems to be the main reference point) play a bar of staccato mp followed by a couple of legato notes ff. CC11 moves in the correct place to the ff and playback is as expected. I’d need an example.

In my case I have observed the behaviour of violins in BBC SO Core. I opened the VST, so I could see movements of CC#1 and CC#11 faders. With legato having only a keyswitch and CC#1 for dynamics and pizzicato having the keyswitch, Velocity and CC#11 I initially set up manually CC#11 to 127, then played legato ff, pizz. mp and back legato ff. CC#11 moved from initial 127 (legato) to roughly 60 (pizz) and when next legato came it stayed on 60, so ff of legato sounded more like mp.
So If you did not know what happens you’d be fighting ghosts.
Now, this particular situation has its very nice use, because by adding individually the intended CC#11 for every long articulation you can balance the whole library. Example, I play on violins 4 notes in “long” and the same 4 notes in “Legato”, all with f dynamics. It easily can be heard that legato is louder. In order to compensate it without setting up the individual value of CC#11 for legato you have to either manipulate dynamics (from f.i. f to mf in Write mode) or in Play mode manually adjust CC#1 or CC#11. A lot of unnecessary manipulations plus, if you write an orchestral piece that later will be played by a real orchestra you want all your info in the partition to be exactly as you’d like the musicians to execute them, so long and legato with “mf” should both sound “mf”. And the whole balancing you do only once and after that no more lengthy adjustments.

I’ve looked at the BBC Core player as well and see the faders seem to behave as expected. When playing legato, you are using CC1 (dynamics, right hand fader) and CC11 (volume, left hand fader) synchronised and so they should be at the same level which they are. When using a short articulation like staccato, velocity is used instead of CC1 so the CC1 fader doesn’t move and only the CC11 does. Are you quite sure you haven’t got the faders the wrong way round?

it’s true “long” does often seem quieter than “legato” in the strings but this is as much as anything due to the weak attack with the former. Normally you only want to use this patch for slow chordal passages or for the specific sound it creates. In general “normal” should be set to “legato” for strings imo (though not necessarily with woodwind or brass which behave rather differently) which will considerably reduce the amount of adjustments required. As is increasingly the case with modern libraries like CSS or Infinte, the “legato” can cover a considerable range of speeds and modes of expression.


It works as you say because in both long and short articulations you have CC11 declared as the secondary dynamic control. In case I have described long articulations use only CC1. While dynamic range of short articulations using only Vel I do not find sufficient, so I correct it by CC11, the longs are good with CC1 only, and I use CC11 as a setup parameter (not the additional controller). About long and legato different libraries try to solve it in different ways, which quite often are not sastisfactoy. I have strings from EWQL, LASS, Steinberg, Sibelius, NI and recently BBC SO. In all of them there is a problem with runs sounding natural. Legato usually sounds most convincing, but if for some reasons I need a divisi run the problem arises. The “long” or “Sus” allow for divisi, but are way too slow, legato does not allow divisi. My only real problem with actual strings is exactly runs. If I need a cleanly sounding string run I use a combined double articulation setup (BBC SO allows for activating more than one articulation at the time), i.e. long combined with staccato. Sounds clear and really “stringy”. In LASS long corresponds to sustain and is much faster, so sounds better, but still not good enough. EWQL having different ways of controlling articulations for the moment I put aside being too busy for experiments.

ok, I’d forgotten that you have programmed the dynamic controllers a bit differently which explains the discrepancies.

There’s nothing to stop developers allowing divisi in legato as VSL does (other than the VI versions without VI Pro). Runs tend to be cleaner and there are more articulation choices. But obviously this is not the place for a detailed discussion of the merits and demerits of different libraries approach to legato and their optimal implementation in Dorico. A new one could always be started for what is for quite a few an interesting topic, I think.

You are absolutely right. But thanks for a hint, I will have a closer look first at VSL and then at my wallet. If the two are not in too big a conflict, I will try this lib.

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The problem with mixer persists, no matter the configuration. And for last 2 days I have a new mystery, quite unnerving. I have built a score with 12 instances of Kontakt (latest update), I was able to save score with no problem and then, when I opened it the next day Dorico did not load these instances at all, no matter how long I waited, so I opened Monitor (on Mac) and saw that VST Audio Engine stopped responding. In consequence Dorico hung and had to be force quit. Audio Engine had to be force quit as well. I do not have too much time for experiments but I repeated this situation next two times and the result is the same. I also opened an empty project, loaded 12 instances of Kontakt with exactly the same instrument and it worked. Next I added expression maps and again, it worked. When I changed first 3 or 4 instruments in Kontakt, it stopped working. I suspect that there may be something wrong more with Kontakt than with Dorico, but at the moment the score cannot be used, continued or played. Any suggestion how to make Dorico work normally?

A hint. When I load the instruments to Kontakt through Komplete Kontrol it takes ages, but it works. Also, two questions. A. Why the new added in one score playback techniques disappear in another? B. I seem to succeed to overwrite the factory “natural” and it now appears as “with force”. How do I reset it to correct?

although it’s not a direct answer, I wonder if you have tried running your Kontakt instances through Vienna Ensemble Pro? I get the impression that some of the issues at any rate are caused by performance bottlenecks or possible bugs in Kontakt as it’s hardly the first time performance and/or freezing issues have been reported with it and VE Pro can dramatically improve performance and stability – and not only with Kontakt. The mere fact that there is an improvement with Komplete Control suggests that might be the case. VE Pro is currently on sale at the VSL site so a good time to try.

I never tried VE Pro, but thanks, I found VSL offers the trial version, so I will download it and see. Any chance for smart hint concerning disappearing playback techniques? More precisely, I noticed it happen at similar time as the trouble with Kontakt. So, what happens is: the technique itself stays but its text or glyph that appears on the list of techniques disappear from one score to another. Example: some time ago I have created a technique “tr” to differentiate trills created by Dorico from trills coming as sampled trills. Both technique and its “symbol” on the list are the same. When the problem occurred to investigate the problem in Engrave mode I changed “symbol” from tr to trl with technique itself untouched (so, tr). The new symbol appeared in the score. I opened a new score and “trl” was back to “tr”. If you have any idea why it happens the help will be most appreciated.

yes, the great thing about VE Pro is you can always use the trial version. It’s fully functional but just doesn’t save your configuration so if you want to test a bit, just keep it open until you know if it’s going to be helpful so you don’t need to recreate the configuration when starting Dorico.

If you want to use playback techniques in other projects, you need to make use of the “save as default” star illustrated below (from the Engrave → Playing Techniques menu) It’s rather confusing as it actually means “save for use in other projects”. If you’ve overwritten a built-in p.t, then the symbol to the right of the star is for “Revert to Factory”

I’m not an expert on these kinds of issues by any means, but I understand there to be some kind of problem related to an internal limit on the number of busses that can be addressed in the audio engine, which means that you may run into problems once you have more than five or six instances of the multi-output version of Kontakt in the same project (or presumably other multi-output plug-ins of the same kind).

Thanks a lot, also for warning about VE Pro. About making “natural” natural I found yesterday, however not directly. First I clicked on back arrow of “natural” in Playback category. Nothing changed, this “with force” stayed. So I went one level down to techniques, opened “with force”, clicked on back arrow and “natural” reappeared. Actually, in this case I have no idea how this “with force” could come to be. I have never input such thing on my own. About star I have to check again because the changes I described earlier were done on an articulation already starred. Perhaps this requires a “re-starring”. Also, thank you very much for your feedback. It is always very helpful.

You may be right, but to make things clearer every Kontakt instance has max 12 MIDI channels occupied and only one, common output. Those are multi-articulation sets for one instrument, each articulation having its own slot/channel (like flute legato ch1, staccato ch2 etc) and inside Kontakt there is only one audio output active, i.e. the output config is ST1 and 4 aux. So, if Kontakt itself is not “lying” the number of busses should be seriously reduced.
Let’s see what Paul would say.