DORICO 4, its MIXER and PLAY mode

First and foremost, Dorico 4, in my opinion, is a gigantic improvement in comparison with 3.5 and for that chapeau bas for Steinberg team.
Unfortunately there is a persisting problem coming from 3.5 version, the Mixer and the Play mode.
To illustrate, I use Vienna Ensemble Pro 7 with my libraries sitting entirely there. Most of them use input defined by ports and channels, so f.e. Flute 1 is accessed by Port1 and its Ch1, Flute 2 by Port 2 and its Ch1 and so on. My setup is 2 flutes, 2 oboes, 1 english horn, 2 clarinets and 1 bassoon. If I connect them using port number and only channel 1 of every port, first 2 flutes appear in Mixer and that is all. To see what happens with other instruments I have to activate “Show Unused” and Mixer shows the other outputs but without indicating the instruments. I have discovered that to have all instruments shown I have to change the port AND the channel. In other words, the instruments will appear when they have individual channels, no matter the port, but will not if they use different ports but the same channel.
Now, the question, probably to Paul, would be: is such behaviour correct and if yes, is there a place in settings where Dorico can be told to follow ports first and channels second?

It doesn’t sound correct to me, certainly, so please let me check this with my colleagues and I’ll report back.

Thank you Daniel.
But still, 4 is miles ahead of 3.5.

I have previously posted about this behavior, which as Witold mentions, is the same as in 3.5 and maybe even before that. Dorico seems to have a limitation of 16 midi channels per VEPro Instance, regardless of the number of ports. I actually changed my whole VEPro template because of this to use only Port 1, channels 1-16 for each instance. Then I get all my instruments into the mixer on separate channels/faders. This is the only way I can use the solo feature in Dorico, which I use a lot.

It would be interesting if Paul can comment on this…maybe he can get a test license for VEPro from VSL to try it out. A lot of us host our sample libraries in VEPro, and the idea of multiple ports in each instance, each with 16 midi channels, should mean that we can get the same configuration coming into Dorico, but right now we have the limitation mentioned above. The answer currently is to use multiple instances if you have lots of instruments and want each of them to come into Dorico on their own channel.


It’s not the case that Dorico is limited to sending data out to only the first port – you can successfully route channels beyond the first port and they will play back. But obviously there is an issue in the Mixer with the display of channels in the Mixer when they have the same channel number but different ports, as stated. We’re looking into it.

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I expect you are clear on this but just in case, I didn’t read any suggestion that you cannot use ports other than 1, the problem is that there is no point because the minute you start to go through the channels again after reaching 16, nothing further will play or be shown in the mixer meaning that indeed 16 channels is the limit for an instance. Hasn’t bothered me much so far but it is a bit like asking VEPro to run on one leg!

I thought I read somewhere that Dorico doesn’t yet support VST3 channels beyond 16 on a single port

I know for a fact that Daniel’s answer is absolutely correct. Assigning ports to individual instances and using channels within a port works in Dorico as it should. Example is my Berlin Woodwinds setup where every instrument has its own port and articulations are loaded to individual channels and all plays correctly. It is the Mixer that is not working correctly. To see all my setup of woodwinds I activate “Show unused” and see where my instruments go and how they play. The problem is that such a way of displaying instruments is messy, difficult and meaningless, because Mixer shows tons of unused channels and the ones that are active do not reflect the names of instruments that use them. So, until this bug is corrected we can use Dorico as we want hoping that weakest point of Dorico since its inception will finally be corrected.
As I work continuously with D4 last days I again hit a few walls, all related to Play mode.
Perhaps Daniel could help us up here. So:

  • the main Play widow has no visible scroll bar. If there is an option to activate it, let us know, please. Scrolling by dragging works, but requires using the mouse what not always is comfortable. Possibility of using shortcuts would be most appreciated
  • the main Play widow has no visible Zoom bar. If there is an option to activate it, let us know, please. Zooming by dragging the cursor line up and down works, but is not always the best option. Again, shortcuts would be most welcome.
  • Zoom shortcuts G,H work everywhere except Play mode.
  • the manual has dedicated and detailed chapters for every mode, except for Play. This mode, being in my personal opinion the smartest part of Dorico, is treated like non-existent. And the users know that Play mode is complex and very, very useful, especially for those who work using tandem Dorico-Cubase. The fully functional Play mode shortens the time from composition to final score to a half or even 1/3 and as such should be explained very, very richly.
  • In 3.5 Play mode the Playing Techniques (Articulations) bar for every channel was narrow but still able to display every used articulation. In 4 these bars are way bigger yet they display nothing, just bars suggesting that there is a Playing Technique applied. To see which one the user needs to hover a cursor over it. Sorry for being blunt, but where exactly is logic in it? Unless there is somewhere a parameter that activates this display. Any help here will be most welcome.
    -In 3.5 Mixer by itself was pretty much useless but at least had zoom (upper right corner +/-) and scroll bar. In case of 4 when I activate my “Show unused” I have 50+channels and no way to make them thinner and to scroll them I need to drag the channels. Again, it there is a place to make these two appear in the Mixer, please, let us know.
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The reason the manual doesn’t have a chapter on Play mode yet is because it has been completely rebuilt from scratch for Dorico 4, and Lillie and I decided together that it would be better not to have old, outdated information in the manual. She is working diligently to fill in the gaps in the documentation as quickly as possible. In the meantime, you have the (reasonably comprehensive) Dorico 4 Version History PDF to tide you over.

The new Mixer doesn’t have any kind of horizontal zoom at the moment, but we’ll think about whether this is something we can add back in. Hopefully once the channel filtering is working more reliably, this perhaps becomes less vital.

In the first maintenance update, coming pretty soon, you’ll find that it’s easier to scroll the Mixer, the Key Editor and Play mode with your mouse wheel as you can elsewhere in Dorico, and we will reinstate the key commands as soon as we can.


Yoo hoo!!!

Thank you very much, Daniel and whole Steinberg team. Most appreciated.

I hate being a continuous party pooper but there is another problem with new Play mode: the access to VST instruments. What I have hit today is inability to reach instruments low on the pushdown list when adding a new VST instruments in the left column VST rack. With full screen Play mode the lower I go on the list of instruments being added the shorter is the pushdown list of accessible instruments. All that would not be a problem if scrolling worked, but it is not. The list acts like a spring, I drag it, the remaining instruments show, but when I release scrolling the list immediately goes back to its previous initial position.
If anyone on this forum had this problem and found a working solution, please, give me a hint.

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Yes, this has been reported by other users. I believe this will be resolved in the forthcoming update because you will be able to scroll as you normally would using the mouse wheel or two-finger gesture on the trackpad. In the meantime, you should also be able to access the VST instrument’s interface, at least, from the Routing section of the track inspector with an instrument selected that uses that specific plug-in.

Out of interest, how many plug-ins do you typically have in your rack?

There are two lists: first of the instruments I load to a project (VST rack), second of all my libraries. The first depends on using Vienna Ensemble Pro or not. With VEP I use 5-6 instances, (internally 5-16 instruments each), so scrolling this list is not a problem. But if I load the instruments directly there are typically around 30 of them and the problem may arise. However, the one I described above is with accessing instruments from the list of my libraries in order to load them. To make it clear, I was setting up a score that uses 4 instances of VEP, so I opened VST rack, added a VST instrument and as VEP is one of the last position of over 70 other instruments it was accessible only once, and not by scrolling but by squeezing all channels that were above, so VEP appeared. Once I added the next VST instrument VEP was no more accessible, because it was below the low edge of the window and scroll was springing. I set the project by duplicating VEP instances, but that is a patchwork.
I need to add a correction to my remark about playing techniques not being displayed. After opening a third project in version 3.5. they reappeared. I have no idea what I have done wrong previously or what I did not do right, but I am happy they are there.
Interesting that in the new project even extended Mixer (Show unused) shows nothing, the OUTPUT channel is called Flute, its fader works but not a single channel shows anything on it. It looks like all audio goes around the MIXER. And the project has exactly the same setup as the older one in ver 3.5. where, after opening it in D4 at least all active channels show life when signal comes to them. Tomorrow i will try to do some experiments to find where the problem lies.

Right, thanks, yes: we know that if you have a very long list of VST instruments, it’s hard to scroll to the bottom of that list, and we will do our best to improve that in the very near future.

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Thank you.

(… and please make it possible to widen that left panel…)


Yes, please

Oh, yes. That will help too. “Vienna Ensemble Pro” is displayed as “Vienna Ensem” and it has two different versions.

Don’t forget you can change the name as it appears in the rack and in the Routing section of the track inspector via the Endpoint Setup dialog.