Dorico 4 SE hangs on startup (macOS Monterey 12.3)

Similar problem as described in a couple other threads (was not allowed to link them) but the solutions didn’t work for me. The app hangs on the DORICO SE4 splash screen with various text in the lower left: “Initializing Playback Controller” or if i rename /Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/Components it says “Initializing SKI Plugin Controller…done”. Another time it referenced the audio engine. I tried force quitting Dorico and the VST Audio Engine process and trying again, but nothing changes. Quite frustrating i must say, i was considering the full version but this experience does not inspire confidence. Thanks in advance…

Welcome to the forum @TMac and sorry for the trouble but no worries, we will get you up and running.
But first we need some more information. Please zip up the following folders:
~/Library/Application Support/Steinberg/Dorico 4
~/Library/Preferences/Dorico 4 AudioEngine

And also please have a look at
~/Library/Logs/DiagnosticsReports
and zip up any file with Dorico or VSTAudioEngine in it’s name.
The zip files then attach to a reply here.
Thank you very much

Hi Ulf, thanks for the welcome and your reply. I attached the diagnostic reports. However i found that /Library/Preferences/Dorico 4 AudioEngine does not exist on my computer, and /Library/Application Support/Steinberg/Dorico 4 exists but is empty.

dorico crash logs.zip (3.1 MB)

Hi @TMac, thanks for the data. From a first look it seems that it is a license issue somehow. Dorico does not crash but hangs and waits for the license engine somehow. If you open the Steinberg Activation Manager, is your Dorico license shown as Activated?

Hi Ulf, your idea that it is a license issue seems very plausible. The Activation Manager says that i’m activated, but i do recall when first installing i had not entered the license code yet, and hit a point where i was denied access and had to go back and enter my code. I have tried fully uninstalling everything and reinstall from scratch, but that does not seem to have worked.

Hm, but now the license is activated and it should work…
I need to ask the team to resolve the hang-files and see if we can find out more via that.
Unfortunately we just entered weekend so I guess you have to wait until Monday.

And you said that those paths don’t exist. Did you realize the tilde sign (˜)at the front of the paths I gave? The tilde means “starting from your home directory”, so the full path would be something like /Users/[yourname]/Library/Appliciation Support/Dorico 4
Is there really nothing?

Ah thank you for clarifying, i was interpreting the tilde as root. The folders do exist, attached. I appreciate your help and hope you have a nice weekend.

Dorico 4.zip (15.2 KB)
Dorico 4 AudioEngine.zip (15.8 KB)

Hi @TMac , thanks very much. Now, the log files show a completely different picture.
Licensing is fine, Dorico detects the license and tries to start but hangs on waiting for the audio engine. Here is where it starts getting strange.
We always keep the logs of the last 10 runs, and the oldest log actually shows, that the audio engine did start to run but somehow got stuck while scanning for VST plug-ins. Every later log of the audio engine is empty, 0 bytes. This is something I’ve never seen before.
I can’t say for sure, but it somehow must have to do with the VST plug-ins. Therefore I’d like you to try following:

  • Make sure Dorico and the VSTAudioEngine are not running
  • Also watch out for any process with VST in it’s name, like e.g. vstscanner. If there are, end them.
  • Go to (from root) /Library/Audio/Plug-ins and in there temporarily rename the folders VST and VST3 to something else in order to hide them away from Dorico, so to speak.
  • Then launch Dorico and see what is happening.

If still the same, please zip up again the corresponding Dorico 4 and Dorico 4 AudioEngine folders and post here.
Let’s see, I’m really curious…

Thank you Ulf, that is interesting. After renaming the folders specified, Dorico actually moved past the splash screen and seemed to start normally, though it gave me an error message:

I checked the Download Assistant and didn’t find the exact component referenced, but i imagine it might be referring to one of the recommended components that i didn’t download on my second “clean install” attempt (which might explain what you saw in the logs?).

I tried renaming VST back to its normal name, and Dorico was able to start without issue. Not the case for VST3, so it seems that is our culprit. Interestingly, i found that renaming the Steinberg folder inside VST3 did not make a difference, so it seems to be another file in that folder causing the issue? What would you recommend for next steps? And thanks for your help.

Okay, so it is one of the VST3 plug-ins then.
And see, with renaming the VST3 folder you were hiding everything in there away from Dorico, but renaming a subfolder in VST3 does not hide it, because Dorico scans recursively any subfolder in the VST3 folder.
But anyway, we have to find the culprit. You can do the following way:
Rename the original VST3 folder again and create a new empty VST3 folder. Then you copy one plug-in to the empty folder, start Dorico and see how it behaves. If still fine, copy the next plug-in and do over and over until Dorico does hang on start again. You then know the last plug-in you added is the culprit.
If you have plenty of plug-ins, this procedure might be tedious, so you could also make groups of plug-ins and copy them over. If then Dorico hangs, you know it must be one of that group. Then you throw the whole group out again, and add one by one a single plug-in, yet again until you have the culprit.

Regarding the missing component. Yes, it’s one of the recommended components in the Download Assistant. Technically spoken, the sound package is not strictly necessary to run Dorico, but if you want to get basic playback of your score, then you better also install all recommended packages.

I hope this helps you.

Thank you, i found that the problem was with Apogee FX Rack plugins– having any of these in /Library/Audio/Plug-Ins/VST3 causes Dorico to hang on startup. I don’t use these much so i’m ok leaving them in _VST3 for now. There also seems to have been a recent update that may fix the issue, but that seems to be another rabbit hole that i’ll save for another day. I’m looking forward to playing with Dorico, thanks again for your help!

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