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
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 (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 (15.2 KB)
Dorico 4 (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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Hi, Ulf, and TMac, do you mind if I restart this thread? Ulf, can I get some of your wisdom? I’m having the same issues, it’s been going on for a while.
Often, I’ve been using Dorico and Logic in the day, everything is fine. I let my computer sleep over night, and in the morning get back to work, and Dorico hangs. I would say, 80% of the time. But not always. When it does hang, if I then force quit, and try to re launch, it will hang on launch screen.
I have to restart my computer, and that usually solves it.
It is a studio computer, that only gets use for audio. Logic, Dorico, Native instruments stuff. Monogram hardware controller. Apogee hardware.
Thanks Ulf if you have a suggestion on how to diagnose.

Hi @aleos, if you wake up Dorico and it hangs, what is the state of the background process VSTAudioEngine then? Not responding? Is it there at all? If it is there, please take samples of both Dorico and VSTAudioEngine (via the Activity Monitor).
Also, please do Help > Create Diagnostics Report and post the corresponding zip file here. Thanks

thanks for the reply Ulf! I forgot to check what the splash screen was hanging on when it froze this morning. Will do tomorrow if it happens again. And will send diagnostics.

Hey Ulf, it didn’t hang in the morning, but this evening it did.

activity monitor (69.5 KB)

dorico diagnostic (15.9 KB)

And I just force-quit, and predictably, the startup screen is hanging on ‘Initializing audio engine’

Thanks for your time.

Hi @aleos , thanks for the data. The sample of the audio engine confirms what I already expected. The audio engine’s main thread is deadlocked and therefore can’t communicate with Dorico anymore and consequently everything is stuck.
This kind of deadlock is not new to us, it has been reported already by other users and we think we have already a fix for it that will come out with the next Dorico release.
The bug is certainly annoying for you, but how does it withhold you from your work routine? If it really bothers you, you could ask Daniel to get into our beta program in order to receive an early version. Since we can’t reproduce that condition in-house, it would be also good for us, because you could confirm if the bug is gone or not.

Hey Ulf, thanks for the reply.

Actually, I think somewhere in the middle of the pandemic (can’t remember when) Daniel and I were talking, and did he did give me a beta version. This was a few versions ago. He gave me a version, that seemed to fix things if I remember correctly. But then, I guess I updated, and things started happening again. But don’t quote me on that sequence of events.

Don’t worry about me for, if there’s no fix, I’ll just keep on force quitting and restarting for now.
But of course I would be happy to help in any way I could. If you want me to submit details to Daniel or whoever, for sure, no problem.


If you Force Quit the separate VST Audio Engine process, you shouldn’t need to restart in order for Dorico to work again.

Well, it’s up to you, I don’t want to push you.
The beta version could have 2 positive side effects:

  1. If the fix works then you have less hassle
  2. If the fix does not work, then we know early and can continue working on it.
    But in any case, thanks for your help and patience

I think with restarting he means restarting Dorico, not rebooting the whole machine.