Dorico Elements Dynamic Contrast

So I just upgraded to Dorico Elements 5 and Im really frustrated with how bad the voices for Brass are. The tone is alright from Iconica Sketch, but the audio is so wet its really hard to actually hear clearly what is happening. but my biggest frustration is with how little the dynamics affect the playback. i have the settings so that it will change the volume as much as possible (8d +/-) but it still barely affects the volume. it is really frustrating with how much dynamics matter especially in Brass writing!

Hi @Adam and welcome to the community!

The ground concept that can cause this is that Dorico can write from pppppp to ffffff, and all the settings are proportional to this. So I experienced that you have to reduce the total range, so that mostly the middle dynamics, between pp and ff are mostly used and distributed.

see this also:

especially the referred link to the Dorico_5.0.10_Version_History.pdf

I tried out with Iconica Sketch and look out for settings that give you a more variable dynamics between pp and ff (what is normally used). see my example at the end of this post*.

You have to go in the opposite direction for the minimum and maximum dynamic levels (I adjusted this at +2 and -2) and augment the dynamic curve (I adjusted it at 5) [EDIT: this last setting can be also putted at 1, as the default override in the Iconica Sketch expression map, the main difference will be given by the maximum and minimum dynamic levels]:

In the expression map…

… I deactivated this option…

…to experiment, so that I can change the values only in the Playback Options window, if you then find your value, you can set it back in the expression map for Iconica Sketch, as override [as I said the default is 1], and put back the default value of 2,5 in the Playback Options window.

Not sure how the minimum and maximum dynamic level settings influence other playback templates and libraries…, but you can experiment.

With this setup you have a nice change between pp and ff, and Dorico uses the whole range of Iconica Sketch dynamic. You can of course experiment with different settings but I think it could be a starting point. And when you change a setting, try to playback with all the dynamics having the Halion vst windows in sight, so you see how the (CC1) signal ist controlling the dynamic of Iconica:

*) If you want to see and hear, I made an example with this settings, try to change from pp to ff the initial dynamic of Horn 1 and you will hear what I mean:

iconica sketch dynamics curve.dorico (2.0 MB)

By default Dorico loads the REVerence reverb into each project. If the sound is too “wet” you can use the mixer to turn down the amount of reverb applied to all or only some instruments, change the reverb plugin to one you prefer, or remove all reverb plugins from your project. Depending on what you want to try you should find answers by using the online manual or simply doing a google search on the web.

In Dorico Elements (and Dorico Pro) you can also set up your own space template that does not include REVerence, and specify that as part of your playback template.

Make sure, too, that you are indeed using the Iconica Sketch playback template rather than manually loading sounds into HALion Sonic yourself. When Dorico loads the sounds for you, it also sets up the right expression maps for each instrument, which ensures that Dorico can play dynamics and other techniques automatically.