Dorico keeps crashing "VST Audio Engine Not Responding"-Spindump and Diagnostic Report attached

Hi friends! For about a year now, Dorico will eventually lock up (can’t save) and the audio stops playing. Whatever is happening also keeps me from being able to restart my 2019 Mac Pro. I have to do a hard reboot, which can’t be good for the computer. I also noticed that in the Activity Monitor is shows “VST Audio Engine (Not Responding).” I am attaching a Spindump and a Diagnostic Report. Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks! (52.4 KB) (382.0 KB)

To alleviate the pain, force-shutting down is not doing the computer excessive harm, as far as I know. The main issue is that you would normally lose unsaved documents if you do.
Could you tell us when this happens in your Dorico experience? This sounds like between restarts of Dorico itself, when the VST Audio Engine stays stuck. Also, what macOS do you have?

Hi @JamesIV , thanks for the data.
The spindump shows me that Dorico’s audio engine is deadlocked while being asked to shutdown itself. So it appears as if you as a user gave already actively Dorico the command to quit. Is that correct?
And what if you kill manually the VST Audio Engine process, do you still need to hardboot your computer?

Hi friends! I am using Ventura 13.0.1. Here is the timeline leading to the crash. By the way, if I ask my Mac to restart, it will eventually just shut down after waiting around 20 minutes. When I turn it back on, I get a crash report to send to Apple; by the end of the day, I still get the audio crash. I normally don’t have 20 minutes to wait, so I just hard reboot. So, after hard rebooting, I can use Dorico with no issues until the end of the day, when suddenly I get no sound from playback or just clicking on a pitch. When I try to quit Dorico, it hangs. I then force quit Dorico which leaves my VST windows still open after closing Dorico. At that point, I hard reboot again, and go through the process once more. It’s not as if it’s constantly crashing. It’s just after about eight hours, it hangs up. I am attaching another crash report that I located that looks like my Apogee Duet might be the cause of the crashes. I’m just not sure. Like I said, this has been bothering me for a little over a year and I’d like to get to the bottom of the issue. By the way, I’ve just ordered a Neumann MT48 audio interface in hopes that it might solve the problem if the Apogee Duet is the culprit. Thanks so much for all of your help! (4.7 KB)

That tells me that the VSTAudioEngine process is still running, but it most likely is deadlocked. So when that happens please open the ActivityMonitor app and have a look for a process called VST Audio Engine. I guess it is marked as “not responding”. Now, in the Activity Monitor at the top of the window is a round icon with three dots in there. Highlight the VST Audio Engine process and then click on that mentioned icon. From the pop-up menu choose Sample Process. Follow the instructions and please post the created file (after zipping) here.
When you then force quit the VST Audio Engine process (highlight the process and click on the icon with the x inside) you should be able to start Dorico just like usual again. Or does it not do?

Hi Ulf! While I’m waiting for the crash to happen, did my “ApogeeMessenger” crash log shed light on any issues with the Apogee Duet audio interface? Thanks so much for all of your help! I will report back once the crash takes place.

Hi @JamesIV, since I don’t have the debug symbols of the Apogee Messenger, I can’t tell. Only the people from Apogee can do.

Hi Ulf! Attached is the “Sample Process” from the Activity Monitor. Quitting the VST Audio Engine in the Activity Monitor allowed me to reopen the project without audio issues. Even though Dorico starts properly after quitting the VST Engine in the Activity Monitor, I still can’t get my computer to shutdown/restart without having to do a hard reboot. Please let me know what you can find out. Thanks so much for your help, Ulf! I am extremely grateful.
Sample of VST Audio (42.2 KB)

Thanks for the Sample. I did resolve and it shows again, the audio engine process was asked to shutdown but is dead locked somehow and can not proceed running. That probably is the reason that you have to hard reset your computer. I really don’t know what to advice at this stage, I need to ask my colleagues when we are back to office on Tuesday. A little patience please.
But to ask again, so sometimes you can actually kill the audio engine process from the Activity Monitor app, right?

One more question please, James.

Does this happen with any sort of project loaded in Dorico? Could it be a problem that only exhibits if certain plug-ins are loaded or that are pretty complex. In the sample I can see e.g. that Kontakt is loaded and that one for itself uses loads of processing threads. So it could be a concurrency problem , that they lock each other out. I don’t know, just guessing…

Hi again, Ulf! Yes, your suggestion to quit the VST Audio Engine in the Activity Monitor closes the previously open VST windows and allows me to reopen my Dorico project with no audio issues. I will assume that the re-opened project will still crash after a long day of work since my computer still can’t shut down properly. This type of hang up happens with any Dorico file, whether using Kontakt instruments, or just regular Note Performer (with the Note Performer sounds). It’s a head-scratcher! I hope you and the team can figure it out. Thanks again, Ulf!

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James, when your computer does not shut down properly, it usually means that some process or app is preventing it because they have some unsaved data or other concern for not being forcedly shut down.
When your computer does not want to shut down, please have a look in Activity Monitor if there is any process in the list that is marked as “not responding”. If so, then force quit it, does the shutdown continue then?

Or different test: Start Dorico with a new piano project and enter a few notes and save under some name. Via Activity Monitor force quit the VST Audio Engine process, enter one more note in Dorico and save the project. Now, under this circumstance Dorico should freeze in and showing the spinning beachball because it wants to collect data from the not any more running audio engine. If you then try to shutdown the computer, what is happening with you?
If I do on my machine, nothing happens for about half a minute and an alert appears that “Dorico failed to quit and is not responding”. When I prompt that the shutdown will go ahead.

Hi Ulf! Update: I swapped out my old audio interface (Apogee Duet) for a Neumann MT-48, and the audio crashes have stopped. Hooray! I still can’t properly shut down my Mac Pro, but that’s most likely an Apple issue. Thanks for all of your help, Ulf! I am so grateful for your time!


I’m glad to hear that the crashes are gone.
With the not-shutting-down, if it happens again, please create a spin dump via Activity Monitor and send me. Thanks

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Will do! Thanks again, Ulf!