Dorico on Mac mini M1 vs. any other option -- speed

Hi all,

I’m running on my Mac mini M1 with 16 GB on Big Sur. I know this isn’t the most recent version, but I’m in the middle of a very large project and am reluctant to update until I get though it. I am working on a score with 39 players and about 750 measures (all in one flow). This is one of eighteen movements, and I have thus far kept each movement in a separate file (edit; I originally said “flow” here, but meant file!). The file size of this movement is 14.3 MB.

Dorico is now responding very slowly. As an example, it takes about a full second for an articulation to appear when I add one. Adding things like dynamics takes a bit longer depending upon how many components there are. Even selecting an item with the pointer takes about half a second for the item to light up. I have Condensing unchecked, and on the advice of other threads on the forum I have closed all other tabs—I have one single full-score tab open and am viewing in Galley view.

I’m wondering if this is just the way it goes, or if there’s anything I might not have tried that could speed things up—and if not, would I see considerable improvement in response time with, say, a new Mac Studio?

If the slowdown is the result of Dorico making complex calculations in the background (i.e. for layout) it would be such a nice thing to be able to turn that feature off while in the entry-stage of a score, and then have it do those calculations on demand.


First of all, there is very little reason to stay off an update (e.g. a free update with the same ‘large number’ version). In fact, there may well be performance improvements in such updates.

Secondly, Dorico will slow down somewhat when working with larger scores, though there may be additional factors that affect the amount of slowness. Some people seem to suffer more than others, which may mean the cause lies with particular things – types of notation used (e.g. Percussion, cues, etc may be more computationally expensive.) It could even be something tangentially related to Dorico, like MIDI feedback loops.

However, if it’s really unworkably slow, then send the project to one of the team, to see if they can identify and fix the problem (which might make it to another update).

This is what Galley View is for – which you say you’re already using.
Some sample libraries may also make things slower, if they are hefty enough.

Your Flow is ‘quite big’, and 18 of them would be very big indeed. (How long’s the concert…? :rofl:) You could create a new Layout and only include one Flow at a time, while you’re entering the notes. Final layout work, back in the Full Score, would still be slow, of course.

I doubt you’re running the Mini ‘full tilt’, so throwing more horsepower at the problem may not be the answer. You can check the CPU% and Memory usage in Activity Monitor, in Applications/Utilities. Note that CPU percentages are per core, so 100% means 1 core.

Thanks benwiggy. Maybe I should forward it to the team to see if they have any advice. I’m not using anything in the file other than the standard included samples.

This movement is the biggest, but even so the concert is really WAY too long! :slight_smile:

For what it’s worth, when tracking the %CPU, I’m topping out at a little under 200% when adding a small handful of articulations and a couple of slurs onto one staff. I’m not sure what that means, but my guess is that it’s still nowhere near maxing out the M1.

I don’t work on such large files myself but have heard others say it is also helpful to set the playback template to “silence” in your situation. You won’t get playback until you change it back but working on the score should be faster.

Thanks Mike. I did just try that and it didn’t seem to do much if anything, but I’ll keep it in mind.

For such a big project, is 16GB enough?

As Ben has already said, there can be all sorts of reasons why a particular project is especially slow, and sometimes there can be a specific problem that we can either fix or at least recommend a way around. So by all means send the project to me (you can email me at d dot spreadbury at steinberg dot de) and let me know where in the project you’re working and where you find things particularly slow, and we’ll take a look.

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