Dorico surround sound


It appears to me that Dorico is aiming to add many future sequencing/playback features to aid wonderful expression. I use Vienna Ensemble Pro to host all my VI plugins.

If scoring for film/video, I would like to use a surround setup with LFE and center speaker (dialog) during composition.

Consequently, it would be wonderful if a future version of Dorico could:

  1. Play videos with embedded 5.1 (or 7.1 etc.) surround sound.
  2. Host Surround Sound plugins (such as VE Pro 7)

Big Smiles


Thanks for your feedback, Leif. At the moment we have no plans for surround mixing in Dorico, but we certainly don’t rule it out for the (long-term) future.

If I understand correctly, at the momento Dorico doesn’t allow surround sound.

When using Vienna Ensemble Pro, is however still possible to mix down all the audio channels to stereo, to prelisten them in Dorico while playing the score back?

And then, if exporting the project from Dorico, and then importing it into a DAW, will it be possible to reuse the data for mixing in surround, without having to recreate the VEP surround project?


I’m afraid I don’t know the answer to these questions, but my assumption is that since Dorico only provides a single stereo output, you won’t be able to hear any surround mixing you do in VEP when running it in Dorico. but provided VEP automatically mixes surround configurations down to stereo, I would imagine that you could then use that surround configuration in a host that does support multiple outputs.

That sounds right, Daniel. As soon as I can try it, I’ll report if it actually works.

To be honest, I’m not mostly interested to surround sound for cinema scores, since in any case the music track is usually printed either in stereo, or in stereo “stems”. It is then mixed in surround together with the other audio contributions to the movie.

With the pervasive presence of surround, I might however have been left back, and what was in the older guides to mixing may no longer be correct, and music is now asked in Dolby Atmos right to the composer…

What I’m really interested into is multichannel audio for scores with space placement as a basic element of the score. Think to Stockhausen’s Gruppen, Maderna’s Quadrivium, Boulez’s Rituel or Répons, or Berio’s Formazioni. Or the Renaissance double-choir music. Or Bach’s St. Matthew’s Passio. All pieces that we have recorded in stereo*, but would be great to make in multichannel. Not to think to our own compositions.

(* But then: the magnificent King’s College’s 1615 Gabrieli in Venice can be had multichannel. Shame not to have been able to listen to it in this version, due to my listening system still only in stereo!)


Interesting thread.

Question for Daniel and Ulf: how does video playback in Dorico work? Does it use the Dorico playback engine?

The Dorico playback engine right now only has two outputs (stereo). Theoretically, if the playback engine would support multiple audio outputs, assuming you have a sound card and speaker setup that allows for 5.1, you would be able to e.g. play back a video file in 5.1 surround format, and then have Dorico output to e.g. front left and right channels, and perhaps the rear channels.

The reality is that most music for movies is still stereo, and most music for movies does not come straight from an engraving program like Dorico but from a DAW and live recordings.

Dolby Atmos is a whole different ballpark. With 64 or more discrete audio channels, this is really the territory of dedicated re-mixing engineers, using Pro Tools in a $$$ studio with dozens of speakers. Even Hans Zimmer is not asked to deliver Atmos mixes.

I’m not sure to exactly what extent multi-channel audio in video files is supported (you can read here for all the gory details) but in the end the audio will be mixed down to stereo for playback in Dorico.