Dynamics don't seem to have much difference

I am testing out basic features and tried to do a crescendo as shown in the image. I used shift+d to setup the sample and there seems to be very little difference from pppp to f. I would think pppp would be nearly a whisper. Am I doing something wrong? I am using Iconica Sketch for sounds.
Screenshot 2024-04-03 203207

Have you tried reapplying the Playback Template?

If this doesn’t work, perhaps you can upload a couple of bars of a project that demonstrates what is happening?

I am on Elements and the instrument in question is viola. Does that make a difference?


Does anything change when you complete this procedure?

No change. Here is the sample. I can here some difference, but it doesn’t seem like the range is large enough.

Test Score.dorico (2.8 MB)

I’m sorry but I don’t know what’s going on! Hopefully someone else might have some more advice.

Have you checked the dynamics in the key Editor view? And how about the dynamics curve, have you adjusted that?

What sort of audio interface setup do you have? What computer platform, and what version of Dorico?

What are your Dorico mixer values?

Viola players are always a problem :slight_smile: :slight_smile:


I certainly agree but I tested Horns as well and the same thing appears to be happening. I also created a new project in Elements and Pro and it seemed to have the same behaviour, unless I’m going nuts…

I use a custom sample library and so this problem doesn’t come up.

It’s new install of 5.1.30 on windows 11 64-bit, standard Dorico blank template, 4 whole notes, and a crescendo that doesn’t seem to work out of the box (like I thought it would).

I checked the key editor panel dynamics and it’s increasing but I guess I thought it would be more pronounced. Maybe it’s my expectations.

I am just joking about viola players!


I’m not! :joy:


Interesting. The CC1 lane moves from about 24 for pppp to 80 for f, (out of a total range of 127). So it’s saving 12 divisions each for 5 and 6 ps, and for all the ffffs up to 6 fs above forte.

However, the ‘dynamic’ indicator in the HALion VST moves from pp to mf.

Screenshot 10

The Iconica Strings Expression map has an override on the Dynamic Curve:

Resetting that, or changing it, to the default of 2.5 gives a bit more contrast. You could alternatively (or also) bring in the minimum dynamic levels to say -4 and 4. (Essentially making ppp the lowest value and fff the greatest.)

Also, adding CC11 as a secondary dynamic gives a bit more effect.

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wow, that went right over my head. As a new user evaluating Dorico, that’s quite a bit of power-user level wrangling to achieve what should be a basic, out of the box experience. Not something I’ve ever needed to do in Musescore. Apples and Oranges, I know, but still. I will look into it, but if I have to customize every instrument I use, well…

You would only have to customize the Expression Map, which will then apply to all the Iconica Strings.

It should be possible to then update the Expression Map so that it applies to all new documents. However, I’m not quite sure how you do that for a factory Expression Map, rather than one created for a custom Endpoint. Someone else may be able to chime in.

Iconica Sketch is very new, so it’s likely that a few defaults could do with a bit of tweaking.

EDIT: However, the quickest and easiest way to fix it is to go to Playback Options, and set the Dynamic Range Min and Max to -4 and 4.

That will “ignore” the very extreme dynamics, and give you a very quiet pppp. If you Save As Defaults, it will be set for every document.

I set mine to 2.0 and -4/4. I do hear a difference in the crescendo, but pppp is anything but “very quiet”.

give it to violas… trust me… it WILL be very quiet.
I gave the entire viola section a forte passage in one of my symphonies, and I SWEAR they acted like their instruments were going to bite them if they pet them too hard or in the wrong place.


That’s probably true.

Thing is though, I don’t make scores for distribution/performance at this time. Playback quality is the only thing that matters to me.

I’m experiencing this issue as well. Like bill0287, I’m trialing Dorico and coming from MuseScore. There’s a LOT to love about Dorico, and I’m especially in love with its tools for scoring to picture.

That said, I’m not so in love with Iconica Sketch’s dynamics during playback. The factory expression map never actually reaches down to ppp in the VST even when I assign a dynamic of pppp to the instrument, and I can’t figure out how to fix this. At most, it will reach pp; and on the other end of the spectrum, even after assigning a dynamic of ffff to the instrument, the VST will only ever reach up to ff during playback.

Any further advice regarding this would be greatly appreciated.

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Welcome to the forum.
I agree that Iconica Sketch is not particularly impressive.

However, you can experiment with the Library>Playback Options… Dynamics to find settings that suit your music better. First play around with the headline settings…

If you reduce the overall dynamic range, then your ppp will be quieter and your fff louder (but pppp will have no affect etc.)

Then explore the mass of more nuanced settings beneath.

Finally home in on individual instruments and explore their settings in the expression maps to change dynamics according to articulations/techniques.

Hi Janus. Thanks for your reply! I appreciate it. I’ve been having a play with the settings you mentioned, but the overall effect hasn’t been all that huge. I’m thinking I might just have to explore outside of Iconica Sketch. I have EastWest Composer Cloud+ to play with, so I’m going to try playing with that within Dorico. :slight_smile: