Currently, the way that Dorico’s solo and mute buttons work are less effective than those in Cubase and handle a narrower range of situations. Specifically, the way the buttons work in Dorico only works when there is a 1:1 mapping of MIDI tracks to audio returns. Admittedly, the stage features in Dorico 5 need separate audio returns for the instruments to be effective, but if you are not using that, the limitation can be a bit annoying compared to working in Cubase where this limitation does not exist.
As a background for people reading this who are unaware, in Dorico, the solo and mute buttons work directly with the audio tracks that correspond to each MIDI track. In a 1:1 situation, this works just fine, but if you have multiple MIDI tracks going through a single audio track, solo and mute will in this case not function as expected and when clicking on them you may not hear what you were expecting. For me, situations that are not 1:1 are most frequent, typically using NotePerformer and Vienna Ensemble Pro. Yes, I know I can use the mixer in those two programs but if things worked similarly to the way they do in Cubase, I would not need to.
In Cubase, in the main track list (the equivalent of “Play mode”), there are mute and solo buttons that look a lot like the ones in Dorico. However, the ones in Cubase are quite different, as they work on MIDI as well. As a result of this, Cubase works with 1:1, but doesn’t require it. Pressing solo on a MIDI track in Cubase will solo that MIDI track, and also solo all audio returns from the virtual instrument that is used to play that MIDI track (because it doesn’t know which audio return the sound is actually coming back on, so it just enables solo on all of them). This solution works either with a 1:1 MIDI to audio mapping or with multiple MIDI tracks using one single audio feed, because it solos the MIDI (similar to what would happen if you selected some notes on a staff and pressed “P” - that effectively does a MIDI solo of the track). Muting a MIDI track in Cubase will not mute the returns from the virtual instruments, as Cubase knows that there might be other virtual instruments and therefore other MIDI tracks using the same audio feed coming back, which would otherwise be inadvertently muted.
Overall, the Cubase method is extremely flexible and works in basically all situations that I have encountered with very predictable results - so, why does Dorico not work like this? I’m guessing that the reason that Dorico does this the way it does is just for a simpler implementation that would cover most common situations, as it involves less programming. Aside from this, is there something I am missing that would preclude the Cubase method from working in Dorico? At first I thought that the solo and mute behaviour was just a temporary solution to get solo and mute functionality into Dorico in a quick-and-dirty way so that instead attention could be turned to other things, and a more Cubase-like solo and mute added later. However, this functionality is still unchanged after several years, so it makes me wonder if there is something that is preventing this from working like it would in Cubase.
If there is nothing preventing this, I would very much like to see the behaviour of the solo and mute buttons to be modelled off of those in Cubase by implementing MIDI solo and mute functionality in the future.