FEATURE REQUEST: make the mixer more compact (SMALLER)

To be clear, I’m talking about the Mixer inside Dorico, not the Halion Sonic SE 16-fixed-channel windows that come with the product.

Also to be clear, this is not an “I hate the product” msg. After a rocky start, I do like the product. I paid for it, and hope to be able to use it for some serious projects.

But to be blunt, the Dorico Mixer is just too big and clunky, and it doesn’t need to be. Almost any DAW software I can think of (my favorites being MOTU Digital Performer 9 and 2nd choice, Logic) uses far less screen real estate. Each Dorico Mixer channel’s volume slider & panpots and other affordances could easily be accomodated in 1/4 of the screen space. And yes, I think it is fair to compare Dorico to a DAW. There seem to be a fair number of users who intend to produce finished production mixes inside Dorico. That makes the product a DAW fronted by a sophisticated notation/engraving system! That’s not my workflow, but it’s an awesome idea…

I realize this Mixer was probably thrown together at the last minute to get the software into production, but this segment of the UI really needs a redesign IMHO. If nothing else, Steinberg could adapt its own Halion Sonic SE window to this purpose. I don’t like the Halion window much, personally, but it’s compact and its unusual “mixer turned sideways” design does sort of correspond appropriately to a score layout.

I’ll also mention something I mentioned in my first question to this Forum, although several people gave me a bloody nose for it: why do there have to be a fixed number of channels on this mixer? Even if there need to be a fixed number of underlying channels for some technical reason, the “empty” ones could be hidden.

Thank you - JD

The Dorico Mixer is (admittedly) in a basic state (with quite a lot of capability for an initial state) and Dorico Team members (like Paul W) have indicated that improvements are on the roadmap, although timing has not been announced. So by all means, keep making suggestions. The team appears to be quiet now–no doubt taking a well deserved break after the demands of NAMM–but will likely respond before too long.

Their design aside: you do realize you can expand and contract the mixer’s channel strips, right? The plus and minus buttons on the top right corner?

And could you describe what you mean by fixed number of channels?

No, I didn’t realize that I could expand/contract the channel strips. That certainly helps somewhat, thank you! There is not even one picture of this mixer, nor any explanation of those +.- buttons in the PDF manual I have, sorry, and I couldn’t find much about it online either. That’s why I have to keep asking dumb questions.

By “fixed number of channels” I mean this: the “VST” instrument strips appear to be allocated in fixed groups of 16. For example, if you create 16 “solo players” initially, you have 16 channel strips, labelled “HSSE1,” “HSSE2,”…“HSSE16”; these are also labelled with abbreviated “instrument” names. These strips correspond to the instrument slots in Halion Sonic SE window, assuming you’re using Halion SE.

If you now add ONE more “player,” you now get SIXTEEN more slots in the Dorico Mixer, (the labelling sequence “HSSE1,” “HSSE2,”… etc. being repeated) and another 16-slot Halion window. Even with this modest number of “players,” even at the smallest strip size, my 27-in iMac screen is now filling up. If I add some channels for MIDI, FX, and outputs,… you get the picture. It’s messy, crowded, hard to read, hard to manipulate - unneccessarily so. I don’t want to have to see or navigate and scroll around empty slots that I’m never going to use.

If I want to start assigning MIDI tracks, BTW, I have to go to even another (Play) window, apparently. Other than testing that playback transmission to a MIDI device does work, I haven’t quite figured out how players correspond to channels on MIDI devices. If I have 2 MIDI devices, each supporting 16 channels, does that mean I can set up 2x16 MIDI slots? Or do I get only 16 for all purposes? I have no clue.

My conclusion for the moment is that I want to interact as little as possible with this mixer, which I can do by essentially a 2-stage process: Notate as much detail as I need for dynamics, etc. and hope that the essentials can be captured to Music XML. Then export the XML into a real DAW that will let me create a real orchestration and a “performance”; I don’t care if I have to tweak every single event! A certain other leading notation program does not handle this problem very satisfactorily, either.

Dear jduenseb,

I understand everything you stated here, and all of it has already been written by other users before. Good news is the dev team knows that and, as they all are musicians and DAW users, they know there still is work to do on that area, they have plans and big improvements are on their way… I hope in the meantime you find a satisfactory workflow until those improvements are implemented :wink:

Keep asking questions, by all means. There may be dumb questions, but this certainly wasn’t it! We’re all finding our way around.

Oh, I see what you mean. I can speculate why the Mixer always creates all the channel strips for a device, but that wouldn’t be useful for the time being.

Each device has its 16 inputs. Each Instrument has a different MIDI stream, which can be routed to any slot of any device by opening up the Instrument’s MIDI lane and changing the dropdowns on the left. You can route more than one Instrument to any channel of any device. Mind you that these will be fused into a single track if you export the MIDI.

We know that the Mixer in its current state is more functional than beautiful, and we do have plans to improve the way it looks and feels as the program develops. It is also true that there is basically no documentation for Play mode as yet: our author Lillie is working hard on that right now, and we will publish an update as soon as possible. Ant is also working on a series of videos on Play mode that will be available in a few weeks.