Hang trying to open any Dorico file or start new

I have searched the Dorico forums and do not seem to find the problem that I am experiencing, so I would like to let you know about it, in case it can help anyone else.

This is my situation. Completely new hardware (the key seemingly is Intel 7800X processor and the corresponding X299-based motherboard), but good old Windows 7 SP1 x64 Ultimate (and all Windows updates) installed, and the latest Dorico. I can launch Dorico to the Hub page, but trying to open existing Dorico files or trying to start from “New Empty Project” results in an unterminating hang (existing files stop at “60%” in the small progress bar). Dorico must be killed from the task manager (or sysinternal’s ProcessExplorer), as must its child process, VSTAudioEngine.

Attaching to the VSTAudioEngine process with a debugger (e.g., with MSVC++ 2010), with Dorico freshly opened and waiting at the Hub start page, then opening a file or starting a new project shows an uncaught exception:

'VSTAudioEngine.exe': Loaded 'F:\Program Files\Steinberg\Dorico\VSTAudioEngine\Vst3\VST Audio Engine Plug-in Set.vst3', Cannot find or open the PDB file
First-chance exception at 0x0d978bc4 in VSTAudioEngine.exe: 0xC000001D: Illegal Instruction.

Details on a very similar (identical sounding crash from “illegal instruction”) crash running Cubase 9.x on my same hardware can be found here

Cubase 9.5 crashes when initializing VST Mixer

where the problem has been noted in that thread as being an Intel problem that Steinberg developers are working on.

In the Cubase case, the problem comes during the execution of “Cubase Plug-in Set.vst3” (I’m not saying it is the cause, just that this vst3 module triggers the exception). Looking at Dorico, I found a similar vst3 module, “VST Audio Engine Plug-in Set.vst3”. If I remove this file (e.g., renaming the folder it is in), Dorico can open existing Dorico files and create new files from “New Empty Project”. (Of course, whatever built-in FX and/or instruments are in that vst3 module will not be available.)

I want to bring this to the Dorico team’s attention in case they are not yet aware of this problem and of the work being done on it by another team. Please take the following suggestion with the best intentions (mood/attitude are hard to judge over the internet; from one software engineer to another, I know things which may sound easy are often quite the opposite) that if possible, it might be good to incorporate similar exception catching code as used in “Cubase Plug-in Set.vst3” with either UI, an entry in VSTAudioEngine.log, or even a .dmp file, which could help in the future for problems which the user sees as a hang but could be an unhandled exception.

If you have previously had a crash with Dorico, the VST Audio Engine will need to be restarted independently.

The simplest and most reliable way to do this is usually by simply rebooting your machine. Please say if this works for you. Good luck!

Yes, you are absolutely correct that rebooting is the most reliable way to ensure the Dorico has cleaned up properly in case it has crashed or gotten hung up.

In my account, I have given many details (the results of hours of investigation, spread over many days with numerous reboots, different hardware, etc.), hopefully to benefit the developers, but unfortunately I didn’t make it very clear for Dorico users.

So, to summarize for Dorico users what I have learned: there seems to be a problem that shows up between the Intel 7800X (maybe all Skylake-X?) and the internal set of FX that both Dorico and Cubase 9.x use in independent modules, which causes either a hang or a crash (maybe only in Windows 7?). From what I have heard in another post, I am not the only one to see this in Cubase and Steinberg developers are working on this (for the Cubase side, at least).

If there is anyone successfully using Dorico 1.2.10 in Windows 7 with an Intel Skylake-X processor, that would be good to hear about.

Please have a look at following thread: https://www.steinberg.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=246&t=104450&sid=9c7545eebbf4fd2c3cfba3036f92ad7d#p705712
Does that maybe help you?

Ulf, thank you for looking into this and for this suggestion. I did try that. My new install of Windows 7 is completely up-to-date with Windows Updates. My current understanding is that my problem is hardware-specific, seems to show up also in Cubase 9.x, and relates somehow to the Skylake-X processors.

I purchased Dorico the very day it was released, and had no problems on my old Windows 7 machine, so I forgot it is not actually supported on Windows 7.

It would be great if any potential resolution that the Cubase team might find for Steinberg’s built-in plug-ins, could also be applied for Dorico.

As for me, I do not use Dorico for its effects plug-ins (I have Cubase for rendering), so I will work-around my (seems-to-be unique) problem by moving Dorico’s “VST Audio Engine Plug-in Set.vst3” so it is not loaded.

Given the uniqueness and maybe only affects Windows 7, then except for the hope that Dorico’s built-in plug-ins could benefit from any effort of the Cubase team, we can mark this problem as “resolved”.

Definitely, when we have a fix for the Cubase plug-in set, it will also get applied to all our other products as well, there’s no question about that. Can’t tell exactly when, but sooner or later we’ll fix it.

Can you attach a crash dump so that we can verify whether this is the same problem as the one in Cubase?

Ulf, thank you for this heartening info.

Paul, thank you for your time to look into this.

There is no dump file since the problem is a hang. However, I have created a dump file using windbg to attach to the VSTAudioEngine process, setting windbg break on an illegal instruction, clicking “New Empty Project” in Dorico’s “hub” page, which then causes the exception, followed by manually dumping (using “.dump /mFhut”) to a file, which is attached.

This was the first (and seemingly only) illegal instruction exception that was generated. If there are other flags that would be better to use for generating the dump file, or a better method to do so for your purposes, please let me know.

Thanks for sending the crash dump. At first glance it looks like it could be the same one that you’ve previously seen in Cubase. Yours is the first report we’ve seen of it in Dorico. Unfortunately I don’t know of any workarounds in the meantime.

We have now confirmed that your crash is due to some bug in the Intel IPP (Integrated Performance Primitives) library. This issue not only affects Dorico but also our other products that have a dedicated plug-in set.
We are in contact with Intel and they say that they will release a bug fix version very soon. We then need to recompile all plug-in sets with that new library and then provide update installers.
Can’t exactly say when all this will happen, but it is just a matter of time until the issue will be resolved for good.

Hi, Ulf, thank you so much for this status update. Your attention, and that of the team behind the scenes (including, now, Intel), has been very valuable, patient, and steady.

Looking forward to the eventual fix!