Help: Dorico 4 project not loading properly, VST Audio Engine Crashing

Hello,

(I have sent an email to Steinberg support with the projects involved here, as well - posting on the forum in case anyone else runs into the same issue in the future.)

I have Dorico Pro 4.1 running in M1 native mode, OSX 12.4, 2020 M1 Macbook Pro (13").

I have attached a diagnostic report.

When I start Dorico, I see the Dorico process and the VST Audio Engine process working fine in my Activity Monitor. When I open a smaller / simpler project, or when I start one from scratch, things work fine - I can hear sound etc.

However, when I open this project, no VSTs load, VST Audio Engine seems to have crashed (the process is no longer seen in Activity Monitor), and no sound / mixer is available. When I try to do any action that would interact with the engine (such as open the mixer), or even quit Dorico or close the project, Dorico hangs and needs to be force-quit.

The one unusual thing I am doing in this project is running it in M1 native mode, but using DDMF Metaplugin to load the VEP7 non-M1-native plugin. This was working great for a few days, but suddenly it became impossible to load today. However, I have an older version of this project that isn’t doing this (I don’t think) and it is experiencing the same issue.

Please help me figure out what’s going wrong with this project. I have tried restarting my machine several times, etc., and even looking through the logs, but can’t find anything obvious (not being an expert). Losing this project would be quite a bummer.

Thanks,
David

Diagnostic report too big to attach, here it is:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/12T5nX9heP2ENCmP5DrD28bcUxUB0KjSR/view?usp=sharing

By the way, the last thing I see in the dorico log is:

2022-06-12 20:02:19.042 [info] Restoring engine state from file: /var/folders/kt/1tvv94qs4xd_n4nmw5lz54g40000gn/T/Dorico 4/ocfsessions/session-ee35d/0-fb667/supplementary_data/vstaudioengine/enginedata

I have tried deleting that file and a few other things but still can’t fix this issue.

Hi @dyross, I’ll get back to you on this very soon…

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Hi @dyross , the diagnostics contain plenty of crash files of the VSTAudioEngine and it is always the Metaplugin that is crashing and therefore bringing the audio engine down. So from our side there is nothing we can do about the crashing. You should get in touch with the makers of that Metaplugin and ask for a fix. And also even better stay away from that plug-in until then.
Btw, I can help you cleaning up your project. Let me know.

Thank you so much for getting back to me so quickly! I’m in CA so going to bed for the evening. Two questions I’ll work on tomorrow:

If you can point me to failure log, I’ll send to developer.

Yes, helping me clean up project would be great! I can delete the vsts from the rack, but not from master in mixer because mixer won’t load.

Thanks!

Hi @dyross , the diagnostics report you’ve uploaded contains a folder called ‘Crashes’. Have a look in there for the files VSTAudioEngine5_[date&time].ips. Those IPS please send to the developers of Metaplugin.

And if you send your project file to u dot stoermer at steinberg dot de I can reset the audio engine state.

@Ulf was able to help me clean up my project over email: tl;dr, Metaplugin was the problem in this case.

Thanks, Ulf!

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@Ulf my project has become unusable again. I haven’t added any new VSTs, just new instruments mapped to additional ports.

Here is my latest diagnostic bundle: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1KGsez59v_J-EWQDcGFea0f04NAXYSdGo/view?usp=sharing

EDIT: The issue is slightly different than last time - rather than crashing the audio engine at the beginning, I’m getting hangs randomly while using it.

EDIT 2: It seems to be consistently crashing after I create a new instrument, delete the Halion VST that gets auto-assigned, and add the instrument to another channel in an existing plugin.

Hi @dyross , thanks for the data.
Seems like the case is more complicated this time. In the diagnostics are no crash files, so Dorico is only hanging. What I see though are extremely big log files of Dorico. So also paging @dspreadbury to take a look at it. There are tons of entries saying “Process SetMIDIMonitorDestination”, so it seems to me that Dorico is stuck in some endless loop there. The audio engine logs appear to be normal.
Does that happen with any instrument that you re-route or just particular ones?

Hi @ulf, thanks so much for the response, and thanks @dspreadbury in advance for looking into this.

It doesn’t seem to be just a single instrument, though, in this case, I was working on “Bass Guitar 2” / “J Bass”.

One more thing that I’m seeing, and apologies in advance for the vague bug report, but sometimes, I’m seeing that MIDI is not being sent to the VSTs properly. In other words, I’m getting gaps in the playback. I originally thought that this was the VSTs themselves (in VEP7), but restarting VEP doesn’t fix it, whereas restarting Dorico does.

So is my project generally running into MIDI challenges based on complexity?

@dyross, we have to wait for Daniel’s assessment. I mentioned the extreme logging of error messages and since something is going out of control there in Dorico, it comes as no surprise that also the MIDI handling is going wrong.
Would you also be able to send the current state of your project to me? Thanks

Hi @Ulf, totally understand that we have to wait for Daniel and not trying to imply urgency with my last message, just trying to provide all information possible. I have always been impressed with your responsiveness and I don’t expect an urgent response especially on the weekends.

I have emailed you a link to my latest project file.

The problem here is the same one described in this thread:

I’m afraid there’s not a lot you can do about this right now, short of using a different set of playback devices to avoid using MIDI devices altogether. Sorry!

Hi @dspreadbury - thank you very much for the quick response. If the answer is “this is a known issue and we are working on it”, that’s great! I can work around it in the meantime by closing and re-opening my project.

However, I am curious if you could clarify a bit the terminology here so I can better reason and communicate about this issue (and Dorico generally). From the perspective of VSTs and MIDI, I am not doing anything differently that with my non-VEP projects. Is VEP Server the “MIDI device” in this case?

Additionally, and perhaps more critically, I don’t see any mention of Dorico locking up with an “endless loop” as @Ulf describes above (which I observe as a beachball which requires me to force close Dorico). Is that explained by the same issue?

Thanks again,
David

The users who experience the problem with not being able to hear MIDI from their external MIDI device may not yet have experienced a hang, but the potential is there, because Dorico will be continually sending a message to itself to tell it to set the MIDI monitor destination when it becomes available, expecting the audio engine to tell it that a plug-in has been loaded, and not accounting for the fact that if the MIDI monitor destination is a MIDI port, there’s nothing to load.

I can only assume that you have at least one device active under MIDI Instruments in the VST Rack panel in Play mode, but perhaps I’m wrong?

@dspreadbury thanks for clarifying.

I do not have any MIDI Instruments, unless there are some hidden (and I don’t recall ever adding any):

(I am using Blue Cat’s Patchwork to wrap VEP plugin, which is not M1 native. This has generally been pretty stable for me, much more so than Metaplugin as described above.)

I have shared my project file with Ulf via email and am happy to share with you as well if that’s helpful.

Thanks!

Hi @dyross, thanks for the project, I also forwarded it to Daniel.
On a separate note, though it might also play into your other issue, the project file is very big and the major part of all the data is audio engine data. To be more precise, it is plug-in data. When saving a project Dorico asks each plug-in to save its state and then it collects all these data chunks. The data is proprietary to the plug-ins and Dorico does not interpret it. In your case, you have the Youlean loudness meter, which creates data chunks of really massive size. So you either go to the Youlean settings page and switch that off or - even better - try to not use that plug-in at all. Btw, here is a little further info on that.

Super helpful, thank you!

I was wondering why my project was so large even with decoupled VEP as the main instruments; this makes perfect sense.

YouLean is a handy tool, so I was able to disable “Graph Saves” as per the manual: https://youlean.co/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/Youlean-Loudness-Meter-2-V2.2.1-MANUAL.pdf

And this seems to help.

Thanks!

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Quick updates from my side; I’m attaching my latest diagnostic bundle, which includes a few more crashes / hangs:

Dorico Diagnostics.zip (3.7 MB)

Note that I do not have any MIDI instruments in my rack, and that I have cleaned up the excessive engine data from YouLean as @Ulf described.

(I only ping this thread, @dspreadbury, because it seems like something is slightly different than in the other topic, which I’m excited to read that it is fixed internally.)

There are no crash logs contained in your diagnostic report, I’m afraid. But this isn’t really surprising, since Dorico will be hanging, not crashing.