To be completely honest, 99% of the time I’m just too lazy for this. I’m writing for actual musicians the majority of the time so the mockup has to be decent enough for them to get the idea, but won’t ever be used as a substitute for an actual recording or performance.
I’ve mostly been experimenting with Play menu settings, Aria settings, and Mixer settings. I’m still pretty new at dabbling with MIDI and mixing, but it is pretty amazing what a few simple tweaks can do. Obviously solo parts with slashes aren’t playing back, but as an example here’s a piece for 5 saxophones I wrote last summer in Dorico, using Garritan Jazz and Big Band saxes.
Here’s an MP3 of it that was just flat with Dorico defaults.
Here’s an MP3 of the same file straight out of Dorico with about two minutes worth of work loading plugins into the Mixer, and tweaking Play and Aria settings. No manual adjustments made to any Dynamics, Velocity, or any other CC in Dorico. (A few CCs changed in Aria that affect the instrument sounds.)
Here’s an MP3 of us actually playing it for anyone interested. Pretty low-fi recording with lots of little performance errors as we all did it remotely from our homes and 3 of the guys just used iPhones, but you can get the idea.
Most of the time, that’s the sort of thing I need to do. Just make a quick mockup that’s as realistic as possible without spending time drawing in and shaping CCs. Does anyone have any suggestions of things that would help that second file straight out of Dorico, without being time intensive? Just trying to see if there are any other quick fixes y’all would do to improve it, as the musicians are just going to use the file to get the general idea and will ignore any MIDI phrasing anyway.
(Obviously I couldn’t figure out how to embed those directly in the post or I would have. If anyone knows how to do that, I’ll go back and edit them.)