HowTo: Use Logic playback engine with BBCSO

Unfortunately the BBCSO at least is too buggy right now in Dorico, I’ve been getting lots of crashes, hangs and other oddities. Fortunately, while we wait for Live Link Integration with Cubase, you can set up Logic as a playback engine without too much trouble. Even better I believe we can print the MIDI to Logic when the music is finalized, which then for those of us needing high quality stems we can work with the MIDI thereafter in the DAW.

Here’s the list of steps. This is Mac only obviously, on Windows there may be an equivalency with other DAW’s. This is done using the default BBCSO Dorico template, and the Spitfire Audio Logic Template Every Instance Full Routing, both with BBCSO Pro.

  • IAC Set up your IAC driver. Go into Audio Midi Setup/Midi Studio and double click the IAC Driver. Add a bunch of ports, I suggest naming them “Woodwinds”, “Brass”, etc. You’ll need two for percussion, e.g. “Percussion A” and “Percussion B”
  • Dorico MIDI in In Dorico Play preferences, uncheck all of those new ports (otherwise you get loopback)
  • Dorico Play Add the MIDI Instruments you added above, e.g. “IAC Driver Woodwinds”, the the lower right hand corner of the Play mode.
  • Instruments For each of the instruments on the left hand side, replace the BBCSO version with the MIDI Instrument, just go sequentially for the MIDI Channel (1, 2, 3, …). E.g. Piccolo will be Woodwind/MIDI channel 1, Piccolo will be Woodwind/MIDI channel 2, etc.
  • Expression maps Hit the gear icon on the MIDI Instruments, and select the proper expression maps for each channel. You can use the VST Instruments for reference. Delete all the VST Instruments when done.
  • Logic MIDI Input You want your keyboard to not be input to Logic otherwise you’ll get double playback. Two ways, either remove it as an input in preferences (which stays true for all projects) or in MIDI Studio for this project remove all MIDI input except for shown below (MIDI Studio Clicks and Ports, I haven’t tried this yet)
  • Logic Singles Christian likes articulation/track but we need all in one (I kept all the singles, for final print I may want to copy MIDI over to a different articulation, and who knows. But they can be deleted. Select the “Long” version of each instrument, duplicated it, go into the BBCSO Plugin configuration and add all the articulations back. Hit save. I suggest changing the color to a darker version for each of the new tracks to distinguish.
  • Logic MIDI Studio Attached is a picture showing the setup. The relevant bits you need is a Physical Input and Channel Splitter. To be able to see those tiny icons hold down Control while scrolling up/down to zoom the entire screen. For each of the IAC Ports route to a Channel Splitter (renamed here to Woodwinds, etc), then sent individually to each new channel as appropriate.

Done! Now it performs flawlessly (well other than other weird glitches I see occasionally in Dorico). This is really a beautiful design the team did, it needs some maturity but the basis is there for a really powerful system. But now Logic stays up all the time, is instantaneous, and Dorico comes up and down in a minute, with only 10 seconds to be ready to play. And Logic is so performant the project comes up in a minute whereas Dorico takes 10 minutes+ to get ready to to play (and will crash eventually anyhow). Basically everything is fast as it is without a Play back end, and you have all the full controls of a DAW (panning, mixing, etc). Even note entry is faster, as with the BBCSO in the built in playback slows everything down.

Note if you want a remote computer (e.g. one with more resources) you can easily do the same thing, just using networked MIDI in in MIDI Studio rather than IAC. For that however you’ll need to route the playback back to your client computer. Different wants to do that, personally I’d use my Dante network, but my machine is powerful enough it’s convenient obviously to be on the same computer.

Problem: Leader solo’s can’t (AFAIK) come from a simple “solo” directive since they’re different VST’s (they’d have to be different actual instruments). If anybody knows a trick to solve this problem that would be great.

Logic MIDI setup

If you make the solo a different voice, and then assign that voice to a different MIDI instrument then it would do what I think you are asking.

Brilliant! Took me a bit to figure out exactly what you mean, but yes add a different stem voice (btw Dorico team if you don’t happen to enter a new voice with a stem it automatically gets assigned to the main voice it seems. Down/Up-STEM is taken literally here I think).

I trolled the documentation but how would one add a simple “solo” to the part? Or is doing divisi better?

Now there’s a problem … in my score I have an up and down stem voice in the violins. It worked fine, in Play I could set the two voices appropriately to Solo and Section. But on a Save and restart now Play doesn’t recognize the down voice anymore.
Second oddity is that in Play you can set these for just the Flow, or for the entire piece, but I don’t see any way or indication of the present flow in this screen. Edit: OK it looks like it will only show this if you have any multi voices in the flow, but again I don’t see how I can set or indicate the Flow I’m in.

There is a selector at the top of the list of tracks in Play mode to allow you to select a specific flow.

Bingo, I see it now, thanks Daniel. Dorico has got a really slick interface that makes a lot of sense, for a new user it hasn’t been hard coming up to speed.

Addendum to this procedure, while you can use Logic as a playback engine unfortunately it appears you cannot use it as a recording engine. This is due to a limitation in the sequencer input to the tracks, it only will accept 16 midi channels maximum. It appears though that this is a Logic peculiarity that others DAW’s don’t have.

So after many years, Hello Cubase, Goodbye Logic.

As a workaround, for the case your Dorico project has more than 16 instruments, you could make several custom layouts with up to 16 instruments and do the transfer recording to Logic in several passes.