I can reliably reproduce the beach ball spin problem

The problem seems to be when loading samples if you make some other program the focus during the load, then after the load is complete and you try to put the focus back on Dorico and attempt playback the beachball happens and the only thing you can do is force quit. If you leave Dorico the focus the entire time that the load occurs then the beach ball does not happen and things work as normal. (One exception is you lose sound if you encounter the beach ball from a previous load. In that case just quit Dorico and create a solo piano from scratch and this will reset the audio system.)

I can make this happen reliably whether using VE Pro, Halion, or Note Performer as the template. In my case using VE Pro this was happening a lot because the samples take longer to load, and the VE Pro Server is a separate app that bounces the dock when it starts to do something, So most of the time I was switching to that app during the load time and so Dorico would beach ball as a result.

To replicate this problem do the following:

  1. Launch a reasonably large file from the finder.
  2. Wait until you see Dorico display the hub screen and start loading samples.
  3. Click another app to move focus away from Dorico (even the Finder is fine for this, or Activity Monitor).
  4. After Dorico finishes and looks like it is ready, try to select the first bar or note to begin playback.
  5. At this point you get a beach ball and need to force quit.

If you just let Dorico finish loading without switching focus to another app, it will work (may need sound reset as described above).

I tried to attach a test file but even a much reduced copy is too big. I’ll send a copy to Daniel by email.

i’ve been unable to reproduce this problem using a variety of big projects I have, though I don’t have VSL available on my Mac to try that; however, I’ve used projects that require three or four instances of HALion Sonic SE to play back, which means that sound loading can take a good few seconds. I’ve tried both opening a project when Dorico is already running and indeed from a cold start, and so far I’ve not been able to get things to go wrong.

Our hypothesis is that the problem is related to the remapping of audio outputs, which Dorico has to do when opening a project or indeed when switching between two open projects; the state of the audio data in the project may not match the outputs currently available or in use (e.g. if your headphones were connected last time, or if an external audio interface is now being used that wasn’t last time, etc.), and the larger the project, the more outputs there tend to be on the various plug-ins to require remapping. Unfortunately the spindumps etc. just seem to show us that Dorico is waiting to hear back from the audio engine, and that alone doesn’t give us anything concrete to chase down. But I will bring this up with Ulf and Paul and we’ll see what further investigative steps we can take.

In the meantime I’m sorry for the inconvenience caused.

I wonder if this problem is related to this: https://helpcenter.steinberg.de/hc/en-us/articles/360000931359-Mac-Unable-to-switch-between-speaker-and-headphone-outputs

My machine is 2016 Touch Bar Mac, which has the problem sorting out the AirPod issue. Do you have a similar machine to try (post late 2016)?

I am fortunate enough to have a 2018 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar (which I mostly love, except that I am always accidentally hitting the soft Esc key on the Touch Bar, and the left Shift key is already becoming unreliable after only a month or so) and in common with all new Macs – including the iMac Pro – I have to create and use an aggregate device to get Dorico to play back through either the speakers or the headphones according to whether or not headphones are plugged in, but I suspect that this problem, while annoying, is probably not the cause of your hang.

However, if you’re not using an aggregate device that joins the two built-in output devices together, I would recommend it anyway.

My machine only has one internal speaker, but I do use an aggregate device when using AirPods. I was using just the internal speaker when creating this problem.

I’m at a loss on this issue. But the good news is that now that can reliably create this issue, I can also reliably avoid it. So my frustration level using Dorico has gone down 95%.

By the way, I also used to accidentally hit the escape key in the Touch Bar. But I’ve remapped escape to the caps lock key, since I never use that key.

I did some more testing on this issue with another machine. The other machine is a 2012 MacBook Pro. This machine does not exhibit the problem. So, based on this and on Daniel’s experience I suspect this problem is limited to machines with the Touch Bar but not the T2 controller chip. So 2016 and 2017 Macs that have the Touch Bar and use the T1 controller.

I hope you guys have such a machine and can reproduce this problem. If not, I am happy to provide more details or am willing to run debug version of Dorico if that is useful. Let me know what you need. Thanks.

The current version of Dorico does not fix the bluetooth problem on these T1 machines either, so these issues are likely related.

I doubt the Bluetooth issue is related, but I do believe that the engine team in Hamburg are making some progress on that front.

We do have one 2016 MacBook Pro with Touch Bar, but we’ve not seen this problem on that machine. However, we’ll have another go at reproducing it.

I seem to have resolved this issue by deleting the ~/Library/Preferences/VSTAudiEngine2 folder.

This was called out in the playback script in the FAQ thread. That script has issues with version 2. I just ran each command individually with the appropriate version number.