Is Dorico easy to setup?


Forgive a rather subjective question, but I want to highlight a rather painful history, and at least ask “is it getting any better?” in regard to one item of setup especially: articulations.

Sibelius sound sets: horrible
VST expression maps: horrible

Great features in great programs, so I mean nothing rude. But honestly and without insult, setup was a nightmare at best. I believe a couple easy-to-overlook problems led out such a serious outcome.

I created an Excel file to make expresdion map building easier. It’s much faster to use because 1) I can copy and paste a list or even table of data. And 2) I can auto-fill numbers to quickly adjust 50 numbers by +1, which I had to do with a mouse, one by one, per value, per instrument in the cubase gui.

It saved countless hours to have a faster tool. And I can easily go back and make mass-edit tweaks to my entire template. I’m aware legacy maps can be used from Cubase so I should be safe. But I believe as most users won’t use my Excel file, so the question is still important. Fewer programs were as brilliant to me as Sibelius. Midi Playback was the only reason why I went DAW. So I trust you guys to do great work, especially now with the PLAY tab. Again I’m only candid to highlight how contrasting the UX was between setup and usage. So please take no offense. None is meant. I’m just an inarticulate idiot who doesn’t see a more accurate way to convey contrast. :wink: I’m a bit apologetic after getting the boot from the forum before. But after reading some comments on YouTube, I’d say I’m the nicest guy ever, by comparison. lol

Still very excited to see this coming, finally!!! Bay ha ha ha!!! :slight_smile:


We hope that it will be a bit easier to set up than both Sibelius Soundsets and VST Expression Maps in Cubase. I mentioned in the other thread ( ) how you’ll set up your rack and then tell Dorico the expression maps of what’s in there, and then set up your instruments to point to the Endpoints you want to use.

If you do this on a large score that contains your normal orchestra configuration then you should be able to save a Playback Template from it. Dorico infers the mapping from Instruments -> Endpoints from that so if you have some commonly used orchestral templates you should only need to do the major setup the first time, and then you can import it into other scores. We’re certainly designing this to be simpler to use than Sibelius Sound Sets, though unfortunately there’s no getting around the fact that all users have very different preferences and requirements, with different combinations of plugins and different expectations as to how playback will get farmed out to the different available devices.

Our intention in Sibelius was to try to make this fully automatic, and we discovered that this made things much harder for users who know what they want to do. So in Dorico we have fully automatic sound loading and routing if you are using the default Halion sounds, but we give you much more control if you want to do your own thing.

I anticipate lengthy setup for custom usage of course. I just want it to not suck the life out of me to set it up. The longer it takes, the less useful Dorico would be to anyone who gets the latest and greatest sample libraries. Edit: because every time I buy a new instrument, I’ll have to go through the setup process again. In short: it’s important to make this fast-friendly. It certainly sounds functional to work for everyone once setup. It’s just whether or not the interface to do it in is easy and timely to operate, which is my real concern.

For instance, can one copy lists of info or settings into the program, or import them if built out of the program, or does one have to manually adjust each minute value for each parameter for each instrument to endpoint setup? In Excel I can do mass edits to values. In VSL’s sampler, I can do mass edits to values. Those are at least relatively easy to work with. It takes time, a lot even. But no where near what it takes to map out libraries in cubase. You simply couldn’t do anything that “applied to all” or adjust multiple values and/or multiple instruments. That’s why Sibelius and Cubase fall short for user setup IMHO. Thus the question.

This is when I wish I was a beta tester! I tend to never “get in with the development crowd” enough to convince anyone of that. I wonder why :wink:

Thanks for the updates. This is the last open question I have about Dorico.

I hope there will be several things we can do to minimise this pain. We’ll pay attention to the ui and look for opportunities to use copy and paste to ease setting things up. We’ll be able to import Cubase Expression Maps. Longer term I hope that we’ll be able to expose these via our scripting API which could really ease things for large setups. Most of our file formats will be relatively simple Xml.

We definitely want to offer as much as we can in terms of ease and flexibility, though we can’t promise how much of that will be in the initial release.

Brilliant! A scripting API would make my day. hopefully later version means 1.5? :wink:

Either way, I’m happy with the answers you’ve given. I know the difference between a feature promise and a consideration. But I’m thrilled that you’re at least aware of why these things are important to have in mind from the start. I can’t tell you how excited I am now.

Thanks again!

Edit: I forgot to say… XML is also a great plus. That means even if I have to I can create my own template creation tools. :slight_smile:

I agree totally with you scoredfilm. I still have trouble using EWQLSO Platinum & Choirs with Sibelius. If you look at my system in my signature at the bottom here, you will see that I have more than enough power and memory to use a client and VST. When I load a large score with EWQLSO, just a little more that half the memory is used.

I’m just wondering…are you referring to some DAW that you set all those parameters for? If you ARE, then I’m beginning to suspect why I have so much trouble using EWQLSO in Sibelius. I hardly have (or even know how to) set all those parameters in notation software. I just understood one needs an XML (for example a Soundset file) type file that “marries” a VST to software such as Sibelius, thus sparing me the effort of having to set up all those parameters. If further settings are needed, it will certainly suck the life out of me as well, because what is the need for a Soundset (or Expression Maps) if the artist still have to set up so many parameters as well.

I have seen the contents of a Soundset file. Goodness! I don’t know where Jonathon Loving get the strength to create those Soundsets! My point is (and THIS is where I agree with you scoredfilm), IF us musicians have to set up every VST ourselves (without the support of a soundset or so), Dorico might be useless to MANY musicians because, that’s what we ARE…musicians, not software experts. We want to write music, NOT spend DAYS to figure out all those wonderful parameters that define MIDI capabilities. CC, patches, programs, panning, ports, buses, velocities, envelopes, MIDI articulations, arming, reverb, chorus and on and on and on! Some people LIVES for this, but I am not nearly capable to set up all those parameters, and also most other musicians who want to plot notes on paper and hear the best possible sounds. Muso’s, that only use a DAW to create movie sound tracks etc are used to setting up those settings, but NOT the average composer or arranger that just want notes on paper. After MANY years, I STILL am struggling understanding the whole concept of the Object Orientated Sound World…specially getting Sibelius to have a blessed marriage to EWQLSO. Even Jonathon Loving told me a few weeks ago that it took him more than a YEAR to grasp Sibelius sound engine and that there still are some things he still learns.

Oddly enough, I don’t know how the creators of Notion does it, but Notion 5 requires NO intervention from the musician and EWQLSO apart from adding a stave with the requited instrument AND using sounds from different VST’s in ONE score. Do me a favor and check it out. It’s extremely light-weight (loading extremely fast) and except for minor issues (like playing a proper crescendo etc) it integrates amazingly with Notion so the musician is not burdened with all those settings. The ONLY issue I have with Notion is that it does not NEARLY have enough features and functions that makes the score and parts look as good on paper as Sibelius does. Like Dorico, who use Cubase’s audio engine, Notion use Studio One’s audio engine, but they failed at the engraving side of the software…and one hardly EVER see any updates. Otherwise, I like Notion. I wish there was a Sibelius-Notion-DAW hybrid…Dorico perhaps?

So many times, I set up my score with EWQLSO in Sibelius, but after a few bars, EWQLSO performance disappoint me. Every day my Officer Commanding of the SA Navy Band, comes to me to hear the progress of his annual repertoire that I must do. Quite often Sibelius or EWQLSO then fails to perform my score, embarrassingly requiring me to ask his patients while I revert to NotePerformer.

So, My point is, unlike those who use a DAW and understand ALL it’s thousands of buttons, settings, graphs and dialog boxes, the average musician who only wants to plot notes on paper (and obviously want the best possible playback…we ARE in 2016 you know :slight_smile: ), do not know OR WANT to spend a few weeks (and gets their lives sucked out of them) attempting Dorico to join up with a VST. I don’t know how those clever boys and girls at Steinberg are going to do it, but I (and surely others) want the BEST engraving (even better than Sibelius…if possible) AND the BEST possible playback without too much rocket science. Can some one, for once, create a piece of software that focus on BOTH sides (engraving AND performance) and also later on tablet support as well. Oh yes…AND a comprehensive scripting language enabling us to create Plug-Ins and Add-ons…NOT changing the software into something else (which is Steinberg’s), but to access the score (which is mine) and manipulate EVERYTHING on a score remotely, either through Plug-Ins or some sort of command line feature to access a bar.

Sorry for this LONG babbling. I just needed to get this off my mind as AVID (NO offence intended) does not seem to provide for the power user’s needs.

Blessings to you all

As stupid as I am I have bought nearly every library available over the last 10 years. I am pretty sure that the community will provide instrumentsets by the time. That is at least what I will do.

So what we would need is a user-area where users could upload their Xmaps. Similar to Jonathan Loving’s Soundsets (Sibelius) this could be a growing resource.

Xmaps are one thing but the controller settings are something else.

I would love to see the capability to save instrumentsettings as well which would contain the Xmap, CC-handling and the CC-lane properties.

I don’t disagree, but that only helps users who don’t create their own. And the interface still needs to make that task manageable. Easy-to-use isn’t solved by adding a ton of presets. That just makes it easy to use one single way. I’m tired of software that isn’t both robust AND built for usage the way users want to work. So presets help certain users. But it still leaves power users in the dark. And more and more people are becoming power users. So while I agree, I also think of presets like a workaround to evade designing something easy to use, which isn’t a real solution IMHO. That said, I’m content for now with the fact that they see the point of allowing a copy paste of lists or tables of data. It doesn’t take a lot to make setup easy. But if ignored it makes work painful.

I agree scoredfilm. We SHOULD be able to tweak every setting available. I think there should be a DAW-like layer that look similar to Cubase. Each stave representing a track. StaffPad has a layer that allows the user to “draw” velocities etv but Notators generally lacks many audio settings that should be tweaked. I just want a way to JOIN/MARRY/PLUG IN a VST without too much hassle. Robust for power users…YES!..but also robust enough for musicians still learning and who do not desire to be a sound engineer to use Dorico. I LOVE using a DAW and learning importing my arrangement as MIDI files and try to get it to sound as close to real as possible…but MY job only requires me to produce a printed score and parts for the Navy Band. My boss also want to hear a mock-up of a piece as real as possible in order to anticipate what to expect when he stands in front of the band. My job only requires me to plug in a VST to a host and get it to sound as real as possible by using dynamics, cresc. and drawing velocities, reverb etc. I don’t need to tweak EVERY possible nuance of a sound…just as real as possible. I do believe there are many of us like this. I then make mp3’s of the score so my boss can hear the score while studying it. So, there are people who needs a simpler/preset type way to plug in a VST…as easy as Notion does, because their work is not writing scores for film or ads. But I think it would be great if Dorico could satisfy every audio demand possible.

Hans, I have shared your exact frustrations… Many many times. Just not with EWQLSO, though I did try it with Sibelius once. Ironically I found that easier to work with than other solutions in notation. But I did in fact find a DAW to be both easier and more robust for performance in the end. And for film work, realism is a major requirement. As that might get into various types of details, I’ll PM you instead.


Oh, how I desire that my scores sound as real as in the movies with surround sound…by using a notator! THAT would be heaven for me :slight_smile:

Just as a side note: I truly like Sibelius. It prints beautiful scores and parts and I really enjoy using it. I cannot understand how people can claim that it has a high learning curve…as a notator though. It IS, however, extremely dificult (for me at least), to use other sounds…sounds that did not come with Sibelius and NotePerformer. Those sounds just play…but EWQLSO…goodness…I was so eager to purchase those sounds, for their reallity of sound, but they are lying dormant on my SSD for a few years already because Sibelius makes the most weird anomalies when I click on playback. It sounds AWFUL! Elliot Wright use EWQL without problems…and MY system is similar to his! WEIRD! I really hope Dorico will handle VST’s better so that we can get the MOST out of a VST. I’m saving already up for it and cannot wait for the first release! :slight_smile: