M1 max performance Dorico 4 is it worth it?

Hello !

I currently have Dorico 3.5 and am experiencing little hick-ups in performance (computer specs below). There are several small slowdowns when I shift music around, add dynamics, press the play button (that sometimes take half a second and sometime up to 5 seconds) and when I do other basic task around the software. It’s not the autosave, it seems to be the functions of the software itself that are slow. I run quite heavy sound libraries but my computer is not even under pressure so I’m thinking maybe the bottleneck is Rosetta2 or the software.

Since I’m litterally spending 8 hours a day on this software, all those slowdown really add up. I’m thinking about upgrading to Dorico 4 down the line anyway (mostly when kontakt gets full native) but I’m curious if any of you guys who have M1 macs had an increase in snappiness after the upgrade ?

I searched the forum and found benchmark for renders and all that. I’m not really concerned about that (or maybe I did not understand the threads properly). I’m talking real life day to day use. Snappiness, speed and usability.

Thank you very much :slight_smile:

Computer spec :
M1 max
64go ram
2tb ssd

This might be an apples-to-oranges comparison , but FWIW, Dorico 4 is significantly faster than 3.5 on my Intel i9-9900k Hackintosh with 32 GB of RAM and 1 TB SSD (equivalent to a 2019 iMac with a build-to-order CPU upgrade) running Big Sur.

I don’t have any large Dorico projects, but it certainly launches more quickly and seems snappier in general. Previously, I was frustrated with launch times, and IIRC version 3.5 was slowest of all.

You could try the Dorico 4 demo. I suspect you’ll find it faster, but I also suspect Kontakt is contributing to the slowdown.

For me, there were a number of v4 features which also made the upgrade worthwhile.

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Keep in mind that if you use Note Performer or other libraries not optimized for the M1 series of processors, you’ll be running in Rosetta 2, the Intel emulation. I don’t know how much of a performance hit that will be, but it’s making me wait until more vendors catch up to Apple Silicon before I get an M1 machine.

Things are very snappy, even under Rosetta with a plain m1.

If I’m not mistaken, Kontakt is native now…


If the software itself is snappier it should run faster even if I have to run it under Rosetta cause of sample library. I will check out the demo.

Thanks for your insight !

I use Mostly UVI and Kontakt player. UVI was updated recently but not kontakt player as far as I can see.

I used to have a quite powerfull windows pc and ran into similar slowdowns.

Thanks !

Are you using it under Rosetta or natively ? And are you using heavy libraries ??

I actually use the Kontakt player. Which is the free version. I can see that Kontakt v 6.7 was updated for ARM but I cant seem to find if the Kontakt player was updated or will be soon. Maybe you know about it ??

Thanks :slight_smile:

Well kontakt player was just optimized for arm. Seems like I don’t have any reason left to stay with 3.5 :sweat_smile:

NotePerformer could still be updated to native — most Dorico users use this instrument…


I have a file that’s 18 MB in size (some 825 pages, 21 flows), admittedly only Piano (but with graphics), and using NotePeformer as the only VST. On my iMac Pro (3.2 GHz 8-core Intel Xeon W, 65GB ram, and Radeon Pro Vega 64 16 GB video card running Monterey 12.3), this file lags quite a bit, mostly in saving the document but also in adding new frames of music, adjusting frames and adding text frames, etc. Playback, while there are no dropouts, the green play cursor sometimes vanishes before reappearing later in the score (but still following the music). I also use this file on a MacBook Pro M1 Max with 32GB of ram and a 2 TB SSD. This file is VERY snappy, even under Rosetta2. None of the above issues are apparent and the playhead follows the music and does not vanish during playback.

Nice :slight_smile:

Do you use Dorico 4 ou 3.5 ?? (Mar 8 2022) on both machines.

I don’t think there is a computer available today that would handle arbitrary Dorico projects of extreme size without exhibiting some kind of delay when you make edits. Dorico does make use of multiple CPU cores, but because in the end each edit has at least one point where Dorico has to collate the results of processing individual staves and instruments processed in separate threads (and therefore often on separate CPU cores), there are always points at which the processing is single-threaded.

It is also the case that there are aspects of Dorico that are simply not fast enough. Dorico is a complex application and there are literally hundreds of individual processes that have to be completed for every edit. There is more work to be done on trying to improve the performance of these processes.

There are also things in the user interface itself that could be made faster, such as support for hardware acceleration in drawing, so that zooming, panning and scrolling are faster even on displays with very large resolutions.

In short, I would guess that even if you were to run the brand new top of the range M1 Ultra found in the $6,000 Mac Studio that was announced last week, Dorico would still occasionally keep you waiting when performing a large edit.

We want to improve the performance of the software but it is not a quick or easy job. Right now we are focused on bringing Play mode’s functionality back up to par with Dorico 3.5, and polishing some of the other new features added in Dorico 4. I hope that we will be able to devote some engineering time to addressing some of these performance issues in the coming months, but with our small development team, time spent working on performance issues means that it can’t be spent elsewhere, meaning fewer new features and expanded functionality in future versions. So everything is a trade-off, in development as in life.


Hello Daniel !

Thank you for you continued involvement with the community ! I hope you know it’s apreciated !

I totally understand the potential limitation and that no computer will be perfect. Actually Dorico is quite faster than a lot of other software I used in the past which is why I made the switch. I think I have a real soft spot for fast and responsive workflows. I’m shure you’ll make your best to make the software as good as it can be in the future.

In the particular case present here, I watched closely the activity monitor when playing back or doing the edits that are slower and the computer is not ever working. This is why my conclusion was that it may be something in the software OR the transition layer through Rosetta.

I’ll make some test with the v4 demo and will keep you updated if I see a difference.

Thanks and take care of yourself :slight_smile:

@paq_phil have you tried out this informal benchmark? Curious to see how your machine fares with this one.

Hello everyone!

I’m writing a work for singers and orchestra on Dorico 3.5 on Mac with a 2.4 GHz 8-Core Intel Core i9 chip.

I’m up to 25 flows now and things have slowed down now (25 seconds to move from score to galley view) so much, that I’m exporting flows to work on them as individual files. Then when I’m “finished,” I import them back into my master file.

Have any of you done the 1000 bar benchmark comparing Dorico 3.5 on a chip similar to mine to Dorico 4 on an M-1 chip? I work at a university and I need some “data” on speed to help us decide on whether or not we should upgrade the computer I work on. If we had some data, it would be far easier to make this decision.

Thank you all!

Perhaps I can. I have a piano file with 22 flows and each flow has over 1000 bars. On my iMacPro (xeon W with, if I recall 8 cores and 64MB ram) there is noticeable slowness for some things. On my MacBook Pro M1Max (running under Rosetta2), the file is much snappier. If you can tell me the kind of ‘benchmark’ you’re doing I can duplicate that on both machines to give you some kind of exact number.

Update: On my iMacPro the shift from Page View to Galley View is asymmetric: to go to Galley view from Page view takes 11.5 sec (plus or minus a few tenths) and to go from Galley view to page view takes just over 7 seconds. I 'll post what the M1Max gives me in a bit.

Yes, a step by step instruction would be good, I’d love to try a benchmark on my new machine as well!


Dorico will certainly be faster on an M1 Mac. And there are lots of new features and improvements in Dorico 4. But TBH, 25 seconds seems a lot.

Is it as slow with the Silent playback template?