Mixer automation -- internal to Dorico

Can anybody recommend, from first-hand experience, a plug-in mixer that provides automation capabilities? While wrapping up an extended composition for large ensemble and I just realized that somehow, some of the later sections are globally 3-6dB louder than the earlier ones. I dread the thought of having to manually adjust the dynamics of – literally – thousands of notes, and then correct the resulting errors in articulation, mixing, etc.

I realize that if I process Dorico’s exported-audio parts in a DAW, that would let me master w/mixer automation. But it would be a much cleaner workflow if I could create raw Dorico output with correct levels to start with.

For fader automation you don’t need a plug-in, you can map your Vst’s volume to fader(s) on a MIDI controller and record/ play them in without changing the notes.

You might check out the new release documentation on the key editor- it’s different more automated way of working I think is meant for this kind of scenario. You could select all the notes for multiple instruments at once for a given section, use the tools to bring them up or down proportionally in a certain range using the histogram, stuff like that.

I’m not an expert with it yet, but it is faster, more lifelike and musical IMO. I’m not knocking anyone’s preference for how they want to work though. Keep or sweep…

I’m waiting for the ability to use a MIDI Mod Wheel to record CC Changes (like Tempo or volume) retroactively during playback in a manner similar to Cubase’s Merge capability.

Most of my vst can be configured to use the mod wheel for volume and you can play the mod wheel in today like any Cc. I don’t have any experience with using tempo like that

Well, my situation is that I’ve created a lengthy 10-instrument composition by editing score notation – no physical MIDI controllers involved – and need to change the overall volume level of several sections, totally, I dunno, 10 minutes of content. I’m not sure how mapping something (not sure what you’re referring to) to a virtual MIDI controller would work – or how I would even attempt to implement such a thing.

Complicating factor: I’m using NotePerformer3, which doesn’t always play nicely with other Dorico features. So I’m already going through two mixers.

Thanks for the reply.


The link below takes you to a thread focussed on using separate instances of NotePerformer for each instrument, thereby allowing you to control everything from your single Dorico mixer. I also find the playback sounds better using this template and you can also use any reverb or other effect with any of the individual instruments. Definitely worth a look.

Playback Template: Individual Mixer channels for NotePerformer


Hello PP

I answered that way because I didn’t want to ignore your plug-in question and go on an unwanted tangent. Hazards of a forum I guess, apologies.

IMO The key editor is your best friend in this kind of situation. I’m not a tutorial writer and run the risk of telling you what you already know, but make sure you are in write mode with the bottom panel open and press the button that shows the piano roll (shows you the key editor)

Using the notation panel, Select all the notes in a section for an instrument you want to change/automate. I will let the Dorico 4.3 release notes explain later how you can do this so that you can synch these changes to all ten instruments.

Click the “selection” button/mode in the key editor to focus what we do on the selection. At this point you could draw a line for velocity or dynamics in this section, but here I’m going to introduce a useful bad habit of automating cc7 (volume).

The trick here (maybe? Haven’t owned NP in a while) is we are not messing with what NP is doing, just automating volume. Nice thing about Dorico is just draw a line down 6db or whatever, and if it’s too much just draw another line above the first line and Dorico will replace the original. Takes like 2 seconds. Similar if you need to draw a lower line or some kind of curve.

I halfway think with a single instance of Np and cc7 it will be global and you won’t HAVE to adjust the other instruments . I have no way to test though. If I’m wrong refer to the key editor release notes for multi instruments, (refer to them anyway)

or worst case drawing 10 lines doesn’t seem horrible. And if I’m really wrong at least you get to tell me that :slight_smile: I’m not mentioning deltas and histograms and such because I suspect with NP you don’t have anything there for those tools to work with.

Cheers (I hope?)

Thank you, Mike & Gregory, for taking the time to explain this. Now I know what I’ll be doing on Thanksgiving!

Boy, does Dorico ever run out of functionality? After nearly a year, I’m still learning about new features.

The thing about NP is that changing volume can change timbre. So all of this may take a bit of prototyping.

I’ve never looked into Dorico’s scripting feature, but maybe now’s the time to take a peek. Maybe that would do the job.

I don’t think so here. This should be outside the dynamics that NP uses and be just like turning the stereo down. Most Orchestra VST at least use TWO Cc - one for the player’s played dynamics or dymamic layers and this isn’t it.

In any case I believe the key editor can do anything you could do without separate mixing. I was also wondering how you feel about a compressor?

Just doing my best to help.

To recap, I want to perform a simple mixer-automation function: drop the overall volume of the last 5 or 6 minutes (up until the last 30 seconds) of a 10-instrument player by 3-4dB.

Since this thread posted, I’ve gone back several times to try to get the Key Editor to do what I need, per the recommendations of people who contributed ideas – but no dice. I’m comfortable with Dorico’s score-notation UI, but haven’t worked with direct MIDI editing since, I dunno, the early days of Cakewalk. I must be missing something obvious.

Steinberg’s Key Editor video tutorial has been especially frustrating. E.g., it shows a floating zoom bar, which doesn’t appear on my screen. So I have no easy way to create an automation effect on the thousands of MIDI events in my selected region – or even to display that region them in pianoroll notation

The “Link” and “Marquee Select” buttons described in the tutorial do not appear on my screen, so that prevents me from doing things like selecting regions to edit in score notation Write Mode.

I see no way to edit MIDI data for all players at once – that is, apply an overall proportional drop in level to the entire ensemble, similar to turning down the master-bus gain on a mixer. I see only a drop-down menu that lets you select single players, not the full score.

And so on. After beating my head against a wall for months, I’m ready to give up. If only the Key Editor had Tool Tips!

I’m using Dorico (March 2023) and the latest iteration of NotePerformer3. Can anybody recommend a tutorial that matches what I see on my screen? Or, better yet, shows how to use Dorico’s Automation function to implement the simple mixer operation I’m trying to perform?

At this point, any guidance would be greatly appreciated.

The Key Editor certainly evolved over the course of the Dorico 4.x releases throughout 2022, which is why some of the things you see in the early introductory videos are not there in Dorico 4.3.30, because we have continued to refine and improve the Key Editor. The floating zoom control, for example, has been replaced (on desktop) with zoom controls embedded into the scroll bars at the bottom and on the right of the Key Editor. The “link” button has been replaced by the improved instrument selector in the top left-hand corner of the Key Editor. The marquee select button does not appear because you can always simply drag to make a marquee selection in the Key Editor.

To edit MIDI CC data for multiple instruments at the same time, use the instrument selector in the top left corner of the Key Editor to select all of the instruments for whom you want to edit the MIDI CC data.

Thank you for the response. What you say makes sense.
But how do you select all the instruments? The instrument selector displays a drop-down list of each player, but it doesn’t provide the “full score” option that I’ve been looking for. Shift-clicking or Control-clicking more than one individual player doesn’t seem to work.
And how would I zoom out to display 5 minutes of score – like 50-60 measures, or even an entire score? It looks like I’m limikted to maybe a dozen measures.

You can change the zoom level in the Key Editor with G and H, or using the zoom control in the scroll bar area. You may not be able to zoom out to see the entire flow at once, but you can scroll the music left and right, so you can easily make sure you are seeing the end of the flow.

To select multiple instruments in the Key Editor, you open the selector at the top left, activate the padlock button, then choose the instruments you want to see.

The problem is that, regardless of which tool I use to zoom, I’m still limited to viewing maybe a half-dozen measures.
Re: the Lock feature of the Instrument Selector, thanks for the tip. It wouldn’t have occurred to me to click a lock icon to perform this function. However, even with Lock enabled, Dorico won’t let me include drum & percussion parts in a multi-player selection
Having said all that, I nonetheless seem to be getting pretty close to figuring out how to do this. I bet that, once I dope out the details, the final procedure might be relatively simple.
As always, I appreciate your help. Talking to you is a little like peeking at the answers in the back of the crossword-puzzle book.