No audio for playback

I just installed Dorico 1.2 on my MacBook Pro (Mac OS Sierra) and when I try to play one of the included example projects I get no sound. The mixer shows no output as well. I tried setting the output preference to my audio interface as well as the built-in output but neither worked. I tried to find something in the manual but that was an exercise in futility. If I can’t get projects to play back then the software is unusable.

Any thoughts of what I should try?

Thank you.

Did you run all three of the installers that were offered to you in Steinberg Download Assistant? You need to install ‘Dorico Playback 1 – HALion Sonic SE 2’ and ‘Dorico Playback 2 - Symphonic Orchestra’ as well as the Dorico application installer.

If you have installed HALion Sonic SE and the HALion Symphonic Library but still don’t get any playback, then please do the following:
Start Dorico, create a simple piano project (in the hub window, choose Solo > Piano and then push Create from Template) with a handful
of aribtrary notes. Then try playback again. Still no sound, then on the main menu choose Help > Create Diagnostic Report.
That will create a zip file on your desktop containing log data. Please e-mail it to u dot stoermer at steinberg dot de.

Thank you for the replies!

Daniel, I’m assuming that if I see the HALion Sonic SE window that it’s installed. Would that be a correction assumption?

Ulf, I followed your instructions and still no sound. So, I emailed you a diagnostic report. Hopefully it will offer a solution.


If you see the HALion Sonic SE window, that means you have definitely installed ‘Dorico Playback 1 – HALion Sonic SE 2’, but that alone doesn’t prove that you did install ‘Dorico Playback 2 – Symphonic Orchestra’, which could still be the cause of no actual sound on playback.

I just reinstalled Symphonic Orchestra and was able to open it’s window. Still no sound. :frowning:

Thanks, I received the log data, and from that everything looks quite normal.
HALion Sonic SE and the HALion Symphonic Orchestra are installed and recognized.
The port mapping document looks also okay, so I would expect sound to come out from your Ultralite on the first 2 outputs.
From where do you expect sound to come out?

Further, the diagnostic report always contains two log files, one from the current run and one from the previous.
So I have a complete log from Dec 24th and one from today, but that one is broken off, so the audio engine did not
have time enough to flush out everything to the disk. So could you please do again, start Dorico, create a piano
project, add some arbitrary notes, save the project, close the project and then do Help > Create Diagnostic Report.
Then again, please send the new diagnostics to me. Would be good if you could also attach the piano project.
Thanks for your cooperation.

Ulf…thanks for the reply. I have sent the files you requested. I hope they offer a solution.

Thanks again for the new data. Now I could see the full log, but unfortunately no new clue.
In the log everything looks as expected, i.e. the audio engine gets configured correctly
and the command to load the piano patch is sent to HALion Sonic SE.
So from what I see, I would definitely expect sound to come out via your Ultralite audio interface.

But there is one more thing to check for, please. Go to Play Mode and on the right side
is the rack with VST Instruments. When you load that sample piano project, there is
on instance of HALion Sonic SE there. A little to the left is a little icon with a strangely
shaped ‘e’. Click on that and the HALion Sonic editor window opens. In that window
on the left side is the list with the 16 possible sounds. The Yamaha ES90 Piano patch
shall be loaded in slot 1. Is it there? If so please click with the mouse on the virtual
keyboard on the bottom of the window. Does it show any activity then, does sound come out?

Ulf. I followed your instructions and the HALion Sonic SE2 editor window opens and shows the Yamaha S90ES in slot 1. However, when I click on the keyboard there is no sound.

If I go to Device Setup and change the ASIO driver to Built-in Audio I am able to get sound out of the internal MacBook Pro speakers. Unfortunately this is not acceptable for my particular setup. What do I need to do to get the audio to come through my interface?

Well, the fact that you get sound via Built-in Audio is already a good sign. It means that at least the audio engine as such is working fine.

Now, I would expect similarly sound to come out from your interface if you change to that driver. From the logs it says that you are using a ‘CSS UltraLite-mk4’. I don’t know that one and a web search just brought up a Mark of the Unicorn UltraLite-mk4. Is it that one you have? I presume so.

Currently Dorico does not have any UI to choose a particular port where the sound will come out from, so at the moment it always chooses the first 2 it can find. In case of a MOTU UltraLite that would be the Main Outs L/R. Don’t you get any signal on them? What is the metering saying in the MOTU’s display.

Also, if you have chosen the MOTU as ASIO-driver, does the HALion Sonic window show metering when you click on the virtual keyboard. I’ve attached a screenshot to where to look at in the HALion Sonic window. If metering is showing there, it means that audio gets delivered to the driver. From then on it’s the responsibility of the driver/interface to bring the sound to your ears. It’s comparable to the postal service; the postman delivers the letter to your postbox, job done. If your dog chews up the letter or whatever else happens to it is not in the responsibility of the postal service anymore. As I say, I don’t know that MOTU interface well, but it has some own control UI that you can access via a web browser. Is there something that you can change in terms of routing or special setting?

Yes. I have a MOTU UltraLite-mk4. Computer audio is set to output to the Main Out and is working fine in all other software I’m using.

In Dorico, when I chose the MOTU interface as the output device nothing shows up on any meter (HALion sonic or mixer). I’ve tried different routing options and nothing works.

Just to let you know you are not alone. I am a new user frustrated by lack of playback on each new score I write. I have tried all the same remedies without getting any sound, meter activity or anything. However, by quitting and restarting Dorico it magically works perfectly. Same with .mxl files exported from Sibelius and converted. The playback is great once it works.

I (also) have recently been having problems with audio output switching (automatically) from the speakers plugged into my computer audio jack to the NVIDIA HDMI connection to my monitor. I have no indication that Dorico is causing this, and it seems not all my computer sounds follow this route; but it does affect notation programs even when I change it back to the computer audio jack.

I guess I had been assuming another automatic update from Windows 10 had caused it, but for whatever reason, it happens.

This is all so strange, because from the log files I really can’t see why this would be happening, everything looks normal.

Already some time ago I had another user with an Ultralite who could not get any sound out with it. He then chose to use another audio interface, so we never resolved his case properly. During that cause, I borrowed a MOTU 828 Mk2 from a coworker and with that it was no problem to get sound out with Dorico on my MacMini. Of course, the 828 is not an Ultralite, but is also not so much different. Furthermore, the MOTU interfaces are quite popular and so there can’t be a general problem with them and Steinberg products. So I am pretty certain that it is some setting problem somewhere, either on the OS or the interface side.

But there is one more thing you could try. Stop Dorico and navigate to /Users//Library/Preferences/VSTAudioEngine and delete that whole folder. On the next Dorico start-up this folder will get recreated and filled up again. Starting will take a little longer due to some necessary scanning. But after that, when choosing the Ultralite as driver, still no sound?

I borrowed again the MOTU 828 from my coworker and it was no problem getting sound out immediately via the headphone jacks of the MOTU. Getting sound via the main outs was a tiny little tricky because the Main Out Assignment in the setup was messed up, but after rectifying that also here no problem.
And same result for Cubase and Nuendo (Steinberg audio workstations). Also, simultaneous sound output via YouTube/Safari was possible.

Maybe you could also post a screenshot of the MOTU Audio Setup panel…

I deleted the VSTAudioEngine folder but nothing changed after restarting Dorico. As a test I tried all the other choices I had available in the Device Setup window:
Screen Shot 2018-01-03 at 7.58.17 AM.png
I was able to see sound output from all of them except the Ultralite via the HALion Sonic SE window when playing the virtual keyboard. They registered MIDI input and audio output.

Here is a screenshot of the routing matrix for the Ultralite:

Thanks for the screenshots. Again, looks all okay.
I am really running out of steam, as I have no more idea what could be wrong.
To further analyze this I need to get hands on an Ultralite. I will try to borrow a unit somewhere.

What I wonder though, the Ultralite is from MOTU, but the driver name comes as CSS.
For the other device I have here I really see “MOTU 828mk3” as driver name.

This is just an idea out of left field but might be worth trying. I suspect the Dorico device setup selection is at fault.

Setup a multi-output device using Audio MIDI setup that includes at least the built-in audio device and the CSS ultra lite device. Enable both devices in the Audio MIDI setup screen. Select that device in the Dorico device setup menu. Then select one of the output devices using the sound menu (enable show volume in menu bar in Sound preferences).

1 Like


First, I didn’t know about creating a multi-output device. That’s pretty cool.

Second, I created a device that sent output to the UltraLite and Soundflower and chose the UltraLite in the Sound menu. Now I hear Dorico files through the interface and have volume control.

Kind of a convoluted solution but it worked. Thanks!!!

I thought that might do it based on what was discussed before.

You can make your multi-output device include all your devices. This essentially creates a dumb audio device for Dorico and so any Core Audio incompatibilities between macOS and Dorico’s VST setup can be dealt with in Audi MIDI setup.