Playback anomaly

Every so often I’ll open a file and when I attempt playback it either produces no sound at all or I get a kind of trumpet sound, despite the instrument loaded in the setup panel. Here’s an example. Can anyone tell me what’s going on?
test.dorico (922.3 KB)

I can confirm that your test project has a weird, trumpet-like sound.
But when I re-assign the piano instrument in Setup Mode, the piano sound is back. Also resetting the playback template restores it (but I bet you already know).
Unfortunately I’ve no idea how this happened, and how to avoid it. As you’re not a novice in Dorico, I reckon you’re not talking about an XML import, but a project created from scratch in Dorico itself, or at least still having the correct sounds in an earlier session.

Interestingly, if I just re-assign the piano in Setup Mode, I get no sound at all and in Play Mode a new VST instrument is loaded and is listed as Halion !!, meaning the template is missing. Very strange. Of course, if I apply the NotePerformer template, all these extra instances disappear and I get the correct sound. The question is, why does this occur at all?

Your test project has four instances of the NotePerformer VST, but no instrument sounds have been assigned to the 16 channels in any of them. Unlike other VSTs, you cannot manually assign instrument sounds to the NotePerformer VST, so you have to first apply the NotePerformer playback template. Then it is possible to save the assigned instrument sounds in the NotePerformer VST as a preset and subsequently reload it.

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