Playback issue dorico 3.5

I have a strange issue with my sound, it stops for a second with a crackling sound when I playback or when I input notes, and then comes back. It appears to happen randomly, although it’s also happening when I change the volume of my macbook. I’m currently using noteperformer, but I checked the standard audio playback engine and it’s also happening there.
Is this a problem you’ve seen before? It could be a problem with Dorico, but also with my computer. Never had any issues before.

I’ve captured both issues in a screenshot video. (small but too big for attachment)

Thnx you for your reply!

this sounds quite similar… but you might expect a macbook pro (2016) not to have such problems?

If you go to Edit > Device Setup and in that dialog press the Device Control Panel button, yet another little window appears. What buffers size does that one show with you?
Also, during playback, please open Activity Monitor and see what process is using most CPU or peek when the drop outs occur.

Buffersize is on 512, it was on 256 before but then it appears to happen more often (but the drops are shorter)
It looks like Dorico and the VST audio engine are using a lot of memory.

Hm, a buffersize of 512 is already pretty big and should very well guard from audio drop outs.
That Dorico and the audio engine are using lots of memory is not unusual and is also not a problem, at least not for the drop out issue.
Do the drop outs happen with any kind of arrangement? Will say, only larger ensembles or also already with smaller ones. Could you post an example where it always happens? If you don’t want to post publicly, please send to ‘u dot stoermer at steinberg dot de’, full confidentiality guaranteed by me.

It happens with every kind of file. After testing in a few different setups it looks like it happens mostly when I have my external display connected. (usb c (macbook pro late 2016) > displayport (samsung U28E590D, 4k)
When I touch the volume buttons the audio drops, and also when I click another screen, like for instance another , and it also drops random when I don’t touch the computer during playback. Did you see the video’s I put in the dropbox link in my first message? I made another example of when it happens with the external display connected.
It clearly drops when I start playback, and then I touch the volume button and it drops again.

It looks like the drops come from the displayport connection, when I connect the external display with a HDMI adapter everything is fine. But I need the displayport cable because it’s the only way to get smooth 60hz with 4k resolution on a mac.

Your arrangments don’t look overly complex, yet you have these massive drop outs, especially with the external monitor. So something must be interrupting your computer heavily. I don’t know right out of my head, but there is on Mac an instrumentation tool that you could run, which records the performance of the whole computer for a given period of time. That one creates a log that we can further analyse.
I need to remind myself and then will come back with detailed instructions. Be a bit patient please.

Thnx you for your help, I will wait for your answer and check it out some more myself.

Also I checked some other things;
I can run my old notation software without drops, dorico 3 is also dropping, and also I opened a project in Logic X which worked fine. So it looks like something in the display settings is bothering Dorico specifically.

Hello again, it will become a little difficult. The tool is called Instruments but it is not preinstalled. It is part of Xcode, the app that developers use to write and compile code. You can download Xcode from Apple ( for free, but it is quite huge. Once you have installed it, you should be able to invoke Instruments via Spotlight search.
You run Dorico and Instruments in parallel. So you prepare Dorico for playback, then flip to Instruments and start a System Trace and hit the record button. Then start playback in Dorico and let it drop out.
The data that Instruments gathers can get pretty big, therefore record in Instruments - if possible - only shortly before the drop outs appear and only a few seconds into the drop outs.
If the data size exceeds the limit you can attach here, please use a file sharing service like for example DropBox.
Should you need more detailed help, please write mail to ‘u dot stoermer at steinberg dot de’.

Thank you, I followed your steps exactly. I made a recording of a few seconds, where it drops out a few times.
I also made a screenshot video so you can see exactly when it happened, if that helps.

I uploaded it to dropbox
It’s about run 1, I started run 2 accidentally and didn’t know how to remove.

I hope you can find something in there!

Thanks very much, we will have a look…

Hi Robin, sorry for the delay. Our specialist had a look now but could not find anything particular in the system trace. But it definitely looks like it has to do with your monitor setup. Can you please describe your system and how everything is wired up, also mentioning any hubs in between and the like? Thanks

Hi Ulf, it’s been a while. I took time to check some things myself and I came up with some possible solutions. I can be very specific now.

I used Dorico on my macbook pro 2016, with external 4k display (samsung U28E590D via thunderbolt 3 - displayport cable)
For audio I use a focusrite 2i2 3th gen.
With that setup I got drops.

Then I tried the same setup but different video cable; thunderbolt 3 - hdmi adapter - hdmi cable. My macbook cannot provide 4k 60hz via hdmi connection, so it’s not a solution for me, still got drops. Tried 4k 30hz, hd 60hz, everytime it drops. It occurs more often in 4k.

I also tried it with no screen connected, then it happens to occur almost never, but sometimes it still can happen.

I thought maybe I had a bad thunderbolt 3 - displayport cable, and because I needed a docking station anyway I bought a Caldigit tb3 plus docking station.
Macbook - Dockingstation (tb3 cable). I use a standard displayport - displayport cable (1.2) with the displayport output on the dock (4k 60hz). Dorico is dropping again. It looks like it has something to do with the 4k resolution or the fact that I use displayport. It seems to me that the use of the focusrite is improving the behaviour but it still drops. I also used different resolutions but it doesn’t make that much difference.

Thanks for explanation. Tomorrow I will talk to our specialist again.

I just found out that it also has something to do with the way halion uses memory (if I don’t use noteperformer). The way that the drops behave are different. With a few changes in the buffer size and use of cores, the drops are getting shorter but they still appear… maybe there is an optimal setting for that?!

Hi Robin, would you please also share your system spec with us. Therefore, click on the main menu the Apple icon and then “About this Mac”, then “System Report…” and save everything with ‘File > Save’. The resulting file please post here.

Btw, there is no optimal setting in HALion SSE. It’s always a trade-off between several aspects. And it should definitely also work in Noteperformer without drops, so just fiddling with HALion is certainly not the solution.

Hi Ulf,

I exported the system specs.


Hi Robin,
I have not so good news. Our specialist says that your MBP model has only 1 graphics card and that one has to share the resources for graphic and audio processing. Especially in the 4K case this is simply too much and the system can’t cope. This is an architectural problem of Apple, not of our software. Other MBPs (e.g. the 15inch one) do have 2 graphics cards and therefore don’t show these drop outs. So the solution is to stay away from 4K or get a different MBP. I’m sorry to have no better answer for you.

Ouch, that’s indeed not the best news…
Thank you for helping me, at least it’s nice to know what’s the problem!