Setting up side-chain for FX in Dorico?

Hi, I wonder to improve the mixing of the mockup in Dorico a little bit, as many FX are just identical to what’s in Cubase, like Frequency. I couldn’t find how to set up side-chaining though, despite multiple stock plugins have the ability to take input from side-chains. Could anyone point out or if just to confirm whether side-chaining exists in Dorico at all?

Side-chaining is not possible in Dorico. It may be on the dev team’s radar. Who knows?

I might be in the minority, but I do sincerely hope the team remains committed to prioritising notation features ahead of audio features. After all Dorico is a notation program, not a DAW, and many notation features have been requested, but not yet implemented.

Thanks for confirming. I am totally with you. Was just curious because the plugins included in Dorico support it which gives me an impression perhaps Dorico too. Anyway I’m not upset that Dorico cannot do side-chain, as it is never my priority and I can easily achieve it in Cubase.

Least to say, side chaining will also come in the future, we just don’t know when.


Dorico has to serve an exceptionally broad user base, and being able to produce a great-sounding mock-up directly within Dorico is of great importance to some constituents of that user base, in some projects more important than producing beautifully-formatted parts. We will continue to balance our development work to address as broad an audience as possible, so you should expect to see audio features added to Dorico alongside notation-focused ones.

Incidentally, I would say that we have not really moved the audio side of Dorico along at all in recent years, as distinct from Dorico’s playback features. Yes, features like the Key Editor in Dorico 4 and the improvements to expression maps in Dorico 3.5 have made Dorico’s playback more expressive and provided the tools for users to shape the performance more easily, but the actual quality of the audio produced by Dorico hasn’t changed at all. Even though the Mixer was rebuilt from a user interface perspective in Dorico 4, it didn’t gain any new functionality over and above what was possible in Dorico 3.5. So if you look at it from this point of view, improvement in Dorico’s audio capabilities is actually overdue.


Very happy to hear about the balance between notation and playback going forward! I’m sure there are many like me who are here, in part, because of neglect with the playback features of other software. I like the idea of “Music Notation And Composition Software”, as the Steinberg website says.

Well, looking around here, I get the painful impression that I might be a sad minority – absolute beginner and amateur that I am. So I hope I am not deemed unworthy by all the professionals using Dorico! :wink:
Myself, I actually bought Dorico (elements and, later on, pro version) only because of its audio features. Because for me as a non-professional, it’s the only way to give voice to my compositions. Due to Corona lockdown three years back, I dug up some old music I had written twenty years ago, and all I initially wanted to do was pin it down more properly with some notation software. It was MuseScore that introduced me to the concept of soundfonts, and soon I found virtual instruments and thus Dorico. I don’t know the first thing about MIDI, guess I’ll never be really comfortable to compose with a piano roll, but I do feel quite at home with notation, from the piano and guitar lessons I had 40 years ago. So – not being acquainted with any musicians skillful enough – I was thrilled that there might still be a chance to give voice to my songs. I was immensely impressed by the audio features of the Dorico 3.5pro trial. (At times I still feel that Dorico 3.5 pro had even more expressive audio than version 4, but this might be just me and my excitement when I first discovered it).
Now I’m using Dorico 4.3pro, and honestly, I’d be more than happy if the playback and expression maps were improved, mainly for guitars and drums. I’ll admit I was slightly disappointed when I bought Steinberg’s TGuitar and found out there was no expression map included and I couldn’t trigger any of its options (like Solo, Chords, Hammer-ons, Pull-offs or Slides etc.) from the notation. I don’t know how to write my own expression map when there aren’t even keyswitches listed I might use. I had assumed Steinberg’s own guitar would be better integrated in / adapted to Dorico, unfortunately, it isn’t.
Still, Dorico comes with good instruments, it’s just hard to make them sound real in a musical piece. And to return to the topic: I’d also be very grateful for side chain EQ and side chain compressing. Kick drums and bass guitars are bound to collide, as well as strings, keys and guitars. It would be a lot easier not to have to export all the tracks to do the second half of the mixing in a(nother) DAW.
I hope this doesn’t come across as some kind of rant, – I only wanted to lay down how Dorico has grown to be useful for a wider range of people, and in times like these when virtual music is becoming more and more important, it would be a pity to stop halfway.
However, I’m perfectly aware that people who only want their score notated wouldn’t need that part of the software, so maybe the playback feature would have to be an optional add-on in the future to satisfy everyone…

Hi. I just opened the TGuitar manual to see how it’s implemented, and it strikes me as not the instrument that you needed, since it’s basically meant to be played live with a keyboard, not triggered by a notation software. You might still try and use the overlapping tricks by tweaking the notes’ lengths in the key editor. Or find another instrument that is more compatible with Dorico (or any other notation software…)
My 2 c.

1 Like

@MarcLarcher: Thank you very much for taking the time to look this up! And I’m sorry for not replying any sooner – I found the notification in the spam just now.
Your assessment is absolutely correct. I realized it the moment I had downloaded TGuitar, tried to work with it and read the manual, too. Most (real sounding) VSTinstruments are meant to be played live with a keyboard. However, I’m afraid I’m too old now to afford the time to learn to play all the instruments I need properly live (even with a keyboard “only” which I don’t even own). So I had just hoped that a Steinberg instrument might be better adapted to a Steinberg software, even Dorico. But I realize now that this hasn’t been a priority. I’ll just keep my hopes up :slight_smile: Thanks again, have a great weekend!

1 Like

I shall try the new Tales instrument that comes with Absolute 6 (a free update has been offered to me, since I was in the grace period, which is a nice surprise). It seems it’s controlled by keyswitches, so building a working expression map should be quite straightforward. If I have some time today, I might do that with the new tool I’m supposed to be beta-testing…

Ah, yes, I see! It seems to be a powerful instrument, at least part of it being triggered by keyswitches. Maybe I’ve acted too early then, deciding on TGuitar, but I wanted that bright, crisp sound. Like HALion’s Bright Steel Guitar, but with a more real sounding play mode. And there are some kind of workarounds, but I usually have to combine several different staves to get one useful guitar track out of them. Still, Tales is definitely something to keep in mind for the future. Thank you for pointing this out to me!

Note that there are many free instruments out there. You might want to try some of them…

Thank you! Yes, I like the Moon Guitar very much, also the free Stella Guitar by Venus Theory (for Decent Sampler). However, they are for a special niche, so I mostly use the guitars of the HALion library that comes with Dorico Pro, some of which can be quite realistically tuned – just not my favourite, Bright Steel Guitar, hence my trying with the TGuitar. I also liked the Ample Acoustic guitars fine, but there have been some compatibility issues when using them in Dorico, so they were not a (good) option. Up to date, I’ve found Native Instruments Session guitarist Electric Mint to be the most realistically played guitar in Dorico, but … it’s electric, so I’m still lacking an acoustic guitar version… Let’s see what the future brings – software development is advancing so fast these days… And thanks again for your kind help!:slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like

Dorico does not have inherent side-chaining (flexible effects buses and group buses). But I think you should be able to do side-chaining with certain VSTs that include that functionality within the VST. I may be wrong about this – I have never tried it. But I think you should be able to do side-chaining if you have products like Izotope Neutron and Ozone. Don’t go out and buy those products based on my post, because I may be completely off the mark here.

Maybe somebody else can chime in with real experience on this. If not, I can test that.