Somewhat slow UI

Hi everyone, I’m a longtime user of [competitor] and decided to try Dorico for a new project. I’m very impressed by its core abilities, a MIDI import required a lot less cleaning up than it used to with [competitor] and the whole dynamics-attaching-to-each-other system is really fantastic.

However, I’ve noticed that the interface is substantially slower than I would have expected, in fact much slower than a 10-year-old version of [competitor]. Most of this slowness seems to be regardless of the project size: perhaps it’s slightly slower with a large project than with a trivially small project, but both have a lag.

To see this, I just create a new project with one player/instrument and write in a couple bars of music. I select the first note, press Shift+D, type “f”, and press Enter. It is about a half a second between pressing Enter and the “forte” symbol appearing. I would think perhaps on a large score, it has to re-lay-out the entire score every time a change is made, but here the entire score is a grand total of one system, so it should really take no time at all. And again, in a large project (hundreds of bars, 30 instruments), the lag is only slightly longer.

This is on a brand new high-end workstation desktop: Threadripper 1920x (12 cores / 24 threads), 32 GB RAM @ 3200 MHz, PCIe3 x4 NVME SSD, etc., so I don’t think it’s the computer.

I will also mention that saving takes about 1 second on this small project and about 5 seconds on the large project–in both cases with the interface hung while saving is occurring. Since autosaving occurs in the background every 5 minutes, this means the interface freezes randomly every so often while I’m working.

Is this something everyone experiences? Is there something I’m doing wrong here?

Hi sauraen.
I’m quite surprised by the data you describe… I went into the Dorico adventure since day one (2016 october 19th, IIRC) and in the first months, this kind of issue was quite “normal”. But with a 12 core machine, you should not experience this kind of slow things, unless for very heavy functions like adding a player in a 30 flows project (which require to recalculate all the layouts)…
Maybe I’m used to some slow reaction because my computer is not as powerful as yours, but still, I’m not convinced. It seems something is preventing Dorico from using all your horsepower.

I am not seeing any significant lag, and I have a much older, less competitive system.
Check the task manager and see what else is running. perhaps reboot.

I’ve noticed that saving an empty project moves about 400KB to disk… I think you can raise the rate of the autosave in one of the config menus if you think that is an issue.

12 cores… :open_mouth:

To echo what’s been said, your lag times aren’t normal. I’m running an i7 with 4 cores, and no issues (until the project gets quite large, with many layouts open).

That may seem a lot compared with some other notation apps but it terms of modern computing it’s trivial. Even slow mechanical disks these days have data transfer rates of 150,000KB per second, and in any case the application doesn’t have to wait for the transfer to complete before it can continue.

I’m currently working on projects with typically an hour of fairly complex keyboard music, split into 15 or 20 flows, and no noticeable delay at all on a 6-core I7 desktop (which is now nearly 6 years old, so it’s not state of the art computing technology!)

Any “brand new” device might actually be faulty, or wrongly configured, of course. I would take a bet on that, rather than a Dorico problem.

I didn’t think it was a problem. It just amuses me that 5 lines, and a clef can take up that much space :slight_smile:

I think you are right. If it was a new computer, it probably has tons of bloatware on it.

Welcome to the forum, sauraen. Dorico doesn’t have to re-layout the whole score after every edit; it’s carefully designed to recalculate the smallest possible range of music after each edit. Adding a dynamic is not instantaneous because the input has to be parsed, the dynamic has to be created, added to the score, and then drawn, and of course it’s possible that doing so will cause further ranges of music to be updated, though not in this kind of simple case. It takes around 150ms on my MacBook Pro, and that’s about what I would expect.

Saving will take a moment depending on the VST instruments loaded and the approach they take to saving their state data. Some plug-ins save a lot more state than others, and the larger the state is, the longer it will take to save, though I suspect that the majority of the time is actually spent producing the state in preparation for saving it to disk rather than the actual save operation.

Thanks for your input, everyone. I also talked to a friend who uses Dorico and he also assured me this was not normal.

I tried adding an exception in my antivirus so it will not monitor the behavior of the Dorico executable, and this seems to have helped a bit, but it’s still not as responsive as you describe. And this has also not helped with the saving lag–that’s as long as before. Daniel, do you have any offhand performance stats on how long each instance of HALion SE takes to save on your machine?

I will try temporarily disabling the antivirus completely and see if that makes a substantial difference.

Dorico doesn’t have to re-layout the whole score after every edit; it’s carefully designed to recalculate the smallest possible range of music after each edit.

I’m glad to hear that. Operations which do re-layout the whole score, such as adding an instrument, take 5-10 seconds in my case.

I should also mention that there is no substantial lag when panning around the score zoomed out quite a bit. That is, the render operation is very fast, in fact it’s faster than for similar-sized scores in [competitor].

It seems something is preventing Dorico from using all your horsepower.

If Dorico is using a single thread for whatever key operation is taking all the time, then my computer won’t be any faster than yours.

Check the task manager and see what else is running. perhaps reboot.

There’s nothing else taking substantial CPU, and rebooting did not change the behavior. The CPU usage of Dorico does not always spike when the interface lags/hangs–sometimes it does, but quite often it does not. So I don’t think it’s a matter of processing power per se.

Any “brand new” device might actually be faulty, or wrongly configured, of course. I would take a bet on that, rather than a Dorico problem.

I’m convinced it’s not “a Dorico problem” as in “the program is just slow”, since obviously nobody else has this issue. However, other things on this computer are very fast–web browser, Reaper, in fact Visual Studio opens in under 5 seconds, which is very impressive. So, obviously, there is some configuration detail or incompatibility or something like that which is causing this particular program to be slow. The question is just how to narrow this down.

I think you are right. If it was a new computer, it probably has tons of bloatware on it.

I installed the OS and every program on top of that. The only bloatware is possibly the aforementioned antivirus program.

I don’t have any inside knowledge about Dorico’s multithreading, but anecdotes on this forum have said it’s snappier with 4 cores than with 2, which at least implies it tries to use what’s available.

I wonder if your fresh install of Windows has got the spec of the machine correct, and if that is restricting everything to a single core or something equally bad.

Do you have any app that can load up the whole system to say 50% CPU continuously for a few seconds, to check you really are using all the hardware?

Windows Resource Monitor can show use usage of individual cores, but of course if threads start up and stop in milliseconds the graphical display isn’t detailed enough to show it.

One final, really dumb question (not intended to insult your computing knowledge) - has Windows Update finished doing its thing to get everything up to date? Depending on where you bought or downloaded the OS from, that is unlikely to be the absolute latest version. If Windows Update is still chugging along in the background, it may have “downsized” the available system resources while it’s reconfiguring itself.

Do you have any app that can load up the whole system to say 50% CPU continuously for a few seconds, to check you really are using all the hardware?


Prime95 stress test runs 24 threads and uses 100% of the CPU. All cores’ clocks are at full throttle.

Note that Dorico is not any slower while the stress test is running! It’s really not a matter of CPU resources.

One final, really dumb question (not intended to insult your computing knowledge) - has Windows Update finished doing its thing to get everything up to date?

That’s not a dumb or offensive question, especially on modern Windows–the update system can ruin the performance of the machine. But no, it says everything is up to date, and again, I would see it in Task Manager and Process Explorer if there was some other process taking lots of resources.

Disabling my antivirus’s live program monitoring completely–or adding an exception for VSTAudioEngine, which I had overlooked the first time–reduced the hang time for saving a large project from 5 seconds to 3 seconds. However, this does not help with the other problems. Saving a trivially small score whose playback configuration is set to Silence still causes about half a second of lag.

If no one has any other ideas within the next day or so, I will try uninstalling the antivirus completely.

I’m not a Windows user (I served my time and got out of that particular prison a long time ago) but I believe the prevailing wisdom is that the best anti-virus and anti-malware solution for Windows these days is the built-in Windows Defender service that’s part of Windows, and so far as I know it has no or negligible impact on the performance of apps like Dorico or Cubase.

I agree, Windows Defender is perfectly adequate, unless you go “looking for trouble.” Personally I also run Malwarebytes, which also doesn’t impact anything significantly and is more targeted at stopping you getting close to picking up malware from the web by accident, rather than detecting it if and when you do pick it up.

There is one impressive-looking antivirus comparison website whose “prevailing wisdom” is that Windows Defender isn’t even playing in the same league as any of the 20 or so commercial products they evaluate - but that may not be surprising, when the small print implies the website is actually funded by the companies whose products it evaluates, except for Microsoft. (No, I’m not going to post a link!)

I would doubt that AV has any impact on the general time for operations in Dorico, as note editing shouldn’t touch the file system (it’s possible that it may have an impact on startup time and saving time, depending on how aggressive it is about every file that is accessed). Most of Dorico’s operations are CPU bound. It will try to use as many cores as it can, however it will only do so for operations it can parallelise. In general projects with many instruments parallelise well, but projects with a single instruments will only run on a single core. In my several years of working with Dorico I haven’t come across a case where AV has had any discernable effect on performance (mostly using Windows Defender).

Dorico does log some diagnostics which may shed some more light on what’s going on. Try reproducing the slow behaviour then from the Help menu choose Create Diagnostic Report, which will leave a DoricoDiagnostics.zip file on your desktop, then attach that. We have had some reports about some MIDI devices that generate many extraneous events which can cause a slowdown, and also for misbehaving Wifi adaptors, so you could try unplugging/disabling those temporarily.

Re Windows Defender:
Woody Leonhard writes [Microsoft] Office Watch and maintains that Windows Defender is all you need. Woody has studied Microsoft for years and is a gadfly when Microsoft screws up or is less than forthcoming. I know him and trust his judgment and Win Defender is all I use.

OP, you say you’re comparing Dorico’s performance to a competitor and Dorico is slower. I also moved from Competitor A recently and find Dorico’s performance substantially slower.

It’s not enough to be a real concern, but it does hang a bit during saves and note movement operations are laggy, for instance. Are you feeling a general lag or specific performance glitches on some actions?

Comparing the performance of Dorico to the performance of another piece of (even generically similar) software is not really relevant, given that any two complex applications will have vastly different architectures that such comparisons will be meaningless. Dorico is performing considerably more computation than other generically similar software, computation that is required to produce its better, more sophisticated results.

We work hard on the performance of the application, and there are certainly some operations (particularly in Setup mode) that we need to revisit in order to improve their performance, and if you encounter specific operations that are slower than you expect, it’s always worth making a specific report to us, including the project file, a set of diagnostic reports, and the details of what operation is unusually slow, and where you encounter this, so that we can investigate.

Switching from Write to Play mode takes about 15 seconds in orchestral projects using Noteperformer. This is the same time on my MacBookPro 2012 and my 8Core MacPro VaderHelmet with 64Gig. Is this a normal amount of time? Is there a way to speed that up?

That sounds much longer than I would expect. I wonder though, how many plugins are in the rack and how many channels in the mixer? There are known performance problems if you have a huge number of channels. If you are using plugins with more outputs than you need then you can limit the amount in the mixer via the option in the endpoint setup dialog.

Nothing special in the Mixer. Noteperformer for basic orchestra (film score preset) and two LoungLizard E-Piano tracks for sketching. No external mixing plugins.

I can take a look at the file if you are happy to mail it to me. p dot walmsley at steinberg dot de