Speed issues and play mode tweaks

So here’s something interesting…

I am working on a large orchestral score, and by default Dorico loads three instances of HALion Sonic SE. Also by default, it plays the notes as you enter or select them. Now, on my Macbook Retina (1.2 GHz CoreM, 8 GB DDR3 RAM, Intel HD Graphics 5300 1536 MB) everything slows down noticeably, and note entry becomes painfully slow.

When I delete the three HALion instances, save the project, restart Dorico and reopen the project, everything behaves much faster, even with note playback still turned on in the preferences. Note entry is still slower than Sibelius—in Dorico I play a bunch of notes on my MIDI keyboard and then have to wait a good number of seconds for the software to catch up—but I love the Dorico workflow, and I am sure that future upgrades will deal with speed issues.

Of course, this turns off all sounds in the software. So, as a workaround, is it possible to add a simple MIDI instrument with crappy sounds—or simply a MIDI piano activated by all the melodic instruments—just to check pitches, &c? In my laptop I only see my MIDI keyboard, which doesn’t have any sounds, so it’s no help, really…

  • MIDI.png

And perhaps it would be great to be able to turn off the playback engine entirely and go back to basics à la 21st Century—take the laptop to the piano and bang out the notes ourselves! Good reduction/transposition practice… and perhaps this would make everything even faster?? :slight_smile:

In any case, right now when I try to turn off the engine, it turns back on automatically:

  • Engine.gif

Any ideas, comments, suggestions?

I got some speed improvements by (in HALion) choosing instruments starting with GM

Playing back notes as you enter them should not have any effect at all on speed. However having notes played back as you enter them may affect the perception of speed because of the lag in auditory feedback. So disabling the audio engine won’t make note input any faster, though it may seem faster. Similarly, switching to GM instruments won’t have any effect. It’s worth checking the latency of the audio engine in Preferences / Device Settings and ensure that it’s below about 20ms/1024 samples.

Currently the note auditioning code only outputs the notes after they have been created and selected. In future versions we could look at the possibility of sounding the note at the point that the note is created, which will increase the perceived speed.

Incidentally that button doesn’t disable the audio engine - it’s for changing the ‘active’ project for playback, however this functionality isn’t currently wired up.

If you have a score that is particularly slow then we’re happy for you to send it to us, as quite often we discover individual issues we haven’t seen before, and code paths that we can optimise. For instance we discovered that showing attachments lines can be very slow in large scores and so you could try disabling those. (we’ve also fixed that for the next update).

If/When you decide to look at “simultaneous attack” when entering a pitch, could you take the opportunity to take another look at “pitch-before-duration” step entry, since some of the code flow seems likely to be related?

I’m afraid there is no relation whatsoever between those bits of code - they are completely separate.

Sorry if I haven’t found the most appropriate thread to comment on, but I’m having speed issues with note entry.
While entering notes and using the popovers, sometimes an input will fail to register. Or I might have to try again and then the input will happen twice. Also, the program will regularly hang for short intervals or take a long time to save (‘not responding’ often appears in the window name, though the program rarely crashes).
I’m new to the program (on the trial mode) and the performance issue makes it very difficult to learn the software, since things occasionally don’t respond as expected.

I’m using Dorico on Win 10 Pro (64bit) with an intel i7-3820, 32GB RAM, default Halion samples on an SSD, and an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980

It would have been better to start a new thread rather than resurrect one that is 2 years old, but don’t worry about that!

How big is the score you are working on? If you imported a 1000-bar piece for large orchestra using MusicXML, that is going to be a bit slower than a one-page lead sheet!

Since you said Dorico “regularly hangs for short intervals”, try going to Edit > File > Preferences > General > Files and untick the “autosave every… minutes” box. If that “solves” the problem (though it’s not really a solution, since autosave should work) at least we know what the cause is.

Hi Rob, thanks for getting back to me. The template is for a full orchestra but there is very little music in it, less than ten bars with only a handful of instruments playing.

I’ve tried pushing the autosave out to every 20 minutes and I think there was a stall at 20 minutes so you’ve hit the nail on the head with something there.

In fact, when I manually save, it usually takes about ten seconds to do so. Again, there’s not much music in the score to save, so there may be something funky going on there. But thank you so much, the experience is entirely different now. Amazing how regular every five minutes feels!

Bundles, where are you saving? Internal SSD or an external:mapped/network/cloud drive?

Isn’t it normal that saving takes longer when many instruments are loaded in the playback engine? I think there’s a lot of playback data to be saved, regardless of the actual size of the score.

Maybe, though I haven’t changed any default settings on any unused instruments, if that matters.
In any case, I can live with a ten second save time, I was more concerned that the save time might get crazy long when there are many pages of music.

I’m saving to an internal SSD. Not the same one the samples are loaded onto.

Dorico saves your VST playback configuration with the project. If you have a big orchestra template, that will be a lot of data independent of the length of the score.

Still, your save time seems a bit slow IMO. (My PC is comparable with yours, Win 10 pro, 6 core I7, 32Gb RAM, but my Dorico projects are on hard disk not SSD). But I use NotePerformer not the bundled Halion sounds, so that might make a difference to the amount of VST data to save. I’ll try it on a really big score (about 80 MIDI channels of VST instruments) a bit later (I have other things to do right now!) and compare the save times with NP and Halion.

Thanks, Rob. Appreciate it

The timing results on a big project (about 60 players and layouts, one flow, 340 bars of music, playing time about 15 minutes):

Playback template set to Silence: Project file size 7.2 Mb, save time about 7 seconds.
Playback template set to NotePerformer: file size 7.2Mb, save time about 7 seconds.
Playback template set to HSSE (Pro): file size 13.7Mb, save time about 15 seconds.

I then deleted everything except the first bar.

Silence: file size 0.743Mb, save time instantaneous
NP: file size 0.748Mb, save time instantaneous
HSSE Pro: file size 7.5MB, save time about 10 seconds.

I don’t have any explanation for those numbers, but it’s another reason to use NotePerformer for big projects!

Yipes, guess I’ll be giving NotePerformer a shot then!
Your save times for HSSE (Pro) match with my experience. 15 seconds of save time is a heart-in-your-mouth amount of time to wonder if the program is going to hang or not!

Thanks Rob

I just tried the same experiment with ARIA Player. For a reasonably large project: 32 Players, 12 Flows, 150 pages – I get:

ARIA: file size 3.7 Mb, saving in 3 seconds.
Silence: File size 3.7 Mb, saving in 3 seconds.
HSSE: File size of 9 Mb, saving in around 4 seconds. with ARIA or with Silence.

Opening the project took around 10 seconds for ARIA and Silence, and c. 13 for HSSE.

Just one warning with the trial version of NotePerformer: it times out after a while (I can’t remember how long, maybe 20 or 30 minutes) and if it times out when it’s actually playing, it can crash Dorico. So make sure you hit “save” often. (The production version is completely stable, in my experience).

Thanks, @benwiggy. I was just about to ask Rob for an Aria comparison.

You can ask, and I have GPO, but I’ve never used it seriously with Dorico (and probably never will, now I’ve got NP) so you wouldn’t be likely to get an answer :slight_smile: