Strings not playing back (VE Pro)

I am having some trouble getting a big orch score to play using VE Pro and a lot of Vienna libraries.

Most issues involve really sluggish behavior (it takes the mixer in Dorico about 5 minutes to open in Dorico, for instance).

But maybe I’ll start w/ a simpler problem. My strings are not playing back when I play the score. I know I have the sounds ported correctly, and when I click on notes I hear the correct string sounds. It’s only when I push play that they don’t play back (whereas all the other sections do play back).

I am using VE Pro and several instances of Vienna Ensemble Event Input. The strings are on one of the event inputs, and I’ve moved them to the one that has percussion to test. Still no string playback when I hit play.

Since the notes play when I click on them, I assume the tracks aren’t muted (honestly, the mixer, even when it loads, is pretty unnavigable - too slow. This could very well be because I am slamming my 16gb of ram pretty hard…not sure).

Thanks for any suggestions. I’m in the awkward spot of being a newbie trying to morph myself into a power user on the quick!

Apologies for the potentially stupid question, but do you have the right expression maps set up in the Endpoint Setup dialog so that the string patches know what volume type to use?

If you can afford it, then you should consider to upgrade to Dorico 3. The mixer and playback are so much faster and better than in v2, you will be very happy with it!

Are you sure everything is routed to the right VE PRO instance, the right channel and using the right expression map?

I can relate! When it comes to the audio tech side of things, I’ve been in that same awkward spot for years now, it feels like. :laughing:

I’m not sure how much help I’ll be, but I’ve semi-frequently experienced somewhat similar behavior, and I can share a few things from my experience that might be worth trying (either now or next time you encounter VE Pro weirdness):

  1. Have you tried resetting the SMC and the PRAM? This sometimes fixes VE Pro problems for me, though I confess I don’t fully understand why it helps in the context of VE Pro.

I would be wary of doing this on a regular basis (e.g., several times a week) … but if it bears fruit for you, I think it’s fairly safe to do it up to once/every couple months, only when necessary because you’re experiencing weirdness. In case you don’t already know how to go about this, here’s an article (I would take the “when & why” part of the article with a grain of salt in this context, as in my experience nothing it mentions has been relevant to VE Pro).

https://thenextweb.com/lifehacks/2017/06/14/how-when-why-to-reset-the-pram-smc-on-your-mac/

  1. My personal experience with Event Input is that it has never worked reliably with notation software. If this method is working well for you longterm, then great … but if you start to notice problems recurring semi-frequently, you might consider an alternative setup, such as:

2a) You might be able to use multiple MIDI ports, since Dorico loads the VST3 version of the VEP plugin. I’m fairly sure this works reliably, but I don’t have too much experience with this method because unfortunately, other important plugins in my setup prevent me from being able to make use of multiple MIDI ports.

2b) You could use multiple project instances to accomplish a similar end result as you get from the Event Input or multiple MIDI port approaches. There are aspects to this approach that aren’t ideal (I would prefer to have everything in one instance, just so I didn’t have to click between various tabs), but in my experience on my machine, it’s as rock solid as VE Pro ever gets connected to Dorico. For anyone going this route, a friendly bit of advice I wish I’d known long ago: Don’t only save your “Server Project” but in addition save each individual instance separately. In other words, don’t only save the .vesp file, but also save all the .vep files that are housed within your .vesp file. I’ve learned this the hard way over and over: sometimes the Server Project (.vesp) files can get corrupted suddenly and without warning, such that they crash VEP before they even load properly. If you have all of your individual instances (.vep) saved separately, rebuilding your Server Project (.vesp) after it goes kaput is quick and easy. If you don’t have individual instances saved separately, you can find yourself SOL.

Aside from those general points, I’m afraid I don’t have a clue why your strings would play when auditioning notes, but not while pressing play. I’m curious though, if you don’t mind answering a couple questions, just because I’ve sometimes experienced weirdness that was somewhat similar:

– When you click a note and hear sound, do the audio level meters bounce in both the VI player and the VEP channel strip? Or as sometimes happens to me, do the level meters only light up in one or the other? Or do they not light up at all?
– Similarly, there’s a little dot on the VEP channel strip (in VEP6, might be in a slightly different place in VEP7) that lights up to show it’s receiving MIDI activity. Does this light up even when you get no sound from the strings, or only when you do get sound?

Now that I’m thinking about it, a couple other quirks come to mind (for all I know, these only apply to VEP6; I haven’t tried VEP7):

  1. Do you have any of your channel strips placed inside a folder? Sometimes this causes weirdness for me, and sometimes the solution is to drag them out of the folder, and if you get sound at that point, you may still get sound after putting them back inside the folder – or sometimes you won’t, but then reset the SMC and in my experience, this gets fixed.

  2. Are you running MIR Pro by any chance? I’ve experienced some very weird behavior sometimes, which as far as I can tell, has abated after I uninstalled MIR several weeks ago. I don’t really know the pattern here, but I have a hunch that when running MIR and having Kontakt in a VEP instance, they sometimes interfere with each other somehow.

Sorry this was somewhat scatterbrained but I hope your strings get back to normal soon.

p.s. I second Daniel’s suggestion to have a close look at your xMaps and what’s going on in the Vienna Instruments Player when you press play. In addition to the example he mentioned, any number of things might go weird, and once you track it down it might be as simple as changing a CC setting in the VI player, for instance.

Also even if you’re not ready to buy Dorico3, unless you have a good reason to stay on 2.0, you might want to download the update to 2.2.2. I doubt it has anything to do with your strings/VEP problem, but it has some nice features that you’ve essentially already paid for (or get as a free bonus, however you want to look at it).

Hi

Sorry my sig is out of date - I am on Dorico 3.0, and I’ve custom built the expression map for vsl strings. All my other maps (also homemade) are working fine. On the go so I have to read the longer post above - but thanks for it! I will go fix my sig.

Very helpful response here - I will answer some questions…

[quote=“samreed”]

I can relate! When it comes to the audio tech side of things, I’ve been in that same awkward spot for years now, it feels like. > :laughing: >

[snip]

Aside from those general points, I’m afraid I don’t have a clue why your strings would play when auditioning notes, but not while pressing play. I’m curious though, if you don’t mind answering a couple questions, just because I’ve sometimes experienced weirdness that was somewhat similar:

– When you click a note and hear sound, do the audio level meters bounce in both the VI player and the VEP channel strip? Or as sometimes happens to me, do the level meters only light up in one or the other? Or do they not light up at all?
[/quote]

I see it in both spots - just checked!

– Similarly, there’s a little dot on the VEP channel strip (in VEP6, might be in a slightly different place in VEP7) that lights up to show it’s receiving MIDI activity. Does this light up even when you get no sound from the strings, or only when you do get sound?

It lights up when I audition, and not when I push play (and get no sound). And similarly, if I watch the VI keyboard, I don’t see keys being depressed during playback. For whatever reason, Dorico is definitely not sending a signal for any of my string channels.

Now that I’m thinking about it, a couple other quirks come to mind (for all I know, these only apply to VEP6; I haven’t tried VEP7):

  1. Do you have any of your channel strips placed inside a folder? Sometimes this causes weirdness for me, and sometimes the solution is to drag them out of the folder, and if you get sound at that point, you may still get sound after putting them back inside the folder – or sometimes you won’t, but then reset the SMC and in my experience, this gets fixed.

No folders.

  1. Are you running MIR Pro by any chance? I’ve experienced some very weird behavior sometimes, which as far as I can tell, has abated after I uninstalled MIR several weeks ago. I don’t really know the pattern here, but I have a hunch that when running MIR and having Kontakt in a VEP instance, they sometimes interfere with each other somehow.

No Mir!

Sorry this was somewhat scatterbrained but I hope your strings get back to normal soon.

Au contraire - you get exactly what’s happening, and I am grateful. I feel like I must be missing something basic - but I will try some of the options you suggest - starting with moving the strings over to their own dedicated instance of VE Pro. Will keep you posted, and I welcome any other ideas you have! Thanks for your very thoughtful reply!

Okay, Daniel, turns out your “stupid” question wasn’t so stupid after all! So, I did program an expression map for the strings, but I must have done something stupid - when I went in to double check the expression map, I found that it contained absolutely no playing techniques whatsoever (despite my having entered about 8).

I repopulated it, saved it, made sure it kept this time, and…voila. I have strings!

So thanks for actually being right on the money. I knew it had to be something dumb on my part!

Great, glad you’re back up and running.

I feel like I’m being gaslit or something! Just opened the file and no string playback. Checked my expression map, and once AGAIN, the string expression map is completely empty. I’ve now programmed it twice, and I’m sure I’ve saved. What could be making all the entries disappear?

Dorico would never intentionally gaslight you, I promise. Expression maps are saved in the project, so provided you’re saving the project, they should still be there exactly as you define them in Play > Expression Maps. Likewise you should find that anything you set up in Endpoint Setup is saved, provided you save your project.

Haha - Daniel, I know it. I don’t blame Dorico for this one. But it was strange. I had it working, and then when I reopened the file, the string expression map was empty, but I found all the articulations I programmed in a different expression map (I think the CC 11 for volume one?) - that’s fine, I guess I put them in the wrong place. But the thing is, when I first added them, I definitely had assigned the string expression map to the string (not the map where I later found my string artics), and it DID play back. Not really sure what happened, but I am up and running and trying to learn more and more. Thanks for your help.