Trial download experience

Hello to the Dorico team

I’m in the process of downloading the Dorico trail and I’m afraid I find the experience less than satisfactory, for the following reasons:

  • The download size is 9.0GB! I know nowadays GBs are basically free, but still, I have a really slow internet connection. My hard disk is a healthy 250GB, but a piece of software taking so much disk space is kinda asking a lot. For comparison, Adobe Indesign is about 1.0GB, Photoshop is about 1.3GB, Finale is about 385MB (!), Sibelius is about 900MB.
  • Forced bundling is bad practice. I understand that you want to include a state of the art sounds library, and that that’s also what’s taking up so much space. But I think you could have made that a separate, optional download. There are people (like me) who have absolutely no or very little use for such a library, or already have one.
  • Your download manager is intrusive. Upon running the installer for the download assistant, it asks for my admin password (on Mac OSX). I really don’t like it when a program tells me: “in order to install me you need to give me the keys to the kingdom”. Your download assistant is another piece of software I need to manage.Why couldn’t you provide a normal download link? OK, 9.0GB might be problematic, but then again read above.

I’m really looking forward to trying Dorico, but it’s a shame that such meticulously-crafted software be distributed in such an inelegant and unfriendly manner. For me at least it makes a bit of a bad impression.

Sharon Rosner

The Dorico trial is the complete application, which is why it includes all of the sound content, and hence weighs in at 9GB. Adobe products don’t tend to rely on large supplementary data sets for their use, and neither Sibelius nor Finale comes with their sounds, so you can’t fully evaluate the playback features of those programs. I’m sure plenty of prospective Dorico users would complain if we didn’t make the sounds available as part of the trial! In an ideal world there would be slightly greater granularity in the components that SDA offers to download, and perhaps we will be able to achieve this in the future.

SDA can be removed as soon as you have downloaded the Dorico installer, so you won’t need to worry about that long-term.

I hope that you will enjoy using Dorico more than you have enjoyed downloading and installing it!

Drives are really cheap now (I bought a 1Tb for £44 recently) and a 128GB usb stick for £20!
250Gb is really small nowdays - it’s well worth sticking a new drive in.

Indeed, a minimal trial version could be provided without anything besides the main application (I suspect such minimal version could easily weigh about 100 MB, i.e. about 100 times less).

Update: Just downloaded the Dorico installer for Windows, and indeed, Dorico-related size is just 120 MB while the rest 9.65 GB are occupied by optional additional content (mainly VST instruments such as HALionSonic SE and their VSTSound libraries). Moreover, this additional content is not required for installing Dorico itself: both HALion Sonic SE (3.22 GB) and HALion Symphonic Orchestra (6.18 GB) are available to be unchecked during installation.

For example, I’m not interested in Dorico at all, I’m just going to make sure it supports HiDPI under Windows since such support could indirectly mean that Steinberg is going to create a HiDPI-compatible version of Cubase as well. What I need for this check is just to start the application, look at its user interface just once, then close and uninstall immediately.

9 GB is totally a redundant overhead here. That has nothing to do with whether HDDs are currently cheap or expensive (I use SSD by the way). That’s more about (in)convenience and wasting time during both downloading and installing as well as about wasting SSD’s wearout resource unreasonably.

Indeed, a direct link to the trial (without any need to use a proprietary download manager, as well as to register and forcing user to subscribe to anything) would be much more convenient. I intentionally use a separate generally-unused email for the purpose of such obtrusive registrations so Steinberg’s news will not reach me as a potential customer anyway.

My Mac asks for my Mac password whenever I try to load anything. Are you sure it is the Steinberg downloader that is asking and not the Mac OS?

I downloaded and installed Dorico 1.0.10 trial version. There is a strange snap noise (like snow crunches underfoot) when playing each and every one instrument from Halion Symphonic Orchestra or Halion Sonic SE2 libraries. This is not happening with Kontakt 5, Sample Tank 3, XLN Audio Addictive Keys, Garritan GPO5 and many other VST libraries installed on my system.

It might depend on your security settings and file permissions. I’m no expert but as far as I know it’s usually the program that asks the user to grant it sudo privileges so it can write files outside the user’s home directory.

That’s would be a very good thing.

What about updates? Wouldn’t I need it for downloading them too?

No, you can generally download updates directly from the support pages on the web site. They tend to be smaller and thus not require the use of a download manager to ensure that they come down correctly.

Presumably you’re not using any of those other VSTs directly in Dorico, so I suspect the problem is with your audio device setup. Go to Edit > Device Setup and experiment with the settings there.

And what about the Download Manager itself?
It basically opens a window and downloads a File. In former times this would have been a single .exe file (for Windows) with a size of 100 kB. But the Manager has about 90 MB. MB!

What is this program able to do that I don’t know of…?

Based on my experience, files are nowadays almost never corrupted even if those weigh multiple gigabytes and downloaded via a regular web browser. It’s generally enough to provide checksums such as MD5 or SHA-256 (like e.g. JetBrains does) for users to be able to make sure the downloaded file is not corrupted. For archives (e.g. Zip, 7z, RAR), even checksums are unneeded since each archive also stores checksums for all files it contains.

By the way, didn’t Steinberg consider using BitTorrent (like e.g. Ubuntu does) that has effective data-integrity-check mechanisms built-in (besides the benefit of offloading traffic from server to end users)?

Right, I am not using any of those other VSTs directly in Dorico, but the problem is not with my audio device setup. The device setup in Dorico is simple and trivial (ASIO Driver: ASIO Saffire, Sample Rate: 44100). I have Focusrite Saffire PRO 24 DSP firewire audio interface using its ASIO 2.0 compatible audio driver. The system hardware is Intel S5520SC dual Xeon Quad Core motherboard with 24 GB RAM.

The problem occurs only when Halion SO/Sonic SE2 are playing from inside Dorico, i.e. when Dorico audio engine is active. For instance, when Halion SO is playing from inside another hosts (automatically detected by PreSonus Studio One 3 Pro and Sibelius 8.4), everything is OK, no crunching/snapping and Halion sound is perfectly clear. The same is true with any other VST library on my system provided that Dorico audio engine is not active at the same time. Whenever Dorico audio engine is active at the same time, the problem occurs also in other hosts (Studio One 3 Pro and Sibelius), either with Halion SO or any other VSTs. My conslusion is: the problem is in Dorico audio engine.

To hear this crunching/snapping please listen this Halion Sonic SE2 audio recording from Dorico (recorded using another computer with microphone attached to it).

What my colleague Ulf normally asks for in the case of this kind of problem is to ask you to create a simple project in Dorico containing just a single player with a piano, with a few notes input into it, then zip it up and attach it here. He’s then able to look inside it and determine some information about the way the audio engine is working on your specific system. So if you do that, he’ll be able to take a look on Monday and we’ll try to get to the bottom of it.

Here is attached zip file containing

  • Dorico project file (single piano player)
  • mp3 audio file exported from the project in Dorico (514 KB)

First of all, thanks very much for the provided material.
This is all very strange and I need to ask further questions and clarifications.

In the audio recording (provided via your webpage), I can clearly hear that crunching noise. But “who” is actually playing there? With “who” I mean which program. So you have Dorico running and playing live via MIDI-keyboard, right? Do you have any other application open at the same time?
What if you just have Dorico running and nothing else, same problem? Further, the audio export of the “We Love You” project sounds just fine. What if in Dorico you press the play button and then listen to the audio, still that noise?

> In the audio recording (provided via your webpage), I can clearly hear that crunching noise.

Yes, because it was recorded on another computer with microphone attached to that computer in order to bypass the audio system on the first computer where the problem existed.

> But “who” is actually playing there? With “who” I mean which program.
The “who” is Halion Sonic SE2 plugin’s virtual keyboard launched from inside Dorico. I am manually playing on it with mouse.

> So you have Dorico running and playing live via MIDI-keyboard, right?
You mean - external MIDI-keyboard and flexi-time recording or step-time input in Dorico? No, at least not yet. As I said, it was Halion Sonic SE2 plugin’s virtual keyboard played with mouse without inputting the notes in Dorico.

> Do you have any other application open at the same time?
No, but it doesn’t matter.

> What if you just have Dorico running and nothing else, same problem?
Of course, because Steinberg VSTAudioEngine is active.

> Further, the audio export of the “We Love You” project sounds just fine.
Yes, the problem is not reflected in audio file creation (exporting) and the noise is not incorporated in the exported audio file.

> What if in Dorico you press the play button and then listen to the audio, still that noise?
Of course, because Steinberg VSTAudioEngine is active, as I already said above.

Well, in the meantime I investigated the problem more carefully and isolated the cause. To resume: the problem is not in Halion SO/Sonic SE2 plugins or in their VST instruments, nor in any other VSTs on my system. The problem is even not in Dorico program itself, nor in any other host program (Studio One 3 DAW or Sibelius). Hence, to reproduce the issue, it is not necessary to start Dorico program at all. It is quite enough to start only VSTAudioEngine.exe solely and my entire audio system is screwed with that irritating crunching noise, regardless of the source from which the sound is coming (Groove Music, Media Player, Youtube video streams, Dorico, Sibelius, Studio One 3, standalone/plugin versions of Kontakt 5, XLN Audio Addictive Keys etc etc). The entire audio system is affected by VSTAudioEngine process producing the noise. When I kill the VSTAudioEngine process, the noise disappears and sound becomes perfectly clear again from any source (except from Dorico, as Dorico cannot be started without activating VSTAudioEngine).

BTW, I forgot to mention, my system is 64-bit Windows 10 Pro (Version 1607, OS Build 14393.447) and is up-to-date. Focusrite Saffire PRO 24 DSP driver is Saffire MixControl 3.7 and is also up-to-date.

Now, I have two question for you:

  1. Both Sibelius 8.4 and Studio One 3 Pro automatically discovered Halion Symphonic Orchestra plugin, because Dorico installation program put it in the location that was already in known search path. When I look at Studio One 3 screen, I see the plugin under the VST3 plugin group, not under VST2 group. But I also see the plugin in Sibelius Playback Devices window as ‘Symphonic Orchestra VST’. So, looking at Sibelius window, it is not clear whether it is VST3 or VST2 plugin. I am a little confused. As far as I know, Sibelius doesn’t support VST3 plugins. My question is: is the ‘Symphonic Orchestra.dll’ VST3 or VST2 plugin?

  2. Unlike Halion SO, the Halion Sonic SE2 plugin was not discovered by the programs above. I also cannot locate it inside Dorico root directory, Common Files directory, nor in any other known and familiar locations for VSTs. As Halion Sonic SE2 has many modern instruments not included in Halion SO, I would like to try it with my Sibelius scores during this 30 days demo period. My question is: where is Halion Sonic SE2 plugin located (if it exists as plugin and is not 32-bit) and what is the name of the file?

Thanks a lot in advance.

First a quick answer to your questions:
Yes, HALion Symphonic Orchestra is VST3.
HALion Sonice SE gets installed to C:\Program Files\Common Files\Steinberg\Shared Components\HALion Sonic SE\HALion Sonic SE.dll, but despite the .dll ending, it is also VST3.

On the noise issue, I still have to discuss with my colleagues, will come back again…

We are trying to understand which part of VSTAudioEngine is creating this issue, in order to help us, can you try to change the Preferences of Dorico (Edit->Preferences):
Check the entry: “Suspend audio device in background”
click Apply

now with Dorico started, try to use Studio One, still you have noise in audio ?


Unfortunately YES, I still have the noise in audio. Nothing changed.