tutorials for setting up midi with dorico?


I have a very simple score, with a cello and a piano part, and cannot figure out how to get dorico to play back the sounds of a cello playing with piano. I either get weird space synth sounds (by default) or when I switch to the orchestral midi I downloaded, I get all synth strings for every part. Also, no notes above the C 2 leger lines above treble clef ever sound at all.

I’m sure I am just misconfigured somewhere, but a place where I could read would be helpful, as I couldn’t find an easy guide in my search of the manual.

Dorico comes with everything you need for playback. When fully installing, besides Dorico also HALion Sonic SE as instrument does get installed, as well as HALion Symphonic Orchestra (aka HSO) which contains a comprehensive sound library.

From what you write it seems that you are missing the HSO. First thing to check is, go to Play Mode and then choose the menu Play > Apply Default Playback Template. That shall load the corresponding default sounds for your players. If still only the synth sound comes out, please run the installers again and make sure that really everything gets installed.

In the Steinberg Download Assistant you should see also HALion Symphonic Orchestra, make sure that you download that as well and run the installer.
Maybe you thought it is too big and not needed, but please get it.


I have the HSO. It is never enabled by default, I have to reset for every new score.

The other problem is that playback really sucks. Volume levels are about 1/5 of what they should be even fully cranked up, no notes above C5 sound at all, and the piano instrument plays back as string sounds. That’s why I hoped perhaps there was a tutorial to fix this.

Some words of clarification on this: HSO is mainly a sound library, but also comes with an own VST instrument that can play all these sounds. However, this instrument is very basic and can only play one sound at the same time.
HALion Sonic SE is also a VST instrument and is more capable, because it can produce up to 16 instruments at the same time, thus it is using the memory and cpu more efficiently than 16 single instances of HSO. HALion Sonic SE can also play all the sounds from the HSO library and therefore by default Dorico is always using HALion Sonic SE as instrument. And because of the efficiency reasons you better adhere to this. There is no reason for using the HSO instrument instead of HALion Sonic SE. You might ask, why is the HSO instrument then still there? Because we sell HSO also as a standalone product and have a standard installer for it, that is also used by Dorico. Making yet another installer just for Dorico (without the HSO instrument) was not considered worth the effort.

The other problem is that playback really sucks. Volume levels are about 1/5 of what they should be even fully cranked up, no notes above C5 sound at all, and the piano instrument plays back as string sounds. That’s why I hoped perhaps there was a tutorial to fix this.

The piano sounding as string, I could have an explanation for that. Please go to following location
Mac: /Users//Library/Preferences/VSTAudioEngine
Win: C:\Users<yourname>\AppData\Roaming\Steinberg\VSTAudioEngine_64

and delete completely the folder VSTAudioEngine resp. VSTAudioEngine_64. On next Dorico startup it will get recreated and filled up again. Also, this will force the audio engine to scan anew for all sound files and fill again the database. After doing this you shall get the back the proper piano sound.
So please then create a new project from Piano template and see if the piano loads fine.

If it does not, then please go to Play Mode and choose the main menu item Play > Create Diagnostics Report. This will create a zip file on your desktop, please send it to u dot stoermer at steinberg dot de. From the contained log files I can get some more insights.

For the other problem, volume too low and notes above C5 not sounding: This is something new I never heard before. Could you provide a simple demo project which exposes this behaviour?

you’re awesome, thank you. I will try this as soon as I have time this week!

I will provide the demo if your instructions don’t fix it. I wonder if the fact that I chose the HSO instrument as default has this limitation? Won’t know until I try the other things.

Basically, every project I have created that goes above the C above the staff in treble clef (that’s C5 yeah? Been a while since I thought about octave numbers so I might be off by 1) the notes don’t sound. They do play if I use my UM-One interface to playback through the midi keyboard, but then of course it just uses whatever instrument has been selected by the keyboard.

Well, it could well be, because the HSO sounds are not - unlike a piano - playable over the whole range of the keyboard.
Some instruments do actually stop at C5, but not all of them, since every instrument has a different “natural” range.

But my understanding was, that C5 is always the end with you, regardless of the chosen sound, and that would be inexplicable.

This sounds to me like something isn’t installed correctly. You should be able to create a new score, add a cello and piano, add some notes and press play and it will play back correctly without you needing to touch anything in HALion or Play Mode. I would recommend uninstalling and re-installing and deleting the folder that Ulf mentions.

long delay, sorry: deleting the preferences folder fixed playback for an existing project. However, the notes are not playing when above C6 (not C5) still. if you’d like me to send you the sample project I’m working on, I would be happy to.

Yes please, send it to u dot stoermer at steinberg dot de and we’ll have a look at it on Monday.