Two Machine Licensing

Hi Daniel -

I just thought about Dorico today. I last asked this question about a year ago. I am a film composer (around 21 imdb credits) and currently use Sibelius. I was interested in migrating to Dorico but the licensing has always stopped me from doing so. As you know with Avid, you can register Sibelius (with a single license) on to two machines. I have done so with my studio desktop and laptop. No hardware required and I obviously don’t use both machines at the same time.

Had the same been doable for Dorico, I would have already switched. The solutions available when Dorico shipped last year plain just don’t work for me. Some years back when Gigastudio was still around, version 4 used a hardware security key and I was very unhappy with that environment. I used to forget the key and couldn’t start the sampler. Then I purchased two keys and over time they all seemed to break or come apart and needed to be taped back together. It was a barely workable environment for me.

Keep also in mind that when I travel with my laptop, I don’t always have Internet access, especially on planes and at countryside retreats for the non-profit I do community service for.

And so my preference would be a solution that does not involve hardware keys. But I don’t want to pay double for the software either or buy licenses for two keys (remember I may not have Internet for a temporary license should I forget the key in my studio).

What I would really like to see is a solution without hardware that either permits installation on two machines not used at the same time or a deeply discounted 2nd license, say $25 after purchasing or upgrading with a first license.

So what is the current situation and ‘future thinking’. I have stayed away from Dorico this past year and have recommended to my peers to stay away from any solution which requires a hardware security device.

Joel, rest assured… this has been hashed… and rehashed… and rehashed yet again (and again after that). The Dorico team is well aware that literally «everyone» would prefer your suggestion. (Sorry to be so forceful on this, but even a cursory search of the forum would turn up pages and pages of discussion on this. It’s getting rather old.) They are limited by Steinberg’s current practices. No doubt they will change it as soon as they can when/if that day arrives.

I hope they have a way of contacting those who could be interested in such a change if it comes. I probably won’t check again for a year, more than likely unless I find out some way that the policy has changed.

Although you are factually right, of course, I do feel that the Dorico community needs to re-address this every now and then. I do know that Daniel said they are aware of the fact that Dorico is another animal than most of the other more studio-bound Steinberg products, and that their licensing policy might change in the future. But bear in mind that this was back over a year ago.
If Steinberg wanted to change their policy for Dorico, I’m pretty sure they could have accomplished that in this year. But they did not.

That’s why I’m all for speaking out against the current one-machine-only-policy again and again. I do feel that this change will only come if we keep on bringing this up.

P.S.: I know that this has nothing to do with Daniel and his awesome team of developers.

then at some time you may feel that Dorico is so much superior to anything and saves you enough time to
a- invest in a second licence
b- accept the challenge of carrying a dongle

If one buys a second license, then there is no need to carry a dongle around, because one can leave the 2 licenses on the soft-eLicenser of the respective 2 computers.

It was meant OR sorry, I’ll correct

Just thought of something: could NFC/WiFi be used to put a Dorico license on one’s phone (or even smartwatch), which one’s computer would be able to sense is in range and render the software operational? Obviously this is still not as flexible as everyone would like, but it would be much less prone to the frustrations of a dongle, and would make it much less likely that one would forget one’s license somewhere.

Theoretically anything is possible but

  1. Currently this is not possible
  2. Most likely this is not the way a future Steinberg licensing system will look like

then at some time you may feel that Dorico is so much superior to anything and saves you enough time to
a- invest in a second licence
b- accept the challenge of carrying a dongle

a. I have been using Sibelius for over 15 years. It works though there are things I would like to have improved in the area of playback without having to put midi commands in the notation or create ‘sound sets’. Unless the competition begins to do the same thing, I find it cost prohibitive in my current environment to pay for two full licenses (and I won’t use a hw security key at this time). Perhaps someday if I get some large ‘studio contracts’ to pay for additional stuff like two licenses and a full set of Vienna instruments! :slight_smile: Right now I am working on independent low budget films and it does not make financial sense for two licenses at full price each.
b. No. Being in a non-Internet location without a security key makes me dead in the water.

Again, I would be happy to purchase a discounted second license and be done with it (though I would have much prefer a single license for two machines as pretty much all my software vendors including the music ones, do). I will not pay for two full licenses. Therefore, this is not a technical issue - Steinberg has to make a marketing decision to provide a ‘volume discount’ for people or companies that purchase more than one license. Volume discounts are common practice across almost all industries.

As Romanos mentioned, this dead horse has been thoroughly beaten. After inquiring about a second activation with full-use licences or even a discount for a second activation, Steinberg’s policy was pretty firm. I also inquired about moving existing USB licenses to Soft-licensers (another irritation with the current scheme) but that, too was a polite, but firm, not going to happen (at least in the near term.)

A few of the finer points:

  • If you have two crossgradable licences of competitive products, contact your dealer and you can probably get two licenses at the discounted price. (That is what I ended up with.) It still means twice the on-going maintenance, but at least you save on the entry cost. Can’t say I’m especially thrilled with the solution, but it does cost less than two full-priced licenses.

  • In my experience, once a soft e-licneser is authorized for a Steinberg product, it does not need to talk to the internet again unless it get’s “broken” by a software upgrade or whatnot. This would be likely a less than twice a year occurrence (on Windows 10, at least) where an internet connection would be required for a few minutes (such as by using a mobile phone as a hotspot.) If you avoid upgrades of OS, less frequent.

  • If your concern is about realistic playback, Dorico might not yet have the maturity of a Sibelius w/ Noteperformer solution. Improvements are being made steadily by the Dorico dev team, but I would not expect Noteperformer or a more realistic playback system in the Dorico 1.x timeframe. I suspect (but have no official word) that incremental improvements will be made as updates roll out, with parity sometime in the Dorico 2.x timeframe (I hope.) I do know there is significant interest in more advanced playback technology in future releases of Dorico, but I will let the product team address that. I also know there is interest on the Noteperformer side as soon as some unspecified tech issues are ironed out with Dorico. While you don’t need to develop soundsets for Dorico, in many cases you will still need to create “expression maps” for specific sample or VSTi’s outside of Halion SE. There are a number of expression maps floating around out there, but you should not expect non-Halion sounds to work perfectly without a decent expression map for your sounds. (YMMV–I speak only for own ears.)

I get it and thanks. I only have one Sibelius license. So I would only get one Dorico lisence. The problem is if I forget the hardware key at the studio and I’m on the road with no Internet access, there is no way to get an emergency license (or whatever they call it) to procede until I return. That can put me dead in the water for a few hours (if I’m on a plane) or days if I am at a weekend retreat, on a ship, or otherwise out of the country with no Internet access.

Thanks for the insights on version 1 - sure sounds like a reason to hold off to version 2 even if I had two licenses or an equivalent mechanism. I have also been holding off on Noteperformer for over a year despite my mentor and teacher insisting on buying it. I was concerned that the quality would not meet my minimum standards for electronic scoring for films (which is why I moved to Cinesamples two years ago from Miroslav which was my workhorse for Gigastudio for over 10 years). This year alone I have scored 9 films with one more in December. But I’m going to even move past that to EWQL or probably to Vienna once I get features that pay enough to invest further. But at $129, it really doesn’t make sense not to also buy Noteperformer even if I use it to just realize a live performance. It has become too difficult to score unpitched percussion with unpitched staffs and the correct note mapping for live percussionists without a soundset and Noteperformer will handle that.

I do mostly stuff for media (and only occasionally do I have the honor of live orchestra.) I primarily use Sibelius as my starting point (I tend to score first) with Noteperformer and then move to a DAW (9 times out of 10 Cubase) for mocking up the full sound. I ended up with two licenses (after some pain) with one on USB (with my Cubase license on a workstation) and the other with a soft-elicenser on my laptop for precisely the concerns you are mentioning. Dorico is my first choice for generating sight-reading ready score for performers.

I do not recommend Noteperformer for finished client output, but it is helpful for auditioning a composition with somewhat useful interpretation of orchestral textures, especially with compositions that are in the style of the common era of composing (it’s no where as good as I get with hand-work in a DAW, but it’s surprisingly good at going straight off the score without tweaking.) Sometimes, just to show client what I’m thinking, I will use Noteperformer to generate a quickie output I can shot across as an MP3 out of Sibelius. Also, at under 2 GB, it’s really light on laptops.

When/if Noteperformer becomes available in any form for Dorico, I will license it at once.

For very high quality quality instrument interpretations I look to VSL with Altiverb.

When I’m just working for myself, I use Spitfire’s libraries more often these days. I would not completely dismiss EWQL’s but it’s a bit harder for me to get the sound I like (Subjective. I have their Platinum series and Hollywood series.)

Dorico’s playback is by no means terrible–it just asks more of me right now than the relatively clean workflow I have going with Sibelius/Noteperformer for composing (vs. engraving.) It has great potential to go far in the future. (It’s really a shame I need to stay in the present right now.)


This is a tangent commentary, but what a fascinating idea! This would be preferable to a dongle.

To the OP, again, I apologize if I seemed rude at the beginning. Part of my frustration is watching this conversation perpetually go nowhere (not your fault). I agree with you (and so does everyone else) that it is a shame. FWIW, I have a feeling that you’ll definitely hear about it if they change their licensing practices. There will be such a [happy] uproar it will be hard to miss.

fyi - I purchased NotePerformer tonight and downloading it right now. I agree that for the big leagues I’m going to need VSL no matter what I compose with. Right now I am pretty happy with the full set of Cinesamples, though I am not happy with the sound of the strings at pianissimo. Sounds too gritty though legato. I am looking for another string section that works with Kontakt that has a softer/smoother sound.

Long term I continue to look for one product that can be effectively used simultaneously for both electronic and live delivery. A product that understand the nuances of the instruments, the markings on the sheet and even perhaps some english (or fr/it) descriptions. A product that I don’t have to hide MIDI commands. I still have to show my works around for comment and critique as charts/scores and hardly anyone but the audio engineers understand piano roll :slight_smile:

By the way, if you are into film, here is a great site to hang out (sort of a social place for film people). I park around the composing lounge a bunch -

And here is something I posted tonight. An updated score of a film I scored that primiered this past Aug in LA and was nominated for “Best Score” at the festival: “The Last Command” ( -


you could buy a cross grade version of Dorico and install it on your studio computer. Then on your laptop get a trial version code. This way you may enjoy the benefits of two licenses for a modest price of a discounted cross grade and use it on the road for 30 happy days.

Hi Joel,

interesting track and thanks for your helpful links.

Regarding your topic, I understand and accept the #one license per maschine - solution. It also might be helpful at times, runnig two instances of Dorico on different maschines and projects. I own two Korg Kronos Workstations and sound-librarys are sold on a #one license per instrument - basis. Installing one libray on two instruments doubles polyphony.

I must admit, there are times when budget is a question. But with Dorico I didn’t hesitate in geting a second license, because this software is so genius and fun to work with and it’s more likely in the beginning of growing into an enormous encyclopedia of music notation, equipped with full featured toolsets for layout and publication and of course with advanced features for realistc sounding realisation and export, and hopefully and not at least with options for midi-live-recording and more hopefully with integrated audiotracks / recording - options, running things like Melodyne for audio to midi conversions.

Best regards,

I have done what several posters remark on here. Returned a year later to see if the licensing situation has changed. With Sibelius my wife and I can work 2 instances of the application off the same license and we frequently need the software at the same time. With Dorico we will need to double our expenditure or start planning when we use it. Very frustrating. Reluctantly we are upgrading our Sibelius copies and not cross grading.

Technically, you’re in violation of your Sibelius end user license agreement (see here) but I know that in practice nobody is going to stop you and your wife from both using your single-user license.

In case you’ve not found other threads on this topic, just to say that we are in the process of transitioning away from our current eLicenser technology for Dorico and our other software products, but the transition of such a major and business-critical part of our infrastructure is not something we can do overnight, so we don’t yet have a firm timetable for when this will be complete.

Page 63 for English. Interesting to see that I breached the license by using Sibelius on one computer on a cruise ship in international waters…