VST2 and VST3 tuning parameters

Dorico uses either the VST 2 per-note tuning parameter or an VST 3 expression parameter for microtuning Steinberg instruments (Halion, Retrologue, Padshop, Simple etc.) and a couple of third-party instruments that respond to the VST tuning parameter (NotePerformer, Pianoteq).
Dorico plays back microtonal notation polyphonically, in extreme precision, using one of those VST parameters. As these are not MIDI, the tuning info is lost when exporting a MIDI file from Dorico.

  1. Is there a way to import a MIDI track from Dorico so that the tuning of the notes is not lost?
  2. How can we access the VST tuning parameters of Steinberg synths in Cubase? How do we give the VST tuning values we want for individual notes? Is it possible to access those parameters from Cubase?



  1. Sorry, I don’t know.

  • Open Key Editor.
  • In the Editor Inspector > Note Expression select the parameter you want to control = Tuning.
  • Double-click to the MIDI Note = Note expression editor will open.
  • Draw the curve.

Excellent, thanks! It works!
I notice that the value can only be given in hundredths of a semitone, ie. in cents, rather than in the much more precise values that Dorico can handle. I was looking for the Expression parameters in the List Editor, to type the numerical values in, but apparently you can only add or edit them in the Key Editor?


Yes, unfortunately there is this inaccurate graphical editor only.

I made some tests with various instruments that Dorico microtunes using VST Expression. It turned out that some VSTis (Halion, for example) respond to the extremely small tuning differences that Dorico enables, although some instruments don’t react to values the are smaller than one cent (0.01 semitones). So it’s not only graphics and numbers on the page, it’s a sounding reality in Dorico. But, using the same Steinberg instruments, the VST Note Expression / Tuning parameter can only be input and edited in one-cent increments (0.01 semitones) in Cubase. So the functionality is there but we can’t access it!


Sorry, I’m not Dorico expert. Does it mean, the fine tuning in Dorico id much finer? Could you attach a screenshot or link to the relevant manual page, please?

When you edit the note expression data in key editor you can also use the info line once the data is selected. This will let you set the values with much more precision.

Thanks! I found that. I’d missed it because I didn’t have ‘Show Expression Data’ selected in the pop-up menu.
Unfortunately the info line does not add more precision. It’s still only two decimals, as in the graphical editor. I want three - in Dorico you can divide the octave into 12,000 steps (and Halion does play that) while in Cubase, unless someone knows a way, “only” into 1,200.