Was my jump to Dorico a bit premature?

I have been writing scores on computer for more than 30 years. Back from Steinberg Pro, C-Lab Notator, Cubase, Finale, Sibelius and now Dorico.
I’m now in charge for a musical department in a publishing house and we consider a new master template. Dorico is interesting for us because it allows for several pieces of music - flows - in a common format, graphic and data wise.
In some of our musicals there are more than 50 small pieces of music, and the Dorico concept is really a major progress comparing to “the others”. Furthermore is the staff behind Dorico really competent, support are great and the progress in the development is awesome. But - because there are some “buts” :smiley: Dorico is lacking some major features that leads us to wonder IF and WHEN they will be implemented. For many of these features there are workarounds, most of them will have great influence on the working hours put into each score though:

This is far from complete, but to me this is of major importance:

  1. MIDI record - to me and many others it’s MUCH faster to input a drum pattern or a reed part by playing, than using the keyboard. And it lets you kind of “improvise” ex. a piano arrangement.
  2. Text editor that let’s you edit lyrics really fast, with all the modern facilities known from Word.
  3. Export/Import of layout templates.
  4. Extensive keyboard shortcuts, that lets you use ex. Metagrid. Right now there are NO shortcut to toggle the chord symbols property “hidden”!

Then there are the new improvements: Chord symbols and percussion notation, really impressive, but not finished, because chord symbols can only be turned on or off for players, so imagine a musical with 30 flows, a reed player playing 4 instruments, with occasional solos, where chord symbols will be needed. Turn them on for the player, and you will have to select ALL the chord symbols for 4 instruments in 30 flows - also in the bars where they are NOT playing - you don’t need and hide them manually, that takes forever! And who would need chord symbols in passages where you are NOT playing? And if you have a drummer in the band she’s the only one who not knows what the singer are singing, because you can’t create cues in percussion staffs! Was the release a little premature?

But I haven’t mentioned the worse part. If you think that you can have 30 flows in one project, you might want to think twice. Already after 8 flows I experience lagging switching between the different modes Setup, Write, Engrave and this is on a Mac Pro 6.1 3ghz 8 core with 64 gb ram and all SSD.
The time Dorico uses to engage the write mode are significant worse in a project with around 20 flows, like this short video shows. I have tried to time how long time Dorico uses from the return key is pressed to the caret appears, by showing when the keys are pressed.
Watch this: 0 - 12 sec, a project with1 flow, reaction time quite okay.
from 13 sec - out, a project with 24 flow, reaction time almost 1 sec, from the key is pressed to you will be able to input notes.


You can argue that it’s a minor problem, but it’s actually a major problem when you are going to use Dorico professionally.

What I need is an assurance that the above mentioned features WILL be implemented, and the issues when having many flows in one project will be fixed.

And this doesn’t change my admiration for Daniel Spreadbury and the team behind Dorico in general, but I have to consider my responsibilities in my job.

I do agree especially the lag time. Even in one flow with a full orchestration, and no more than 150 measures, I experience sometimes more than one second of delay while entering notes.

The other advantages of the program do more than compensate for this lag, but it does throw me. The other limitations that you mentioned don’t affect me personally, thankfully.

I don’t envy the development team, as the world of music notation is incredibly varied and demands a lot of exact standards. But as you say, many of us are doing this as our livelihood.

Based on the response of the team and the rapid improvement of previous upgrades, I’m hopeful many of the things you mentioned are relatively imminent!

I’m not going to address the many things you’ve mentioned that have already been asked for, and promised for future versions - just search this forum and read!

Re: the lag - have you tried turning off System Track? Are flows allowed to start on the same page in your layouts? If so, turn that option off until you’ve actually got all your notes in place.

Oh, and chord symbols - you’re aware that you can select all, filter chord symbols and then set the hide properly to them all in one go, right?

You’ll find tens of threads on this forum that give extensive help re: the use of Keyboard Maestro and AutoHotKey in conjunction with Dorico. I don’t know the ins and outs of Metagrid but there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be able to use it with Dorico already.

I have a major project with over 40 flows. Full orchestrations. After I got to around ten flows the lag was noticeable. When I got to 20, it was unbearable. I also wondered if I switched prematurely. I found a trick on this forum that solved my problem. Create a layout specifically for writing and deselect all other flows in that layout. You’ll only have a couple of flows open while you’re working which doesn’t create any lag. It’s a real life saver.

Is there any news from the developers regarding this general slow down of Dorico as projects get larger? I typically work on orchestral projects and the delay time has been really hard to work with as my projects progress past their infancy. I’m still using the trial and this is the only factor that makes me unsure if I should buy or not… A smooth process when working is very important to me.

The team are working on improving performance with each new update, so I’d say jumping to Dorico is getting increasingly less premature!

Scott, I’d be interested to know what kind of scale your projects are, what kinds of operations are slow, and what kind of computer you have.

I’m going to weigh in here and say I’m also finding Dorico to be slow, in several operations - I’ve just searched the word ‘slow’ on the forums because I’m extending a trill line, and Dorico is nearly a full second behind my keypress (alt + right arrow). My system specs should be in my signature (do let me know if they’re not visible) - my DAW’s a little long in the tooth, so it’s possible my system could be the culprit, although I’m not seeing noticable slowdowns with other programs. I’m on page 15 of a 4 flow score for 4 instruments, no added graphics or anything. Some introductory text frames at the start. Happy to provide more info if it’s helpful. Thanks!

Alt+right arrow moves the trill to the right rather than lengthens it – Shift+Alt+right lengthens it. But no matter, in general those operations shouldn’t feel too slow. I’d be interested to see your project, and for you to send me the results of doing Help > Create Diagnostic Report, which saves a zip file to your desktop. When you email me (at d dot spreadbury at steinberg dot de) don’t forget to include the details of which trill in which bar in which flow you’re editing, so I can quickly get to the same spot you’re talking about.

Oh, sorry, yes, I meant the latter key combination - whoops. I’ll do as instructed right now, and thank you!

Intel Xeon - how many cores?

8 - should I put that in my signature?

It’s certainly more relevant to Dorico than the amount of RAM you’ve got.

Yes, of course, having spent time on the Cubase forums here, RAM tends to be the key focus. Obviously with Dorico that’s less relevant, unless you’re running a tonne of VSTs (which I’m not in Dorico, I’m just using noteperformer).

Anyway, now we’ve got that sorted, any thoughts on whether the machine is a bit creaky? It does seem to handle most other things pretty well, still, although I’ve had it for a good 5 years now.

No, as far as I can tell you’re over-spec’d for Dorico. I only asked as there are noticeable speed differences running Dorico on a quad-core vs a dual-core machine, regardless of RAM. This is understandable but frustrating for users who post stating that they’ve “just bought a brand new MacBook Pro” but don’t realise that the dual-core version can’t handle larger Dorico projects.

Ah, that makes sense. That also fits what I was expecting, although I believe there might be some issues with the Xeon around hyperthreading which, frankly, are way beyond my ken. I’ll do a bit more googling/forum searching. Thanks!

Well we still haven’t got any answers to the question: Are the team behind Dorico working on this issue: When having more than a handful of flows the program gets slower and slower.
I love all the new features, and for sure the implementation of them will be second to none, BUT I find the lagging really troublesome, because I fear that the problem is kind of built in to the app.

Does anyone else find that things improve if you delete all (but one of!) the Layouts? If I’m doing double-choir with orchestra, I delete all 8 vocal layouts, and anecdotally that seems to improve things.

Yes, of course. But unless you’re actually adding or removing players from the project, you can just close all tabs apart from the one you’re working on, then save the project, then close Dorico. You should then find that when you reload Dorico and reopen the project, it’s substantially faster, because it’s only calculating one layout in real time.

If you’re adding or removing players from flows then deleting layouts will certainly speed things up, and believe that merely closing layouts and reloading Dorico won’t speed up the actions of adding or removing players.

I don’t mean closing Tabs: I mean deleting Dorico Layouts from the right hand side panel of Setup.