What place Dorico occupies in your composition workflow?

Some elements to develop the question :

Do you use a DAW in your composition workflow or has Dorico completely replaced it ? Do you use Dorico for quick audio feedback using only stock sounds or NotePerformer ? Or for realistic mockups using third-party libraries and dedicated playback templates ? Can you achieve desired level of realism in Dorico or do you need to work in a DAW (or other tools/ways) for better realism, or for steps of your composition workflow you can’t do in Dorico ?

For better context, please don’t hesitate to precise your media (instruments, orchestra, electronic, sound design, recordings, etc…).

Thanks for sharing your thoughts !


If the request is for broadcast quality, you have to do whatever it takes to create something that can compete with the best of the best out there - or they don’t accept your track. Ask me how I know, sigh.

Hans Zimmer and crew did a round table where they talked about the trap of giving a lesser quality audio demo to a director - that the director always says, don’t worry, give me something rough now to give me an idea, The director will insist that they are creative people who can imagine what it will sound like etc. - and every composer has had to deal with the fallout when they DON’T. They consider it now a RULE they teach to those coming up to never fall into that trap. The bar has become extremely high at all times.

There aren’t really such things as demos anymore, even if you are pitching a song to an artist whom you know will record it with their own style and arrangement. Or at least the libraries, pitch persons, supervisors and such are saying that when they put out a request. Sound Quality still affects the perception of the piece in a very competitive world.

The reasonably successful composers that I’ve corresponded with or listened to in conferences, don’t have time for and won’t put up a library that doesn’t sound pretty great to start with. Otherwise, its like starting 30 meters behind the starting line in a 50 meter sprint. Doesn’t mean they don’t take work and you don’t have to mix, etc. but a DAW or Dorico can only help so far… just as no DAW could make my singing complete with Adam Lambert…

So IMO If you question what you hear (as with NotePerformer today) then you probably already have your answer.

Dorico is central for me, but not alone. I’m not expert, but I have tried most of the possible workflows, and whenever I ask myself to point to something that I couldn’t have done just as well in Dorico alone - I have so far come up empty.

One objective difference is that DAW’s have more sends/routing, aux tracks, etc. I don’t personally like using them though. I don’t THINK it is sour grapes or fooling myself…!??

I don’t for example like mixing strings to an Aux, and then mixing the various Aux’s together for Strings/Brass/etc. For me the mix effort is more say to balance Bassoon to Cello or Tuba rather than Woodwinds to Strings. In cases like that, the Aux’s only complicate the situation for me. And there is definitely a sonic character to sub mixes like that which takes out some of the energy (sort of like going down a tape generation) which is why the DAW’s have VCF faders as a option.

But as I said, I think they get in the way for me more than they help. And to be fair I AM doing mixing within an instrument of mic positions etc. to get to a single fader as much as possible. If I had a zillion tracks for Cello, I’d probably like VCF for that. For stems I just mute tracks.

Interested to hear what others say, and please keep or sweep as you wish

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This is a question that I’m asking myself too as I’ gonna begin an arrangement/orchestration on an existing song: I’ve put my thoughts in the following link:

Please don’t hesitate to comment :slight_smile:

Thank you!