One-Man Band LIVE (and what a band!)

A lot of us find ourselves in remote places at times, or in other situations where we ourselves are the band. It helps to be able to play a number of instruments if we want to record something “band-like”. Even those of us who are able to play a number of instruments well enough, and to sing without inspiring washroom breaks for anyone listening, it can be an exciting if somewhat nerve-wracking experience each time the red-light goes on and the recording is happening.  But of course we can always re-record, although finding the acceptable version without the need for “just one more tweak” can be a mind-killer without a producer to say “Good enough; now move on.”

So I salute all of you who produce your own music because you have to, or because you <…shiver…> want to. Now, that said, there is a level that only a few enter into, and of those who do, it is no great shock to find musicians of the calibre of Jacob Collier.

I found out about Jacob Collier from NS Design, who are stoked that Jacob plays their new NTXa bass (which I guess makes my old NXT bass a ‘vintage’ model now), but this is just one of the many instruments he has mastered, which helped him to win TWO Grammies:1) Best Arrangement: Instrumental or A Capella and 2) Best  Arrangement: Instruments and Vocals.

The NS Design artist web site for Jacob Collier says this: “Based in London, UK, Jacob has been inspired by many sounds – his music combines elements of Jazz, A cappella, Groove, Folk, Trip-hop, Classical music, Brazilian music, Gospel, Soul and Improvisation (to name a few), which culminate to create the world of ‘Jacob Collier.’ ”

Jacob’s own web site features his debut album and live dates, as well as quotes such as these:

“I have never in my life seen a talent like this… Beyond category. One of my favourite young artists on the planet – absolutely mind-blowing”

— Quincy Jones

“Wow!! Jacob, your stuff is amazing”

— Herbie Hancock

“Staggering and unique… Jazz’s new messiah”

— The Guardian
It also features his astounding “Jacob Collier and his One-Man Live Show Creature perform[ing] ‘Don’t You Know’, an original song from Jacob’s debut album ‘In My Room’; filmed live @ Village Underground, London, May 28th 2016.
This is a pretty amazing tour de force of technology, and I applaud him for being able to put it together and use it so creatively. Maybe it will inspire some of you to make music you never thought possible. Or maybe it will just make you appreciate your current band mates a bit more. Either way, you win.

Dorico Releases Update 1.0.30

The latest update to Dorico, version 1.0.30, is now available from their download site.

As I noted earlier (based on Daniel Spreadbury’s comments) this version is more about fixing bugs (about 80 of them) as well as improving performance, with a few improvements in playback, rests, and some more.

I’ll be checking it out later today and will post some comments. I’m not sure how many new users this will attract, but any current Dorico user will want to download it ASAP.

Hints on Dorico’s Next Update

First, thank you to everyone who sent good wishes to me for the surgery. It was a bit more serious than I expected but I’m pretty much back to normal now.

Daniel Spreadbury has given us some hints as to what to expect in the next update to Dorico, which will be 1.0.30. He has resumed his Making Notes column on the Steinberg blog, and you can get the full story there. This update looks to be aimed most at improving performance and fixing bugs, as well as improving work with rests and other “small features.”

The blog entry continues onto what is under development for updates farther down the road. There is detailed information on piano pedalling, enharmonic spelling for MIDI keyboard input, and finally chord diagrams. The Dorico team is aiming to provide all of the major styles of chord diagrams, but unfortunately they cannot add guitar box diagrams until later.

I strongly suggest that everyone read Making Notes to see the level of detail that is put into every feature. While it is not fully ready for guitar music quite yet, when those features are added we can be confident that they will fulfill the fondest dreams of all string players.

Slate Virtual Recording System (VRS) – Q & A

My post on the Slate Virtual Recording System (VRS) prompted a lot of questions via email. I still can’t find out what’s going on with comments, but one got through; how many others didn’t I have no idea, so the best route is still email to my address drdavejjg on gmail.


Several questions revolved around my rough figure of about $5,000 (US) for a full Slate setup. This is for a single VRS module, which has 8 physical inputs (digital trickery aside). How many inputs YOU need depends on the group or individual you are recording. Some engineers would use more than those 8 just for a drum set, so for most bands with a full drum set you would need a second VRS joined to the first one via Thunderbolt, UNLESS you wanted to record the drums separately, and then add the band. If I were in that situation I’d prefer to use 7 inputs for the drums and keep (at least) one for the bass and record those two instruments at the same time. Of course that depends on several things, such as how many toms and other percussion instruments need to be miked. Remember that the one bass input can be duplicated on another track in your recording software and treated differently to get a fuller or other type of enriched sound.

Of course, with another VRS you will need more mics, cables, etc. You may even need these with a single VRS if you don’t use and DI instruments.


The other most common question was which computer to use and its specs. This is a HUGE question, and several books have been written about it, most if not all of which are now obsolete because the field moves so quickly, but I’ll tell you what I can for today. I prefer a Mac but that’s my own choice. I can’t comment on the Thunderbolt card for PC’s except for the obvious: an additional component in the signal chain and another potential point of failure. Laptops area great choice for portability, but beware since the trend is to solder the RAM on these, so you can’t upgrade later without a skilled technician re-soldering new RAM onto the motherboard, IF that is possible (i.e. the system will support it) and, if it matters to you, whether it will void the warranty. So choose as much RAM as you can at the outset to put off becoming obsolete for as long as you can (the computer that is; time will take care of your own obsolescence). Go for the most memory and powerful processor your budget can afford. I like the Powerbook Pro, which (maxed out) should be able to handle most bands thanks to the work offloaded to the VRS’s. If you have a dedicated studio and don’t do location work you may be able to get by with a desktop or tower. (If you make enough from your dedicated studio you should be able to afford a laptop if you need it, and the extra work should pay for it once you have it.)


As for learning about recording, especially using the Slate plug-ins remember that the Everything Bundle (included for a year with the VRS)  includes the Tutorials created by pros who use the plug-ins in their work as well as Slate engineers. You can view several of these on YouTube just searching for things like “Slate Digital” “tutorials” “Everything Bundle.”  Some people have done their own tutorials, some of which are very good, but be careful about ‘knowledge’ that might be mistaken or the long way around a simpler method. In general, I’d stick to tutorials from Slate Digital or well-known recording pros (e.g. Mixerman). If you sign up to their newsletter you will be notified when they make some of these available for free, as they did over the holiday season. But like anything, if you want to do good work, you need knowledge of your tools, how they work individually and how they work with each other and the full system.

As for recording in general, Mixerman’s books and e-b00ks are invaluable resources.


I do read all of your emails, as well as every comment that gets through (they all go to the Spam folder). I can’t provide tech support for your particular system, nor can I compare big systems that I don’t use. A lot of questions asked for comparisons of ProTools  and Logic or another program. I don’t have ProTools and the comments from engineers seem to agree with Steven Slate’s own, so I’d suggest you look those up or contact Slate pre-sales support who I am told are quite approachable.

I have to go in for minor surgery so I’ll be offline for a little while, but I’ll get back to reading your emails as soon as I can, although I might just be checking News once a day for a few days.

I hope to return soon.

Slate Digital Completes Its Virtual Recording Studio

If you have been following Steven Slate realize his dream, you have been expecting this day. After revolutionizing software plug-ins to rival classic effect and pre-amp models, it was only a matter of time before he moved into the hardware side of recording. The Raven replaced the physical desk with a virtual one via touch screen, and provides a great interface for using the plug-ins. The Virtual Microphone System brought the same kind of software modeling of classic hardware to the microphone realm. Now the Virtual Recording Studio picks up the rest.

video-thumb-virtual-recording-studioYou can find out all of the details of the Virtual Recording Studio and how it fits into the entire Slate ideology by clicking on the link or image above. It looks and sounds great to me but I am NOT a hardware engineer, so I can’t comment on how it compares to the high-end gear that Steven discusses, nor on their custom components. I also can’t A/B the mics as he does in the demo video, so I suggest that you check out the engineering forums to see what the recording  pros really think.

The deal itself seems incredibly great, which is why I think it is worth your while to check it out. For about $5,000 (USD) you can set up a state-of-the-art studio with the mics, inputs, plug-ins, and extras that you need (stands, booms, cables, etc.). (Oh, except for the high-end computer that’s going to be running this thing. A modern Mac Pro or PC tower should do, and if you are into recording it’s quite likely that you have one now or are planning to upgrade soon.) That’s pretty amazing — if you have a space that can make the most of such precise equipment.

So now you have 8 inputs for your sound, which you can make seem like more by doing things like adding second mic emulations on a different track but using the same physical mic, as Steven does in the latter part of the video. You can get more physical inputs by joining several VRS’s via Thunderbolt too. You now have a choice of large- or small-diaphragm mics that can emulate different vintage mics (or in some cases, the same ones, at least close enough). Because most studios outside of bedrooms need more than one mic, the VRS can be purchased with 5-packs of either type of Slate mic, and it comes with permanent licenses for the mic emulations, as well as a 1-year subscription to the Everything Bundle. But remember that it won’t be long before you want a Raven to control those plug-ins.

Slate has always provided great value for the money, and the Virtual Recording Studio looks to be the epitome of their line-up. If you do any recording, you must look into this one seriously.

Dorico Manual Available in PDF

The first version of Dorico’s manual is now available as a downloadable PDF file.

Click here to download the manual.

At this point the manual pretty much duplicates the online help pages that the  Help menu option takes you to, but it’s very handy to have an offline version. This is not an exhaustive manual, but it does pack a lot of information into 161 pages. The sidebar gives you an overview of each chapter and  links to each topic, as does the Table of Contents (although the TOC links are the page numbers rather than the topic themselves).

The manual is well done but also suffers from the deficiencies of the Help pages. Most noticeably missing is a section on Play Mode, which is no doubt the main focus of programming attention these days. While the manual doesn’t quite make up for the update that we were all hoping for by the end of last month, it is a handy thing to have.

And best wishes to you all for a happy and healthy 2017!

Great Gifts for Musicians

Yes, it’s getting late, but a lot of us have the ultimate gift over the next week or two: time!


If you (or a loved one) have always wanted to write a song but never quite gotten around to it, or to finishing one, check out my book How To Write Your First Song. (In Canada, click here.) No previous theory is necessary, just the desire to write a song that you will be truly proud of. I share some of the ways I go about it, but the main aim of the book is to help you find your own way. While your first song is always the hardest to write, there is little in this world as satisfying as finishing one. (BTW, this book is also meant to help accomplished songwriters who have hit a wall and need a way around it that works.)

And if you are feeling really generous, to a friend, significant other, or yourself, Dorico is a great choice. I’ll be writing more on it in a few days, but the 1.0.20 update confirms that they are on track to become THE notation software program to use.

Comment Craziness (and Good News)

I’m sorry if any of you tried to post comments only to have them disappear into cyberspace. I have no idea what is going on with them. At first WordPress marked every comment (at least all that I saw) as Spam, and would not let me change them. In fact, after I saw them once, they all disappeared. In fairness, the first three were spam, but several of the rest were real. Many of those were compliments, so please let me thank all of you who said kind things about the blog.

Two of you said almost the same thing: that it was good to have someone who gave an honest, informed opinion on things. This is what I am striving to do. I do not accept money for anything I feature on the blog, nor do I even mention something that I don’t think is a good deal. I do as much research as I can on everything I write about.

I still am not sure about what’s going on with comments because just as I had given up, Neil Sands managed to get a very good comment through somehow. Thank you Neil! My statement about the need for a series of updates having undermined confidence in Dorico was based on feedback I received from readers of this blog and from friends. I realize that I should have said “for some people.” I still have complete confidence that Dorico will be the notation package (if it is not already) and I enjoy using it for much of my own work.

One final note on comments: I realize how difficult it is to speak more than one language fluently (I speak 6, and can make a fool of myself in 3 others). However, it is very important to check your translation as some words carry different connotations although they may share some similar meanings across related languages. The example I am thinking of came today, and while it was clearly from a German speaker (I have a good idea of the words they meant) their request came across to the Spam engine as a threat. If I am right, the answer to your question is to click on the blue “Follow drdavewalkerblog” button just under the search field at the upper right of the page.


The good news is that the next update to Dorico is due VERY SOON. I have a date from Daniel Spreadbury but as I hadn’t asked if it was “on the record” I’ll just say that I rushed to post this today even though I am under the weather.  I will let you know all about it as soon as I can. I think this will be a very important milestone in a Dorico’s history.

Dorico 1.0.10 Review

Dorico is the future of high-end notation software. This would be completely obvious if they had released it next August, but the realities of modern business and shopping cycles brought it to market before several key features (for certain groups) were added. Realistically, its core user base works with orchestral and choral groups for concert or broadcast, and these users are very well served by Dorico in its present state.

We all have just one chance to make a first impression, and if only Cyber Monday and the Xmas shopping season were six more months away Dorico would have created the sensation that it deserves. Glowing headlines would have hailed a revolution in computer music well beyond notation. Accounting and Marketing being what they are, Dorico’s arrival was less auspicious than it could have been, and relying on the promise of free updates to fill in the gaps has left its own gap into which competitors have quickly squeezed. Such is life.

In writing this review, I have taken for granted that Dorico is excellent — ground-breaking in many ways — in its design and implementation. My criticisms mostly fall into two groups: 1) missing features, and 2) annoyances (not true bugs, possibly even features). So if there seem to be a lot of problems with Dorico, in most cases they are minor especially compared with the huge leap forward that Dorico represents, and that I believe we will see in the near future in updates.


Dorico begins by opening the Steinberg Hub, a very useful starting point that is too often glossed over. More than just a list of previous projects, it is a menu of choices for Dorico and related sites. The top buttons allow you to enter the User Forums, the Download area, or the Knowledge base, while News and Tutorials are available on the left side of the screen. You are welcomed into the Steinberg world in the country of Dorico.


Recent projects are shown in a list, and it is possible to create the ensemble for a new project simply by clicking on Orchestral, Band, Chamber, Choral and Vocal, or Solo; you can also choose New Empty Project or open another project not shown. Choosing your ensemble is a microcosm of the way that Dorico works in virtually all areas. It gives you the most common choices, which you can then modify to suit whatever grouping you wish. This often makes workflow smooth, but can make seemingly simple requests suddenly complex. For example, I thought I would create a double string orchestra each with its own string quartet — not a common grouping but a combination of two very common ones. It turns out that you only get one shot at the main ensemble, so I chose the first string orchestra in one click.  Choosing an ensemble or soloist takes you directly into Write Mode, which is fine if you are using that ensemble, but if you need to add one or more players, you will need to return to Setup Mode. Back in Setup Mode I chose Ensemble from the buttons below the players list, and chose Strings -> String Section, which gave me a second string orchestra. Unfortunately I was unable to add a string quartet, so I had to add each player of each quartet separately. It would be really convenient to be able to add more  ensembles of soloists from the menu, although perhaps this is difficult to program. Still, this would be my one wish for Setup Mode.


You will now see the Players listed on the left, with buttons at the bottom to choose single players, sections of players, and ensembles, as well as a button to place selected instruments or sections into Groups. As you add players, they add to the bottom of the list, but can be moved to the position you desire. Their staff moves along with them in the Flow, but not in the Layouts on the far right; here you have to move them again yourself.

One other gaffe in Dorico so far is that the instruments show in Play Mode in the order they were created rather than the score order you choose. This makes following them difficult, especially if you are not used to piano roll depiction of the music. In my example case, I had to rename all soloists as well as the second string orchestra to keep them straight when working in other modes. This integration between modes in on my list of of issues that must be addressed ASAP.

The Layout window contains Page Setup Options via the “cog” icon at the bottom that allows you to set defaults for the full score, parts, or custom scores. The Sort arrows do nothing for me, nor do I understand the idea behind the Empty Part. Here a manual would be very helpful.

The score in the middle of the page is labelled “Flow 1” and below it is a dialog box to create additional flows. Flows are perhaps the most powerful feature of Dorico: they let you create more than one piece of music in the project. This means that a multi-movement work can be contained in a single file, as well as works with different instruments and voices in different numbers, or sets of examples. One caveat at this time is that the order in which the flows are created often determines their position in later operations and lists. This is the same problem as creating instruments (or rather players) and should be addressed in future updates as it seems to be unintentional.

Note that setup adds players, either solo or section, rather than instruments. Thus a player can double on a second instrument without complicated workarounds.

At this point I find it most useful to go to the main menu, and under the File list choose Project Info… Here is where you place the title, composer, lyricist, and other data describing the music in the project. Since many projects will consist of a single piece of music, there is a very handy pair of buttons at the bottom that allow you to copy the Project information into a particular Flow or vice versa. Of course if only some of the information is common, the rest can be edited or deleted. I find this an effective workflow as the titles Flow 1, Flow 2, etc. are now replaced with the actual piece names in the other modes as well. Oddly, the Flows window still shows them as Flow 1, etc. but you can edit the names there. It would make more sense to me to update them with the title of the piece.



Write Mode is where Dorico really shines. You can work without barlines if you like, which can be very handy if you want to vary ideas without shoehorning them into a preconceived number of beats and default accent patterns. It is also very handy for transcribing music by ear when you want to get the pitches right first and then overlay the rhythmic values. No assumptions are made about your music at this point. This is very handy for single parts, but can make coordination of multiple parts tricky.

Once again you have control over virtually everything to do with how your music is notated: the groupings within a bar, whether syncopations show each beat (usually requiring ties), different note heads, and on and on. A particularly wonderful feature is Insert mode where you can insert notes without deleting those following — they are simply moved to the right. One oddity of this mode though is that you need to be in Insert mode to delete notes you have entered, which I don’t find intuitive. However, once again the notes move to accommodate the deletion rather than leaving a gap. If you want the gap, simply insert a rest.

Notes can be input from a MIDI keyboard, the computer keyboard, or by mouse. A combination of MIDI keyboard for pitch and computer keyboard for duration can allow for very fast input, especially if you have memorized the keys for dotted notes, rest, ties, and whatever else you commonly use. The computer keyboard must guess at the octave into which to insert the note you have chosen, but you can use Option->Command->arrow key (on the Mac) to move a note up or down an octave. Once again a manual would be helpful, and is surely on its way. The 1.0.10 update added several ways to select notes as well as a comprehensive transposition feature that can transpose to a key, by an interval, or even calculate it for you if you know the starting note and where you want it to be transposed to.

There are so many features and options in Write Mode that it would require a review longer than this one just to cover them all. It can produce amazing results, but there are quirks that should be fixed in future updates. One is dashed barlines, which cannot be restricted to a single staff (as Bartok does in the first movement of Music for Strings, Percussion and Celesta) but rather span all staves. While this is a pretty rare use of them, the bigger problem is that they are treated as regular barlines in the numeration, so that if bar 1 has two dashed barlines within it, the next bar is mis-labelled bar4 rather than bar 2. As with most things, there are workarounds to fudge the bar numbering, but this should be corrected.

While many keyboard shortcuts are easily remembered, there are at least seven menus, some of which have sub-menus, that can be shown or hidden to provide note values, articulations clef, octave lines (up to triple octaves!), as well as those for uncommon and even archaic clefs., just some examples of the depth of Dorico and its options. Keep this in mind when I mention missing options; the available list is enormous.


Play Mode appears to be the last feature added, and many of the problems with version 1.0 were fixed with the 1.0.10 update. The incorporation of the Cubase / Nuendo playback engine and the HALion SE library into Dorico is a work in progress. For example, in 1.0 the bass sounded an octave lower than scored (i.e. an octave below the actual octave transposition of the double bass and bass guitar) so that the lowest octave did not sound. In 1.0.10 the notes play correctly, but on input and edit they still sound an octave too low (I believe that this is already fixed and should be in the next update).

Playback of articulations is supplied via expression maps, but these are still somewhat rudimentary, giving an approximation of the sound of the orchestra but missing the nuances of the Vienna Symphonic Library or even the Garritan Personal Orchestra. As the Dorico team suggests using the HALion SE library for playback, it seems that there is a ways to go before this part of Dorico reaches the level of its competitors. While Cubase or Nuendo users may be familiar with expression maps, many others will not be and a tutorial on them would be most helpful. However, the manual on the site does not even have a section on Play Mode.

As previously mentioned, the instruments in Play Mode show in the order of their creation. They cannot be rearranged. On my second attempt I placed each section and quartet in its own Group but this did not affect the Play Mode ordering. Using the provided HALion SE playback engine, the instruments are also placed in MIDI channels in the order of creation. This library seems to be created for playback of scores, since the articulations shown by clicking the middle button in the VST Instruments panel are not sounded when the on-screen keyboard is played, nor are all of the articulations available through notation. Another anomaly I ran into was finding that many string sections had solo expression maps assigned to them while only one solo instrument had a section (or combi) map. These were easy enough to change, but annoying since the instrumental layout did not correspond to my score, so I had to work by instrument name.

The results here were so odd that I tried creating a double orchestra-plus-string-quartet in setup again, and found that while the ordering was still in that of the instruments’ creation, the assigned maps were very different, in fact only solo plus “solo-combi” was assigned. Even stranger were the instruments that showed up in the HALion SE rack, which now included a nylon string guitar! Clearly there is work to be done on Play Mode.


Many of us will have little need for Engrave Mode, although its feature list is impressive, and it makes possible excellent looking Title pages as well as providing for a specific final page different from the rest of the score. Thus there is no need for a blank page at the end if the chosen printing style would ordinarily require it.

This mode also allows for the adjustment of staff spacing, I task I usually dread because I so often accidentally introduce errors in the notation while simple trying to accommodate an unrelated unusually high or low note. Dorico’s separation of functions here assures me that I will not accidentally change a note because it will not allow it. In fact you actually have to “flip a switch” to enable staff spacing changes, and the distances are clearly labelled including the size of the spaces.  One or several staves can be adjusted at one time. The full use of this feature, along with an overview of all of the changes in 1.0.10, is in the video in this edition of Making Notes by Daniel Spreadbury.


Print mode gives a wide variety of print options. I was surprised and disappointed to find that I had to choose US Letter as a page size for a second time here as I had already chosen it in Layout Options, and the need for a link is obvious. Print Mode does add the option for a different final page, which again is very useful.

As well available printers, Print Mode will create graphic files of your score (or chosen parts of it) as PDF, PNG, SVG, or TIFF. You can also include the date in the filename automatically. You can also include watermarks, crop marks, borders, and date and time on the graphic. If you prefer, you can also use your OS’s print dialog.


Learning Dorico is needlessly more difficult because there is no complete manual for it yet. There are excellent introductory tutorials, the beginning of a manual on the help page, and user forums where you can often find members of the Dorico team answering questions as well as via tech support. The forum idea for support has become an unfortunate standard as companies cut back on support staff, but the Dorico one is particularly good as the community tends to be both informed and engaged. While this does not ensure that all answers are correct, most tend to be helpful and response is usually quick. There is also Dorico Help option under  Help on the main (top-level) menu. This takes you to a search of the manual but also has an option to generate a support ticket to ask a question. Oddly, mine came up in German, which I can speak but am hardly fluent. Another oddity was that the option for choosing a different language was also in German, so you should know that Sprache in this context means language, and you can choose English in the upper-right corner of the top white box that requires a sign-in to your My Steinberg account. This is a cumbersome procedure because you have to have provided personal information previously (probably during registration) which may have been optional but now is mandatory, and you must give consent for it to be shared with tech support to answer your question, however simple it may be. Still just an annoyance, this is really at the upper reach of them with security implications that disturb me. With hackers having the edge in the battle for data safety (and its defeat) I prefer to give them as little information as possible. As a former owner of a computer security business, I prefer to give out information on a definite need to know basis, and so far have yet to use this mechanism.


Dorico is potentially a revolution in music notation software, but its Achilles heel may well be too early a release date. While understandable from a marketing and accounting viewpoint, especially with the year’s big shopping season approaching and fans clamoring for it, the need for a series of updates before it has even become completely usable has undermined confidence in it. This is most noticeable in the playback engine, which needs more tuning to be fully functional as well as to be acceptable to third-party sound library manufacturers to adapt to it.

This is most unfortunate since the heart of the program, the actual notation, is advanced far beyond the competition, and despite a few minor quirks it provides a great deal of flexibility that composers and arrangers have been lacking until now. While many were surprised by the number of bugs found in the initial release, the speed at which these were corrected while new features were being added is very impressive. With the exception of some modern music, most orchestral, band, and vocal music is ready-to-go in a package that exceeds by far anything else on the market. Players will benefit from a wider variety of part formats that rival those that so far have been the purview of the major publishing houses.

Limitations of the playback engine are the result of greatly expanded expectations for notation programs. They are now expected to be virtual sequencers, playing back scores with perfect fidelity, mixed with a little “humanizing” to keep them from sounding robotic. It is clear that the Dorico team has concentrated on making the next generation notation package, and is now turning to bringing Play Mode up to the same level. Note that this is the one area where the Dorico team does not have autonomy, but rather must work with soundware developers both internal and external to Steinberg. Such groups have their own priorities, and scheduling is likely difficult.While third-parties reasonably have a wait-and-see attitude toward new software, in-house developers are more accommodating and so we will likely see a Steinberg-based playback engine complete before others develop Dorico-specific interfaces. Similarly, documentation is often a separate department, and work on a product cannot truly begin until that product is near release. Other projects have their own updates that require documentation, and again scheduling can be a problem. Dorico really is quite intuitive once you get the hang of opening the hidden panels and searching creatively, but those who rely on a manual solely will find their learning curve unnecessarily steepened.

There is no reason to put off buying Dorico at this point unless you need tablature or a complete set of jazz articulations and playback. If in doubt, work with the free 30-day trail and experience Dorico for yourself. While I understand the allure of competitors who are selling their products at rock-bottom prices, consider what might cause them to do so. I believe that a year from now the vast majority of high-end notation will be done in Dorico.