Why does MuseScore 4 sound so terrible?

• Dec 16, 2022 - 20:00

I just downloaded the new version. It looks very well made, but the sound is absolutely horrendous. I'm not sure what's broken, but it's really bad. Any instrument I put sounds weird and nothing like what it's supposed to be. Playback is filled with crackles, and the notes are horrifyingly sharp. It also goes at its own pace and doesn't even stick to a tempo. Here's a link to a video of what's supposed to be a few instruments playing 4 concert F's (though you'll see that's not at all what it is): https://youtu.be/1inZmDjsaWM
The only editing done to the video was cropping it. Yes, it actually sounds THAT bad when I just play a score. I haven't messed with a single setting either, it just came like this.


Can't see the video. 1 issue I've heard is that 2 notes with a glissando sounds... really, really weird? I'm too backed up on work to show an example, but it seems like the first note becomes way too loud & the duration extends until a note of the same pitch is played. Which could be a few beats, measures, or the entire rest of the piece. That's a bad bug.

Generally speaking, sound should be incredible - miles better than MuseScore 3 or indeed any other notation software that has ever existed.

But if you're finding a problem with a specific score, best to attach it so people can understand and assist better.

I half agree with you.

The samples included in MuseScore Sounds are amazing. The tonal and timbre realism across the sounds is wonderful.

What isn't wonderful is the automated articulation, accent, attack, and in some cases, scoops/glissando attacks on notes that occur high in an instrument's range. I was extremely excited at the new version, and the new engraving, and the SOUND...... and the instability of the sound results on the attack and dynamics of the notes, specifically, is a real problem.

I think its a shame because the actual sampling and adjusting to account for the various instrumental ranges is great - but the articulations need to be great too...

Hi! Apparently it's a sample rate issue. I have a scarlett 2i2 and I usually have it working at 192k sample rate to reduce lag when playing virtual instruments and tried reducing that to 48k and now it is working as intended

In reply to by Mavil64

Thank you, I'm shocked this worked! I just went to control panel and changed my headphone sample rate from 192k to 96k, and everything works perfect. You can still see in the video I linked how wrong it was, but it's completely fixed in the app. Fixed the crackles, tuning, and glitchy tempo.

In reply to by CooCoo 333

I'm using Focusrite 2i2 Gen2 USB Audio Interface,
user could adjust the Sample Rate from 44100 - 192000
and Buffer Size from 16 - 1024.

My setup - Win11 22H2, MS4 works very well which
Sample Rate at 44100 and Buffer Size 256,
also, remember to adjust MS4 Audio Buffer Size to 4096.

Attachment Size
ms4-3.jpg 66.49 KB

In reply to by dds

Many thanks to the posters in this thread. Finally, after months, I can listen to V4 with almost no stutters. Experimenting with sample rate and using my Focusrite finally let me hear playback in real time. Mixdown was OK but a real pain to use to make adjustments.
MuseSounds are pretty good, but hardly the best of any notation software. As noted, solo brass sounds are pretty sloppy. Not suitable for classical work. Some sounds have a tendency to anticipate volume changes. A phrase marked soft will get louder as it approaches a louder dynamic marking. Not good for sudden changes. And there is way too much reverb. This can coverup a multitude of sins. Sometimes we want a lot of reverb. But not always.

Yes, the sounds are better than 3.6. They have a lot more punch and power when needed.

It is worth noting at this point the system requirements for V4. Of my five computers, only one scrapes its way up to the minimum requirements. And it plays V4 OK. How many of us that aren't professional composers have a computer that has an 8 core CPU. DAW users will tend to have those as well as 32 to 64 gigs of ram. All my computers have SSD's and at least 8 gigs of ram. But all but the desktop only have a 2 core CPU. I suspect that this may be the root of many V4 problems

In reply to by bobjp

MS4 + Muse Sounds tested on Intel Mac i5 MBA (almost the last Gen. of intel MBA line) last night,
the built-in audio device performing without any issue, but the cooling fan inside MBA turns to
MAX RPM and very noisy. sigh.........

What I hear in the video is exactly the same sound I here. Also the programm is slow on both my computer and laptop. There is a different volume for instruments and the vibrato doesn't stop at all. I've tried all options available but nothing helps. Looks like Musescore 4 is a no go for me.

I am also experimenting similar problems, with crackles, micro-interruptions and king of echoes.
After a few tests trying to change the selected sound font between "MS Basic" and "MuseScore_General", I eventually realised that the problem only appears when the mixer is not displayed.
Pressing F10 to display the mixer solves (temporarily) the problem.
The mixer takes a lot of space on the screen and that is why I preferred not to display it, but this can easily be solved be deanchoring the mixer window.
Unfortunately, displaying the mixer only solves the problem whan anchored to the main window.
The problem reappears when I de-anchor the mixer window !

Could you please test and confirm (or not) that displaying the mixer window (F10) has also an effect on your sound?

In reply to by Flying Roger

I confirm this also helps for me. Without the mixer showing the audio is terrible, choppy and stop-start, and impossible to judge if I've keyed in what I meant rhythm-wise. With the mixer visible and docked it is all swimmingly wonderful. With the Mixer undocked it is pretty good, much better than if not visible, but there is the occasional hiccup in timing.

The same applies when entering notes on the stave. Without the mixer each note keyed gives a crackly jittery sound. But with the sound mixer open it is fine. (I am using Brass-Tuba instrument if that makes a difference)

I discovered a clue that may be helpful. Please note I tried about every suggested fix in my Windows 10 PC with no success. Finally I downloaded the free Spitfire Audio BBC Symphony Orchestra Discover collection. The orchestral instruments are gorgeous with absolutely no "crackling" or other distortions. Clear as a bell! Perhaps understanding why this works can be helpful in solving our sound issues.

In reply to by Canin

As an experiment, I downloaded Spitfire. The sounds are nice. But the strings have the most annoying habit of swelling on every note. No amount a adjusting in the Spitfire app could get rid of it. So many free fonts do this. While it is nice to be able to control reverb, the swell problem is a turn off for me. I notice that the latest MuseSounds update has started to introduce this. I hope it's just my ears. I have MS4 working, so I don't need spitfire. Just testing.

In reply to by bobjp

I got in touch with Spitfire. They explained the swelling we hear in the strings "is normal and baked into the raw sample content" and there is no way to change that. They added the only option is to "add negative track delay". Strings naturely "swell" and here is a link that goes into detail on all this:
As you probably already know all the other Spitfire instruments do not "swell" but sound swell :-)

In reply to by Canin

Interesting that they got back to you. I have heard this swell in several fonts. And it makes them unusable. Sounds like a selling point for a DAW. Sorry, but strings naturally swell is not true. They can swell just like any instrument. But they don't have to. Just like any instrument. Wind players can hard or soft tongue the start of a note. String players can do the same type of thing with a bow. Listen to any recording of a violin. They don't swell on each note.
It is disappointing that this false idea is so widespread.
There is a school of thought that all music should swell on longer notes. It might work for some kinds of music, but not all.
But who am I to tell an industry that they are wrong. But think about it. Musically.

In reply to by bobjp

Yes - I should have qualified the swelling statement -- the article talks about a "natural" delay from when you start to play a note until the peak of the actual sound (in most instruments) depending on the playing technique used. It can be as small as 50 msec. The swelling we hear in the strings sound more like deliberate bowing dynamics to my ears. Thank you for pointing this out.

Hi, what I have found on this issue is that when I get uninstall the application, I saw that Musescore 4 (not the last updated) was still in my programs, at the windows 10 settings, apps were. so, it was double installed both versions, Musescore 4 and Musescore 4 with the last update of January 2023, the 4.01.

So, when I uninstalled the first one, the problem of echoing disappears.

I'm using Musescore for transcription of Drums,

I, as others, have been able to get acceptable replay by displaying the mixer (F10). . . Let's hope for a quick fix.

Let me also add a vote for a quick add of MDL Drumline aspects. While I do not use Muscore for dumline only, it is a significantly important aspect. I am sure you have all thought of it, but just continue to use v3 until 4 grows up a bit more.

In reply to by ddonald228

I have been trying to mix Spitfire BBC SO Discovery with Muse Sounds and LABS. Also note that sometimes one has to go back to MS Basic in oder to get some "out of range" notes. Arguably shouldn't be done, but for example try to get a "soprano" to sing higher than top C in MU4 and "she" won't. So no good for Mozart's Queen of the Night aria. It's possible to use the Change Instrument command for occasional notes - but a bit of a pain. Other libraries can extend the range - extrapolate out of range - using the samples they have.

It is also useful to check each staff for playback in MU4 - which takes time. This is important because sometimes notes drop out - perhaps due to articulation or dynamics. The effect of this can be to change the harmony or overall phrasing - but it may be slight - so not easy to notice or diagnose in a more complex piece with multiple strands. At least with that kind of check one has a chance to spot this issue, and maybe - with luck - get a better result.

Some of the articulations in MU4 are laughable - for example some flute passages - though I agree that the sounds can seem lovely at first - until a section just falls apart.

Getting the dynamics and overall mix right is really hard, and one wonders if it's worth the effort. One approach is to export all the staves as separate audio and Midi files, and then try remixing in a DAW, but that can be far too much work and doesn't always work any better than trying to adjust the mix in MU4.

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