Does Dorico enclose a great piano sound?

Dorico enclose the VST “HALion Symphonic Orchestra”.
Is there also a great piano sound like “The Grand” ?

While Dorico does not come with an extensive Grand Piano plugin (Such as The Grand), it does have dozens of decent pianos included as part of HALion Sonic SE. They’re definitely as good as anything (in my opinion superior) that comes with Sibelius or Finale.

I’m short on time this afternoon, but I’ll try to make and throw up some renderings tonight where you can hear some of the pianos included with Dorico in action.

The piano sound is certainly enhanced by changing the reverb from the default. I quite like the Austrian hall preset)

Here is a rendering using the “SR Live Grand Piano” included with Dorico.

I’ve disabled all external Reverbs so this is the raw Piano Sound with its own built in effects.

For rendering to MP3 I added the Steinberg Maximiser and a 16bit dithering routine to the Master insert.

super, thank you.

No problem…

There are dozens of Acoustic and Electronic Pianos included…and all sorts of tweaking can be done to taste for them as well. I’ll gradually add more renderings as I get time to make and upload them.

In addition, you get an assortment of insert plugins with Dorico as well (reverbs, compressors, distortion, equalizers, tone enhancers, etc.). There is a true DAW audio engine living under Dorico…pretty impressive, and it’s only going to get better and better with each Dorico release building on to the Play mode of Dorico.

Here is a list of the HALion content packs, and VST plugins that currently come with Dorico (If you were to buy all this stuff as separate plugins (I.E. from Waves), it’d easily cost as much as Dorico.

Well, that sounds like a beat-up 20 or 30 year old digital piano to me (but the rest of the free Dorico sounds are about the same quality!)

Compare with this version in Pianoteq. Note this is “only” Pianoteq version 2, released 9 years ago - they are now on version 5, which is MUCH better, but I can’t find a Pianoteq 5 recording of the same piece.

Don’t compare the performances - just the piano sound: Stream Franz Liszt - Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, S.244 - 2 by ARTeomo | Listen online for free on SoundCloud

and don’t forget the Garritan CFX… :slight_smile: It’s in a completely different league compared to the other Garritan stuff (I’m a pianist too, so please don’t shoot!!! :wink: )

OK, but this is about what COMES WITH scoring packages…
You’re linking a plugin that starts at around $130US, and climbs on up to $800US…

Lets compare the pianos that ‘come with’ various scoring packages ‘out of the box’?

Also, I can compress the mess out of this SR Live piano, jack up the mid-range, and push it through a terribly boomie reverb unit so it sounds a lot more like the sound-cloud rendering for Pianoteq rendering above as well. That rendering has outright feedback in it its so bad (maybe good for a 2 inch Mac Laptop speaker), and it sounds like it’s spilling out into the halls of a University building from a practice room, not like you’re sitting on the bench yourself in a recording studio.

I’ll do it later…but you can certainly create a space and ambiance in Dorico as well. I did NOT do this on purpose, so the OP could hear exactly what the patch sounds like on its own.

I just put the raw piano patch up there…it is what it is.

You can compare it with whatever you want. It’s different from the free pianos bundled with Sibelius and Finale, but I wouldn’t call it “better” - just “different”.

If it’s advertised as a “piano,” personally I would compare it with a piano. If people want to call the Halion piano samples “super”, I have the right to disagree with them!

(But FWIW the Grotrian-Steinweg in Pianoteq 5 does sound exactly like the one that my piano teacher for 15 years used to have - even including its irritating little faults!)

Considering the samples take up well over 100Gb of space it should be in a different league (and it is) - that’s more than 10 times the size of the complete Dorico sound library, just for one instrument.


  1. I just put in ONE out of dozens of Pianos INCLUDED with Dorico. You do NOT get this many piano renditions in Sibelius, nor Finale.

  2. I did NOT apply any extra effects, other than Maximizing for the rendering process.

  3. I stated that it was “my opinion” that the SE Pianos are superior to anything in Sibelius Sounds 7.5, or Instruments for Finale.

Third party plugins are a whole different topic…

Who said anything about the HALion SE Pianos being ‘super’? Comparing a tiny patch from a rompler style sound-set to a $130 third party plugin that was designed ‘specifically to be a realistic piano’ just does not make sense.

They (HSSE Instruments) were designed to go with general purpose Composer/DAW workstations. They are what they are…lean and efficient ROMPLER sounds. Out of thousands of presets, you happen to get more than a dozen piano sounds.

Are they good enough for the OP? I have no idea…just offering a few raw renderings for his own ears…

See the post by Triangle, in this thread.

I took that as acknowledgement/appreciation for answers to his question, and for having posted an example rendering…not necessarily his opinion of what he may have heard.

Here is another rendering with the same “SR Live Grand Piano” patch.

I’ve cranked the mid-range and brilliance settings in SE to max, and applied the Austrian Hall reverb setting in REverence recommended by Paul.

Same Maximizer and 16bit Dithering applied as before.

Next up is the included “YAMAHA S90E S Piano”.

In this case I’ve applied a TON of reverb using the Austrian Hall preset of the included REverence plugin. The intent is to show that it is indeed possible to push the piano further back into the mix and simulate sitting many feet away from the instrument in a virtual room. I’m just throwing this stuff together, but given a little time one can put the piano exactly where he wants it the ‘virtual room’, and shape up any specific harmonics you want to carry and reverb, or be dampened, etc.

Here is a rendering with the “Mono Upright” piano that is included with Dorico.

This one uses the “LA Studio” preset in REverence. Still Maximized and dithered as before…

Next is a rendering of the “Compressed Rock Piano”.

I’ve set this up in a massive Ballroom virtual room using REverence (NY Ballroom).

Stand alone this is basically a very clean piano sound with subtle attacks, adjustable decay, and a lot of EQ settings to help find space in ensemble mixes.

Here is a rendering of the ‘just different’ default Grand Piano that ships with Sibelius. Please pardon that the MIDI file import process has quantized various grace notes and rolls. I just pulled the MIDI file in real quick and did a render.

There are a number of grand pianos listed in the Sibelius for Sounds set, but they all sound about the same to me. Very muffled…no mid or high range.

There are no tools included with Sibelius to reshape the sound (No equalizers, no expansive library of reverbs, etc). This is the best I can do in Sibelius without loading up my own 3rd party plugins (Typically the first thing I do in Sibelius is load a parabolic EQ and a third party multi-compressor into the master FX slot, it helps some, but it’s nothing like the flexibility of the audio engine and array of plugins that come with Dorico).

Here is a rendering from the latest version of Finale. Again please pardon the re-quantization of grace notes and rolls on the MIDI import, I didn’t take time to figure out how to make it act as it should.

This is the new, and quite nice Concert D (I had forgotten that they added this) that was fairly recently added (GPO5 also includes this piano). Please pardon that the MIDI file import process has quantified various grace notes and rolls. I just pulled the MIDI file in real quick and did a render.

ARIA does offer some decent reverbs, and basic 3 position shelved EQ for each instrument slot. Finale still doesn’t ship with a variety of plugins and VST effects for shaping and mastering though, so it’s not as versatile of a setup as Dorico to me. I could only export in wav and thus had to do my own MP3 encoding in a third party application. Unless I load my own 3rd party effects, I’m pretty much stuck with what Finale/ARIA hands me.