Halion Symphonic Orchestra - Ambience explained?


I recently started using HSO and struggle to really understand what

“Ambience On/Off, Ambience Time, Ambience Level” really do and in the manual it is not explained either.

Ambience On/Off seems to do nothging from what I hear.

Can som eone explain it to me?

From the old manual:

True string release

The sound of a string bowed or plucked doesn’t rapidly stop at the end of a note (i.e. when you release the key). It rings on, some open strings resonate (sympathetic vibrations), and most importantly the room reverberates. This adds up to a typical “key off” behavior that is essential for the listener to perceive a string sound as realistic.

In HALion Symphonic Orchestra, we have captured these effects in special string-release samples that kick in when you release a key, creating the sensation of actually hearing the decaying tone of the resonating strings and the room ambience. This actually puts you in the place where we recorded the instruments, creating a depth and ambience response no artificial reverb can produce.

Best of all: You can still add any reverb you like to put the HALion Symphonic Orchestra sounds in other or larger environments.

The true string release samples will add realism to the secondary reverb. String release samples also allow you to play realistic detaché notes using legato programs. Apply a bit of bowing with the mod wheel for added realism.

If you are running HSO through extra Reverb effects, it can be harder to detect.

Example for Dorico users: Dorico ships with HSO and uses many sounds in the library by default. Dorico also has a default Reverb Plugin set up on a special FX/Reverb fader. By default all instruments loaded into Dorico will send via the Aux Send slider some signal to this main ‘Reverb’ channel.

For Dorico users to better hear/understand what all those HSO settings do to a sound, you’ll want to audition it DRY.

Either mute the Reverb channel on the Dorico mixer and play around with the dials in HSO instruments. Or pull the Aux Send fader in the instrument you wish to audition all the way down in the Dorico Mixer so it doesn’t send anything to that Reverb Channel.

Another thing to understand about HSO. The strings in particular. The samples are pretty nice, but there is very little stage setting done with the factory programs in the HSO library! It comes in loud, proud, and center pan by default. It can be pretty harish (lots of scratchy overtones) and in your face out of the box!

HSO is very much a ‘mix and stage it yourself’ library. You’re on your own!

Better to have ‘too much’ and dial back frequency ranges you feel are ‘too much’ with EQ (sometimes even notch filters), or fluff up some bands with multi-band compression, than not have ‘enough’ of those overtones for times that you’d really like to have them.

The good news is that if you take a little time to gain stage things down a bit, pan stuff out into a nice sound-stage for your speakers, use a little EQ to roll off or enhance things to ‘your taste’ or what’s appropriate for ‘the mix’, it can sound quite nice.

Another tip with HSO strings…
Don’t be a slave to the names of the programs! Try out the various ensemble programs.

I.E. Some type of arrangements might blend better if you use the Solo Strings Ensemble programs instead of the individual solo Violin 1, 2, Viloa, etc. So, don’t be afraid to look into all the options and experiment with things :slight_smile: