HALion Symphonic Orchestra: list of instrument samples

Hi dear all,
I recently purchased Dorico 5 pro, and with it comes HALion Symphonic Orchestra.
What I’d like to have is a list of all instrument samples in that “native” version. For example: I get flutes, but is there a bass flute? What about “unpitched orchestral percussion”: cymbals, drums, Gran Cassa…? Just to make sure what I am asking for.
Now I see there is HALion Symphonic Orchestra available in the Steinberg shop. Is that instrument identical to the version that comes with Dorico 5 Pro? I checked the small manual and did not find a listing of available instrument samples. So before I spend roughly 100,-- €, please tell me if that’s a good investment.
Thanks a lot in advance.

The version of HALion Symphonic Orchestra in the Steinberg shop is the same as the one included with Dorico.

Wow, that was fast. Thanks a lot.
So, to obtain the instruments I feel missing, I can either turn to 3rd-party instruments, or would you rather suggest I get HALion pro (which is far more expensive)?

I wouldn’t want to choose a sample library for you - there are a lot out there, and the “right” one will depend on exactly what you want the end product to sound like, how powerful a machine you have, how much money you have, how much editing time you want to spend, etc. No doubt other users on this forum can make recommendations. As far as Steinberg’s own orchestral sample sets go, the main one currently is Iconica, which is compatible with HALion Sonic.

(The difference between HALion Sonic and HALion Pro is primarily about how much you need to edit samples - or create your own - rather than about the content they come with. There is the HALion Sonic 7 Collection which offers extra samples/sounds over and above those that come with Dorico - I’m not familiar with that but it’s not orchestral in focus as far as I know.)

You should spend 129€ and buy NotePerformer. Chances are yoy will find it’s the best investment in a virtual orchestra you could possibly do.


I agree in the strongest terms. Its only an opinion of course but anyone who is writing orchestral music in Dorico really owes it to themselves to get a copy of NotePerformer at the earliest opportunity even if they have or will get other libraries too. I didn’t check for a bass flute but among its other positive attributes NP has one of the broadest selection of instruments.

I have trialed NotePerformer twice and I just don’t like the sound.

It is way better than HSO, though, which sounds really bad. It’s less better than something like GPO5, but that costs teh same as NotePerformer so if you’re only going to use it in Notation it makes sense to go for NotePerformer (GPO5 is only “plug-and-play” with Finale).

I tend to prefer playing back scores in Finale with GPO5. I am not a fan of the NP sound (too synthetic), and Finale’s HP system tends to interpret scores better than Dorico (which has a more generic interpretation - fine when period-interpretation isn’t more appropriate).

If Dorico had Video Export, then that would probably push me to buy NotePerformer, just for the same if convenience for bouncing out “Score Animation” videos for YouTube, etc. For now, I screen record Finale playing back the score and crop out the window decorations.

I’d argue that you can configure GPO5 to work much better in Dorico than in Finale. Out of the box, Finale is (one would hope) set up to use GPO5 well, with Human Playback doing the work for trills, fermatas, etc. But if you want to configure anything differently, Dorico is much more controllable, and easy to use.

I already got NP4.
The great disadvantage concerning its use in Dorico is that it overrules Doricos “stage live”.
I actually tried to use it for the double bass, since I know from Sibelius that NP’s double bass goes down to B0, that’s what I want, but I wasn’t able to link the instrument track of my Dorico project to be played back by NP. Instead, I was prompted to load playback modes for NP which would disable Dorico’s native playback engine. So NP is not interesting when using Dorico. Or can you show me a trick to make NP behave like any other VSt instrument?

As I already had replied to Mark, I already got NP4 but find it useless for Dorico. In Sibelius, that was different, as Doricos playback is way better than Sibelius’.

OK, not everybody likes NotePerformer sounds, especially for strings. Even so, if you haven’t found a bass flute (or many other hard-to-find instruments) elsewhere, you can check NotePerformer’s instrument list and often find what you are looking for:

NotePerformer Instruments.pdf (374.9 KB)

Well, I’m not sure if it wasn’t better if I returned to NP3 for Dorico, concerning Dorico’s “stage live” being overruled by NP. (Or does NP3 the same?)
Anyway, I tried using NP4 in one Dorico project and I couldn’t link the instrument part to be played back by NP. NP4 only urged me to select one of the playback engines - to which I don’t have any matching VSt instrument. So I resigned and threw NP4 out of that project. Absolutely useless. (In Sibelius, I could use NP4 as just another instrument plugin, and I must say the double bass sounds quite nice to me.)

It’s just as easy to use NotePerformer in Dorico as it in in Sibelius: it’s “set and forget” in both applications. Simply go to Play > Playback Template and double-click NotePerformer there, and NotePerformer will be loaded and automatically have all the right sounds assigned. You don’t need to do anything more, and you don’t need to get involved with NotePerformer Playback Engines if you don’t want to.

Sorry, this I’d need more precise.
I didn’t get nowhere, especially no sounds.
And what about Dorico’s “stage live”? That will be disabled, right?

Sounds like you might need to reinstall Noteperformer. Daniel’s instructions are pretty straightforward, and should work.

NP does its own panning, reverb and depth positioning, so you don’t need, nor want, to add Dorico’s on top. By default, it’s off.

Thanks, I’ll try without NP.
Dorico’s stage live is so ingenious, I don’t want to work without it.
I prefer to see to Garritan, as I noticed there’s a way to tweak the instruments range a bit. Must see that article and try if it works for me.

If you would like to try NotePerformer in conjunction with Live Stage and Live Space, you might want to look at the custom playback template for NotePerformer that was built by @David_Tee

To make this work you would need to import the Playback Template, then go to the NotePerformer Expression Map, and open up the Expression Map Data section. Check “Apply Stage Template settings”. You will then be able to use both Live Stage and Live Space. (Each instrument will show up on its own channel on the Dorico mixer, so you can also tweak away there.)

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Wow. I should try this as soon as possible. I shall tell you then. Thanks!

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TBH, it’s easier and a better result just to let NP do it by itself.