HALion Symphonic Orchestra vs NotePerformer

Hey all,

Just out of curiosity, does NP have anything that HSO doesn’t or are there any sounds that NP uses that are “better” than HSO?

Thanks in Advance,

Ian Hook

The advantage of NP (in addition to affordability and relatively small demands on computer memory) is that it is usually very good at representing the balance between instruments in a concert orchestra and it also massages the sounds made by the written notes based on their context to try to simulate the adjustments a live player might make. (For those familiar with Finale’s Human Playback, this is designed to parallel that, and many or most feel it does the job better. In fact Finale now supports NP in addition to its older Human Playback approach.)

1 Like

Interesting, but how does it compare to HSO?

I prefer it to HALion for most uses.

The best way to see is to hear it for yourself. Just use the NP 30 day free trial and compare your projects with the NP template and the native Dorico one.

1 Like

My own experience with NP is that I got the 30 day trial and bought it within a day. I was very impressed. I’m a long-time VSL user and found myself frustrated with not having a full set of expression maps and with the time it takes to coax realistic performances from it.

That’s not to say NP is perfect. It will play around with rhythms and timing to create “musical phrasing”, which sometimes is effective and other times just wrong. Nor can you use it live - the latency (i.e. analysis time) is too long to be a real-time VST/AU. However, for the relatively small sample sizes, the sounds are good and I was able to get quite credible solo, orchestral and swing band performances.

You have to work quite hard to get VSL/HALion to sound musical and not mechanical. Certainly you have to understand idiomatic playing styles, something that NP does reasonably well with out of the box.

A big selling point is the “Rent to Own” offering. Pay about €10 a month but only when you need it. What you’ve paid the equivalent of the full price (€129), the software is yours. That lets you dip in and out as your projects demand.

Of course, I have no affiliation with Herr Wallander but I do think he’s created something that is well worth the money. Highly recommended.


Arne is keen to stress this point and it’s very likely he’s right. When NP works in Orchestral music - which is particularly the case with strongly articulated and rather brash rhythmical music – it can be very good indeed. At other times it can be rather more choppy and the strings in particular don’t always sound that realistic.

There’s no comparison with Halion in my view which is really stuck in the old-fashioned static sample world despite brave attempts from one or two members to bring some life into it. Try for yourself – the good thing is that neither require much in the way of programming.