Is the Halion Symphonic Orchestra enabled by default?

I just downloaded Dorico along with Halion Sonic 7.0.20, Halion Sonic SE 3, and Halion Symphonic Orchestra. I imported an xml score into the tool and when I play it, the instrument sound quality is not as good as what Musescore has. Do I need to enable the Halion Symphonic Orchestra somehow, or is this on by default?

HALion Symphonic Orchestra is a very old library. Steinberg recently released Iconica Sketch, which will be bundled with Dorico 5.1 when it is released and will likely offer better playback. In the meantime, check the playback template you have selected in Dorico to ensure it is the HALion Symphonic Orchestra one.

If you have HALion Sonic 7, then you do not need HALion Sonic SE 3.

Thanks. Here is what I have selected.
Screen Shot 2023-12-05 at 9.22.07 AM

But when I start a new project, I also get this:

HALion Sonic SE 3 has been superseded by HALion Sonic 7. So it looks like the two are conflicting.

Did you use the Steinberg Download Assistant? That should show you what you need to download.

Yes, I did. I downloaded what it recommended, which includes the top 4 items on this list.
Screen Shot 2023-12-05 at 9.44.48 AM

OK, that looks fine. (The “Content” is the samples; whereas what SDA calls the “Instrument” is the HALion player.

Not sure why you’re getting that warning. I’m sure one of the team will be along soon.

It appears that is using a trial Dorico licence. The warning appears to be pointing out that any changes to the presets are being made via a HALion version for which he does not have a full licence.

I suspect the error will disappear if he acquires a free full licence for HALion Sonic 7.

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OK, I see in the Activation Manager HALion Sonic 7 was not activated. I activated, and restared Dorico.
Honestly, I don’t hear any difference. I wrote something in Musescore for full orchestra. If you search youtube for EHmNrsGmBY8 you’ll find it. You can hear, for example, at the 6th bar, I bring in the claves. They sound resonant. The claves in Dorico sound like they are in a small room, no resonance.
I’m not sure of the source for the orchestral instruments in Dorico, but they don’t sound realistic.

You should have waited for 5.1 to come out later this month, with Iconica sketch included. You are perfectly right that the instruments bundled until now with Dorico weren’t on par with the excellence of the software. 5.1 should cover that.

It’s my first exposure to the tool, so I wasn’t aware of any future plans. It won’t take me long to evaluate how it sounds, so I guess I’ll look at that when it comes out. But, Dorico 5 doesn’t have enough at this point for me to switch from MuseScore.

Sounds like a joke to me… :rofl:
Take your time, and if there is something quite complex you’d like to typeset, by all means, ask questions here, you should find people really willing to help :wink:

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Since tone is hard in text, I can’t entirely tell if you’re being sarcastic here, but I’ll assume so. If you’re saying Dorico is far superior to Musescore, I’m open to that possibility. Since I write for orchestra, and the chances of a real orchestra playing my stuff are slim and none, the sound of the virtual orchestra is pretty important. I’ll check out the new release and hope it contains lots of improvements.

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To my mind (in your comparison of Dorcio and MuseScore) you still need to evaluate three factors:

  1. How easy is it to write your notes?
  2. Can you mix and match different sound libraries to apply to your notes?
  3. How easy is it to ‘shape’ the playback of your chosen sound sources?

Sure, Muse Sounds is a positive step forward for MuseScore. But personally I find MuseScore horrendous for note input (in comparison to Dorico) and still very limited in shaping playback.

If you are really focused on the final sound, I guess you’d still be better off doing all that fancy stuff in a DAW. So the relative workflows of Dorico and MuseScore would come down to how easy is it to input notes.

Thereafter it’s just a cost-value equation.


I still haven’t figured out how to actually enter notes in Dorico. :grimacing:
It’s not intuitive at all. In Musescore, I put my cursor on the staff. hit the D key, and I get a D. In Dorico, it doesn’t work that way.

This can be helpful (you will find 22 videos about note input in this playlist):
[I tried M.score just to have an idea and in comparison with Dorico, it was like using Microsoft Paint instead of Photoshop :wink: ]


Yes it does. (though you have options to do it other ways!)
Select a staff. Hit enter and type away, or play your MIDI keyboard. Use the number keys to change duration (OK the numbers are not exactly the same, but slight recalibration required!!)

Intuitive is a computer weasel word. What it really means it an app works like other apps you’ve used. The brilliance of Dorico is that it doesn’t. Stay with me.

The point and click and just type motions are familiar because that’s how office applications have worked since they first touched a GUI. This is fine if you treat your data as though it were a document. But wait, you might say, I’m creating a score which is a document. Fair enough. But a score is not music. It’s just some arranged symbols. What Dorico does is put the music first.

In MuseScore (and many other notation apps) you start with a page and add staves. If you have one player with multiple instruments, you’ll have to keep track of that and put the appropriate changes on the one staff for that player. If there are 4 horns condensed to 2 staves, you’ll deal with chords and/or voices.

Dorico starts a project with players. That flautist doubling on piccolo gets two instruments. When you look at the Galley view in Dorico you see a staff for every instrument and will see 2 staves for that flautist. If there are 4 horns, each horn will have a staff. This is the music in a form that’s easy to deal with as music, not as a printable score. In galley view, if you want to change the 3rd horn’s line, you’re only editing the music for that one player, not potentially messing up the music for the 4th horn in the process. Several decisions in Dorico were made to minimize accidentally screwing up your score.

The score form is called a layout in Dorico. Having the music separate from the layout means you can create many layouts from the same music. When that music is edited, it affects all the layouts. A conductor score is a layout with all the players added. A part is a layout with only one player added. If you want a score with just the brass, no problem, that’s just another layout.

In one project, Dorico can have an 11 x 17 (or A3) conductor score with no condensing, a letter size (A4) full score with condensing (say 2 staves for horns) for personal printing convenience, parts at 9x11, plus even a heavily condensed 6 x 8.5 layout (horns on 1 staff) for a study score.

In MuseScore the paper size is part of the project and there can only be one. If you want to deal with multiple sizes, which is common between full score and parts, you’ll need multiple files. With multiple files, any changes to the music will need to be propagated manually.

Dorico is more capable and flexible than MuseScore. But it could be that you don’t need those features. That just means MuseScore is a better fit for you. If your evaluation criteria is solely the playback sounds, then you should start looking at NotePerformer, imo, superior to MuseSounds (it’s a much more mature product, so it’s not really a fair comparison) and a great value for the price, although nothing beats free.

But if playback is really your top priority, I would consider going the DAW route.


I honestly think you will find Dorico far superior, once you get the grips on it. As far as default sound is concerned, I also think Iconica sketch will change Dorico’s status there (but investing in NotePerformer is still a no-brainer if you need easy and accurate playback, you should try it).
One thing there was absolutely no sarcasm is when I told you how helpful this forum is. No matter your experience in Dorico, there really is a whole community that will really help you (and quickly!)
The advice about watching videos is spot on. I would also suggest you take the time to complete the Dorico First steps document (in the Resources page).


That’s fair. Intuitive = “what I know best” and I’ve only really worked with Musescore so that’s what I know. ¯_(ツ)_/¯
I do see the forum is very helpful. In fact, it’s far superior to the Musescore forum, where getting help can be a bit harder.

I may explore the DAW route, though that seems to be an entirely different thing, that is, it’s sound design rather than composition, and I’m old school, just trying to enter notes. :slight_smile:

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