Playback Tuning Problem


I nudged up Dorico to A = 445 hz the other day while transcribing a recording that was a little sharp. I’m now editing, and have set it back to 440, but it seems that for playback some of the instruments are still in 445 and others in 440 :scream_cat:

I’m just using HALion Sonic SE with Dorico 3.5

I’ve reset / reloaded / re-jigged things several times in the playback options and templates but it’s had no effect.

Any ideas for a fix would be much appreciated.


Oh, that is really strange that all what you did didn’t help.

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Does this problem affect all projects, Nick, or just the current one? If the problem is localised to a single project, if you could attach it here so we can take a look, that would be helpful.

Thanks Daniel - yes just one project and even just one flow, it seems.

In the third flow the voice sounds 440 whereas the strings are, I think, still in 445.

Hildegard von Bingen Arrangements 2021.dorico (2.5 MB)

I think perhaps the issue here is with the tuning of the samples themselves rather than with anything you’ve done in the project itself. The combination of the pedal note in the strings and the voice returning to that same chanting tone exposes the fact that the voice sample is flatter than the strings. I know other users have noticed this too (@benwiggy among them), but I must say I’ve never noticed it as strongly as in this example. You might have better luck switching to a different sound for the vocal parts in this project.

Thanks Daniel - but the implications are quite problematic, no? All projects in Dorico using the default HaLion playback with voices and strings will not be in tune?

I have been testing using the tunable app. It’s not perfect as a measure, especially as the voice sound seems to undulate in pitch +/- 5 cents even with senza vibr. command added, but just as a reference point it reveals the differences I’m experiencing while using HaLion Sonic SE template. Overall let’s say the differences are roughly a quarter-tone between the instruments, with the violin sharp and the voices flat.

btw these are violin and voice sections.

Please could you confirm that you experience the same differences so I know it’s not something isolated to my copy of Dorico? and then if it is a systemic problem, general thoughts?

NotePerformer’s tuning is fine ( but the vocal samples are pretty risible).

I prefer many of HaLion’s sample sounds to NotePerformer, but I’ve run into so many issues with HaLion since coming over from Sibelius (instrument ranges being the main one) I can’t help but question why it’s been chosen as the default player, unless it’s for corporate reasons. It seems inflexible, incomplete, and buggy.

Forgive the raw impressions but it’s on the back of coming against the issue while working to deadlines, and it’s such a fundamental / trivial problem, I really didn’t expect it to take up so much time in investigating, only not to arrive at a satisfying solution.

As ever I’m eager to be proven wrong / making silly noob mistakes / shown the way.

Are these kinds of issues fixable by the next release?

PS I was wrong about the problem being isolated to just one project - it happens on new Dorico projects (as with my screenshot example above).

If you’re talking about issues with incorrect tuning in the HaLion orchestra being fixed with the next release, then i fear you will be disappointed. As with most notation software, the bundled libraries are bundled because they cost very little to include because they are old, entry-level or both. There has been no development on HaLion for some time.

Although there are those who genuinely like at least parts of this library – and that’s fine — the overwhelming majority who are serious about playback will buy something which can do the job properly. I for one would not want the price of Dorico to be increased because someone else has decided which VST’s suit my needs. There are also many engravers or arrangers who don’t care much about playback and would similarly resent paying extra for a high class modern library. NotePerformer is a good compromise for many, though I agree that the choral side is a joke.


I agree with all your points @dko22. I’m also one not in need for high level playback, just something basic for when people ask for midi mockups. Sibelius did it fine albeit limited, and microtonality was a chore.

From a layman’s pov, it is cruel or at least baffling to offer such excellent microtonal playback support while also leaving the above for all to trip upon.

For what it’s worth, I never even installed the Sibelius bundled library and have only done so with HaLion as it can be useful for troubleshooting or replicating issues others are having. But I can understand your frustration in trying to use a library which in general does what you need apart from one irritating defect.

Yeah I mean I don’t want to throw shade onto the Dorico crew because they didn’t make HaLion but… who would make a sample library that is out of tune with itself? :sweat_smile:

I am having this problem all the time. It occurred when I was still using Sibelius as my main notation software. I had changed the tuning to a=415Hz as this is the pitch I usually perform(ed) in… As I also transcribed a lot of later music, I changed my pitch back to a=440Hz. Since then I quite often had situations, where in playback the pitch of some instruments (preferably a violin or an oboe) jumped up half a step, while the rest of the ensemble would playback at the right pitch.
The super strange thing: after having switched to Dorico I still do have the same issue. Just yesterday, when I was playing back a song with Mezzo-soprano and Piano the voice started jumping up, quite often after a dynamic change.
I can restart playback which sometimes fixes the problem for a few bars - or I can use the pitch bend wheel at the connected Midi-keyboard trying to correct the offset; sometimes successfully.
I promised myself to open the keyboard and clean the inside from possible dust particles - as they could disturb the optical sensor of the pitch bend wheel - but that’s just a guess; and disconnecting the keyboard does not get rid of the problem. It’s a miracle :crystal_ball:

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@k_b, your problem will be related to something on your computer changing your sample rate from 44.1KHz to 48KHz, which will cause a change in pitch of a half-step. Go to Edit > Device Setup and choose a different sample rate, wait a second, then reset to the original sample rate. That will restore the correct playback pitch. You should investigate the different audio applications on your computer to try to find which one is (or ones are) expecting the sample rate to be 44.1KHz.

@dko22, I take issue with your statement that there’s no ongoing development on HALion: in fact nothing could be further from the truth. My colleagues in Siegburg are hard at work on future versions of HALion and HALion Sonic SE. It is accurate to say that there is no ongoing development work on HALion Symphonic Orchestra, however.

@nmrz, I think in the end the issue here is that the vocal sounds come from our friends at Soundiron, who created a HALion-compatible version of their Olympus Choir Micro instrument for us to include with Dorico 3 and later, while the majority of the other samples come from the HALion Sonic SE factory content that is also included with e.g. Cubase. I will talk to my colleagues in our sound design team about whether and how we can address this issue. It might be that we will need to ask the Soundiron team to work on this.

Sorry, I meant the Halion Symphony orchestra which is bundled with Dorico and didn’t mean to include any future Siegburg products as I am naturally not privy to their plans.

Thank you Daniel, this sounded like it would help, but I am afraid it did not. I went to Edit/Devices and changed the sample rate back and fourth, which took a little amount of time to react.
Still today I was inputting dynamics into a score by selecting the notes and adding the dynamic via the popover Shift-D.
Very simple:
Timpani D (f=forte) Oboe D (f) Timpani A (f) Oboe D (f) Timpani D (f) Oboe D [ouch, I hear E-flat!]
These kind of surprises happen all the time. Even just selecting a note I would suddenly get another pitch…

Thanks for your detailed reply, Daniel.

It would be nice to be able to use the HaLion vocal sounds because imo they’re better to NotePerformer’s weird otamatone-like vocal samples.

Also, as a workaround, and if I’d like to use the HaLion sound for a synth mockup, is it possible to midi pitch bend an entire instrument / line for a whole flow (without having to individually pitch bend each note)? This would do the trick, I think.

In theory you could add a MIDI pitch bend message to the start of the track in Play mode, I think.

Perhaps you could assign instruments to different instances of HALion Sonic SE, and adjust the Global Tune in each instance?

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Just as an audible example: this is what I am fighting with every day - since literally years (I try to take it with humor). This is just plain playback, I am not touching anything.
[flute, violin1, violin2], D-Major
Listen to the first violin in the last 4 bars, it jumps up a halftone:

Any pitch bend in there?