Symphonic Orchestra

What’s the difference between the Halion Symphonic Orchestra and Iconica ?
I’m thinking of buying Halion Sonic 3 but are the strings different or newer than Symphonic Orchestra (Which have been around for a long time ) ?

HALion Symphonic Orchestra is a rather old and basic orchestral library - it is better than nothing and is the default orchestral playback library for Dorico Pro. It contains about 7GBytes of samples.

Iconica Sections and Players is a much more modern orchestral library produced in conjunction with Orchestral Tools. It is a high end orchestral library containing nearly 200GBytes of samples.

Iconica Ensembles has various predefined ensembles using orchestral instruments - it can be used to quickly add an orchestral ensemble to an existing project or to quickly sketch an orchestral idea, amongst other things. It contains about 45GBytes of samples.

Studio Strings, which is part of HALion 6 and HALion Sonic 3, is intended to provide a string section for contemporary projects. It contains some good quality samples but does not have the articulation options that would be expected of an orchestral strings library.

The Iconica products must be bought separately - they are not included in any non-Iconica product. Iconica Opus is a bundle licence that authorises both Iconica Sections and Players and Iconica Ensembles - it is a little cheaper than buying both products separately. Iconica products work with the free HALion Sonic SE 3 as well the separately sold HALion Sonic 3 and HALion 6 - but neither of the paid-for HALion products include any Iconica content.

HALion Symphonic Orchestra is bundled with Dorico Pro and Absolute. Considering the wealth of orchestral libraries in the marketplace, I think there are likely to be better value for money options than a standalone HALion Symphonic Orchestra licence if you can only afford a budget option. I only have HALion Symphonic Orchestra because I own both Dorico Pro 3 and Absolute 4. That said, if HALion Symphonic Orchestra meets your needs it is a lot cheaper than Iconica.

Steinberg offer time-limited trial licences for the Iconica products and I think also for HALion Symphonic Orchestra. If you can’t get a HALion Symphonic Orchestra trial, it should work with a Dorico Pro 3 trial licence. The Iconica products need fairly high end systems to use effectively - in particular, you may well find yourself needing 32GBytes of RAM and the Iconica samples on an SSD.

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