Trouble with Halion

I am a regular Sibelius and occational Finale user and have purchased Dorico at the earliest oportunity as I am a great fan of Daniel Spreadbury and expect the product to develop into something really special.

My experience with it so far has been somewhat mixed. As a first project I am trying to trancribe a classical overture for clarinet choir.
Looking up clarinet sounds I am presented with four choices,
Bass Clarinet Combi
Clarinet Combi
Warm Clarinet Solo
[GM 072] Clarinet
The range of the first two (from HBO) is so limited they would not be suitable for a normal orchestral score let alone a clarinet choir ranging from Eb at the top to Contra bass at the bottom So I tried the latter two. They both had a large range but a jazzy tone with build in vibrato but I settled on GM 072 as the better of the two.
When it came to playing the score, grace notes did not reproduce at all.

As an experiment I output the fragment to musicxml, read it into Sibelius and played it using both Garritan and Sibelius 7.1.2 sound sets. In both cases the sound was significantly superior to Halion and all notes, including grace notes reproduced perfectly.

I hope it’s not too long before other sound sets can be used.

Dorico doesn’t play back grace notes (and many other things) yet.

If you are getting “poor quality sound” or notes seem to be “dropping out”, play back your score and look just to the left of the “Steinberg” logo at the field labeled “#”. That shows the number of samples actually being played in parallel, which can be much bigger than the number of notes playing in parallel in your score.

The default setting for this (“polyphony”) are 16 per instrument, and 128 max for the whole score. You can increase those limits to 128 per instrument and 1024 max (go to the Option tab) for the “max” setting.

I haven’t tried clarinets, but this made a very big improvement to some of the string sample playback - even a fairly “small” score (8 channels in Halion) was getting up to polyphony levels of 400 or 500, playing runs of fast notes.

I love your suggestion! However I’m not finding an “option” tab. I don’t see a Steinberg logo. I can play from the Play mode or the Write mode and don’t see those.

Are those options in preferences?

Those controls are all on the Halion SSE2 window. Since you had talked about changing the patches, I assumed you would realize that - sorry!

In Play mode there is the “VST Instruments” panel at the right of the screen. Click on the “e” icon next to Halion SSE to open the Halion window.

Sometimes the Halion window gets hidden behind the main Dorico window. If you can’t see it, try minimizing some of the windows that you can see.

The Steinberg logo is at the top right of the SSE2 window. There are a row of buttons to display Edit / MIDI/ Mix / Effects / Options panels. In the Edit panel, select a channel (left hand side) to set the controls (including Polyphony) for that channel. The “1024 maximum” is in the Options panel.

YOu’re awesome Rob! Thanks!!!

This has been interesting and helpful, many thanks. But in the “your mileage may vary” department, the play window Virtual Instruments column does not show an “e” to access Halion. All it shows is a circle with a slash through it, to the left of “HALion Sonic SE.” clicking it is the only way to get the Halion window to pop up. But it clears all the information!
How do I get access to the HALion window after I have opened a Dorico file?
Muchas gracias!

I think the circle with a slash through it is meant to be an “e”, but it could be that you’re suffering from the occasional bug that Windows users see where the icon font gets stretched out of all recognition; restarting Dorico normally sorts that out. However, why your HALion window would then not show any loaded sounds is a mystery, because the ones that are playing are coming from somewhere!

Is that e-slash button on the left the only way to call up the HALion window? If so, I’m afraid I have to report a bug. Clicking that button calls up the HALion window but, as I explained, erases all the sounds. I’ll try it during playback, and see if that prevents this from happening.
Thanks, Daniel!
Cheers & Best,


Just for the avoidance of doubt… Click the ‘e’ button that’s circled in this picture:
rather than the power button, which switches HALion off.

I know this is an old topic but I have a question about the clarinet patches in HalionSonic. I have an A clarinet part with a written low E. The clarinet combo patch will not play below a written F. [GM072] Clarinet will play the note but there is a constant low pedal growl that should not be there. It sounds like a memory overflow error. The same thing happens with Warm Clarinet Solo NoteExpr.

Has anyone else encountered this? Is there a workaround short of buying some other sound set since the part in question is a solo?


If you move from the HSO sounds to the Sonic SE GM sounds, you need to change your expression map for that channel to filter our any keyswitch data being sent.

You do that via the Endpoint Setup dialog.

Forgive my density here but I am wondering if what I have done is what you meant.

I loaded the [GMO72]Clarinet in the HalionSonic SE3 Load dialogue, then changed the Expression Map in the Endpoint Setup to Default. (Velocity + Mod Wheel Dynamic produced an unwanted vibrato while Velocity + CC11 Dynamic was far too quiet.).

This seems to work for someone like me who is reluctant to start fiddling with default controls but were you referring to some other approach?

Sorry for my confusion.

Yup, that’ll do the trick.

Thanks, Daniel.

Your quick responses are really appreciated.