volume levels

Hello trusted forum!

Having some issues getting the solo strings to balance in Halion. I tried all the suggestions I could find in the forum…I’m using the correct expression maps, the levels are all equal in the mixer, there’s no unwanted CC information, the volume levels within halion all look as they should, and yet the viola is is twice as loud as everything and the 1st violin is almost inaudible. They all have the same dynamic markings. I was using noteperformer and everything was fine volume-wise but tried switching to Halion because it has much better solo string sounds, but now the volumes are janky. Also, during some faster parts the volume level is all over the place note to note…something ain’t right here!

I was going to upload the file but it keeps saying the file is too large, even though it’s only 2 MB. Not sure what that’s about. I trimmed it down to just the essentials and zipped it up and it’s still too big apparently.

Still, it sounds like you got the Expression maps wrong… How did you go from NotePerformer to Halion? Manually, or did you do Play/Playback template…?

I tried both ways with the same result. I double checked the expressing maps both times and they are correct. I’m stumped!

I can’t double check this right now, but if this music originated as either a MIDI file or as real-time recording, it could be that Dorico’s playing back your recorded velocities. Try selecting and going Play > Reset Playback Overrides.

Try setting the playback template to silence before you zip it up and attach it here… I assume you are on Dorico Pro and not Elements… :slight_smile:

That did it, here’s the project!

You’re right, I imported the 2nd flow as xml, and inputted the 1st flow manually (getting the same problem in both flows though). Reset overrides has improved the situation a bit, sometimes it actually sounds ok but other times the balance is really funky. In general it sounds like the violin velocities are lower than they should be. In sections marked p it almost disappears completely, and the attack and tone is generally very thin. I’ll try turning the dynamic curve down to 1, right now it’s at the default 2.5
strings levels.zip (609 KB)

I set the playback template to Noteperformer and it performed as expected. I then set the playback template to HSSE+HSO and it still performed just fine…
Perhaps you could point to a few problem spots…?

Sure, in measure 59 the 1st violin has 16th, in measure 60 it has a dotted quarter. The 16ths are barely audible with almost no attack, like it’s at the lowest possible velocity, and then the dotted quarter jumps out at triple the volume. Things are actually working better in this file than the original (I deleted all the other instruments). In the original there are some really funky sections with huge volume differences note to note, but that doesn’t seem to happen as much here. Not sure what I changed. I’ll try starting from silence in the original file. I was using Halion for the strings and noteperformer and EWQL Play for the other instruments.

I noticed you had set default notelenght to 105%, same as legato… that will influence attack and perceived dynamics… will have another look later…

yeah I did that because otherwise it just sounds way to choppy. Noteperformer actually plays everything staccato if it’s not slurred, I find it pretty bizarre.

This is a known situation. Since some strings sounds do not have a fast attack, you are quite likely to hear a reduced volume in fast passages.

Yes, I agree NP’s interpretation is sometimes mysterious, but they still recommend that Dorico’s default settings are used. Personally I’d go for 98 rather than 105,
85 is weird… Overlapping notes usually cause more problems than they solve. Halion has no legato interpretation (beyond the Dorico setting…) whereas NP interprets legato internally… NP’s problem for today’s composers is perhaps that its interpretation routines are too heavily based on the classical romantic symphonic repertoire… :slight_smile:

Thanks Derrek, I had missed these threads.

I’ll try that out and see what I get, thanks. I understand why the fast passages are quiet now, still not sure why sometimes the volumes are inconsistent from note to note. I turned off the setting that accents downbeats (I can’t imagine why anybody would use that).