VST plugins question

I’m using Dorico Elements 3.5. I need to use pizzicato playback, but the Halion SO doesn’ t seem to include keyswitch strings. I have the Garritan Personal Orchestra VST plugin, and it shows up in the VST Plugins list in Preferences, but not in the VST instrument rack. Is this not a supported plugin for some reason?

ARIA Player’s VST2 plug-in will need to be allowed in Preferences, and then it should be available. If you have the most recent version of ARIA Player, there is a VST3 plug-in, which should be instantly whitelisted in Dorico.

I’ve made some Expression maps for GPO, if that’s useful.

Thanks for this. I don’t have ARIA Player at all. I have an early version of GPO - I guess v1, but can no longer fire up the executable in Windows 10 64 bit. The VST plugin is PersonalOrchestraVST.dll with a file date in 2005. Dorico must be recognising it as a VST plugin as it appears in the VST Plugins dialog.

If you can’t fire up the exe, I suspect it’s just too old.

However, I think that the HALion SO should do pizz, so perhaps find out what’s going wrong there. It’s usually a question of the right Expression map.

Sorry - I’m pretty ignorant on VST. Do you not think that the GPO VST plugins I have are any use then?
I’ve installed the ARIA Player, but don’t know how to load in the GPO instruments.

As far as I can see the string instruments in the HALion SO I have do not have any keyswitches.

I thought the early versions of GPO (at least the Finale implementation when first adopted) ran through the then current Kontakt player.

Later versions of GPO ran through Aria, but you would have to have the later released 64-bit version to run on current OS’s.

I do have Kontact Player, but have never used it - I used to use Garritan Studio to load the GPO instruments, but I can’t run the early version I have in Windows 10 64 bit. I can load the instruments into Kontact, but I can’t see the Kontact VST in the Dorico VST instruments panel.

Can anyone please help me to make this all fit together? I have only the most rudimentary understanding of VST, and I’m just stumbling around in the dark at the moment. I need to know how to load GPO instruments into Aria Player, so they show up in the VST rack in Dorico, or maybe how to load the Kontact VST into Dorico.

I’m not expecting anyone to spend time teaching me how to do all this - I’d be very happy to view tutorials, if I could only find some!


You’ve installed ARIA Player. From where? That’s only bundled with Finale or Garritan products.
I think only GPO4 and GPO5 use ARIA, so if your GPO version is older than that, it won’t work.

Without knowing more about exactly what you’ve got, it’s going to be hard to offer assistance. The number of people running GPO1 on Windows 10 is probably close to zerio.

I suspect that if you were to ask MakeMusic for support, you’d wait 3 weeks for the answer that your product is “not supported on Windows 10”. And I doubt whether there’s any advantage of using GPO version 1 over HALion Symphony Orchestra. As said, HALion should do pizz.

Furthermore, if you are looking for better sounds than the bundled ones, you would be best served buying NotePerformer instead.

I downloaded Aria Player yesterday and installed it! Doesn’t mean I know how to use it of course …

I can’t understand what you say about HALion having pizz. When I click the Edit button in the VST rack, and select any string instrument, none of them have keyswitches. As far as I’m aware that means that I can’t get effects like pizz. Is that wrong? If so, then I clearly don’t understand how it works. I thought that when an effect in the expression map is invoked in the score, that would trigger a keyswitch to provide the desired effect?

Ed is using Elements, which does not include HSO.

Ed, Do you know what the file extension is on your Garritan sound files? On my windows machine, it is .audio.

Ah. Sorry, I didn’t spot that. Please ignore me about the pizz!

ARIA requires two sorts of files: .sfz files, which contain instrument definitions, and .audio files which are the slightly encrypted samples. If you don’t have SFZ files, then ARIA won’t work. Also, there’s a cryptographic licence file that you have to drop onto ARIA to allow GPO to work.

It would also be useful to know if Ed’s files have an NI-compatible extension for use with Kontakt.

Thanks very much for your help guys.

I do have HALion SO, but as described above the instruments don’t appear to have keyswitches.

Derrek - If you mean the Garritan instrument files, each one has a .nki and a .txt file. I can load them into Kontact, but as described, the Kontact VST plugin, kontact.dll doesn’t show up in the Dorico VST plugins dialog.

If Kontakt is not automatically installed in Dorico, you should be able to install it by giving Dorico the path to the DLL and then approving it (if necessary) in Preferences.

Normally Elements comes only with HALion SE, so if you have HSO from another source, you should be able to coax a pizz from your soundset.

Progress! I’ve managed to get Dorico to find PersonalOrchestraVST in that dialog now! Don’t know why it wasn’t finding it before, but it had a crash and when I restarted it and recovered the file, it was there. So I can now select Kontact in the VST rack, and I’m getting sounds from the loaded GPO instruments, but I still need to find out how to allocated the correct instrument to each track. At the moment it’s playing a bassoon for the cello!

Many thanks for your patience and help. I’d certainly appreciate any further ideas, tips etc.


I should have added that you’re quite right - I don’t have HALion SO, it’s SE - I hadn’t spotted the difference. I’ve found how to allocate the correct instrument now.

However, I’m still not getting pizz. I know these GPO instruments have keyswitches - when I used to use them in Garritan Studio, you could see the keyswitches in the keyboard of the Kontact player that Garritan hosts. However, there is no keyboard display in the version of Kontact Player I’m having to use now. I was expecting Dorico’s expression map to pass the instruction automatically to the instrument to press the relevant keyswitch for pizz. Maybe that’s not right?

Dorico won’t have a GPO expression map until you create one or import one. Each Expression map contains the key switches and MIDI CC commands that each instrument needs for things like volume, pizz, and other effects.

Yes thanks. I’d now worked out that I’ll have to create my own expression maps for GPO instruments. Just having a go at a new map. I’ll post again when I have any news.


I’ve finally managed to get pizz working using a new expression map. However, I copied it from an existing HSO string instrument (cello), changing the keyswitch to the GPO one, but there are many other keyswitches listed for the HSO instrument and I have no idea what they’re supposed to do. The descriptions don’t match anything listed for the GPO cello. This may not be a problem, as I’m not looking to produce concert performances, but I do have the problem that the volume of the cello doesn’t seem to be adjustable in the mixer, so there’s obviously something else I need to do in the map.

The key switches for HSO may be completely different from the ones used by Garritan. That’s why you need a different map.
Consult the GPO manual, which has detailed information about the KSes used by each instrument. Also, if you’ve got “Notation” and “Standard” sets of instruments, they use slightly different octaves.

You could use the GPO5 maps that I’ve created, though I don’t know if the KSes will be the same for your early version.