Weird note at start of playback

This problem has just appeared in a new project. When I went back and tried all old project they all had a similar problem.

If I select an instrument in HALion the sound is perfect when I preview it. Having selected it, when I go back to the write or play window and play there is a horrible sound played along with the first note of playback. It varies slightly depending on the instrument selected, but it sounds like a bass note or some sort of drum crash and is 1 octave below the first note. Wherever I start playing from it always happens on the 1st note then gradually dies away.

I have checked all the suggestion on the Dorico audio troubleshooting video, but nothing changes.

Did you create the file(s) in Dorico or import them from another program?

This sounds as if you are hearing a keyswitch. If so, you likely have a mismatch between your instrument and the Expression Map set for that channel. Try going to Play and re-applying the appropriate HALion Playback Template for your version of Dorico.

I created this file in Dorico. I have Elements. I changed the player to HSSE (Elements) then reset the instrument to overdrive guitar - same result, a horrible noise on the first note that gradually fades away. When I re-set the template the default instrument changed to the weird one that comes up by default, not a guitar as it should do. Older files were all mostly created in Dorico and all appear to have the same problem. I have tried the usual re-boot. I am running Logic Pro X and the sound library on that is operating normally.

It’s a little hard to diagnose from your description of how it Sounds, but some ideas, since you mentioned Logic Pro being opened at the same time:

  • do both programs use the same sample rate?
  • did Logic Pro maybe reduce the buffer size? If so, try to set it to something like 512 or even 1024, if you don’t need real time Audio Input.

Can you attach one of the troublesome projects, Stuart?


Project attached. This is an incomplete song. I started it from a single guitar player and just typed the first few bars. Before going further I wanted to listen to how it sounded and then got this horrible sound on the first note. I tried other projects that had worked properly before but they had the same problem.

I am running on a new iMac. I tried running on my much older MacBook Pro but the result was the same.

I re-booted and tried it again using just the iMac speakers, but the result was the same regardless of whether I used internal speakers or switched to an external Focuswrite 18i20. There are no chords in the attached project. The sound always comes from the first note, then dies away. I tried the same project on an iPad and it works fine. I can change instruments normally with no strange sounds.

Thanks for your help.


In Dulce Jubilo.dorico (424 KB)

As @Derrek pointed out earlier, there is a now mismatch between the instrument you have put in HSSE and the expression map. So you are trying to run a instrument from an expression map that is designed for a different instrument. The note you hear is a keyswitch (C0) that is used by Dorico’s default guitar map.

Assign one of the ‘bland’ expression maps eg

And all will be well.

I am awaiting Daniel’s comments, but in the meantime I looked at the expression maps and there is nothing under the name shown. I tried ‘default’ and that made no difference. I then tried creating a new, empty project with just a piano part. I copied the midi notes from my original and they played back cleanly as a piano. I then changed to overdrive guitar and that worked cleanly, that is to say without the over over drive. I fiddled around changing the instruments and they all worked cleanly. I switched playback templates to and fro and nothing went wrong. I went back to an old project that had worked cleanly and it still had the weird sound.

Daniel will know far more about the Halion SE library than me as I hardly ever use it but I’m sure that @Janus is right here with the mismatch. You are using an expression map for the HSSE Nylon Guitar VX which appears to be an acoustic guitar but the actual instrument you have chosen is an electric guitar GM 030 overdrive. Which instrument do you actually want to use? A GM instrument such as you have chosen does not generally require an Expression Map so if you want that you must change the EM to the Default one. If you actually want to use the the Nylon Guitar VX then of course you must choose this instrument in the Halion Sonic browser and then your EM will work correctly as I have just tested.

Yes, @janus and @dko are both quite correct. When you load a different sound in HALion Sonic SE’s interface, unfortunately there’s no way for Dorico to know that you’ve done so. When Dorico loads sounds into HSSE, it knows which sound it has asked HSSE to load, so it can also set an appropriate expression map so that it can take advantage of the special behaviours of that patch – such as in the case of the Nylon Guitar VX sound, knowing how to achieve a muted sound and a natural harmonic sound, using keyswitches.

However, when you then load a different sound into HSSE for that channel, Dorico doesn’t get to know about it. As such, the same expression map with its specific keyswitches defined for the originally loaded patch is still set up, and so Dorico will dutifully play those keyswitches when you play back the score, resulting in additional notes that you don’t expect or want to hear.

As others have suggested, going into Endpoint Setup and setting the expression map for your guitar instrument’s channel to Default will take care of it.

Thanks to all. I was probably lulled into a false sense of it being very easy when I did not hit this problem after working on about 20 projects and changing instruments and sounds without a problem. I tend to do most of my real instrument work in Logic Pro so just transfer the score and deal with the instruments later, either recording real ones or using the Logic Pro library. Anyway, I think I can now see how it works and should not have a repeat of the problem. I’d like to add that out of all the forums I use this is the most helpful and quick with sensible solutions.

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I agree entirely and that is partly due to Daniel’s tireless efforts (which started quite a long time ago under Sibelius but have in recent years been transferred to what has quickly become the better product).