A sound model (also known colloquially as a tuning or "scale") is the specific set of pitches on a Halo or similar instrument. See below for general advice on choosing a sound model.
Halos are currently made in two sizes. In 2015, we introduced a slightly smaller instrument called the Halo AG, for 'Altered Geometry'. The Halo AG is tuned a half-step sharper (higher) than the original Halo, allowing us to work with new keys.
Halos are also classified according to their register (how 'high' or 'low' their key is):
Sample recordings are not compositions; they are improvisations intended to give a sense of how each tuning sounds on the Halo.
The following sound models are currently being made. A list of retired sound models is available here.
All of our sound models sounds different on the Halo then on a piano or other instrument, sometimes, strikingly so. Be sure to listen to the sample recordings (or other examples found online)!
We suggest you pick a sound model first and foremost based on the intuitive emotional reaction you have to recordings of (or experimentation with!) it, and not on abstract or conceptual qualities about it.
Many people (but not all) find that one or two of the sound models "call them" or "speak to them," and there is no better way to tell which instrument you will be happiest with than your own gut reaction.
If you like several options or all of them, the following advice may help you decide, though.
All of the sound models we make sound good on a Halo, but some tunings are a more natural fit to the character of the instrument.
Generally speaking, sound models with fewer tone fields offer a greater sustain and clarity than those with more; these are the best choice for someone who is willing to trade harmonic complexity for the best possible timbre. The difference between a seven- and eight-tone Genesis sound model, or eight- and nine-tone Cirrus sound model, are subtle but real.
Pentatonic (five-pitch) sound models (such as Pygmy) are the most "forgiving" in the sense that all combinations of notes will sound "right." This is mostly true of many of our hexaphonic (six-tone) sound models as well, especially those with few or no half-steps within them. Sound models that express a full scale require more care to play, as there are more combinations of notes that are dissonan, but offer the most harmonic possibilities.
Harmonic minor-based sound models as a rule are more "closed" in the sense of not offering as many different combinations of notes to play in repeating figures; they tend to lead one to a more melodic than harmonic style of play
Now that the Halo family includes instruments in several registers and numerous keys, also consider whether you are more drawn to the mass and presence of the Genesis, heaviest in B; the cello-like middle register of the Cirrus, in which the pitches generally have the most uniformity of timbre; or the more ethereal tinkle of the Stratus.
We are proud of all of the sound models we offer. We are sure you will be pleased with a Halo tuned in any one of them, as long as it is something that speaks to you.
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