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Halion 6 & Absolute 3

jobinho
KVRist
 
175 posts since 8 May, 2015

Postby jobinho; Sat May 06, 2017 4:31 pm Halion 6 & Absolute 3

Halion 6 is going under the radar but seems to be a very capable synth. The wavetable and granular alone is pretty forward thinking and the included 30gig Halion Sonic 3 library sounds great.

The Absolute 3 package including Halion 6 / Halion Sonic 3 / Padshop and much more seems to be great value too.

Any users or opinions of these out there?
Neon Breath
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2568 posts since 15 Sep, 2010

Postby Neon Breath; Sat May 06, 2017 6:49 pm Re: Halion 6 & Absolute 3

Halion 6, going under the radar?? Explain.
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jobinho
KVRist
 
175 posts since 8 May, 2015

Postby jobinho; Sun May 07, 2017 1:04 am Re: Halion 6 & Absolute 3

Neon Breath wrote:Halion 6, going under the radar?? Explain.


Yes, no reviews, no real interest compared to Omnisphere - Falcon etc.

Maybe it just reflects the quality of the synth but the new wavetable engine and the granular are pretty advanced.
Iva
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63 posts since 22 Apr, 2009, from Russia

Postby Iva; Sun May 07, 2017 3:43 am Re: Halion 6 & Absolute 3

I actually like it more than omnisphere. I am sure, many people do to. It has very powerful sound engine that sound nicer than omni to me. Great sound library and perfect integration into Cubase workflow. Since i am Cubase user there is no a real choice for me. Halion of course.
monomaker
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47 posts since 11 Mar, 2015

Postby monomaker; Sun May 07, 2017 3:55 am Re: Halion 6 & Absolute 3

The reviewers couldn't be bothered to wait a month for Steinberg to send them a 32 bit licenses so they could keep their old H5 sessions running! :hihi: I've been working with H6 for about a month now, here's my opinion so far :

H6 is pretty much H5 with a slightly tidied GUI plus an awesome wavetable synth and some sample packs bolted on. It can also "sample" now, which is good for a sampler, but not so important when you're already working in Cubase and can drag and drop content into the plugin easily (I've not used the sampling section yet). Even less importantly, they've made it easier to make your own GUI faceplates for presets, seems like an attempt to win over some 3rd party support. If you need GUI faceplates Halion probably isn't for you (it's complex), but Halion Sonic might be. H6 also adds LUA scripting support, which I might use to try to address some of the microtuning issues I'm having, but haven't touched yet - I begrudge having to code to make a sampler do what I want.

Application is everything - if I wanted to make 90s Europop the H6 content would be my go to tool, if I wanted to make MPC-esque hip hop I'd go nowhere near it. It's not in Kontakt's league as regards factory (or 3rd party) content, nothing they've added bridged that gap. If you want multiple wavetables animated, I can't think of a better tool than H6, similarly, what else can make sliced audio granular? (Answers to this question most welcome, not rhetorical). If you want to modulate a loop, you're better off with a smaller sampler like TAL or Bliss; if you're looking for something for beats, Geist or Maschine 2 blows it away. If you need great microtuning support, Falcon thrashes H6 soundly. I bought it because someone pointed out the manual had changes to the microtonal section, when I got it installed it turns out that feature has not been fully implemented and you can still only import Scala files of 5, 7 and 12 notes (also each of those notes won't move further than 100 cents from 12TET). This makes it one of the worst samplers for microtuning, despite what the manual says. Makes me very sad. :(

The auto-slicing in Halion is terrible (markers consistently in the wrong place, causing clicks in loops) - it can import REX files though, so it's far quicker to slice stuff in Recycle, then import it into Halion - a lot of core sampler functionality is poorly implemented. Rather than fix those basics, they've delivered more stuff, but don't seem to realise parts of the program have become antiquated (the mod matrix is a sad state of affairs - just randomising parameters involves adding a new midi module, then adding it in the matrix). The whole GUI could be cleaned so easily just by adding many of the knobs to the mod matrix, instead of having them as permanent GUI features (for example, the routing of velocity to volume, or the filter to the filter envelope - this stuff shouldn't require GUI space, stick it in the matrix). Why you can't modulate loop markers I have no idea, but you can't; in fact, there's a lot of things that just can't be modulated, nor can you map them to cc's/knobs.

I don't think the Absolute 3 bundle particularly meaningful - Padshop is the granular engine from Halion 5 in a separate plugin. It's great, but if you've got H5 or above you've got it built in. Halion Sonic is more like a workstation synth, not something I've got any interest in personally. Why someone would want all 3 doesn't really make sense to me, they overlap in such a way that if you're a H6 user I don't see why you'd load HS or Padshop Pro.

I disagree about the quality of the factory content, I think it does little to show off it's capabilities. It could easily have presets for modern electronic bass sounds (like Serum) to show off the wavetable goodness, but doesn't. There aren't many lush granular pads, despite having that functionality for a while.

The e-mail support is absolutely dire, it's been taking about a month to get a reply to anything, I might try another method next week. Had I of not spent the £80 on the upgrade the only thing I feel I would've missed out on is the wavetable stuff, which is genuinely impressive if you're happy to spend time geeking out with it.

Despite all the negatives I use Halion a lot, I've got Falcon but haven't spent enough time with it to make a fair comparison. UVI seem keen to improve Falcon, they're actively listening to their customers, Steinberg not so much. Halion is a great tool and I've made hundreds (if not thousands) of pieces of music with it, but familiarity breeds contempt and the problems I encountered when I first purchased H5 are still there today. It's still one of the worst for microtuning, looping, slicing and modulating, one of the best for unique "deep" features and right in the middle for content and ease of use.

HTH.
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wagtunes
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9607 posts since 8 Oct, 2014

Postby wagtunes; Sun May 07, 2017 4:07 am Re: Halion 6 & Absolute 3

@Monimaker

Thanks. Excellent review. Appreciate it. Definitely taking HALion 6 off my "to buy" list.
jobinho
KVRist
 
175 posts since 8 May, 2015

Postby jobinho; Sun May 07, 2017 4:17 am Re: Halion 6 & Absolute 3

^^^
Great comprehensive review, thanks!

Yeah I've been demoing and I actually like the sounds and many of its features but it feels clunky and confusing. The modulation system sounds disappointing.

Just out of interest have you used Omnisphere? Unfortunately I cannot demo that one, but from the demoes I've heard I dislike nearly all the sample content, mainly classic synths and abstract acoustic recordings - the synth engine looks strong.

Halion 6 despite its shortcomings does seem to represent amazing 'bang for buck'.
jobinho
KVRist
 
175 posts since 8 May, 2015

Postby jobinho; Sun May 07, 2017 2:47 pm Re: Halion 6 & Absolute 3

Iva wrote:I actually like it more than omnisphere. I am sure, many people do to. It has very powerful sound engine that sound nicer than omni to me. Great sound library and perfect integration into Cubase workflow. Since i am Cubase user there is no a real choice for me. Halion of course.


Me too from my demoing of Halion and what I've heard of Omni...
monomaker
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47 posts since 11 Mar, 2015

Postby monomaker; Mon May 08, 2017 3:13 am Re: Halion 6 & Absolute 3

Hey jobinho, I've used Omnisphere (v.1), but don't own it. It's all about application, Omni can sound really great as a synth, but it's still very different to Halion. I see now that in the second version you can import your own samples and they've added a load of "real" synth stuff to it, so it does seem to be morphing into something more Halion like, but at it's heart it's still a rompler. Whilst I haven't tried the second version, we can fairly safely assume it's not close to Halion for sample editing/mangling capabilities yet. I don't like the idea of making music with other people's content, and the content of Omnisphere seems to be a big selling point, the actual editing features, not so much.

I see Omni can import .tun files, looks like it does full keyboard retuning (apart from the base note, which is a little worrying). Might buy it and make the comparison, lot of money though. Plus, I'll bet this is one of those "spend-all-day-installing-data" things...

Halion 6 is a good sample manipulation tool despite its flaws, an acceptable synth, possibly the best WT & granular. Omnisphere certainly seems to have the edge with the quality of content and it's become a capable synth. It's easy to make a complete track in Halion, of whatever elements you like (you can drag and drop any sound, slice it, dice it and turn it into whatever you like), whereas in Omni you're likely to use it more like a workstation, which probably means getting beats and sample manipulation elsewhere. I assume they won't expand Omni in that direction either, as it would mean consuming Stylus Rmx's market.

The bang-for-the-buck part is a no-brainer, you'll probably get more usage from Halion 6 because it's so flexible. If all you wanted were synth parts, that might be different.
Armagibbon
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464 posts since 20 Apr, 2017

Postby Armagibbon; Mon May 08, 2017 6:37 pm Re: Halion 6 & Absolute 3

monomaker wrote:I see now that in the second version you can import your own samples and they've added a load of "real" synth stuff to it, so it does seem to be morphing into something more Halion like, but at it's heart it's still a rompler. Whilst I haven't tried the second version, we can fairly safely assume it's not close to Halion for sample editing/mangling capabilities yet. I don't like the idea of making music with other people's content, and the content of Omnisphere seems to be a big selling point, the actual editing features, not so much.

Careful there buddy, the local hugbox goon squad don't take kindly to mean truths about their favorite "synth" hahah

But you're right on every mark. Omni is a preset player with some nice basic editing features, but nothing to make Halion blush. It's the Persing-in-a-Box. You buy it because you like the guy's sounds and can trust there's enough to play with that you can make it fit your projects. It's a great companion to keyscape and trilian for that flexibility, but you kinda have to buy into that idea of Music Ready to Earn to get any mileage out of it.
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aMUSEd
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28281 posts since 14 Sep, 2002, from In teh net

Postby aMUSEd; Mon May 08, 2017 9:28 pm Re: Halion 6 & Absolute 3

monomaker wrote:Hey jobinho, I've used Omnisphere (v.1), but don't own it. It's all about application, Omni can sound really great as a synth, but it's still very different to Halion. I see now that in the second version you can import your own samples and they've added a load of "real" synth stuff to it,


The real synth stuff was there from the start, it's just the sample import that's new in 2.
tripleflows
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98 posts since 21 Feb, 2012

Postby tripleflows; Tue May 09, 2017 12:47 am Re: Halion 6 & Absolute 3

HALion 6 is an amazing product. I agree, it is a bit late to the party: my major problem is also the old-style modulation system which is far from the intuitive way Avenger or Falcon operates. However the configurable GUI, the synthesis engine and the overall features are impressive.

I think with constant solid updates it will reach its status, even if it will take years. They can afford it financially...

For newcomers, worth watching the new HALion channel:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... fpd6SMBh75
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DuX
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3508 posts since 14 Mar, 2002, from Underworld

Postby DuX; Tue May 09, 2017 5:16 am Re: Halion 6 & Absolute 3

tripleflows wrote:I think with constant solid updates it will reach its status, even if it will take years. They can afford it financially...

That's a bit funny thing to say because Halion is a really old plugin. Dates back to like 2001 or so? They've got enough time to make it better already. :hihi:

I remember it from those times as I've tried it then. I see not much has changed. The GUI has always been clunky and confusing, since the beginning and you could make some interesting sounding patches if you really gave it a try, but generally Kontakt has been trumping all over it even 15 years ago, but especially nowadays.
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EvilDragon
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15089 posts since 6 Jan, 2009, from Croatia

Postby EvilDragon; Tue May 09, 2017 8:46 am Re: Halion 6 & Absolute 3

...except Kontakt has absolutely NO synthesis possibilities apart from pure sample playback (and let's say rudimentary granular, courtesy of Tone Machine, but it sounds kinda blech), so it kinda depends on what you wanna do with it. There are redeeming points to what Halion offers, for sure.
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DuX
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3508 posts since 14 Mar, 2002, from Underworld

Postby DuX; Tue May 09, 2017 6:58 pm Re: Halion 6 & Absolute 3

I wouldn't know... I consider Kontakt a really good synth that is extremely flexible and easy to work with once you really gave it a try. It offers [me] more than many of the other VSTis, I've always been a sampler head and I've always considered samplers more than just "fart and burp" [re]players. :hihi: Same with my new "love" TAL-Sampler. I've always thought of samplers as synths with oscillators you can easily change and that's the main reason why I prefer them to synths that usually have only up to 4-5 waveforms.

I absolutely agree that Halion is rather powerful as a synth, too, but that GUI with so many small windows is really irritating. I've just come back from a session where we used it for some stuff... terrible user experience. I think, it's best to use it as a sample player and nothing more. Even that can be hard and confusing enough. :( On the other hand the GUI could maybe "click" with some people, I suppose. Lucky them. ;)

I think the confusing GUI is the reason nr. 1 for Halion not being as popular as it could be.
It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.
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