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 HALion Sonic by Steinberg is a Virtual Instrument Audio Plugin. It functions as a VST Plugin, an Audio Units Plugin, a VST 3 Plugin and an AAX Plugin.
HALion Sonic
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Product HALion Sonic
Developer Steinberg
Price (MSRP) €249
Type / Tags
Plug-in, App & Soundware Format(s)
Instrument(s)    
Operating System Availability
Operating
System
Latest
Version
Download Released
 3.1.0  - Released
 3.1.0  - Released
Miscellaneous Information
Copy ProtectionSoft-eLicenser

HALion Sonic is a VST workstation instrument and the successor to Hypersonic 2. For composers, producers, musicians and demanding sound designers in virtually any conceivable production setting, HALion Sonic combines a high-quality sample library with a powerful sampling and synthesis engine to "unfold infinite possibilities for sound generation".

At the heart of HALion Sonic are four different modes that offer a broad range of sound production tools:

  1. The high-performance disk streaming mode is responsible for recreation of acoustic instruments.
  2. The fully editable virtual analog synthesis mode provides virtually endless possibilities for generating sounds, with waveforms and algorithms that deliver "pure quality".
  3. The dedicated sliced-loop mode comprises a complete beat and rhythm production toolkit.
  4. The special drum mode includes everything needed to produce studio-grade drum tracks.

With more than 1,200 synths, hybrid and acoustic instruments spanning across 12 GB of hard drive, the included library is the upshot of a strong collaboration between Steinberg and Yamaha sound design teams. A maximum of 20 articulations per instrument cover a generous scope of playing styles for various instruments, while support for Steinberg's VST Expression technology allows for real-time control of all HALion Sonic articulations within Cubase 5 and Cubase Studio 5. The integrated MediaBay sound management system delivers direct access to all sounds, instruments, presets and phrases and features musically oriented categories and tagging functionality.

HALion Sonic's Multi Program Rack provides 16 simultaneously loadable instrument programs, each with its own four-way effects rack, including boutique-style effects such as the REVerence convolution reverb. The morphing filters comprise a versatile set of 24 filter types which seamlessly switch between four filters in real time. Also included is the powerful FlexPhraser module which drives beats, arpeggios and complex musical phrases, including automatic switching of articulations.

Both intricately customizable and intuitive to use, HALion Sonic offers a wealth of quick and easy approaches to generating and controlling sounds. Creating keyboard splits and layers is swift and straightforward, whereas switching between Multi-Setups is performed merely by hitting a key or pushing a button - ideal for live stage performances. The Quick Controls system allows for assigning important sound parameters to dedicated controls, as well as fully supporting MIDI Learn which makes setting up MIDI controller hardware as easy as it gets. Ideal for on-stage performances, the included standalone version makes using a host application obsolete.

Latest User Reviews Average user rating of 4.00 from 1 review

Reviewed By musicdoc
August 5, 2010

Just wanted to give a quick review. I've used sampletank, plugsound series, Dimension pro, and probably a few other romplers in the past. All of them were ok, but a good hardware workstation was really much better, even with all those gigabytes packed in there. I remember being surprised with Hypersonic 2 when it first came as to how good it sounded with its slightly over 1 gig, especially considering that most of the other romplers are many gigabytes more. Consequently, I was sure that anything Yamaha had a hand in programming has got to be good.

Halion Sonic doesn't disappoint. The sounds are uniformly good. I don't think that the individual multisample waveform count is very high, but the quality is outstanding. For instance, only one piano waveform (not program) is provided, but it is very good. Maybe not ivory quality -but then it doesn't take five minutes to load and bog down all your resources. Another user was complaining about the drums, but I have to say, these are not simply recycled sounds. Maybe they don't have 100 velocity layers, but I can easily hear at least 4-5 in some of the sounds. Try something like the "standard vintage kit" -extremely fat, dry processed sounds with just that hint of ambience and dirt -just beautiful. For a rompler drum set, I don't think these can be beat without going to a specialized drum vst -ie: BFD. Many times HS will come out ahead just because you don't have to tweak and tweak to make everything sit right.

Horns and brass: excellent
Bass: excellent, lots of keyswitches, synthbass also features quite a bit of variety. Even the Upright is very respectable. I don't think I could differentiate this from the multigig Trillian in most songs.
Guitars: very good. the acoustics don't have those little squeaks built in, but I can live with that.
Synths: dance stuff very good, good variety
Accordians: not really my thing, but if it is yours, I don't remember seeing another vsti with this many good high quality accordian samples.
Strings: Good, but the high notes are not my cup of tea, of course I feel the same way about my motif es and s90. I personally like my Roland XV strings... probably just my thing though.
Organs: I can see this replacing NI B4 and charlie much of the time.
Loops: very good. With the right expansion packs I can almost see this competing with Stylus.
Epianos: Love em. Excellent tweakability.

If I was to compare these sounds to a Motif, I would say they have just a little more of an ambient, present feel as compared to a motif's more sterile sound. This is probably because there are not the memory constraints inherent to hardware.

These sounds are really easy to tweak. The quick controls are right there and the programming is TOP NOTCH. I think just about everyone who makes vst's should just check this out for the programming. I really didn't see any "filler sounds" like a lot of other romplers seem to have.

Gripes:
Saxes -sections are very good but all solo sounds have a vibrato that turns on about a second into the sample. Why?! Just let me use my modwheel.
Tympani: at least a few hits would be nice. Not present. Only a kind of synthetic version. Probably a classical expansion coming up.

As for being a resource hog, I really don't think so. I think that what many people are not realizing is that a single sound can have up to like 16 effects plus any inserts going on(in multi mode). The average load is probably about 3-5 effects per sound. This is what will bring most computers down. 5 x 16 =80. If you are having problems, learn to use an insert effect. You really don't need a reverb on every single sound:)

Some random observations.
-Disk size about 8.5 gig.
-installation went smoothly
-no crashes, but I've had some sub categories disappear on me in the browser. Sounds are still there though. Come back on reload. Bug?
-cubase takes an extra like 5-8 seconds to close with this plugin.Read more
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HALion Sonic

Average user rating of 4.00 from 1 review

Steinberg
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