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HALion 7

Sampler/Sample Player by Steinberg

Crossgrade Licenses

from Omnisphere, Komplete, Falcon or Kontakt

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HALion 7

HALion 7 is a groundbreaking, premium-quality software instrument, developed to help you create world-class music and sound design. Delve into the iconic sound of FM synthesis, harness the power of spectral synthesis, embrace a new approach to modulation, create and customize unique envelopes, be inspired by new effects which enhance creativity for bass players and much more.

FM Zone: Developed together with Yamaha

HALion 7 features the completely new FM Zone, developed in co-operation with Yamaha, the company which created some of the most iconic FM synthesizers in history. Freely combine up to eight operators, use them as carriers or send them to feedback loops. Together with the powerful Algorithm Finder, a comprehensive and easy-to-use algorithm designer, you can create everything from classic DX7 tones to the most contemporary FM sounds. And if that is not enough, HALion now also supports DX7 and TX81Z SYX file import in the FM Zone.

Spectacular: The new Spectral Zone

The HALion spectral oscillator features our newly in-house developed time stretch and resynthesis algorithm, which sounds amazing even at extreme settings. It not only allows you to change playback speed in real time without affecting the pitch, but you can also transform samples into completely new sounds. The real power comes with features like formant shift, spectral filter, purity, inharmonicity and the ability to hold the previous spectrum functions if a sample's start or end is reached. In addition, the new FFT view offers a precise and clear insight into the spectrum itself.

Modulation reimagined

Shape, tweak and animate your sounds more easily than ever with HALion's new modulation concept. Click on a parameter in the zone and instantly assign a new modulation to it with the new modulation rows. Jump directly to the modulation destination or source to do further edits with just one click. You can also assign modulation sources by drag and drop. Combined with the new visualization feature for any modulation signal, you have the perfect overview of what is happening.

New Shaper Envelope

The User Envelope now has brush, pen and eraser tools for intuitively drawing and customizing envelopes. You can choose from a great selection of pre-designed shapes or save custom shapes for future sessions. Furthermore, the new Shaper mode for envelopes allows you to cycle through shapes in synchronization with your host DAW's tempo, giving you a brand-new variety of customized LFO.

A fresh new look and feel: Updated interface and workflows

Everything in HALion is now less complex, has more space and is designed to get you into your creative flow and keep you there. Fewer clicks, improved menus, zones and icons, optional auto-size for macro view, innovative tools like the Shaper envelope, plus preconfigured screen sets for different use cases, all helping you to focus on the important things: making music and designing sounds.

New pitch-shift and time-stretch algorithm

This new algorithm was developed from the ground up with musical content in mind. The result is a high-precision tool which sounds very natural and beautifully accurate, even at extreme settings. You can use the algorithm in the spectral zone for creative experiments or in the sample zone as a new warp mode to adjust samples, without them sounding artificial. Phase locking, transient detection and channel correlation help to restore the natural sound of stereo samples, even while working creatively with the sound.

Advanced wavetable synthesis

Bringing a new dimension to wavetables, now you can create your own with up to 1,024 individual waves. If that is not enough, you can load multichannel files of up to 5.1 surround and work on the sum or individual channels to get all the details. The best part is that you can setup the new fully customizable Spectral Filter for each wave individually, while the automatic interpolation makes sure the fades between the previous and next waves sound extremely smooth.

Decompose samples for unique sound design

You can now split every sample into its tonal and noise components directly in HALion, opening the door to a whole new world of sound design. Combine the tonal part of an electric piano with the attack of a guitar sample. Separate the noise part of a recording and send it through a unique effects chain, while keeping the tone as clean as possible. This is not only great for creating unique sounds, but also a complete tool for building new kinds of libraries.

Redesigned MediaBay: Easy access to everything you are looking for

Find the sounds you are looking for faster than ever. The MediaBay in HALion has been completely refreshed, with a clearer, uncluttered structure, context-sensitive search, and an improved user experience. This makes browsing for the right samples, layers, programs, presets and multis much more efficient.

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User Reviews Average user rating of 4.00 from 5 reviews Add A Review
HALion 7

Reviewed By Don Deluxe [all]
March 13th, 2023
Version reviewed: 7 on Windows

If I was told that I could only use one plugin for the rest of my life, I would choose Halion (immediately and without question).

This immensely powerful, complex and deeply misunderstood instrument has everything you need to create...whatever it is you create. The sampler is deep and its stock collection of sounds is outstanding.

The quality of life improvements in version 7 make it a bit easier to use (NO MORE DONGLE).

FM lab is immense, X-LFO is great fun, and the spectral resynythesis engine is insane (the new timestretch algorithm rivals the best in the industry). The wavetable and granular synths are still stellar, and direct sampling has vastly improved throughout the years.

Halion is not an intuitive instrument. It demands time and patience to learn. Get comfortable with the manual, because you're going to need it. Keep it close and spend time with it.

FM Lab might be the best FM soft synth ever created.

It will deeply reward those who choose explore learn it. You can define your career with it.

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HALion 7

Reviewed By felis [all]
October 16th, 2021
Version reviewed: 6 on Windows

Multiple synthesis methods, but still lacking dedicated FM. Decent spec sampling.

Good mod matrix including release velocity, but fx modulation would be a bonus.

A user library would go far to add extra appeal to draw in more Halion users and programmers.

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HALion 7

Reviewed By smadger [all]
December 3rd, 2020
Version reviewed: 6 on Windows

Enormously flexible, but starting to show it's age a little now. Has great potential but missing some cutting edge features that are already incorporated into other Steinberg instruments, for instance the resynthesis engine from Backbone, the ability to split noise and tonal componants from Groove Agent, and then there's other aspects that I'd like to see that would make life easier within the UI, drag and drop modulation sources that are starting to become norm in many instruments would be really useful too.

If you're after soundpacks then Halion is pretty lacking in this area, Kontakt has pretty much cornered the market, so if that's what you;re looking for then I'd go with that. But if you want a powerful instrument that can handle all types of synthesis as well as being a solid sampler, with awesome integration for Cubase then this is a really good option. It can handle opening some older format Kontakt libraries, but I've not had much luck with much of these.

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HALion 7

Reviewed By lordvader48 [all]
April 11th, 2007
Version reviewed: 2.1.144 on Mac

Steinberg's HALion is marketed as a "VST sampler". Unfortunately, it is anything but a sampler. HALion can't record samples, lacks waveform editing, and even lacks sample drag & drop to/from a VST host.

Perhaps in the early days of VSTi's these kinds of limitations in a software sampler were acceptable. That certainly isn't the case now. I think we all expected that HALion and Kontakt would be rounded out with these critical capabailities by now. After all, what good is a sampler that can't even sample? If HALion provided proper drag & drop of sampled material the lack of sampling and waveform editing might not be so crippling. But as things stand, HALion is really only good for loading and playing sound libraries. It is certainly not a "VST sampler" as Steinberg claims.

HALion also has serious problems in the file management area. HALion saves Programs by saving separate files for all of the constituent sample files for the program. This leads to a big tangled mess of files on your hard disk. HALion does provide a ".hsb file format" which saves bank contents to a single file, but be warned that once you save your bank as a ".hsb" you will be unable to access your samples outside of HALion!

Finally, HALion's onboard effects are weak, and the routing of effects is very hard to understand and use.

I've marked down HALion in the ratings because the manufacturer mistakenly claims that HALion is a sampler. When Steinberg finally gets around to addressing these problems I will raise these ratings accordingly.

HALion is in dire need of an update. Image-Line's DirectWave costs 1/4 as much as HALion, and does not have the debilitating limitations. DirectWave is a much better and much more useful sampling tool.
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HALion 7

Reviewed By tchibo [all]
April 24th, 2004
Version reviewed: 3.1. on Windows

The current HALion 3 release (3.1 final) is stable in every regard; a _huge_ number of bugs has been fixed since the very first build of 3.0. The integration in Cubase SX has always been great and very straight forward. I don't think the user interface is very beautiful, but it does what it should. The interface has been improved quite a lot for those people who create or edit programs. The new effects are really fine.

The filters are much better since version 2.x, and the delivered content is very usable and of high quality. The drums and strings are simply great (the drums already were in 2.x). BUT: The delivered content is preset only; you can't extract the samples or use them to create own patches, though you can edit the programs. So if you are used to archive your songs together with the samples you use, e. g. on DVD-R, you won't be able to, except you burn down the complete content archives of HALion 3 again and again (4 huge files).

With 3.1 (final) a new streaming mode was introduced, that gives a lot better performance than any previous HALion version. Comparisons with Kontakt show that it beats the latest version of the NI sampler, too.

HALion 3.1 finally is a mature product and is recommended to anyone who needs many many voices, excellent disk streaming and a powerful and really complete sampler.

HALion 3 comes together with a front end so it can also be used stand alone. According to the forums, there's some issues left with this and certain audio cards, and preferences are not always remembered correctly, so I recommend to use brainspawn forte or a similar host instead.

There's a quite active support forum at http://forum.cubase.net.
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