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Steinberg Halion


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Steinberg Halion

Category:  Products / music software / software instruments

Added: 08-Mar-02  |  Author: admin

New price: £200 quid! - 309.00 euro's  |   S/H price: Not listed

Steinberg Halion

Halion is Steinberg's entry into the VST s/w sampler market... it's been out a while now and caused some excitment especialy for the VST users & faithful... Steinberg already have a few other soft's available, covering their bases one-by-one... They have a few synths & their LM4 drumbox, and now a sampler to compliment the rest!... Well, I just got me grubby mits on HALION for long enuff to check it out and do a page for it.... This is going to be quite a big page cos we don't split pages into multiples at DT just to get banner-load commissions... ok... Here we go.

Halion opens in VST as a VSTi, and when opened-out full-size, it is neatly arranged into broadly two sections... ON the Right is the main SCREEN area which displays all the editing pages. - On the Left side is the Sample Slots & PROGRAM 'tree' & sample folders organiser.

Basicaly, HALION has 16 PROGRAMS/Channels - and each 'PROGRAM' contains samples which are Key-Mapped to whatever key's... each 'PROGRAM then has filter, envelope & modulation pages as well as output settings and other master settings... That's the BASIC hierarchy, and Halion has this graphic on it's OPTIONS screen....

In reality the flow from a working-protocol point of view is a bit more complexed, because on top of the flow chart above, Halion has two top 'teirs' of editing...

  • One for the whole PROGRAM.
  • One for individual SAMPLES contained within a PROGRAM.

    and alongside that, is two further 'teirs' of....

  • Absolute - edits the whole PROGRAM or Sample/s.
  • Relative - edits the whole PROGRAM or Sample/s RELATIVE to the overall ABSOLUTE setting

    Before we can get into that, and before I give you the guided tour of the HALION sections/areas we need to first look at the MASTER protocols & parts because they pertain strongly to what happens in the various editing screens...

    HALION probably will open like this...

    Once HALION opens, you can reveal the PROGRAMS LIST on the right by clicking the cover... You also can close it by clicking where the red arrow is showing above, just on the margin of the screen. - When you click it top open, the silver 'steel' cover moves aside to reveal this vertical PROGRAMS LIST...

    Let's take a closer look at this right column of HALION because it pertains to the other parts/screens......

      The PROGRAMS LIST is shown as a file-tree. there is 128 'PROGRAMs' and any one of them can be assigned to any one of HALION's 16 'channels'.

    Samples can be loaded into 'PROGRAM' folders & dragged around between folder with some judicious but not easy clicking & dragging.. Once a folder is allocated to a 'channel' of HALION, it can then be saved as an 'instrument' (.fxp file) from the usual VST menu.

    The Trackball scrolls up/down the PROGRAMS LIST, and the whole list can be 'dragged' wider in dimension to better view the folders & any subfolders which can also be created.

    PROGRAM / all / absolute - this selection of buttons relates to the content you see in the editing screens on the main left area of HALION. - Whichever screen you are using, these 3 buttons and what text legend they display effects wether you are editing the entire PROGRAM and all it's contained samples/keyzones, or an individual sample or group of samples within a PROGRAM.

    More on this later because there is a total of about 5 options.

    The Trackball scrolls either the view on the upper PROGRAMS LIST above it, or it scrolls the main right-hand screen/area L or R - (depending on edit/list selection).
    If you hold down CTRL, the trackball controls the main-screen ZOOM in/out - Left for OUT, Right for IN

    edit/list the two bottom lights. You click on them to select. If edit is choosen, the trackball is navigating the main screen. If List is selected it is scrolling up/down the PROGRAMS LIST

    Ok... so let's start at the beggining, with the uppermost 'teir' of the HALION hierarchy... the Channels/PROGRAMs screen.

    Channels/Programs screen

    The CHANNELS edit screen open like the center object in this image below... You can see the key area's where the CHANNELS have their assignments & relationships.

    If you look at the main center screen area, this quickly & clearly shows all assigments for all 16 channels of HALION... You can also assign 'PROGRAMs' to channels here and set outputs too as well as other things...

    As you can see, if you click on one of the 'PROGRAM' titles maked with the red arrow it reveals a list of all 128 PROGRAMS, which mirror the settings in the right-side PROGRAM LIST (inset).... That's pretty much it for the Channels/PROGRAMs screen... a quick reference page for setting up your PROGRAMs to channels & checking assignments.

    Ok... Let's move on to the Keyzones screen... You do this by selecting from the lower screens menu...

    Keyzones screen

    The Keyzones screen is where all editing of PROGRAM samples on the keys takes place... What we edit in this screen is the PROGRAM selected from the PROGRAM LIST folder-tree, and it's contained samples.

    Here you can also do all the adding & moving & removing of samples to/from PROGRAM folders.. assign their key-ranges & velocity etc...

    You can drag the PROGRAMS LIST vertical menu wider - (ONLY when in Keyzones screen) - Just click & drag where the red-arrow shows above - Again, this is a bit gimmicky because it doesnt really show long enuff names... so even when fully extended as wide as it'll go, the loaded samples' names aren't always fully visible if you use long filenames - This isn't a problem normaly, but CAN be where for example you have a bunch of samples named like:


    ... etc - Now in that case, you wont be able to see the final part of each sample name... again, a minor quibble, but worth noting... Sure, you can reveal the full sample filename elsewhere on the display to be sure, but... It doesn't aid fast working if you have extensive libraries of long-filename samples....

    Keyzones screen - Importing/adding a sample

    Ok... so you choose your PROGRAM (1-16) on the lower toobar, and the Keyrange area/screen shows the keys and any already added samples - On the far right-side next to the main screen, is the vertical trackball & PROGRAM List Column, showing the highlighted channel-assigned PROGRAM on the tree-list of PROGRAM Folders.

    You can import samples into a PROGRAM & it's Keyrange in several places....

    Over in the Keyzones area you can RIGHT-click on the blue area above any key, and this menu appears.....

    When the menu opens, be aware of the top '***title***' which defaults to the selected/highlighted PROGRAM in the PROGRAMs-Folder tree - ( ***garage_1*** in this example) - Any sample you import on the Keyrange area will be loaded to the shown key, and also to the PROGRAM Folder that corresponds to whatever 'PROGRAM' you are adding samples into... When you show the Keyrange screen/area, it shows the Samples & their Keyranges for whatever PROGRAM is selected.

    This also is something to be aware of... When adding samples like this, always be sure what FOLDER is selected on the Left-side PROGRAMs-tree list, because your sample will be added to that folder (or sub-folder if created) - Samples CAN also be dragged from one PROGRAM FOLDER in the tree to another, but i found that a bit clunky.

    You can if you like add samples direct to the PROGRAM on the PROGRAM-Folder tree instead of on the actual Keyrange area next to it.... Again, be aware of the selected FOLDER.... In this example above, I am about to import a sample to the PROGRAM Folder called: 'Folder 1', and the PROGRAM Folder has no samples in it already, so the menu which appears when I go to add a sample is smaller than the menu in the second image above where I am adding a sample to a PROGRAM folder which already has samples in it. ('garage_1')

    is this a bug???... Once a sample is imported to the PROGRAMs-tree Folders list, it can be dragged (or multiples can be dragged) onto the Keyrange area... BUT... once added to the Keyrange area it seems you cannot then REMOVE it whilst at the same time retaining it in your PROGRAM Folder on the tree/list view (??!!) - er.... I don't get it?... This (if it IS a bug) means you cannot load up PROGRAMs then drag samples onto the Keyrange area from the Folders-tree to try them, removing them if you dont like them, BUT whilst removing them, keeping them so they STAY in the Folder for later selection again if you change your mind....

    So...add samples on the Keyrange screen for the selected PROGRAM in the tree-list, or add them to the PROGRAM on the tree-list directo!... whichever... You can also drag samples from the tree-list PROGRAM folders direct & drop them onto the Keyrange screen at the required key. - remember... the Keyrange screen is always showing the selected PROGRAM folder contents.

    Keyzones screen - added Sample settings

    Once you have samples on the Keyrange area, you can then use the mouse pointer to drag the red 'Nodes' on the sample image/icon to adjust the Keyrange & Velocity settings for the sample... The selected sample parameters are shown at all times in the top dialog boxes above the main left-side screen - (LO KEY, HI KEY, LO VEL, HI VEL, ROOT)...

    Here's a sample with it's velocity range set from midi velocity 0 (Lo Vel), to 69 (Hi Vel), which means the sample will ONLY be played by midi notes with a velocity of between 0 - 69 ... If the incoming midi note is higher in velocity than 69, this sample will not trigger.

    Here's a sample dragged so that it's Keyrange covers just over an octave, (13 semi-tones, E3 to F4).. which means you can play the sample up and down the keys between the lowest & highest keyrange settings...

    Here for example is two samples both covering several octaves Keyrange and layered over each other, meaning notes where BOTH samples overlap will play/trigger BOTH samples.

    Keyzones screen - Velocity Layering??

    Here we can see 4 drum samples on the Keyzones area on seperate notes... each with a different velocity range... But of course, we really want those on the same Keynote so that ONE midi note plays all 4 samples according to velocity...

    But put those 4 samples on a Keynote together and try to edit the Velocity setting for the lowest note or any note physicaly displayed on the Keyzone area which is BEHIND other notes because it is lower in velocity?... I found it impossible to grab the top of the vertical note when covered, because even tho you can select the sample using the right-side PROGRAM-tree selector if the mouse can't get at it, and even tho either of these techniques 'brings that sample to the front', as soon as you go to grab it to drag it's velocity, the mouse seems to default to grab whichever note is physicaly overlying in front of the part of the sample icon you are trying to grab (?) .....

    Mebbe I missed something here, but I tried various shift/ctrl etc & clicking methods to grab the sample but couldn't do it when any Red NODE of a sample was covered by another sample. - The answer I found sadly was to drag the note away from the Keynote where it is sitting behind the others, click & drag to change the Velocity upper or lower limit, then drag it back onto the required note.

    Now... instead of that, you can select the sample from the left-hand PROGRAM-tree selector list and then change the Upper & Lower velocity settings using the top dialog boxes instead... But they dont scroll well and it all seems a bit fiddly... Anyways, that's one negative point.. and only one, but mebbe this has been changed with any upgrades as this version I'm looking at is HALION v1.0 - Personaly, I LIKE easy click L/R mouse drag-editing, and this is a bit clunky on this aspect of the editing...

    Don't forget you can use the CTRL & click on the trackball in this and other edit-screens to zoom IN/OUT on the keyboard either width-wise or verticaly to zoom-in to single midi steps for fine-adjusting velocity resolution.... (only zooms if the green EDIT button below the Trackball is selected).

    waveloop screen

    With a SINGLE sample selected in the right-hand PROGRAM folders tree list you can then select 'Waveloop' from the bottom toolbar menu to show the 'Waveloop' edit screen, and the screen shows the selected sample for editing.... We are now at individual sample level...

    As you can see above, the 'Waveloop' button is selected on the toolbar, and the two points (a. & b.) mark the left & right positions of the sample file, with their selection visible in the main sample display above. - The Trackball Zoom (with CTRL), again comes into play in this edit screen allowing you to zoom in/out on the main file length... as you zoom in, the (a. & b.) red node markers move closer together to ZOOM-IN ... you can also scroll (no CTRL) L/R with the Trackball along the file with the selected zoom. - All these parameters for Zoom can also be done by dragging the red nodes on-screen.

    Looking next at the editing facilities for looping, you can see there are 3 'range' selectors... the start/end is using the two outer locators. - The light blue highlight is covering the start/end of the sustain loop, and the dar-blue highlight is the start/end for the release loop... the two inner highlighted area's can overlap.

    Generaly, editing for this section is very easy & smooth, but I don't think the max zoom-in was very good when one is used to single sample visible accuracy on any old editor today... This is afar as I could zoom in... max!!..

    Anyways, that's the WAVELOOP edit section... simple, but more zoom-in PLEASE !!

    Mod/tune screen

    Lotsof stuff here, a deep one... hmm... You have 12 'slots' (6 x page 1 & page 2) - each has:

  • SOURCE (what is making the thing happen)
  • AMOUNT (how much it happens)
  • DESTINATION (where it's going/what it's effecting)

    Here's a menu which appears when you click on one of the slots... as you can see there are alot of sources to choose from as well as 12 arbirary 'Amount' settings. Once you enter an amount into an AMOUNT 'slot', (1-12), you can then choose it for any other setting and it's the same amount.

    So, you can have the LFO (AMOUNT) adjusting the pitch (DESTINATION), controlled by the (SOURCE) envelope 2... etc.. lot's of choices..

    Here's the two LFO's both with options for various wave types or sync's to various preset beats/sig. - Interesting other features here is the highlighted 'RAW' selection. This bypasses all assignments for this page of mods and let's just the raw sample or group of samples play. - Next to it is DRUM MODE which is a simple checkbox to force all samples in the selection to play to the end when triggered... DRUM MODE always forces RAW on.

    The GROUP feature allows you to dial up any of 16 'groups' to assign the selected samples too. You can set the polyphony for this group & Glide time between triggered notes....

    Now I keep going on about things effecting the sample or SELECTION of samples... and thats the clever bit about HALION and one of it's TIERS...

    Remember, the PROGRAM LIST with the tree folders & their samples - Using these buttons and that list selection you are adding these modulation routings either for ALL the samples in the PROGRAM folder, or for each individual or selections of samples... so potentialy thats ONE X 12 mod routings for EACH SAMPLE !!!

    Anyways... that feature again turns up in our next selection!....

    envelope/filter screen

    Now we are in the edit screen for filter & envelopes, and again using the PROGRAM folder tree list and those 3 buttons below it we can assign dazzling filter assignments and envelope controls to our PROGRAM or/and it's samples contained within mapped to their keyranges.... This is good!.. it get's better huh?!...

    You've got settings for a 4 way envelope with 4 nodes.. BUT, you can double click & add an extra 4 nodes for an 8 step envelope!! - Further to this, the lines connecting the nodes can be grabbed and dragged into curves!!...

    However... as the manual says: You cannot remove the Attack, Sustain or Release points! - All points added after the Sustain point will always affect the Release stage of the envelope, i.e. after the key is released....

    On the screen, the vertical axis displays the Level, the horizontal axis displays the Time - As for the two slider L/R adjusters (a. & b.) - The A & b adjusters are:

  • b. The b. (right) Slider is used to zoom in on the envelope curve.
  • a.The a. (left) slider scrolls the view.

    As with the Mod section, using these 3 BUTTONS in the envelope/filter edit screen allows you to set filter & envelope settings for EITHER a whole PROGRAM (ALL)... or WITH (SELECT), a highlighted selection of one or more samples within the PROGRAM... different groups of multiple samples assigned to keys within a PROGRAM can all have different settings!!... Like I said.. multi-tiered, and really, the more I get into it, the protocol is very good...

    With the button set to SELECT you can see the settings for one sample in the PROGRAM....

    And here's another sample with completely different settings in the same PROGRAM...

    So... Working like this in SELECT mode you can select one or multiple samples in a PROGRAM folder... assigning different modulation, envelope & filter settings etc for one or more samples on the keyrange - If you select multiple samples in the folder tree view, the GREEN button showing: 'SAMPLE', changes ORANGE & the text changes to read: 'MULTISAMPLE'........

    And to recap... with the selector set to ALL you can set the range for filter for the whole PROGRAM and all the samples in it...

    Now the other selector for ABSOLUTE/RELATIVE.. The manual says this:

    In addition, by clicking the button (that either reads “RELATIVE” or “ABSOLUTE” you can select between Absolute or Relative editing. This is only meaningful if you have selected “ALL” or have several selected samples, as the “ABSOLUTE”/”RELATIVE” setting doesn’t matter if only one sample is selected.

    The “ABSOLUTE”/”RELATIVE” setting determines whether the editing you perform (in any Page View) should set the changed parameter to an absolute value, or change values relative to the previously set value for all or selected samples.

    Let’s say that some samples in a Program have a Filter Cutoff setting of 75, and other samples in the same program have a Cutoff setting of 60. With Edit Absolute activated, changing the Cutoff parameter to 80, would set all (or all selected) samples Cutoff to 80. If Edit Relative is activated, however, and you increase or decrease the current Cutoff value (from any given value) by 5 increments, this would simply add or subtract 5 increments from the previously set value for all (or all selected) samples.

    But er... I can't get it to do it at all.. if i setup different levels for samples in a group, then switch to ALL and set a filter or whatever with the switch set to RELATIVE, it changes all the samples individual settings NOT relatively at all, but to the exact same (!!??) - I couldn't figure it out wether it was me or it is knackered?.... anyone?...

    tree/menu screen

    Here's some more stuff on that... As explained earlier, HALION's protocol is 16 channels and each 'channel' can have one PROGRAM allocated to it... Each PROGRAM has it's own folder containing all the samples for that PROGRAM - There are 128 Program's & Folders at boot as default, named: 'program 1', 2, 3, 4 etc... You select a Channel in HALION and all edit-screens display the current settings for the PROGRAM (with all it's Keymapped samples) which is allocated to the selected channel... simple...

    Each Program Folder can have sub-folders added... You just right-click to add a Folder making sure the MAIN folder is selected that you want to CREATE the new Folder inside of.

      Here you can see a new sub-folder has been created inside the un-named PROGRAM 2 main Folder. -

    You can then rename that folder to whatever you like by double-clicking on the name/title of the Folder...

    REMEMBER - Each of the 128 main FOLDER's represents a PROGRAM - So if you re-name a main FOLDER you are re-naming the PROGRAM itself , as they are one and the same... a PROGRAM being simple a collection of samples with key-map, envelope, filter and other settings applied.

    See?... At the top LEFT is the NAME of the currently selected PROGRAM - this is mirrored by the highlighted Main Folder on the left-side PROGRAM folders tree...

    When you change Channel on the bottom toolbar, the PROGRAM title at the top-left of HALION also changes to show the allocated/assigned PROGRAM - And at the same time, the left-side PROGRAM Folders tree switches to select that same PROGRAM... AND at the same time, all edit screens change to show the settings for that selected PROGRAM... get it?.. quite easy system for HALION.. it's very well designed in most areas.

    AS you can see, there is a comprehensive list of menu items assignable to PROGRAM's - Note the PROGRAM  ***title***  at the top of the menu & the info at the bottom - the info shows all samples in that PROGRAM/Folder complete with filepaths which is very handy...

    You can see where there ARE samples loaded to a PROGRAM folder, the menu shows some things like CHROMATIC mapping options - (map chromatic selected) - This will map the SELECTED samples chromaticaly on the PROGRAM's Keyrange for you - This & other commands in this menu will effect EITHER the WHOLE Program and all samples within it, or if a Selection of samples is highlighted on the left-side PROGRAM folders tree, only those selected samples are effected... Other menu items do useful things like mapping the selected sample ROOT key to a selected key without effecting it's Keymap range setting... When you select a key by clicking it on the lower keyboard display, a blue circular icon attatches itself to that key... You select your sample in the PROGRAM folder, right-click on it, and then the commands for setting a new root key can be applied.

    If loading samples to a folder using this menu, ('import sample(s)..'), you can select single or MULTIPLE sample selections from your h/d or cdrom which load to the folder selected.

    If there are NO samples added yet to any PROGRAM/Folder, then the menu when you right-click is smaller, like this, with obviously NO options pertaining to samples as none are yet loaded....

    More 'screens' stuff

    Halion can be set to MACRO screen; shrunk smaller for non-editing use. - In this mode, the front controls for FILTER & ENVELOPES & LFO's etc effect whichever is the selected CHANNEL & it's assigned PROGRAM only... individual filter settings for samples or groups of samples within the PROGRAM will retian their original filter , mod & envelope settings relative to each other... the master controls visible in MACRO view therefore adjust these parameters RELATIVE to the individual settings.

    The Track ball as mentioned scolls the PROGRAM folders list up/down when the red LIST button is illuminated...

    I kinda liked the old Trackball it has to be said!... you can 'throw' it with a mouse grab followed by a quick L/R drag & release.... and it flies!!... and as it moves the blue over-layed 'mystical blur' animates to move behind & ahead of the ball, then roll back to center as it comes to rest!! :) - It moves fast as hell left or right, up or down if you give it a good old shove!! - I must say tho, that although this DID allow fast scrolling, it'd take some practice to get used to the amount of 'fling' required to move/scroll a distance you imagine in your head... Invariably I found myself scrolling waaaaay past the desired point at first!...

    OPTIONS screen

    Ok... finaly, the OPTIONS screen for the whole HALION programme... Here one makes settings for midi & other features such as memory pre-loading etc.... You see, HALION, like Gigasampler can play long files by streaming them from disk... large files DO NOT have to load into ram... So here we can set memory amounts for pre-loading samples etc...

    On the far left of the bottom HALION Toolbar is the 16 CHANNEL indicators which flicker with incoming midi activity according to channel... To the LEFT of those 16 led's, is the DISK indicator.... When HALION is streaming data to ram buffer prior to play (as opposed to playing it only from ram), this LED lights to show disk activity.

    Looking at the rest of the OPTIONS screen in close up you can see several options for ram management & midi protocol....

    IMPORT OPTIONS - For importing various formats/files
    'Import Audio Files': You can load wav & aiff & aifc files from your pc/mac..
    'Import Ext Format': Opens a dialog screen to import soundfont or Akai files with various features.
    'Import LM4': Opens dialog screen to import LM4 kit's.

    MASTER SETTINGS - For tuning the whole HALION instrument

    PRELOAD INTO RAM - Adjusts how many 'seconds' of audio will pre-load for the long stremaing files HALION can play. - If you adjust the top 'Seconds' setting, it recalculates the lower setting for 'Preload memory used' to show how much ram is allocated.

    VOICE BUFFER - Increase the Voice Buffer slider and the 'Voice memory Used' setting recalculates to show reserved ram.

    MEMORY USED - At the bottom of the center buffer section is 'Memory Used' which updates to show total ram allocated for Voice & PreLoad buffers.

    KEY/CONTROL OPTIONS - Various for the HALION instrument.

  • 'Key Activates Sample': If checked the keyboard display causes notes to trigger when clicked.
  • 'Advanced Navigation Ball': Wether Trackball doubles as Zoom-tool (I think)
  • 'Recieve Midi Controller': Wether samples recieve CC's from Sequencer or external controller.

    QUALITY - On the lower right, is the excellent 'Quality' slider. You can lower the playback quality to save stress on the CPU... As you slide to 'lower quality', you can see the VST 'Performance Meter' sliding down lower in CPU activity. - The sound get's progressivly less crisp as you use lower quality. - However, as you can see, there is a checkbox for: 'Full Quality During Export', so that HALION will always render the hi-quality sample when rendering to a file in the sequencer host - That is very handy to add that because it saves you having to go back there each time you want to render-down a HALION part in your sequencer...

    More about importing formats

    As mentioned above, HALION imports various formats... So I tried bringing in a SF from SONAR's included collection of Fonts...

    Ok... using the top selector marked in the image above as: Browse for folder (Soundfont).. you can choose to import external formats - For opening SF files you choose: 'Browse for folder (Soundfont)' - For opening AKAI format CD-Roms, there is a second menu option for selecting the cd-drive before the 'browse' window opens for making your selection. - Anyways, once you've browsed for your (in this example) SF Programme & have selected it, it loads THE DETAILS (NOT the samples yet) into the main screen shown above, displaying directory, programme, bank & samples within the bank... Each has an import button at the bottom of it's column... The display-screen shows the data for the selected SF programme and all it's contained banks & samples... so the idea of the IMPORT buttons at the bottom of each column, is that you can choose to import:

  • the whole programme with all banks & their samples..
  • or where more than one bank exists within a Programme, you can choose to import one or more banks...
  • or you can select the samples you want from the 'samples' list if you DON'T want to import ALL the samples in any BANK...

    Ok... so you choose your IMPORT button which choose which samples you are IMPORTING - in this case I'm choosing to import the samples using the IMPORT button for that column (circled in red) - Then this dialog box appears to choose a destination for the imported samples... Scroll to your required directory, and you can create a new dir using the yellow 'create dir' button on the dialog box.

    Before HALION finaly imports the selected SF samples for use, it offers you this dialog box to make your final specifications for the destination PROGRAM folder on the Folder tree. - You can see HALION shows the defaulted first empty PROGRAM folder on the tree... When all your selections are made for the Import to the folder, you hit import... and zoom!.. HALLION shows an import screen which increments upwardly until all samples have been imported to the specified PROGRAM folder.

    So... You IMPORT, and the selected destination PROGRAM folder on the folder tree 'List' changes to show the title of the SF Bank from which the samples were taken - Inside the folder you can see the imported SF samples, and if we then select our KEYZONE edit screen, we can see our newly imported samples all mapped out to their keys as defined by the SF bank they were imported from!!...

    Well.... quite a programme eh!!... All in all I think HALION is very well designed, and any reservation I might have had earlier about a few niggles with grabbing the Keyzone samples to drag their velocity when Layered don't seem so important... Overall the quality & well thought-out design is very clever and those niggles I had don't seem so relevent in light of the overall good-points of the programme...

    HALION is designed in such a way that Newbies with a little s/w protocol experience should be zipping around on it and using it's basic features quite quickly.. whilst the experienced samplist wont be dissapointed with the depth of programming for Keymapping & sample synthesis features... HALION has Lo-pass, Hi-pass, Band-pass & Notch filter available, and remember the filters, modulations and envelopes all can pertain to individual samples, groups of samples or a whole PROGRAM with additional overlayed relative filter, mod & envelope settings for the whole PROGRAM!!... one filter for every sample in your map!.. all with midi control!... VST users will for now get the best advantage from HALION's available output settings, but Logic5 will be adding 'seperate-outs' for VSTi's so they say in the first Logic5 update after release... Then this sampler will really come into it's own for Logic users... If you ARE a Logic user or SONAR... don't think too much about brand loyalty.. I'd check this one out seriously if it'll run in your host sequencer!

    So the programme really can go deep... On top of that the sound has to be good right?... well, HALION's 32bit sound quality is well crisp!!... Drums sound great, with a really 'airy' crispness but a nice warmth too, and any natural room reverbs come over really sweet and realistic... Yup!.. nice and crisp & beefy with lot's of dynamic.... Also remember that while you are working on a track composition where only monitoring is required, the ability to slide down the 'Quality' of the sample playback is a great feature for light CPU load working...

    I'm very impressed overall... the product is reasonably priced for so much features, and wins over Emagic's EXS to my maind for several reasons, not least of which is HALION's multi-timbrel ability, multiple outs & 'synthesis by sample' rather than by PROGRAM which EXS has... EXS allows you to make sample maps with layering & grouping very well indeed, but the synthesis while sounding great, is then applied to the whole PROGRAM of samples... (well unless they updated it or I missed it!?)... other items of thought for usrs of products like ORION or FRUITY is HALIONS ability to 'stream' audio from disk to midi triggers allowing really long samples... great for easy triggering of vocal parts etc!...

    As for other competitors to HALION, I didn't try any of the other s/w samplers yet like SampleTank or the new Native-Instruments offering, but HALION is excellent without making comparisons... As a product it stands-up in it's own right and I'd say offers VERY tempting sample production quality & ease-of-use for those deciding wether to go s/w or hardware -

    So... final word?... If you ARE looking for a s/w sampler you'd be WELL advised to try the demo of this product.. It's a real 'quality' sampler! and not too heavey on the old CPU!... 10/10

    CLICK HERE to download the audio file because the AUDIO DEMO linkl below will try to stream a 256k file.

    Product Manuals or Files

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    User Comments

    Product:  Steinberg - Halion
    Name: jimbob
    Email: Email supplied but hidden
    Activity: part-timer
    Date: 12-Mar-02

    nice page with lot's of clear info, you could almost use it as a manual, I'm planning to get Halion for Logic because soon we can use multiple outs which EXS cannot.

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    Product:  Steinberg - Halion
    Name: Aviel
    Email: Email supplied but hidden
    Activity: Hobby-ist
    Date: 15-Nov-03

    I've imported Malmsjo Acoustic Grand 1.5 Art Vista.gig to Halion.
    Halion cut off sound after about 1 minute with this 1.5 GB of piano samples.
    It happens both in Logic 551 AND SX 2.00
    EXS24 in Logic 551 is working perfectly with the same piano !!.

    I have 2 GB of DDR3200 and 1.4 Tera of defragmented, samples dedicated hard disks.

    So ....


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    'Steinberg Halion'

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