Explore Unlimited Sonic Dimensions
HALion Sonic is Steinberg’s premier VST workstation instrument featuring a staggering array of over 1,400 firstclass synths, hybrid and acoustic instruments — best suited for a wide range of styles.
Performance to the Power of 4
Based on Steinberg’s latest next-generation sampling and synthesis technology, HALion Sonic is the go-to composition and production instrument, offering the complete range of sound shaping and creative editing features sound designers expect from studio-grade instruments.
At the core, HALion Sonic offers four extremely powerful, yet easy-to-use sound engine modes:
Disk-Streaming Sample mode
The Disk-Streaming Sample Engine in HALion Sonic reduces the amount of memory needed for playing back a complex sample-based instrument. Samples needn’t reside entirely in memory, but instead, HALion Sonic reads the samples while playing directly from the hard drive. Thus, perfectly suited to drive the breathtakingly sounding and greatly detailed tonal acoustic instruments that are included in HALion Sonic’s extensive sound library, the Disk-Streaming Sample mode enables multiple articulations for ultra-realistic performance techniques, such as legato, staccato and key release sounds.
Drum sound editing requires dedicated tools to get the most out of a beat. For that reason, HALion Sonic is equipped with a special Drum mode, providing all the tools needed to produce studio-grade drum tracks.
The Drum mode editor gives an instant overview of the loaded drum sounds and how they map across the virtual keyboard. Each drum sound can be individually adjusted and tweaked with a complete set of the Pitch, Filter and Amplifier effects together with the corresponding envelope settings. In addition, each drum hit can be assigned to one of the up to 16 stereo outputs for further mixing and processing in the host application.
Sliced Loop mode
HALion Sonic’s dedicated Sliced Loop mode for using and abusing loop-based beats comes with the same comprehensive set of sound-shaping parameters as the Drum mode editor.
Sliced-Loop mode allows for playing individual slice hits or the entire loop or both by dividing the key range into two halves: the lower half of the keyboard triggers the loop while the upper half plays the individual single slice hits. All loops can be synced to the host project tempo for always playing in match.
The sophisticated FlexPhraser module (see below) triggers the slices of the loop with their original timing and order and offers various settings to create entirely new variations of existing loop material. The order of slices can be randomized for even greater creative possibilities. All loops can be exported as a MIDI triggered slice sequence to the host sequencer via drag and drop for further editing and tweaking.
Virtual Analog Synthesis mode
The fully editable Virtual Analog Synthesis Engine of HALion Sonic produces the most distinctive of sounds with an incomparable own character — setting it clearly apart from standard analog style soft synths.
The multiple oscillator types (Sine, Triangle, Saw or Square), additional sub and noise oscillators with different wave shapes and algorithms deliver pure quality – from the deepest low end and the creamiest, punchiest basses to razor-sharp leads that cut through the mix nice and clean.
For creating interesting electronic spectra, any of the sound sources can be mixed almost freely by four algorithm types:
- PWM mode (pulse width modulation)
- SYNC mode: provides different hard-sync oscillators where each is a combination of a master and slave oscillator for producing the typical rich sync-sound
- CM mode (cross modulation): provides a combination of two oscillators where a master oscillator is modulating the pitch of a slave oscillator
(Sine, Triangle, Saw or Square) at audio rate
- XOR mode: compares two square waveforms with a
XOR operation resulting in a sound close to ring
modulation of the third oscillator
The straightforward, subtractive-synthesis section offers full access to all sound-sculpting parameters, including the ability to assign all waveform parameters of OSC1, OSC2 and OSC3 as modulation destinations in the versatile Modulation Matrix. The resulting signal from the oscillators is sent to the Filter and Amplifier sections for further sound shaping, offering a full range of sounds and timbres for the most demanding synthesis tweaking experts.
Unique Morph Filters
HALion Sonic comprises unique morphing filters that guarantee new sonic levels! The beautiful set of six filter types — with 24 shapes for each of them — features a warm and saturated sound with character for gentle or aggressive coloring of the sounds. Simply put, we offer the finest analog sounding filters in the industry: low-pass, high pass, bandpass types with selectable octave slopes from six to 24 dB, self-oscillating and with saturation support. The extremely versatile and powerful filter section can be configured as single filter, two filters in parallel or serial connection.
But that’s not all: the unique metamorphosis filters support seamless morphing between up to four of the 24 different filter characteristics. By setting up envelopes, it’s possible to create the most ambitious metamorphosing sound textures ever heard. Morphing can also be done in real time by simply assigning to a Quick Control or the HALion Sonic Sphere Controller to morph between different filter types and settings.
In the Mix
The Mix Page offers full access to the instrument slot parameters of HALion Sonic, comprising the level and pan settings as well as the AUX effect sends and the output selector. Each of HALion Sonic’s 16 individual outputs can be freely assigned to any of the 16 instrument slots.
Included Audio Effects
With its complete suite of 44 audio effect processors, including gems like Cubase REVerence convolution reverb or the exceptionally sounding rotary cabinet emulation, HALion Sonic delivers that professional extra-touch in the mix or on stage — right out of the box.
EQ: StudioEQ, GraphicEQ
Dynamics: Compressor, Limiter, Gate, Expander
Reverb and Convolution: Reverb, REVerence
Modulation: Chrous, Tremolo, Flanger, Phaser, Vibrato, Rotary
In addition, HALion Sonic features no less than 28 legacy effects from HALion 3.
HALion Sonic redefines quality and variety for workstation instruments with over 1,400 new programs and over 850 layers across 13 GB of custom-recorded samples. Created in collaboration with the Yamaha sound design team behind Yamaha’s legendary MOTIF synthesizers, this totally new and studio-quality world-class library brings simple, immediate and playable expressiveness with superb sounding instruments and exclusive sounds! The library covers an enormous range of styles — all the way from finest detailed acoustic instruments to legendary synthesizers, club sounds and soundscapes, from ultra-realistic acoustic drum kits to the latest electronic beats.
All instruments and sounds were recorded with great passion to detail using finest microphones and much sought-after analog gear to capture every sound nuance accurately. An immense arsenal of instruments is ready to be played, with intricate sonic transitions right at your fingertips!
Many acoustic instrument sounds in HALion Sonic’s extensive sound library offer multiple articulations for recreating realistic sounds and performance techniques, such as legato, staccato and key release sounds which are often used on acoustic instruments but unavailable or difficult to realize on electronic keyboards. These instrument sounds can change their articulation in real time — for example, while playing a classical guitar voice, you can switch between playing normally and playing high harmonics.
VST Expression is an ultra-intuitive new concept to make working with instrument articulations as easy as it should be. Instead of handling all those MIDI controllers for switching articulations, it allows seamlessly and transparently integrated editing as well as full control over multiple articulations within the Key and Score Editors of Steinberg’s award-winning advanced music production system Cubase.
Carefully designed VST Expression Maps and corresponding Cubase Track Presets for each available instrument sound with articulations ensure smooth and tight integration into the Cubase Key and Score Editors. The articulation commands are separated from note events for editing and will be played back directly with the appropriate sounds. For example, articulations noted in the Score Editor can be played back immediately by an instrument from the sound library in real time. The other way around works as well: when recording articulation changes, for example, the key switches and the correct symbols are automatically added in the Score Editor.
With each of the up to 20 natural and expressive articulations per instrument assigned to a flexible key switch, HALion Sonic is perfectly suited to take full advantage of the acclaimed VST Expression system in Cubase.
NEW IN VERSION 1.5: VST Expression 2 support
MediaBay Sound Management
The highly intuitive design of the integrated MediaBay sound management system makes organizing and finding the desired samples, layers and presets a breeze! HALion Sonic minimizes searching times due to the immediate access to any sound within the huge content library — just in the blink of an eye.
MediaBay is Steinberg’s media file management system best known from Cubase 5, supporting the VST Sound standard that is part of VST3. The MediaBay has been extensively reworked with expanded features and many performance and usability improvements. This includes faster searching and browsing, an overall improved performance and a more advanced and transparent tagging process.
The new Category Filter browsing improvement allows to narrow down categories and results from any direction. In addition, the MediaBay shows the number of existing files that are found in each category accurately. There are numerous other enhancements that put sound management in HALion Sonic on a new level.
VST Sound™ expandable
HALion Sonic supports special expansion packs in Steinberg's universal media management format VST Sound. Sound libraries from Steinberg or third-party manufacturers in VST Sound format can be directly accessed through HALion Sonic's MediaBay.
VST Sound Instrument Sets
Further on, HALion Sonic 1.5 supports upcoming VST Sound Instrument Sets. Featuring additional content paired with a customized user interface, these sets will add brilliant new instrument sounds to your HALion Sonic workstation.
Unprecedented Control and Flexibility
HALion Sonic reaches a new level in intuitive handling and control, thanks to its clear and transparent layout.
HALion Sonic gives you total control and offers the complete range of sound-shaping and creative editing features you expect from studio-grade instruments. All of its features have been implemented with a focus on usability: HALion Sonic is just as easy to use on a hectic stage as it is in the creative environment of a studio.
The individual instrument editors give detailed access to almost all sound-sculpting parameters, including envelopes, filters, multiple articulation settings and the versatile Modulation Matrix.
Each instrument sound of HALion Sonic’s massive library comes with eight predefined Quick Controls, offering spontaneous and lightning fast access to the most important sound parameters of layer and program. The eight SoftPads not only allow you to trigger specific notes or fire a phrase sequence from the FlexPhraser module, but also to take snapshots of chords which can then be triggered in different sequence for various chord progressions.
All SoftPads and Quick Controls inside HALion Sonic have MIDI Learn support. The setup is no rocket science: A simple right click on the element that you want to control with the MIDI device, the selection of “Learn CC” plus a quick movement of the MIDI device’s controller — it’s that easy! In addition both axis of HALion Sonic’s Control X/Y sphere can be assigned per MIDI Learn to different parameters to seamlessly morph between them — especially useful for HALion Sonic’s unique morphing filters.
Made to be Played Live...
HALion Sonic shines when performing live: building keyboard splits and layers to layout, for example, bass, piano and a lead sound across the keyboard is absolutely effortless thanks to the many visual help functions. Almost any parameter assigned to a Quick Control or the HALion Sphere X/Y controller can be tweaked live using any MIDI controller — ensuring the artist is always in full command while performing.
With the so-called Multi-Chain feature, entire Multi-Setups can be switched with a single key or button push on a master keyboard. By stepping through a list of up to 128 predefined Multi Programs, HALion Sonic is always ready to perform the next song!
The included professional standalone application provides a slick and small interface that gives access to the most import sound parameters — a great choice for performing live.
Based on Yamaha’s Motif Technology, each Program of HALion Sonic features up to five arpeggio and phrase players, so-called FlexPhrases. Complete MIDI multi-channel FlexPhrases can be mapped across the keyboard or the virtual drum pads and start an entire inspiring backing just with a single fingertip. Beyond dozens of different arpeggio types, FlexPhraser is the perfect tool for playing complete instrument patterns in sync to the host with a touch of a key! The possibilities are sheer endless!
The massive library included in HALion Sonic comes ready with over 1,500 patterns consisting of more than 1,200 arpeggios and midi phrases and over 300 construction sets — full of driving beats and complex tonal phrases, plus intelligent automatic articulation switching. All phrases are organized in 11 categories: Construction Sets, Classic Arp, Synth Sequences, Chord Sequences, Bass, Guitar and Plugged, Organ, Strings, Brass, Drums and Percussion. Best of all, each FlexPhraser features up to eight variations that allows you to set up different phrases or variations of phrases or loops.
Each program and each layer has its own FlexPhraser module. Depending on the type of layer, FlexPhraser offers a different functionality.
- Instruments: FlexPhraser can playback anything from basic synth arpeggios over dynamic drum phrases to realistic accompaniment phrases for guitar, bass, piano, etc. The included selection from over 1,500 phrases suites a wide range of musical instruments and styles. Depending on the selected phrase, FlexPhraser makes use of live playing input to modify the phrases in real time. This allows to increase the complexity of an instrument by playing one to four keys, or to re-harmonize phrases by playing different chords.
- With Loops: FlexPhraser triggers the slices of the loop with their original timing and order. You can trigger a transposed version of the loop as well. In addition, the order can be varied with a random function and
the resulting slice sequence can be exported to Cubase as a host sequencer via drag and drop.
Seamless Integration into Cubase 6
HALion Sonic integrates perfectly with Cubase 6. HALion Sonic can be inserted into the VST Instrument Rack or directly into any instrument track. Plus, it is the first VST Instrument to offer full support of VST Expression 2 out of the box — for full articulation and controller editing inside Cubase 6! The MediaBay integration also makes the process of finding and working with presets much faster and simpler.
Quick-Idea Scratch Pad
Especially when just playing along, the quick-idea scratch pad feature guarantees that all flashes of inspiration are recorded. Simply hit the record button and HALion Sonic records everything - played all the tunes inside your head will never go to waste anymore! Recorded sequences can be played back (e.g. for rehearsal purposes) or exported as a standard MIDI file. It is also possible to load MIDI files and play them back as well.
The integrated metronome is a useful tool to help musicians keep a constant tempo while practicing or to simply hear their recorded ideas at different speeds. Directly select MIDI input and Audio output Ports, the Tempo setting, or the included MIDI file player — without ever entering a dialog that blocks you away from the music.
Full Undo & Redo
HALion Sonic’s full multi-step Undo/Redo support for nearly all operations and the per program edit history gives the artist the safety needed when creating and editing personal precious unique content. Now there is really no excuse to tweak and experiment with every parameter found inside HALion Sonic to enhance the sound!