Conventions
In our documentation, we use typographical and markup elements to structure information.
System Requirements
Your computer must meet the following minimum requirements:
Downloading Program Files
The Steinberg Download Assistant helps you download the required files to your computer.
Installing the Program
After downloading the required files, you can install HALion Sonic on your computer.
Activating Your License
Registering Your Software
Register your product at the MySteinberg online customer portal. As a registered user, you are entitled to technical support, you gain access to exclusive offers such as software updates and upgrades, and more.
How You Can Reach Us
Click the Steinberg logo in the top right corner of the control panel to open a pop-up menu containing items for getting additional information and help.
About the Documentation
The documentation is available online and most of it can be downloaded in PDF format from steinberg.help.
Setting Up
The following sections describe how to use HALion Sonic as a plug-in in different host applications.
Window Overview
The application interface follows a fixed-size single window concept.
Dials and Sliders
Dials and sliders can be unidirectional or bidirectional. Unidirectional values, for example level values, start at a minimum value and go up to the maximum. Bidirectional controls start from the middle position and go to the left for negative and to the right for positive values.
Buttons
Value Fields
Using Key Commands
Presets
HALion Sonic offers two types of presets: section/module presets and VST presets. Section and module presets store and recall the setup of a specific component on the HALion Sonic panel. VST presets contain all information necessary to restore the complete state of the plug-in.
Plug-in Functions Section
The plug-in functions section at the top of the window gives you access to global functions that affect both the currently loaded programs, and the general working of the plug-in.
Plug-in Name and Steinberg Logo
Toolbar
Performance Controls
The performance controls are located in the lower part of the window.
Quick Controls
Quick controls allow you to remote-control any parameter inside the program.
Trigger Pads
You can use the trigger pads to trigger single notes or whole chords and to switch between FlexPhraser variations.
Options Page
Program Page Parameters
The Program page is divided into two sections. The section at the top is used to load and save layers, and to set up the mix parameters such as level, pan, and FX sends. The bottom section is used to display layer ranges, program FlexPhraser editors, quick control assignments, or Note Expression parameters.
Voice Tab
Pitch Tab
Oscillator Tab
Filter Tab
Amplifier Tab
Envelopes
LFOs
Using the Keymap
AUX Tab
Expression Controls for Instrument Layers
Insert Effects
Step Modulator
Synth and sample layers feature a polyphonic step modulator for creating rhythmic control sequences.
Modulation Matrix
The concept of controlling one parameter by another is called modulation. HALion Sonic offers many fixed assigned modulations, such as the amplitude and filter envelopes, or pitch key follow. In the modulation matrix, you can assign additional modulations.
FlexPhraser
The FlexPhraser is an arpeggio and phrase player.
Loading Phrases
Phrases are sorted into subfolders, according to the type of instrument. Each instrument subfolder contains phrases of different musical styles.
FlexPhraser Parameters
Recording the MIDI Output of the FlexPhraser
The phrases played by the FlexPhraser depend on the notes that are played and can therefore not be exported directly. However, it is possible to generate exportable phrases by recording the MIDI output of the FlexPhraser.
Phrase Playback Types
Variations
For each FlexPhraser, you can set up 8 different variations of phrases. You can switch between them with the variation buttons at the top right.
User Phrases
About Programs, Layers, Multis, Macro Pages, and Presets
Loading Programs
Load Dialog
Slot Rack
The Slot Rack has 16 slots. Each slot can hold a program, that is, you can work with 16 programs at the same time.
Managing and Loading Files
You can use the MediaBay to manage, navigate to, and load different file types.
Automation Page
All assigned automation parameters are shown on the Automation page.
Setting Up Automation
MIDI Page
The MIDI page gives you access to the MIDI slot parameters of HALion Sonic.
MIDI Controllers
You can assign the parameters volume, pan, mute, solo, send FX 1–4, and the quick controls of each slot to a MIDI controller. In addition to the slot parameters, you can also assign the parameters of the AUX FX and most of the edit parameters.
Mix Page
The Mix page gives you access to the audio parameters of HALion Sonic. This comprises the level and pan settings, as well as the AUX effect sends and the output selector. To monitor the output levels, each slot also features a level meter.
Effect Handling
Auron
The Auron synth uses granular synthesis with up to 8 grain streams to produce oscillator waveforms. With the integrated arpeggiator and step sequencer, you can create anything from sequencer lines to stepped chords.
Trium
Trium was designed to create modern and rich sounds. It comes with 3 oscillators, a sub oscillator, a ring modulator, and a noise generator. With the integrated arpeggiator and step sequencer, you can create anything from sequencer lines to stepped chords.
Voltage
Voltage is a two-oscillator and noise synthesizer that can be used for synth basses, but it also allows you to create any kind of classic monophonic and polyphonic synth sound. With the integrated arpeggiator and step sequencer, you can create anything from sequencer lines to stepped chords.
Model C
Model C is a classic tonewheel organ emulation with 9 drawbars and 3 additional drawbars for the percussion.
HALiotron
HALiotron emulates the sound generation of the pre-digital sampling era.
B-Box
B-Box provides you with a veritable drum computer inside HALion Sonic. It comes with 13 instrument lanes that can make use of up to 128 different sounds. You can set up your drum patterns, create variations, and modify each drum sound using a low-pass filter and several distortion modes.
World Instruments
World Instruments delivers a great variety of ethnic instruments that can either be played manually or use the integrated arpeggiator.
World Percussion
World Percussion delivers a great variety of ethnic percussion instruments and associated MIDI phrases.
Anima
The Anima synth is a wavetable instrument using HALion Sonic’s wavteable synthesis which crossfades the waves smoothly in real time based on an integrated wavetable envelope. This envelope makes it very easy to control the playback of the wavetable, because no further modulation settings are required. All you have to do is set up the Speed parameter. The modulation matrix allows you to control the playback position of the oscillator using one of the integrated LFOs, the velocity, or the modulation wheel, for example.
Skylab
The Skylab synth is an instrument that produces a wide range of sounds that are perfectly suited to create cinematic or ambient soundtracks. It comes with a large number of multi-samples that provide a variety of evolving pads and soundscapes as well as typical orchestral sounds like strings, brass, and choirs, allowing you to create huge and epic sounds. Furthermore, percussive sample sets of orchestral percussion and taikos are available that can be used with the integrated arpeggiator to create rhythmic patterns, for example.
Raven
Raven provides the sound of a classical Italian concert grand with six velocity layers and adjustable sustain resonances. Its Tone control allows you to adapt the tonal range from very soft romantic to more intense colors. In addition, you can modify the character of the note-off behavior by adding a dedicated note-off layer.
Eagle
Eagle provides the sound of a classical German concert grand with 12 velocity layers and adjustable sustain resonances. Its Tone control allows you to adapt the tonal range from very soft romantic to more intense colors. In addition, you can modify the character of the note-off behavior by adding a dedicated note-off layer.
Hot Brass
Hot Brass delivers a broad range of brass sounds and articulations suited for rock, soul, funk, and other music styles that need sharp and accentuated brass tone colors. This instrument is particularly suited to play concise licks and riffs.
Studio Strings
Studio Strings delivers a broad range of string sounds and articulations comprising solo strings, small chamber, and full orchestra sections.
Library Manager
HALion Sonic’s Library Manager allows you to register and to manage libraries that have been created with HALion 6 and newer. It also displays all libraries that were created earlier and therefore were installed with a classic installer.
Library Manager Editor
All libraries are displayed in the Library Manager, either on the Managed or the Installed tab. For each library, an icon, the name, the manufacturer, as well as its total file size are shown.
Making Preferences Settings
You can configure the standalone version of HALion Sonic in the Plug-In Preferences dialog.
Preferences Dialog
The Plug-In Preferences dialog has several pages on which you can make settings.
Selecting the MIDI Input and the Audio Output
Scratch Pad
The scratch pad allows you to record and play back MIDI files in Standard MIDI File format. You can load existing MIDI files and you can record your own files and save them.
Loading a MIDI File
You can load MIDI files in Standard MIDI File format (file name extension .mid).
Saving a MIDI File
Master Volume