HALion Sonic 3.4.0

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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
You can use HALion Sonic as a plug-in in different host applications. Depending on the host application, you might have to make additional settings, or you might be restricted to a reduced parameter set, number of outputs, etc.
Window Overview
The HALion Sonic window is divided into several sections.
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.
HALion Sonic contains two different types of buttons: On/Off buttons and push buttons.
Value Fields
You can enter or edit values in the available value fields using your keyboard or mouse. To enter key ranges or the root key, for example, you can use an external MIDI keyboard.
Using Key Commands
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
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 or arpeggiator variations.
Options Page
Editing Programs
The Edit page is where you edit your program, load different layers for a program, and edit the layers.
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
Using the Keymap
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.
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
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
The user pattern of the FlexPhraser has up to 32 steps. Each step has an adjustable velocity, gate length, and transpose value. By setting the steps, adjusting their length, or leaving pauses, you define the rhythm of the user pattern.
Managing Your Sounds
The following sections describe how to load, save, and manage the different kinds of sound files in HALion Sonic.
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
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
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 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 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 emulates the sound generation of the pre-digital sampling era.
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.
The Anima synth is a wavetable instrument using HALion’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.
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 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 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 suitable 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.
Note Expression
Steinberg’s Note Expression technology was developed for creating realistic instrument performances. Note Expression allows you to create automated modulations for each note. HALion Sonic supports Note Expression for volume, pan, and tuning.
Note Expression Editor
The editor shows the Note Expression controllers on the left and the assigned modulation destinations on the right. This gives you a quick overview of how the Note Expression controllers are routed in the modulation matrix and what their influence on the sound will be.
Using the Standalone Version of the Plug-In
You can use HALion Sonic independently from a host application.
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