Steinberg HALion 7 is out now, a major update for its flagship sampler with a new FM and spectral synth engine, more advanced modulations, and more.
Multi-engine Synthesizer workstation plugins are real sound laboratories in software. They squeeze many powerful synthesis and sampling functions into one all-in-one sound generator. I love UVI Falcon 2 for its synthesis depth and NI Kontakt for its endless number of third-party libraries.
Steinberg’s counterpart has been HALion for many years, which I have never used, mainly because of its hardware dongle policy. With HALion 7, Steinberg has released the next generation with lots of new synthesis power, a new interface, and no dongle drama. That could make HALion more interesting.
Steinberg HALion 7
HALion 7 is the continuation of the HALion 6 sampler plugin. You get everything you had before, plus many new features and improvements. For the first time, HALion users can immerse themselves in the rich digital sound worlds via the new FM and spectral zones.
FM & Spectral Zone
FM Zone is a new FM Synthesizer block combining up to 8 operators that can be configured in a flexible algorithm designer. So you can use them as carriers or modulators or send them to feedback loops. You can craft sounds ranging from classic DX-7 tones to modern FM sounds.
At the same time, Steinberg has unveiled with FM Lab, a new virtual instrument demonstrating the power of the new FM zone. It has 8 operators and comes with algorithms from the DX7, FM-X, and TX81Z. Plus, it has a multi-effects processor with 20 algorithms, an impressive set of modulators, and a creative arpeggiator. An instrument that doesn’t go as deep as the actual engine is, therefore, more approachable and playable for players.
The Spectral Zone, on the other side, is a spectral oscillator powered by a newly developed time stretch and resynthesis algorithm. Steinberg promises that it also works great in extreme settings. You can manipulate your content using features like formant shift, spectral filter, purity, and inharmonicity—terms known from other spectral synths.
HALion 7 also brings an update for the built-in wavetable synth engine. It now supports wavetables with up to 1024 individual waves, and multi-channel files with up to 5.1 surround. Plus, you benefit from spectral filters from the new spectral zone, unlocking new sound design possibilities.
Then, you can benefit from a makeover of the modulation engine. Shape, tweak, and animate your sounds more easily than ever with HALion’s new modulation concept, says Steinberg in the press release. It includes new shaper envelopes, and the user envelope now has brush, pen, and eraser tools for intuitively drawing and customizing envelopes. So you can craft your own modulation signals, which makes the whole thing very versatile.
For easier workflows, HALion now features new modulation rows, allowing users to click directly on the modulation destination or source for further edits, as well as assigning modulation sources by easy drag and drop. That also sounds like a good addition.
Other new features are 10 new effects, a decompose function, an X-LFO, chord export from the trigger, pads, impulse response import, and a new oscilloscope.
Steinberg has also given HALion 7 a new user interface. This was necessary, in my opinion, I found the UI a bit old-fashioned for a long time. It now comes with a fresh new look and feel. The update includes a re-crafted interface, a redesigned MediaBay, and many workflow improvements.
allowing for easier access to HALion’s content and controls. Its uncluttered structure and context-sensitive search make browsing for the right samples, layers, programs and presets more efficient. Improved menus, zones and icons, the optional auto-size for macro view and preconfigured screen sets for different use cases also make using HALion faster and more intuitive.
Besides the new FM Lab, HALion 7 also ships with Tales, a new open-tuned guitar, where each string is individually sampled as open notes and tuned to different pitches, plus recording articulations like muted notes and harmonics.
Other updates to the HALion family include HALion Sonic 7, which is now the free player for HALion libraries and replaces HALion Sonic SE. The new HALion Sonic 7 Collection comprises the HALion Sonic 7 player, all instruments from HALion 6, plus the brand-new FM Lab and Tales instruments.
This version gets a big plus for the registration system change. Away from the annoying dongle towards the new identity-based Steinberg Licensing system. Thanks for this.
At first sight a very impressive update for the HALion sampler. Solid new functions, especially those that significantly expand the synthesis possibilities normally.
Steinberg HALion 7 is available now for 349€/$349 USD. Users of HALion 7 can upgrade for 99,99€/$99,99 USD or 199,99€/$199,99 USD if you are owner of an older version.
The HALion Sonic 7 Collection is available exclusively through the Steinberg Online Shop for 249 euros and 249.99 US dollars. There is also a new Absolute 7 bundle for 499€/$499 USD.
Customers who have activated HALion 6, Absolute 5, or earlier versions since November 1, 2022, are eligible for a free, downloadable grace period update to the latest version. The new additions FM Lab and Tales can also be purchased as standalone libraries for HALion Sonic 7 for 119€/$119.99 USD and 149€/$149 USD, respectively.
Tip: If you are interested in HALion 7, you can save €50 by buying HALion 6 from Thomann (as long as it is available) and then get a free grace-period update to 7.
More information here: Steinberg
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