Steinberg HALion 7.1: updated spectral engine, free X-Stream synth, and 50% OFF sale

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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.

Good news for HALion 7 users. With HALion 7.1, Steinberg presents the first major update since the release 7.0.

The free update overhauls the spectral synthesis engine, adding a new spectrum blur feature, a tweakable multi-stack mode with up to eight voices, and a MIDI learn function for the stack frequency setting. It also improves the performance and formant preservation of the spectral oscillator.

To celebrate this new upgraded engine, Steinberg created X-Stream, a free spectral Synthesizer for HALion 7.1 and HALion Sonic. The dedicated article provides more information. Update 7.1 also adds new functionality to the macro page editor, sample editor, and more.

Lastly, they fixed various bugs from the previous version. 

To celebrate the new HALion 7.1 update, Steinberg has announced a 50% OFF sale for a limited time, which you can get for 175€ (Partner Link).


Article From February 16, 2023

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

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.

Steinberg FM Lab

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.

Steinberg HALion 7

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.

Better Modulation

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.

New Look

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.

HALion 7 Tales


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 

Available at my partner

Thomann  Best Service 

Plugin News


  1. Steinberg rocks. Cubase is more and more impressive with high quality stock plugins. Beside a couple of really good VST if you want more options (Fabfilter, Valhalla) you can produce a full track without anything else… but a few cool hardware synth 😀

  2. Fev, you can say that for Ableton, too. And you get a much more modern UI and more devices, content PLUS a very interesting automation environment (MAX).

    I like their mobile app but on the box they are missing a lot… unfortunately.

    • I know it comes to personal taste, Ableton is good for live playing with its slick UI, however Cubase is far better to create a track and the UI rocks for that. Plus a high stability.

  3. Steinberg doesn’t rock at all. the ui of their instruments + the help and installation process are all so outdated.. i tried to install their so called free software today and also yesterday. i have used all kinds of music software from different developers, never found such a difficult installation + registration first of all: for new steinberg users it is not obvious that one needs a halion installation first here. it is also not made clear that x-stream runs inside halion. so after understanding that i registrated at steinberg and donwloaded the download assistant. then i tried to download both (halion + x-stream) within the assistant – i received download errors inside their annoying assistant, so i searched in their help for a solution- there they suggest a manual installation of the following steinberg components first:
    eLicenser Control Center
    Steinberg Activation Manager
    Steinberg Installation Assistant
    Steinberg MediaBay
    ..after having installed those components manually it says i should retry to download “the free software” with the download assistent again..i finished the comedy from 1998 by deinstalling all steinberg tools from my computer.

    • elicensing is dead, thankfully. The last software versions and free plugins don’t need that at all.

      Today everything works with two clicks in Steinberg Download Assistant.

      Try to check your connection or firewall. It is easy to install when your computer works fine.

      • jesus what an answer 😉 my internet and computer work well. if you consider what amounts of data and suspicious steinberg contents you have to download in order to use their instruments is not modern at all. of course those “free instruments” have a kind of activation-licence(if you install via their download assistent it is done in the background)..but why else do you need to have an account and the assistant-software package first?!

        • Steinberg does force you to use their download assistant, the same way Arturia, NI, Waves, Korg (and the list goes on and on) force users to use their equivalent of a download assistant. This is not unique to Steinberg. What they are offering up for free here, HALion Sonic and this new spectral synth is pretty amazing. If you can figure out how to actually download the Download Assistant, I think you will be impressed with what you are getting for free. Best of luck!

    • I’m sorry you’ve had issues with this.
      However, the first point you made is demonstrably false.
      You said “first of all: for new steinberg users it is not obvious that one needs a halion installation first”. I’ve had had read the article you were commenting on you would see that it clearly states “a free spectral Synthesizer for HALion 7.1 and HALion Sonic”. The rest of the article then goes into detail about HALion.
      So, if the first part of your comment is false I have difficulty believing the rest of your comment.
      I agree it’s a pain to have to download an a manager etc. But pretty much every company requires you to either register or provide an email address in this day and age.
      If your that concerned about your privacy I suggest not usiythr internet. Get a PC with Linux and make music on that. Better still, get an Atari STFM with Cubase. I still use mine occasionally and it’s fun.
      Take care and have fun making music.

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