[FEAT REQ] Better Visualization Of Automation

I want to start by saying I am extremely pleased with Halion 4 thus far. Getting around to assigning automation this morning was a blast, however, I have run into 2 main short comings, both dealing with the same issue. The visualization/feedback of automation is horrid, practically non existent. Allow me to explain.

1.) The info line does not display automation information in the format/reading that would be expected from said parameter. The info line gives a generic 0-100, not ms, note values, db etc. If I am automating a sync’d rate change, I expect the info line to tell me which note value I am editing. If want to jump from 1/4, to 1/8, to 1/16 etc, this is what I expect to see in the infoline, not 0-20-60 etc which have absolutely no meaning on what I am editing. So much time is wasted trying to decrypt what the info line value is in relation to what I am editing. I am constantly changing the values in the info line and having to go by ear as to what I ‘think’ it should be as I don’t have proper feedback.

This leads me to my next issue.

2.) The knobs etc of Halion 4 do not change or chase in relation to the automation. I tried to get around problem 1 by trying to get a visual feedback of the values in Halion 4 while they were occuring during playback. Nope. Not going to happen. If I automate a filter cutoff, the cutoff knob of Halion 4 sits there as decoration. It does not turn in relation to the automation taking place. I could leave the cutoff knob reading 800hz, automate a filter cutoff opening to 20khz and at the 20khz point the knob is still reading 800hz :astonished:.

These two should seriously be considered to be addressed in a future update. This makes automation in Halion a real chore, especially with so many parameters able to be automated it is a real time waster the way it is currently implemented or lack there of. I know the above two are possible as many of my other plugins have both proper info line read back of what is going on parameter wise as well as have the knobs, buttons, faders etc chase/display what is going on during the reading back of automation.

Keep up the great work Steinberg, Halion 4 is fantastic but I feel there is some work yet to be done on it before it can be truly user friendly and fun to use.


And I would like to suggest the same visual feedback for the quick controls. Currently, there is only a small text layer that appears at the control when hovering the mouse. This is okay for some parameters but i.e. the EQ curve always seems inactive on many programs just because the EQ values are controlled by quick controls.


Thank you for your addition to this thread, you are correct, I should have added into my first post that this is also the case for quick controls and that a lot of my testing was done while assigning parameters to quick controls, either in Halion 4 itself, or via the learn button in Cubase 6’s quick control portion of the inspector, with the same results listed in my first post.

Playing around more with Halion 4’s automation had me realize two things.

1.) The knob changes will follow along with the played back automation, however, not when assigned to quick controls, only when I use learn CC to my external Novation controller and have the automation recorded in realtime with a knob change on said controller.

2.) Automation via Halion 4 sucks even worse than I originally thought. I cannot turn the knobs with my mouse and have it record the changes made to an automation track. Assigning the parameter to a quick control has me guessing the corresponding values in the info line AND the knobs will no longer follow along to the changes. What is worse is the drawn in automation from my Novation controller, which is the only way to get the knobs to follow the changes CANNOT be edited like the automation found else where in Cubase 6. It does not show up in the info line at all, contains no nodes that can be further tweaked etc. Drawing a box around the automated event does not bring up the editing box to adjust the curves, height etc like it does everywhere else in Cubase. There is just no winning here, every single way to take care of automation is botched somehow and is a huge setback from just about every other software/synth from the competitors. To top all of this off, the automation events are not named after their parameter, they are just done by generic midi CC which again has you guessing which value is which parameter. If I change the cutoff knob, I want the automation track to be called Cutoff, not CC 21, resonance as resonance, not CC 23 etc.

If there is something I am missing here, please let me know. From my experience of working with other software synths, samplers and plugins, Halion 4 is a huge disappointment in the automation department when compared to competitors software. I really hope to see this rectified in a future update.

+1 - Automation needs to work properly, even with quick controls


As a long time HAlion user (v.1-4)… I have to say…


For every softsynth or effect plugin I know you just activate the “write” button of the VST/VSTi hit play, change the parameter by mouse and everything gets recorded!

Why does HALion4 records/sends nothing to Cubase??? (except quickcontrols) :astonished:

The only way to record a parameter is to link the parameter to a quickcontrol and animate that instead of the parameter directly. But as other users already reported the actual parameter does not move in sync with the quickcontrol. Only the quickcontrol moves. That’s bad design in my opinion.
Envelopes are automateable but there is no visual feedback - they don’t move at all.
But what’s even worse is: DOES STEINBERG THINK 8 QUICKCONTROLS ARE ENOUGH for a VSTi like HALion4 ???

Well, I figuered out myself you can automate much more nearly every parameter by assigning MIDI Controlers to the parameters and instead of the usual way how automation have worked in the past - automate everything with MIDI controlers and the parameters of HALion4 will move fine.
But I don’t want to always assign a MIDI Controler to a parameter just to automate it and it’s also hard to figure out which midi controler belongs to which parameter if you have assigned a lot of parameters. CC67 = WHAT?
And you can’t automate the parameter directly with the mouse inside of HALion4!!!
You have to animate the MIDI controler in the Cubase track itself or use a hardware MIDI remote control.
But without a hardware MIDI remote control it’s the worst workflow I have seen so far!

Dear Steinberg please don’t break the usual way of automation with HALion4!
I know HALion4 is way more modular than any other VSTi and because of that there is no static set of parameters.
If you have multiple layers and zones HALion4 would need for all these parameters a seperate automation track.
Maybe that is technically not possible because of the modularity. I don’t know. But I wish this functionality would exist.
But even when this is not possible could we please have at least one static set of automation tracks for every parameter of HALion4 on the program root level? As it was in HALion3!

I really hope there will be improvement for automation in the next update in the near future.


+1 for this thread and feature request

Thanks for chiming in FelixD, I appreciate your agreement on this. I started this thread many months ago and this was one of the very first set backs I noticed when I first started using Halion 4. Hopefully others expressing their disappointment with this functionality anomaly will get a fix sorted in a future update from Steinberg. I am still hoping.

Things have been extremely quiet in this forum, especially from anyone official at Steinberg, I can only hope they are really busy with rolling out a fantastic update that they cannot spend time to reply in this forum :wink:.

One can hope right?

Based on the information of the H4.5 beta, it doesn’t seem that the automation issue is addressed at all… :confused:

Thanks Cantankerous for pointing me to this thread.

I will reboot this one, to keep it central.

I tried your suggestions, I can indeed assign my controller via midi, but then offcourse or am I missing someting, the automation read out will be dropped in the midi editor, not in the automation lanes in the project window.
If I automate with read/write enabled, nothing shows up there.
The buttons in Halion do move when I automate with midi (setting the midichannel to record enable)
But I really want to make use of the project page automation lanes.

When you go to the inspector and look for the automation possibillities through there then you will find, as did my automap editor that the only parameters that are assignable are in fact the Halion Quickcontrol and a few midi things like level pan and program change. There just is no other parameter that you can choose from.

I am new to Halion and as I understand from this thread, Halion 3 had another (better) architecture so I now also believe that this is abandoned due to the new modular approach. I really would like an official comment on that so we don’t have to speculate.

The new VST3 feature that you can open automation lanes and assign Cubase quickcontrols by right clicking on a knob/slider is simply fantastic!..
Such a downer that Halion does not facilitate in that area.

That you can’t automate with the mouse via the read/write protocol is…well…My god…

Greetz Dylan.

I’m pretty surprised no-one from Steinberg has even addressed this issue after this length of time. :confused:

It’s becoming a real pain not having the facility to use the mouse for automation when on the move. :angry:

In all honestly, I don’t use automation much in Halion 4 after getting to grips with note expression. I get all my sounds sounding pretty much how I want via filters, envelopes etc and leave the rest up to note expression by assigning certain parameters, like reverse for instance only to notes that need it. I have much more control this way and don’t have to worry about cluttered automation lanes. Note expression covers the basics like tune, pitch, volume, pan and modulation wheel so I am covered for the most part there. I tend to assign sample playback osc mode to get reverses on the fly, even assign the bypass button of effects so I can turn on and off effects on the fly only to certain parts of the track as needed. For other things like filters sweeps etc, I have no problem using quick controls as it is only a couple of controls at best and quick controls are great for things like filters etc, while note expression takes care of the real surgical editing. Works wonders for me and note expression makes Cubase worthwhile all on its own.

Automation could and should be much better handled in Halion 4 no doubt, but the workaround for me suits my work flow just fine and I hope nothing ever changes or breaks to how note expression works now, or I would be completely lost.

Note expression, I don’t even know what that is :slight_smile: .

I will definately take a look in that this weekend!

Greetz Dylan.


I saw this new instrumentset, dark planet, really my thing, great macro page, but I don’t purchase it because of the automation. I just want to R/W enable the buttons and start turning my Novation.
And this is not possible, so in my opinion pretty useless. :imp:

I mean, that macropage that can function as additional GUI to give you alternate ways of tweaking is great but it’s not
assignable to the automation lanes.

Sooo, is someone from Steinberg going to comment on this? Please?

O and how does this work in the previous versions? Halion 3, was it fully functional because the interface wasn’t modular?

Hahaha, Daniel Daniel…You’re a real trooper! :smiley:
Maybe we should organize a Facebook petition and hand it over to R&D

But…Keep bumping…Right there with you!

Hi guys,

the Quick Controls are the best solution.
If you want to use the automation for a content set in HALion 4.5, just right mouse click over the macro knob and assign it to a Quick Control.
After assigning it to a QC, you can fast R/W your mouse movements in Cubase on the QC lanes.

I admit, that the integration of the content sets could need some improvements in HALion 4.5 related to the automation.

I am glad you agree on the limitations and with that being said, I hope to see a better offering in the future. QC are ok, but there are only 8 of them, not exactly a staggering amount considering all the automatable parameters found in Halion 4.5.

Thanks for chiming in however.

And what about assign the Sustain Loop field into the quick controls? How can I do that? I press the right button of the mouse above the field and nothing happens…how can I automatize this field? For instance, to do the “One” effect from “Swedish House Mafia” ?

Without an automation, this field is useless! Only to do ficticious stuff…

Halion is a hack of an amazing Sampler, but if you can’t automatize some things, it’s useless for me!