H4 trial : EMu samples bank not found... What about H5 ?

Hi all,

Just installed H4.5.3 trial and I’m stumbling on a major issue : H4 doesn’t detect E-Mu samples banks. From Halion 4 Operation manual (p.85) :

_The following formats can be imported:

EMU* 3, 3X, ESI, 4, 4K, E64, E6400, ESynth, Ultra


  • ISO images on HDD only_

So, as I am not sure about the ‘ISO images on HDD’ statement, I used both Emulator X3 ‘EOS Bank files’ and ‘EOS floppy bank files’ available export options, trying to get something usable from my most used samples bank for Halion 4 (the native format of it is .exb). I ended up with 2 files which are both around 340 Mb, obviously present in my ‘Documents’ folder and have the following names :


None of them are recognized in Halion browser, even after trying to rescan my ‘Documents’ folder. They simply don’t appear, whether in the location tree or in the results list.

So, where is the problem (extension, hidden format incompatibility…) ? And, as being able to import EMU banks in Halion 4 is mandatory before considering any purchase, how to solve it ?

Thanks for any enlightment…

It’s a while since I’ve tried this, but if I remember correctly I had to convert the .exb banks using Extreme Sample Converter into something HALion 4 would understand.

I think the documentation is referring to the hardware E-MU samplers that had floppy/CD drives; you can access an image file of a disc in ISO format, which you could create with something like ImgBurn. As far as I know, HALion 4 can’t directly import the sample format of the E-MU soft-samplers like Emulator X and Proteus X.

Hi, MrSoundman

To be honest, I already have the licence of the ESC/SampleLord bundle since nearly three years, as I was already feeling at this time that E-Mu was slowly going out of business and afraid that I wouldn’t be able to use EMu X on a Windows 7 system. Once I purchased my present setup, soon after, I saw that EMu X was perfectly working with it, so I let the ESC/SampleLord bundle aside.

Seeing the issue with H4, I just installed it yesterday and will try today to get something useful from it.

Beside this, I know that the .exb format isn’t recognized by H4 ; hence my attempts with the EMu X export options. What is confusing is the ‘ISO images on HDD only’ requirement. I first thought that the EMu X ‘EOS floppy bank files’ export option would fulfill it : obviously, it doesn’t. So, I guess that you are right : exact E-Mu harware samplers ISO files are needed. Seems rather restrictive to me in these SSD days, but well…

Since my first post, I also tried to use the files exported with Kontakt 5 Player. Mixed results : all the presets included in them are recognized and converted to .nki format. Keyboard presets are perfectly working (church organs, Mellotron and even Rhodes like ones), but all the brass, guitar (Charang, jazz guitar…) and violins ones are unusable, completely out of tune and crippled with strange phasing effects. And, sincerely, I just hate the Kontakt UI : it’s everything but intuitive. But it has something, both essential and simple, that H4 doesn’t : a basic ‘File/Load…’ menu option. Call me old-fashioned, but this is a thing that I would have liked to find in H4, rather than the Mediabay like files management, which I always carefully avoided to use with Cubase : clumsy, confusing and subject to database corruption.

So, I guess that, indeed, ESC is the way to go. I’ll let you know how things evolve, trying conversions to different formats supposed to be compatible with H4.

Thanks for your input !

Well, an additional little report…

ESC is really efficient : I used it for converting my main EMu X samples bank to both .sf2 and .sfz format. Worked without a glitch. Sad that this tool seems also to be abandonware but, at least, it will have helped me saving all the work I have done with EMu X in the past.

Now about using the results with both Halion 4.5 and Kontakt 5 Player, both of them read and play more or less correctly the converted bank. This said, I have to add that sadly, H4 has two major issues against K5P :

  1. it doesn’t accept .sfz format. I could test it only with a .sf2 bank. Sad, because I obtained the most accurate restitution of my bank with K5P using the .sfz format.

  2. there are glitches in H4 restitution of sounds : on several patches involving non sustained keuboard sounds, the release of the keys are not taken into account, as if the sustain pedal was always pressed while playing. This doesn’t happend with K5P, using the same .sf2 bank. Maybe there is a setting that I missed somewhere ; I don’t know…

On the other side, K5 seems more unstable : don’t know why but I got two crashes of it in standalone mode when there was a problem to find missing samples. Didn’t happen with H4.

So, the balance is rather leaning toward K5, presently, for its better compatibility with other formats, despite its cryptic UI. I would have much preferred a Halion 4 with a ‘File/Load…’ command reading accuratly …sfz as well as .sf2 samples presets/banks. I didn’t try to use other formats, yet, as I focused on the most universal ones to see what I could get, but the bank converted to .sfz one is really accuratly read in K5P and I’m positivly surprised of the result : I was not expecting something at this level.

Will try in the following days other formats, just to see if Halion 4 can cope accuratly with at least one or two of them. After, there will remain, at least, samples editing task (looping, samples mapping, velocity crossfading layers…).

Just an observation : the day I won’t be able to use EMu X3 anymore, I will feel a little abandoned. So better and more intuitive than these two :

  • it has integrated sampling function with Synthswipe which allows you to do a complete sampling of a sound across the keyboard and at different velocities, all in one pass. Compared to it, H4 and K5, look just like sophisticated romplers…
  • it has an much more intuitive way of managing presets and banks,
  • its interface for working on samples is second to none : I have spent I don’t know how much time editing with it and always ended with good results,
  • it is rock stable : I don’t remember seeing a crash from it through all these years.

Creative, I hate you for having abandoned such a gem…


As someone who got fed up waiting for the initial release of H4 and bought K4 (at the time), I don’t regret having subsequently purchased H4. I only use Kontakt Player now, so I never bothered to upgrade from K4.

As far as conversion of sample banks is concerned, it’s also important to remember that once you’ve got everything into HALion format, you probably won’t ever be confronted with that problem again as you’ll just stay inside H4. Yes, it’s a very important feature for you now, and yes, I also found the (ADSR) release isn’t handled correctly when reading .sf2, but it’s a simple adjustment and then you can save your H4 patch and never have to worry about it again.

Regarding SynthSwipe, you can do the same with ESC, by the way!

I agree that Emulator X was a very creative tool, but have a look at this video and the integration with Cubase:
Making Samples in HALion 4

To be honest, I would rather take the halion path. Problems are that :

  • H4 isn’t able to import .sfz or .e4b format and, as you confirmed, the .sf2 import is flawed. So, OK, it’s probably just few corrections to do, but well… It begins to make a lot in the compatibility side…
  • I am not sure about the future of the Halion range. For few years, a lot of us here thought that H4 would never be released. And considering Steiny history and all the products and features that have been dropped… On the opposite, Kontakt is rather safe, with all an industry of libraries and instruments sets built around it. it’s for NI what Cubase is for Steinberg : the flagship product that can’t be abandoned easily. So, indeed, once all the imports and conversions are done, I should be at ease : I also thought so for the .exb format, several years ago…
  • I’m still hating the Mediabay way of managing the files. Yesterday, the rage has taken me again, using H4. Think that I’ll have to keep a grip on myself to go over this. On the other side, the integration with Cubase is indeed a plus.

But I didn’t make my mind yet and, honestly, I’m not in a rush. I am just exploring an eventual alternative for EMu X if it appears that I can’t use it with the new system that I plan to purchase in few months (probably Haswell/Windows 8 based). But a thing is sure : I want to keep all my work in a safe format, easily translatable if needed.

Concerning ESC, I didn’t know that there is a Synthswipe equivalent in it. So, thanks for the info : will have to look at it a little more.

Thanks again…

It’s already 64-bit and VST3, so it’ll last longer than, say, current Windows versions!

That’s a tough one … but bear in mind, saving in K5 format makes it already incompatible … the question is, what is the best “archive” format for sample banks?

… actually, that might be in SampleLord … haven’t got it installed at the moment to check.

I know it’s an old one but, as I was the OP…

I see no progress in H5 concerning the list of the samples formats supported. So, I guess that Halion 5 still doesn’t support neither .sfz files, nor .eb4 ones but would like a confirmation. In the negative, i’m wondering if Steiny will ever implement at least the .sfz format support, which is now rather universal. Maybe it would be better to simply use Alchemy for this instead…

Could someone also check if the ADSR release is now handled correctly with it for .sf2 banks ? That was the main reason I didn’t purchased halion 4.5 three months ago.

Thanks for any feedback…

Unfortunately you are correct. All enhancements made within HALion 5, involved portions of the program outside of compatible file formats accepted. The accepted file formats for HALion 5 are the same as with HALion 4. There are many, many other areas of HALion 5 that are greatly improved over HALion 4 however, with many more to come. I would hate that you wouldn’t get to enjoy these changes, but if those file formats are mandatory, then I do understand. I know where you are coming from too, as I have many, many e4b banks from my old E-Mu sampler that I would love to load, but can’t. I too, would welcome this file format as a readable format within HALion.

Thanks for the confirmation. Guess that we are, you and me, more or less on the same boat, sadly.

Now, I would like someone from the Steiny crew to chime in : is there anything planned to extend the list of formats supported, instead of piling up brand new and shiny features ? Seems to me that allowing the use of existing samples formats is essential for a sampler, and this could decisive when considering a switch, would it only be to preserve what the potential user/buyer already owns. But what do I know ? :confused:

And what about the ADSR release bug using presets imported from .sf2 banks ?

Thanks for any precision…