Hello community. situation:
Halion Sonic 2 is opened once in an instrument track.
In my rack im having 2 programs.
One of them Id like to play with insert effects, which I plugged into the cubase channel settings of the instrument track.
The second program in the rack Id like to play is used by having a midi track connected to it.
Of course the second program will also have the insert effects on it.
I didnt want to create a second instrument track and open halion twice because it felt like thats not the proper way to do it.
OK, Halion can be disorienting. I’ve faced similar questions myself. What I think I’ve discovered:
(1) The button that looks like --, that goes red when you click it, that says “Switch off All Insert Effects” is not the only way to switch off all insert effects. It’s just one way. It’s quick and easy, but it’s indiscriminant. Often useful, but not in your situation.
(2) Each program has its own set of inserts. These can be accessed by
From the Multiprogram Rack, select the program with inserts you want to disable.
Show Edit Page (F7) brings up a display with various buttons along the top: Program, L1, L2, L3, L4, Inserts. L2/L3/L4 may be grayed out.
Click on the Inserts button. This shows inserts specific to the currently selected program. (If you select a different program from the rack, this page will change.) Each program has its own set of inserts.
Look for little yellow squares, that have mouse-over context help “Effect On/Off”. You could click them all so they go black, and that should do it. Or you can use the square to the right of a yellow square, which has context help “Bypass Effect”
I think that was the answer you’re looking for.
(3) Tracing the “signal path” of MIDI, I get this:
A MIDI controller generates a Note On event.
Assuming a (HALion) instrument track, the Note On event is filtered by Cubase input routing (in the Inspector). The event will surely be passed on if “All MIDI inputs” is selected.
The Note On event is passed to HALion Sonic 2, delivered to each program in the rack.
It is filtered according to channel. For each program, the event channel is compared to the program channel (Show MIDI page, F8). The event is responded to only if the channels match.
For each program responding to the Note On event, copies are sent to each of up to 4 layers. You can add or remove layers via the edit page (F7), then hit the “Program” button that appears just beneath the “Load” button on the containing frame. You can also delete layers here. This is also where you set the layer mix – relative levels and pan positions of the layers that will combine to make a program.
For each layer, the Note On event triggers a softsynth, creating digital audio. You can alter the softsynth too, by hitting the L1/L2/L3/L4 button (if still on the edit page F7). Some softsyths are easy to edit, others are too basic to offer much. HS2 is strangely empowering and limiting. I’m going to upgrade to HALion 6 to escape the limits HS2 imposes.
For each layer, the digital audio (DA) it created is passed to an insert strip. You can see it by following the instructions in topic (2) above. Note that each layer has its own column on the Inserts page, so each layer is independent of the others. You can add/remove/edit/change up to 4 inserts here.
For each insert, the amount of effect relative to the dry sound is set my a mix knob, if applicable. (For example, you don’t get a mix knob for EQ, but you do for Phaser.) Use the “e” button to edit the effect and access this knob.
The DA coming off the end of the Insert chain for the 4 (or fewer) layers is mixed together, according to the fader settings on the inserts page (faders appear on the right edge of each column). I’ll call this the “dry program mix”.
The dry program mix enters at the top of the right column on the Inserts page. (This column has the program name at its top.) The dry program mix is then subjected to the 4 (or fewer) inserts in this column, resulting in what I’ll call the wet program mix.
The DA from each program that generates a wet program mix is mixed together. The relative level and pan of each wet program mix is set on the Mix Page F9. I’ll call this “the dry multiprogram mix”. Note that each wet program mix also has up to 4 effects sends, which are also set on the mix page.
The effects sends from the mix page go to the effects page F10, which looks and feels like an insert editing page. Note that these effects apply to every program in the program rack that uses the appropriate send, so there may be multiple inputs. The level of the effects return is controller by the fader in the rightmost column of effects page F10. The dry multiprogram mix (DA from the Mix page F9) is combined with the effects (DA from the the effects page F10) to create a HALion output. The “Switch off All AUX Effects” button would give you just the dry multiprogram mix.
The HALion output from the instrument track then enters the Cubase mix console, allowing us to add effects and processing that aren’t available in HALion, such as Magneto II. At this point, we’re back on familiar ground.
Now, I’ve oversimplified this. For example, the output of the effects or the different layers was assumed to be “Main” in all cases, but you may not want that. I’m still confused about many points.
Some might complain that this is overly complex, but that’s the price we pay for wide ranging possibilities. Certainly, there’s no really clear explanation of this sort of thing. I drew a diagram. It seemed to help. I’ll make a blog post about this some day, with updated research, images, and possibly a youtube. (But that’ll likely take a couple of years.)
Thank you for your wide thoughts about this.
I dont seem to have a inserts button on the edit page, l1/l2 sometimes.
Maybe its because its only halion sonic se 2.
ok I did the following:
Adjusted different active outputs to each program in the rack.
In the mixconsole I toggled the inserts to be shown and simply included my effect on the output.
Seems to work so far.
I get the same result. A program loaded in HS SE2 lacks the inserts button that appears when the identical program is loaded in HS2. Sorry about that. (I guess the title of your post had HS SE while the text had HS2.)
Good that you’ve found a work-around. Unfortunately, it seems that when 2 programs are loaded in HS SE2, you can’t bypass the inserts on just one of them, and would have to resort to using separate instrument tracks. I’m not sure if there’s a serious performance hit by doing so. It does make for awkward workflow.
First, it’s OK to use independent Instrument Tracks, each with fresh SE instances if you like, even though SE can be a multi timberal/channel plugin. It might increase the load time of a project by a small amount, but from there you should find it is quite tidy and efficient…so no problem having lots of instances of SE in a project.
None the less, If you want to use slot effects in the Cubase Mixer as described in your OP, then split off another set of outputs in SE.
Activate a new output in your SE Instance. You’ll get a new fader for the output in your Cubase Mixer, where you can assign VST plugins to slots.
Now you should see that there is a new fader on your DAW’s Mixing console, where the DAW may manage any chain of VST plugin effects you like. In Cubase, you can rename the faders, and rearrange track order if it helps keep track of things. It might also be helpful to arrange things so that your MIDI tracks are above instrument tracks in track order (Instrument tracks last, so its ‘audio fader’ will come after all your ‘MIDI’ faders).
Alternatively, you can often apply effects directly from inside SE itself (This will not include third party VST plugins however). That’s done through the “Effects” tab in the SE interface.
Another option is setting up Halion SE in ‘rack mode’ with multiple outputs, and using two MIDI tracks. One advantage to this method is that MIDI tracks offer some interesting possibilities that Instrument tracks do not (AUX MIDI sends, and independent faders for MIDI and Audio streams).
In contrast, Instrument tracks offer some advantages that MIDI tracks to not, such as the ability to export such tracks as ‘MIDIloops’, which can be instantly auditioned in your MediaBay without having to load it all into a project first.
For me, I use these criteria to determine if Individual Instrument Tracks, with independent Halion Instances, or MIDI Tracks with a single Rack Mode Instance of Halion is better for a given workflow.
Do I want to export tracks as MIDI loops, perhaps to use as content in future projects. If so, I’ll use Instrument tracks. Even if I use some MIDI tracks along side this for muti-channel effects, I’ll usually eventually merge the tracks into one with channel set to ‘any’ so I can save it as a midiloop (it can be extracted back into separate tracks in future projects if desired). Note that with Instrument tracks, the fader on the Cubase Mixing console controls the actual stream volume/balance/etc, instead of sending MIDI events to the plugin for internal adjustments.
Do I want MIDI Volume faders to be independent of the actual Audio Master fader of a given VSTi plugin, and do I want to take advantage of MIDI AUX MIDI sends (I.E. Drive more than one Plugin/MIDI channel from the same track at the same time). If so, I’ll opt for Rack Instruments and MIDI tracks.
If you work with loops a lot…Instrument tracks. Instrument tracks are also great for simple song writing projects (A few instruments and some audio vocal tracks).
If it’s more a through composed workflow demanding lots of VSTi instruments with maximum control and more workflow options, load SE in rack mode, and talk to it with MIDI tracks. Split off new audio outputs when you want to use the DAW FX chain instead of those built into SE.