Halion Sonic SE 3 to 7

I have Cubase 12 Pro. I’m disappointed with Complete 13 so, Is going to Halion 7 worth the upgrade ? or should I just Halion Sonic SE 3 ?

Are you asking if you should take the latest free player upgrade for Cubase, or stick with Sonic 3 SE?

For me the newer v7 one works better (UI is more snappy, media bay is improved). It also adds some new features. I haven’t had any problems loading old projects in Cubase, nor in Dorico.

The good news on this one is that Sonic 3 SE is not fully uninstalled from the system if you take the Sonic upgrade in Steinberg Download Assistant, so it’s not very difficult to move some plugin wrappers around and get Sonic 3 SE back if you find you really need it for some reason.

I.E. If you want to go back to Sonic 3 SE on a Windows system, simply go to:
“%SYSTEMDRIVE%\Program Files\Common Files\VST3” and move the new HALion Sonic.vst3 directory elsewhere. The old HALion Sonic SE directory will still be there until such time as you manually move/remove it.

The dll for the VST2 version of Sonic 3 SE will still be located in “%SYSTEMDRIVE%\Program Files\Steinberg\Shared Components\HALion Sonic SE” should you need that dll again for some reason. In fact, I still have some hosts that don’t support VST2 (Sibelius and Finale), so I’ve pointed them to scan this directory so I can keep using my HALion sounds in them.

I was thinking more of buying the full blown Halion -7 for more presets


Subjective call I think.

You could get Sonic Collections instead of full HALion 7, which will add quite a bit of new sounds. I think there is also an ‘upgrade path’ from Collections to full H7 should you decide ‘later’ you want the heavy Editing/Creation tools.

Full HALion 7 includes the sounds, but also gets you into ‘heavy editing’ and ‘content/library’ creation.

Are the sounds good or worth the money? To me they are for live performing or doing quick mixes even though there are thousands I’ve yet to touch/use, but this is a subjective thing. It kind of depends on what sort of sounds you’re hoping to aquire, and how you’ll be using them (Live Performing? Trying to do full orchestra Mock Ups? What style/genera of music? Etc…).

As a bread and butter pallet for live performances…I’d rank HALion sounds among the best. They are easy/inspirational to browse and audition. Nice at getting a good live mix from (can even do something different for Monitors VS Mains), and detailed enough to lay warmly in a grove, or sparkle during ‘featured riffs’ in live settings, yet not so brash that they give your sound guy FITS trying to carve out space for all the other instruments/voices in the mix. Plenty of ‘variety’ to get a set-up for pretty much any style/genera of music as a live keyboardist.

It’s also a good collection for ‘song writers’ who just want to smash out quick and simple demo tracks.

If you’re looking for heavy duty ‘ultra detailed orchestral sounds’…not sure you’ll find that with the out of the box factory content…HALion’s factory collection does have some nice stuff for that sort of work, but only a few of the included sounds are set up to work with scads of ‘articulations’ or ‘constant dynamic shaping’ the way a lot of the big libraries intended for tracking DAWs work (lots of keyswitched articulations, CC options to fiddle with dynamics and ADSR envelopes in real time).

If you want loads of instant presets at hand for the money…maybe wait until a full demo version is available?

Also be aware that there is a more ‘content’ geared product by Steinberg called the “Absolute Collection”. Worth a look if you want a big catalogue of prebuilt libraries, plus some other instruments and effect plugins.

If you want to make hard core instruments from scratch and roll libraries to share/sell…H7 is pretty solid! Again…consider your target audience/market…shop demos and compare.

My personal Pros as a content builder: Complete set of tools to make really nice sounds, and roll very professional libraries. I love working with HALion to build content!

Cons as a content builder: Only one I have right now is that the Free player no longer works with hosts that can’t host VST3 or AU (and can’t seem to get keys for the older Sonic 3 SE either…so nix on targeting user bases for stuff like Finale/Sibelius, or older versions of DAWs that can’t do VST3/AU). If some form of free player still worked with VST2 hosts, or a 'solid FREE VST2>VST3 bridge existed…I wouldn’t have a single bad thing to say about it!


The only thing better with HALion is HALion as a Synth Workstation, cause REAKTOR just doesn’t have the workflow or immediacy of something like HALion 7 or Falcon 2 for people doing sound design vs. Instrument/Ensemble Building. REAKTOR is definitely more flexible, though (as displayed by the excellent instruments built on that platform in the Komplete Bundle - they are definitely underrated).

The Library Content in Komplete is going to be better, and it has more and better Expansions for Battery 4/Maschine and the Synths - including Massive, Massive X, and Expansion Content for Massive/Monark/Prism/etc.

I prefer Groove Agent 5 to Battery 4, cause Battery has a few features missing that is due to be added if they ever release a Battery 5, but you need Absolute to get everything. Backbone is nice for Sound Design, as well.

The major CON to Komplete is that it is massive, and it’s not just one bundle integrated into libraries that are accessed from one core application - unless you access everything through Komplete Kontrol. That is only attractive if you use a Komplete Kontrol keyboard controller with Cubase or Maschine MK3/Plus with Maschine 2. Otherwise, you’re just wasting CPU running middleware.

As for HALion Sonic SE…

HALion Sonic is an upgrade off of Sonic SE. Sonic SE actually had less features than HALion Sonic 3, and HALion Sonic is basically HALion Sonic 4. For example, there were more real-time FX in Sonic 3 vs. Sonic SE 3. Sonic 7 also functions as a subtractive synth, so it’s useful for that reason alone - if you are into Synthesis. Retrologue is that, but it’s more of a character instrument. Sonic 7 will be a bit more baseline in terms of what kind of sound you get out of it de facto.

It’s a clear upgrade, and you can basically uninstall all of HALion Sonic SE 3 and install Sonic [7]. Both Cubase and Dorico will use HALion Sonic when it is installed (I checked this, but the devs had stated it already).

And the UI of Sonic 7 is far improved over Sonic SE 3, especially if you use a high DPI display. The buttons and controls have better design and sizing in several areas.

But if you are “dissatisfied” with Komplete, then the HALion Factory Content is extremely unlikely to impress you. A lot of Komplete Libraries are pretty good, and were contracted out to decent companies. Even the Kontakt Factory Library had Orchestral Patches from VST, and they were upgraded to patches from Orchestral Tools (who did Iconica for Steinberg, IIRC).

As a sound design tool, HALion is worth it. The factory content is basically on a similar level to the factory content you’d get with DAWs like Logic Pro and Ableton Live Suite, though. Not going to upgrade the Komplete 13 stuff - itself a great compliment to HALion 6/7 for that exact reason (NI is strongest where Steinberg is weakest, in terms of ecosystem).


Thanks guys I’ll have to have a think about this.
I’m a hobbyist who wants the best instant presets.

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You can install a HALion 7 trial when that is available, then see if the content or content creation features are worth the cost for you.

If all you want is the content, you can save money by buying HALion Sonic Collection. If you want all that HALion offers, consider buying Absolute for the modest extra cost, as that gives you licences for all the current Steinberg instruments as well as some paid add-ons. The saving when buying Absolute is much better if you buy Absolute outright rather than crossgrade an existing Steinberg instrument licence to Absolute.

The con of buying Absolute is that you have to upgrade Absolute as a whole - you cannot upgrade individual elements. Upgrading Absolute 5 to Absolute 6 in order to add HALion 7 is the same price as upgrading a separate licence for HALion 6 to HALion 7. However, if you stayed on Absolute 3, which was the first version to incorporate HALion 6, then you are facing the much higher upgrade cost of Absolute 3 to Absolute 6 in order to get HALion 7 added to your Absolute.

He already has Komplete 13. There is no point in buying Sonic Collection. None of that content is better than what Komplete has to offer - or even close, really. The Sonic 7 Player/Subtractive Synth is already free on its on.

It is only worth it if he is getting HALion 7 for the full instrument - to use for Sound Design, or maybe Sampling. Otherwise, he is better off saving his money - or just upgrading to Komplete 14 with it.

I know that’s a hot take on these forums, but the best time to choose between these two product lines is when you’re making the initial investment. Once you invest in Komplete, the value of HALion and Absolute nosedives as the sound content there is not competitive. You’re basically buying for the instruments, themselves at that point. This is why I don’t think Sonic Collection is worth it - at all - for the OP, and if he can do without HALion 7, then none of it is worth investing in…

The reason why NI is able to sell Komplete so easily, despite only putting bare minimum effort into updating the actual applications/plug-ins, is due to how good the included libraries and expansions are at the price points those bundles are being sold at (particularly during promotional periods).

I think OP has a case of FOMO. HALion 7 is just out, and people are excited on these forums because it’s been SO LONG since HALion got a major upgrade (6+ years). He’s basically fishing for reasons to justify buying it - and he is always free to do so, don’t get me wrong!

(Bundles : Komplete 14 Standard : Included Products | Komplete)

Keep in mind, 80+% of this stuff was already in Komplete 13. I find it extremely hard to believe anyone would find this “disappointing,” yet find the HALion Factory Content up to their standards. The workflow is definitely nice in Cubase, but there is almost nothing acoustic in HALion’s Factory Content or Absolute that I wouldn’t replace outright with something from Komplete 13 - in some cases the Kontakt 7 Factory Library is better on its own.

The only reason I can see getting HALion or Absolute when you have Komplete is if you have a 256-512GB MacBook, use Cubase, and want a usable set of Stock Sounds on the device (like Logic Pro/Ableton Live Suite/Reason include extensive libraries of stock content) without having to always have a “Drive Dongle” plugged into the computer. In that case, the convenience of being able to just put the 50-150GB of Content (Total, when you factor in Cubase Pro content) on the internal drive and get work done may be worth it - especially if you buy during a sale.

I use the Logic Pro factory content this way on my 14" MBP. I’d do the same with Absolute (and will, if I don’t choose to move to Logic Pro completely… not looking likely at the moment, Lol).

However, I’d [personally] replace almost everything that isn’t a digital synth patch with something from Komplete once I got to my workstation.

That is a high price to pay for convenience, though. Can just upgrade the SSD at Apple Store for a comparable price and just put Komplete on the Internal Drive (how my PC Laptop is set up).

I agree with you here. Gear Acquisition Syndrome is definitely a thing.

My points were general ones about acquiring the Steinberg products for those who can justify a purchase. The added value of any Steinberg instruments goes down if you already own another company’s instrument bundle, with Komplete being a particularly pointed case.

I have owned Absolute for many years and, as an owner of several iZotope products, have received several discount offers for Komplete and a couple of discount offers for a u-he bundle. The added value for me in these purchases simply isn’t there, so I didn’t take advantage of these offers. I can see me buying individual instruments in the future or perhaps Arturia’s V Collection if I find a need for a bundle of vintage virtual synths, but for now, I’ll make the best of Absolute.

Buying HALion 7 [Sonic Collection] (or Absolute) because Komplete 13 is “disappointing” is like buying East West Symphonic Orchestra because East West HOOPUS is “disappointing.”

I’m sure there are people that have been using EW Symphonic Orchestra for many years and don’t see a need to upgrade, but that really doesn’t have much to do with the relative value and the logic in making an additional (largely redundant and “superceded de facto”) purchase in the “multiple hundred dollar” range. Additionally, one’s contentment with something “less good” doesn’t make it “as good” simply because they choose not to invest in what is better.

The OP already has better, so his situation is opposite of yours. You’re considering if it’s better enough to upgrade products you own (often it isn’t with very mature product lines - save for compatibility with newer OSes/Architectures like Apple Silicon), or to buy better libraries that have significant cost to you now.

OP already owns the better stuff, so he’s effectively being encouraged to buy a worse product costing hundreds. A product that will be effectively obsoleted the second he installs it onto his machine (HALion Sonic 7 Collection).

It doesn’t actually make sense, in the grand scheme of things.

The person already owning Komplete 13 was a massive red flag and the default position for most reasonable people should be to tell him to use Komplete and don’t waste his money unless he actually wants and/or needs the full HALion 7 instrument. Protecting his money is more important to me than pushing the product.

No one in this thread has said go buy Sonic/HALion without ‘trying it first’.

The value of the factory content is very subjective, and the way a user implements the stuff into his style of music has a lot to do with instrument choices.

The closest thing to ‘pushing’ thus far in thread is “Wait for the Demo, and see if you like the content, workflow, and options enough to buy it.”

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Thanks for the input
I’m liking the Halion 7 compared to Komplete13 for natural sounds.
I have the Komplete 13 Standard and some of the instruments are ridiculous .
Like a strummed guitar that doesn’t do single notes unless you pay for a better version.
Also Studio Strings that don’t sit with other instruments in the mix apart from orchestral music.
Every time I go to Komplete i mess around for hours and am disappointed.
Ill have to admit that my ears are not tuned in to this stuff as others who like Komplete.

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Thank you for that acknowledgement, as I very deliberately wrote in those terms.

I have no interest in pushing the product - I derive no benefit from anyone purchasing. My recommendation was for the poster to try HALion 7 to see whether they felt there was sufficient value in the content or the sound design features. I then provided buying advice.

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Still liking Halion 7 . Not really a GAS thing as I bought Komplete 13 standard and didn’t think much to it. That’s why I’m trying Halion 7, I think it should have Mguitar or Tguitar with it.