HSO status

Is there a definitive response from Steinberg regarding the current and future status of HSO?

I need to make a decision…if HSO is to be updated and for sale soon I’ll hold out…if not my money goes elsewhere.


Anyone at all hear any news recently?

The HSO VST is currently usable in any VST2 host and works perfectly in both 32-bit and 64-bit versions, however it appears to have been superseded by the VST Sound set playable with HALion Sonic SE, HALion Sonic and HALION 4. If you have a non-VST3 host then you’d have to obtain the HSO original product and I’m not sure whether that is for sale anymore, but if you have Cubase then you already have the revised media (HSO soundset) on the Cubase installation DVDs and just need an activation license, the advantage being that you can then use the sounds from within any of the VST3 instruments mentioned above. If you have the full HALion 4 you also get a VST2 plugin version of HALion 4 which can play the HSO soundset (not sure about HALion Sonic).

Basically the soundset remains the same (although tweaked a little) and is equivalent, sound-wise, to the original VST plugin – in that respect I’m not aware of any updates. On the other hand, as a plugin it has already been updated in the form of the HALion range.

Thanks so much for your reply and great explaination MrSoundman.

I haven’t checked today but HSO was pulled from the Steinberg site…not available to purchase.
I’m sure I can still buy elsewhere but I wonder if the HSO content will be offered as expansion packs for Halion Sonic full version which I bought.

You mean this one? :wink:

You already have the content on your C6 installation DVDs, and from the link above you can purchase an activation code – that’s assuming you don’t already have an existing HSO license, i.e. that you hadn’t previously bought HSO; if you did, you now need nothing else except to install and enjoy: the HSO VST Instrument Sound Set appears within HALion Sonic as presets.

(BTW, you get to that link from within Cubase: Help -> Unlock Trial Versions)

You’re awesome.
Thanks Soundman. I do like that I would be able to load it into HalionSonic.

I just brought out my Cubase 6 install disks and only see 1 disk for Halion Symphonic Orchestra.

I think this install is only the 16bit version.

Online at Long and McQuade and others the box version with the 24bit version is $480 in contrast with $99 for the 16bit.

My question is how much of an improvement is 24bit over 16bit?

Worth the money?


I’ve only ever used the 16-bit HSO sample set – at the time I think it was an offer that came with Cubase 5 and gave you the VST plugin version, so I’ll leave the comparison to others. I would suggest that you install the trial version from your Cubase 6 DVD and see how you get on … it’s capable of some truly excellent results and is fully functional for the entire trial period, plus you get to enjoy the close integration into Cubase and the advantages of VST Expression when used in e.g. HALion Sonic.

As for the offer you found online for the boxed version, I would caution against paying such a high price for what is clearly old stock. You also need to be aware that the only advantage is a set of 24-bit samples which cannot be played back by the HALion range. Personally I haven’t found the HSO 16-bit sample set lacking in any way, but obviously this depends on your specific usage case, as well as what your expectations are from an orchestral sample set. HSO has what I would describe as a more European sound and in order to get the most from it, requires more input from the user and at least a basic knowledge of orchestration, although nothing you couldn’t learn from a decent book. If all you’re looking for are “strings” to drop into a mix, then you probably have more than enough in HALion Sonic already, or you may want to look at loop libraries or some of the more Hollywood- or Motown-style sample sets with phrase articulations.

As they say, YMMV, which is why using the free trial period is a good idea before deciding. HSO isn’t going to become obsolete over the next 90 days!

Thank you for taking the time Soundman!

I think this will do my needs just fine at 16bit.

Purchasing a license right now!

Thanks again!



I would love to see Steinberg announce HSO-II , with more, and higher quality content !

Hopefully Steinberg development is paying attention to our requests, and will release HSO-II in the near future.

Hi guys,

i will forward your HSO 2 request to our product planning department.

If you have problems with the HSO installation, just pm me or send an email:


Hi Marcus,

Thank You for forwarding my HSO 2 Request to Steinberg product planning dept.

imho. HSO 2 would be a fantastic addition, and evolutionary step for HSO, which has been around for quite some time now.

HSO 2 with more high-quality content, and more variety/articulations would be a perfect tool for many composers, who would rather use a high-quality orchestral library, that is not too large, and resource demanding, yet offer a lot of flexibility, expressive character for producing high-quality orchestral tracks, with VST3’s features, and 24-bit sample data that offers a high-dynamic range, and great sonic fidelity.


Please add my vote for a new HSO 2, the “perfect companion for VST Expression” if you will.

My unexpected impression of the 16 bit trial version of HSO was that it sounded better than the 24 bit samples in MOTU MSI. 16 HSO had more depth and resonance than 24 bit MSI.

24-bit sampled HSO-2 should offer more dynamic range than HSO-2 16-bit samples, it’s just a simple fact.

Most high-end orch. Sample libraries are sampled at 24-bit resolution these days, hopefully HSO-2 will be offered in 24-bit, if they want to also offer it in 16-bit as an option, that would be fine.

I wonder how long it will take to develop HSO-2 ?

A 24 bit HSO 2 is a given.

Generally speaking I could do without a 16 bit version. But I think they’re useful when constructing mock ups on a minimal set up: lap top without any external drives.

I have GPO which has a very small foot print and VST Expression Maps. Works great for sketching out ideas. It’s tempting to pay $99 for the 16 bit version of HSO for using expression maps, but I don’t then want to pay full price for a full version of HSO 2. The pricing here is a bit of dilemma. Word of an discount upgrade path would be encouraging.

Pricing for full version HALion Sonic from SE, and the full version of H4 from HS seemed reasonable.

The question is would they build HSO 2 from scratch? Or add to the existing library with and added GUI face lift? :mrgreen:


It’s my first visit back to the forums for three years, and I’m so glad I came here - nice to know other people are feeling the same pain I’m feeling with no longer having access to HSO!

I’ve had HSO for a three or four years, and it absolutely rocks. I own a few sample libraries, and HSO is by far the best that I have.

BUT! I recently upgraded to a new Mac running OSX Lion and upgraded to Cubase 6.5, and I am utterly devastated that I can no longer use the 24bit HSO library - I have all those lovely .hsb files sitting on my hard drive, and am no longer able to use them.

This week with some perseverance I’ve been able to get HSO working as a VST plug-in in Cubase 6.5 at 64bit in OSX Lion, but it’s prone to crashing, and not something I would recommend trying.

Does anyone know if HALion Sonic or HALion 4 open .hsb files? If so, I may be able to access the library through one of those, and I would happily purchase whatever it takes to be able to get access to this library again. Orchestral scores are one of the main styles I work with, and I am at a loss as to whether to jump ship to an alternative sample library, or downgrade my DAW.


You can not only load, but also edit HSO content within HALion 4, assuming of course you have a license for HSO.

Mr S, this is music to my ears. And yes, I sure do have a license.

Do you know if HALion Sonic will also load HSO content?

That I don’t know I’m afraid, but just to clarify, I was referring to the “updated” HSO 16-bit content that comes on the Cubase 6 DVD set. You can also open the older .hsb files in HALion 4 but not the presets, at least I haven’t found any easy way (or need) to do so.

Thanks again, MrS.

I’m definitely keen to use the 17.8GB, 24bit HSO library over the 6.6GB, 16bit HSO VST sound set.

And I don’t really need to edit, just to load, and playback as the library was originally intended.

But you’ve given me some hope, and I think it’s time to try the HALion Sonic and 4 demos, see if I can get the sounds loading, then make a decision from there, so a huge thanks again for your help.