Is the modulation matrix THIS limited?

I’ve just bought HALion 7. and am loving it so far, until I came across the modulation matrix.

Am I right in saying my only option to modulate most parameters is to manually draw automation for each parameter? If so that is such a massive oversight for what has the potential to be an incredible sampler.

This limits the sound design in so many ways unfortunately. Hopefully I’m just ignorant of the capabilities to what to me is a very new toy.

By clicking the parameter that you want to modulate, you can pick from a large variety of modulation sources, including LFOs, envelopes, step sequencers, and more. Modulation sources can also be used as modulation modifiers. In fact, some of the new features of Halion 7 are the new X-LFO and several new tools for drawing envelopes, making it much easier to create complex modulations than before.

You can read more about the modulation system in the web manual, starting from this page:

Check out the modulation feature on Steinberg VST channel:

Hi @anboithrinciuin !
Did @skijumptoes and @Romantique_Tp answer your question or did you still have different expectations? Just asking for our feature requests list :wink:

Hi @Philippe_Bono @skijumptoes @Romantique_Tp

Thanks for the fast replies!

This is not a complaint by any stretch, I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing something as far as the modulation matrix goes. As Dom states in the promo video posted by @skijumptoes above, the matrix can be assigned to “pretty much any parameter that’s available in HALio 7”.

On the Grain Zone for example, the list of parameters not possible to modulate is pretty big:

  • Playback Speed
  • Random, Spread & Offset for Position, Duration, Pitch & Length

These are a few examples of over 50 parameters in the Grain Zone alone that can’t be modulated.

I suppose then, as a feature request, I think the ability to modulate any parameter that can be assigned to automation, the capabilities of HALion would grow incredibly!

Again, don’t take this as a complaint against Steinberg or Dom. I love HALion, I was just hoping I’d missed something, rather than it not being a possibility.



Ok, gotcha and no offense taken. We are here to listen.

When I joined HALion Team, I was of the same opinion as you (still am). I am a pure data, supercollider, Nord Modular kinda guy. So I was pretty stunned, just like you.

To be honest, there is a mix of reasons why it is the way it is.
One reason, and one of the reasons why HALion sounds so good, is the fact that modulation inside the zone is audio rate (many other instruments, just update parameters every 32 samples or so). If you try to apply this to parameters that, for example, reset an oscillator, you get ugly artefacts.
So beauty is one consideration. I know that some people like artefacts and dirt, but in HALion, this should be added deliberately to your sound, not by accident. Determinism is a principle in the design choices. We sometimes stray away from this principle, like x-lfo for example, but if we do, it is (usually) deliberately.
Another consideration is performance. Other than most modular environments, HALion is made to host large sample libraries. Allowing entirely free, audio rate modulation routing AND a modular structure would just get any computer to it’s knees (play with the amazing vcv rack for a while, to find out what I mean, and that is mainly monophonic). HALion also needs to be able to run many instances, as we also have to keep something like orchestral project templates etc. in mind.

That said, we are always looking for ways to make this engine more flexible, so never say never.
In theory, there is already the possibility to create a global modulation matrix using the scripting engine, but you will run into the artefacts and slower update cycles stated above. So if anyone in the community hears their calling for that kind of midi module, there is an opportunity for scripting and macropage heroism :wink:


Are the fields under the FM envelopes (the Time and Level rows) modulable?
They are on the Montage, but in the HALion 7 screenshots and docs they don’t feature the “available for modulation” indicator.

This is what’s available:

As soon as you use a HALIon envelope as source for Pitch or Level modulation, modifying the time parameters does not make that much sense anymore. I could see modyfying times with LFO being fun, but again, HALion envelopes offer all those modulation cross- and meta-modulation possibilities in the mod matrix. Also time scale is not to be underestimated as modulation target for this purpose.

The operator specific envelopes are more there for preset compatibility and classic sound emulation. If you want to go wild, I recommend HALIon modulators.

Does that make sense?

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It does, kind of, thanks.
I’m used to my MODX where I can assign those to knobs then I can edit the envelopes in real time. I just dowwnloaded the HALion 7 demo and I see this being possible using QCs.

I’m figuring out now what you are saying (digging the demo): basically those default FM envelopes are there to match what the Montage (and DX7) has, but you can overlay HALion’s typical envelopes over those.

For a Montage/MODX/DX7 user it’s great to have the original envelopes, as it eases the conversion of existing patches. But a typical softsynth user would probably just leave those maxed and use HALion envelopes ontop.

Would be great to have a section in the manual dealing with this particular hierarchy, for a newcomer might not make sense immediately, especially if the person doesn’t have previous experience with Yamaha hardware synths.

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Still, I would add that the HALion envelopes DO have those same fields modulable.

So it would make sense to make those fields available for FM envelopes as well…

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Interesting conversation! I’m also a new user of Halion. Since you were talking about audiorate and envelopes: If you would like to use Halions “own” flexible zone envelopes instead of the operator ones, you would run out of them pretty fast since there is only 4 of them per zone? (Amp, pitch, filter, user Envelope). But then i discovered the mono midi envelope. This is a global one, but it has the mseg flexibility and you can add as many as you like. Is the mono envelope audiorate?

And since i saw one of the Steinberg guys here (hi!) : A small bug report. Yesterday i added a wavetable synth zone (created from the menu). When i click on the filter tab inside the wavetable editor (where the spectrum etc is) Right clicking on the “filter curve screen” makes the daw crash. (Cubase12 win10)

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Thanks for the informative reply Philippe!

I assumed the scripting engine would offer some form of solution, however I’ve put this last in my “learning” process with HALion, as I imagine that goes quite deep (relative even to how deep the rest of this thing already is!)

I appreciate your explanation of why exactly it is how it is, thanks!

I’ ve noticed some other quirks, however I admit that I am actively attempting to “break” HALion, or rather, find where it’s limits and boundaries are. But maybe they need their own thread when I have explored them enough.

Thanks again

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You could use scripting to create modulation. But if you want to modulate something that’s not already available as modulation destination you would need to use setParameter from the calcModulation function. Doing this every 32 samples is a performance killer.

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Thanks for the bug report, always welcome fodder for fixing sessions;)
Unfortunately I can not reproduce. Do you maybe have a crashdump (from the standalone or from the sequencer)? Thanks.

The script and midi modules operate slower. As @misohoza mentioned. If you want to dive deeper, we have the documentation here:
and here

Regarding the amount of envelopes: There are NEVER enough envelopes :wink:
But as with most other synths, these good old tricks apply to HALion too: You can use looped envelopes as LFO, and you can use retriggered LFOs as envelopes.
If that is still not enough, the mono envelopes bring plenty of more movements to your sounds.
Hope that clears things up.


I can confirm this happens for me in both standalone and plugin mode (Cubase Pro 12, Win 10). Open a wavetable zone, right-click on the Filter window and the software crashes. Worse - if you right-click on the filter window while there is a wavetable loaded, when you reboot HALion, the Envelope/Spectrum/Filter windows are minimised to a tiny sliver that can’t be expanded. Fixing it takes a system reboot.

Thanks for reporting! We are working on it.