Basically, what it says in the title - is having both necessary?
I recommend installing it and keeping it on all of your systems that’ll be hosting instrument plugins for a number of reasons. If you can rule these out then you don’t really need it.
Sonic also serves as the ‘free player’ for many things ‘Steinberg’ and all things HALion. In fact, I recommend grabbing a free Dorico SE key for your My Steinberg account (even if you don’t install Dorico…the key would unlock Sonic player, and the basic ‘HALion SE/Sound’ content pack [General MIDI content plus a little]). Having that key on your account could come in handy someday to get a free HALion player with at least a General MIDI library of sounds going on multiple computers. Going through the process yourself will help you understand how to have friends get a working Sonic setup in case you’d like to share sounds and collaborate without them also needing to own full HALion.
Reasons to go ahead and install Sonic, and keep it.
It’s the default player for Stienberg hosts like Cubase, Nuendo, and Dorico. Having Sonic installed will help out a good deal when using the Media Bay to ‘audition’ much of the content that comes with the hosts. Dorico has an option to have it make full HALion the default player, but sometimes it’s good to revert to Sonic if you know you’ll be ‘sharing projects’ with people who don’t have full HALion.
If you’ll be making instrument libraries of your own and you want them to be compatible with the free Sonic player, you’ll need it around to load, test, and make final touches to the programs/presets that’ll ultimately be packed in the library.
For live situations it has a little different workflow than full HALion when it comes to dealing with remote MIDI program changes. There are situations that I prefer the workflow of Sonic, and vice verse. I find it nice to have both! With Sonic, you can build complete multi-instrument templates that are called up with an assignable program change.
In contrast, with H7 the obvious workflow for remotely dialing up instruments is a bit different. Instead of calling up ‘complete multi-instrument’ templates’ with a single PC, you’d instead build a ‘program tree’ and send individual program changes for ‘each MIDI channel’ involved. While other remote workflows are certainly possible with full HALion; personally, there are plenty of live/impromptu scenarios where I save time and find it easier if I go with Sonic UI instead.
In Summary, if you’ll be using HALion as a live keyboardist, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with both UIs. There may well be situations where Sonic is a better fit for the job, and vice verse.
- Sonic is not very large in terms of disk space. It shares the same library/content and db files as full HALion (not multiple copies or anything). Might as well let it install and keep it around.
Reasons not to install it?
You might save a small amount of disk space. I don’t think it’s enough to skimp over these days. I’d just keep it around and only remove it ‘if and when’ I end up in a situation where I need to ‘recover disk space’ (which hasn’t happened in ages…too easy and inexpensive to add more storage to the system).