MachFive 3 vs. HALion4

The new MachFive 3 and HALion 4 look very similar, check it here:

Does anyone have experience with this new edition of MachFive? I remember it used to have the terrible UVI Engine, so I dropped it very soon, I was just not interested at all due to its low quality features.

Now the new M5 seems to be a game-changer again.

Does anyone have experience with this new item (especially compared to HALion 4)?



I recently purchased both HALion 4 and MachFive 3. (I received a steep educational discount on HALion and qualified for the competitive crossgrade price on MachFive so it wasn’t quite as expensive as it sounds.)

I’m still finding my way around both programs, but based on my limited use I would say that HALion beats MachFive hands down. Here’s why:

  1. Although HALion’s interface seems needlessly complicated and cluttered (but nowhere near as bad as Kontakt,) it’s really powerful and extremely flexible. MachFive seems harder to figure out AND much more limited (not good).

  2. HALion has MUCH better streaming performance. MachFive chokes on some of its larger instruments. This may not be a fair comparison because there isn’t anything quite so massive in the HALion library. But still, don’t plan on running MachFive successfully without a dedicated, blazing fast internal drive.

  3. HALion has better “meat and potatoes” sounds in its factory library. The MachFive sound set consists of a lot of warmed over UVI “Plugsound” patches from 5 years ago along with some massive instrument patches that were stupidly sampled at 192K just to get the size of the library into “bragging rights” territory. That’s why some of these larger MachFive instruments won’t even play back properly. So don’t compare the 13GB of samples in the HALion library to the 45GB of data in the MachFive library. There’s more variety of higher quality material in the HALion library.

  4. HALion has a much better file system. The Media Bay features are really powerful and allow you to browse by tags/filters. MachFive has a more traditional hierarchical file system. It works, it’s just not as slick as the file features in HALion.

Both instruments have really nice filters and good effects. I would probably give the egde to MachFive for the filters and HALion for the effects. But it’s sort of a toss up.

MachFive has WAY better support for older hardware sampler libraries (Akai, Roland, etc.) and includes a really cool option to create ISOs of your discs. HALion doesn’t even read these proprietary disc formats. So you will need something like CDXtract to convert these libraries to HALion.

Anyway, I would recommend HALion over MachFive, especially if you use Cubase since the Media Bay features are totally integrated in Cubase.

Hope this helps.

Hi MusicMaven,

thanks for your excellent in-depth comparison of the two samplers!

Personally I am glad that SB left out the legacy technologies like supporting old sample formats out-of-the-box, but AFAIK it works using ISO files of those discs. So if you really want to convert your old stuff, you can still do it.

And…hopefully SB will integrate a “real” sampling option soon into HALion4, in order to route anything in/out from Cubase tracks into HALion sampling/FX engine. For me the filters and the overall sound of HALion is a huge step forward after HALion 3, which was not bad either but nothing special… HALion 4 can bite :smiley:

And I already own HALion, but not Mach5… I’ll keep the work with HALion4.