Possibly a dumb question about HALion

I only own Dorico, and no other Steinberg products. I opened up the Steinberg download assistant the other day, because I read something about it, and got me thinking about mine. Turns out mine was out of date, and I wanted to make sure that mine was up to date.

As I updated the software, I now see Dorico in the left window along with some other software that I have not purchased (i.e., HALion 6), at least to my knowledge. I know that Dorico comes with a version of HALion, not sure the number. The fact that this has shown up out of nowhere, makes me think that I should be downloading HALion 6 (which I am in the process of doing) (28.7 GB).

Is this going to work with Dorico? Or is this something I will need to buy? I also see a download for HALion Sonic 3. As well as something called Absolute 2 and Absolute 3. Now idea what they are or if they will be necessary.


Dorcio comes with HALion SE 2 and an extended HALion library called Halion Symphonic Orchestra (HSO). You do not need to download full versions of Sonic 3 or HALion 6. The Dorico installer should install everything you need.

Optionally, after installing Dorico you could update HALion SE to the latest version of the plugin here (just updates the plugin, there is no content at all in the download): https://www.steinberg.net/en/landing_pages/halion_sonic_se_3/halion_sonic_se_free.html

If you want to update to SE 3, you’d just run the installer after having installed Dorico, and it will update the plugin. The main advantage to SE3 is that it also includes a stand alone executable mode with a standard MIDI file player/recorder. It should also work in any of your DAWs that can host VST3, VST2, AU and AAX plugins (where SE 2 only works in Steinberg hosts), effectively giving you access to all the Dorico content packs and HSO from them as well (provided your Dorico license key is on the system). You’d also get a new library manager that allows you to manage content by H6 content creators (H6 can scale and write libraries in a way that it works in the free SE player).

If you have already downloaded a full H6 archive, you could probably get a demo key to check them (H6 and Sonic 3 plugins and content packs) out if you like. Here is a link on how to get a demo key.

Note, to make use of H6, Sonic 3, and all their extended content packs from inside Dorico you’ll have to manually work with the plugin from Dorico’s play tab. At this time all of Dorico’s automatic instrument selection happens exclusively through HALion SE and uses content packs that come with Dorico.

Thanks for the info.