I’m a current Halion Sonic 2 user and I’m mulling over upgrading to 3.
One thing that really frustrates me about me about the Steinberg website is the lack of detail on the new features and instruments in HS3. The videos are really short and lack info. For instance, I’d like to know if you can import your own audio into Skylab rather than just use the included sounds.
Also, what are people’s thoughts on HS3 Studio Strings? I’ve seen a few You Tube demos but they only touch on a few of the sounds. Is it a big step up from HS2?
Yes, that link is for HALion 6, but it includes Sonic 3 as well…so you can take it all for a test drive and evaluate the full product line.
HALion 6 is a major improvement over HALion 5 for sure. If you’re thinking of pulling the trigger for the full blown H6…don’t hesitate! It’s definitely a major leap forward. Wavetable, Granular, Built in Sampler, Bug Fixes, Macro Editor, User LUA Scripting, plenty of solid example macros and program templates in unlocked formats to study, ability to export user made content so it works in the Free Sonic SE player, and more…
Sonic 2 to Sonic 3, it’s mostly about the content, and it’s subjective as to how you feel the sounds might work into your compositions and mixes.
I think there are some bug fixes. I used to get crashes with Sonic 2/HALion5 when using MIDI Program Changes with stuff like Sibelius soundsets to swap out larger sounds. Those crashes are gone now.
From what I can tell with Sonic 3, there is no obvious way to bring your own Samples or Wavetables into Skylab. Fat synths aren’t really my thing, so I might be missing something; however, I tried dragging samples onto the macro, and spent a few minutes looking around for a way to bring in user samples. I don’t see the content browser that full HALion 6 has for importing new samples. There’s a pop up with a slate of samples you can choose from, but no obvious way to add user content to the list. The categories are Ambient Pads, Cinematic, FX, and Soundscape.
If this granular sound is your thing, I have little doubt you could build some pretty amazing sounds using what they provide here, but I’m not seeing a way to import user samples in Sonic 3.
Again, in H6, yes, you can bring in samples/wavetables/etc a number of ways…including drag and drop from OS windows, or from Cubase projects, and more. You can incorporate it into the Skylab macro, or even bypass the Skylab macro all together and work directly in the H6 UI.
The new pianos are really nice in my opinion. Simple to tweak and save your presets. Nice results. Easy to find space in a mix for them, and they sound pretty good as solo instruments as well.
The Studio Strings aren’t bad, definitely usable, but they aren’t extra special either. It’s not some kind of comprehensive orchestral library with scads of articulations to choose from, but you do get enough nice solo and section arco, spiccato, and pizzicato samples to build up some really nice string textures. They layer nice, and you can configure how you’d like the dynamics to be controlled (velocity, CC, etc.).
To me, the Hot Brass is hot trash. While I can appreciate that these might be great in Hip Hop, EDM, and for emulating some of the old MoTown classics…they don’t work for my needs (orchestral, jazz, marching band, etc.). Subjective stuff here…and depends on your type of music/mix.
Now, as a H6 user, Studio Strings and Hot Brass have been invaluable as examples and templates for building my own things, as the macro editors for these Strings, and the Hot Brass are ‘unlocked’ so we users can dig into them and see how they work. We can even borrow elements of it for making our own macro screens. For a Sonic 3 user…it’s kind of a mute point there, but for H6, it’s a treasure trove of ideas and examples for building our own stuff, so worth the disk space initially for sure.
If you’re thinking of making the jump to HALion 6. The progress is rather significant! Again, get a demo key and see for yourself, but in this case, it’s a pretty major upgrade. They really did fix a lot of issues, and add quite a bundle of features.