I’m sure you are right. I just find myself always gravitating towards Kontakt. The idea of trying get back into H5 just does not excite me.
i just got H5 for $200.
i love it.
i can’t bring myself to go the Kontakt route.
seems too strong-arm-ish to me.
as it stands H5 is pretty danged amazing! plus the UI is exactly how i think coming from a 3D CAD background.
but i am only now coming into it.
for what i spent compared to what i would have to spend for Komplete/Kontact (full) - no comparison.
I love HALion too its great instrument .
but thats not the issue, there has been no support for it
no fixes for over a year no new content,
I can’t use it
i guess i can’t speak to the lack of support, other than the 2 recent support requests i’ve submitted with no answer.
i did get an email asking me to complete a survey about my customer experience.
pretty funny in that i have no customer experience with my 2 requests.
i’m a low level synth/sample user, so H5’s current state is enough for me.
most of my stuff is tracked guitar, bass, and voice.
but i can imagine users who depend on this type of instrument day in day out getting upset.
Halion 6 looks like it might make NAMM 2017.
so, other options that i see:
MOTU Mach 5
all 3 very expensive, especially Komplete - that looks like a huge hole ($$$) i’d rather not peer into.
what is everyone looking into as an alternative to Halion?
- i still can’t get the HSO trial to run properly.
THIS HAS BEEN THE HISTORY OF HALion SINCE IT CAME OUT in 2000…
NO ONE CARES FOR IT… I’ve been making samples and now none of my presets show up after that update that they made a while back… I thought hmmm didn’t notice that update but actually it screwed up more… I can see it has now User icons in the loader but they come out empty and nothing shows up… I see my name and manufacture grayed out when scanning…
I’ve always been a hardcore HALion supporter but I’m reaching the end of the line if they keep doing this… Its nothing new… they always leave HALion behind. and a new one may come up but the old one Still bugging the heck out of us…
If you make a patch now and save… it does not come out no matter what I do unless I export it with samples and loaded manually…
COME ON Steinberg… WE invented VST and other companies are taking it by storm… HATE kontakt crappy effects and it can let me insert scripts and add graphics to my content. We have a MACRO TAB that has been empty since HALion 4 came out, you should be able to load it with author artwork and simple go to parameters via simple script and so on…
…there is no excuse for this type of behavior.
I’m beyond led down…
100 precent agree with you on all your issues .
I won’t be upgrading to the next release I lost all trust. I don’t use any Steinberg instrument or any of the content
I find in that area they just don’t seam to get it, I stay with Companies that specialize in there
As I mentioned before, we have constantly been working on HALion 6 and HALion Sonic 3 since the release of Groove Agent 4. The beta program has already started a few weeks ago and we are getting closer to the “feature complete” status. Right at this moment there are several sound designers from different countries working on new presets and sounds. There is nothing like “leaving HALion behind”. We have a whole HALion team at Steinberg that just focuses on the development of the HALion platform. There will be some big new features in H6 that will be worth waiting. Please have some more patience.
Boss I say it based on my experience… Its always the last on the list, always… since I got HALion 1
Took forever to go from 2 to 3 then from 3 to 4… As I thought H6 is in the horizon but H5 is still miss behaving and crashing for no apparent reason… specially when I’m hard at work sound designing
Its very heavy on the CPU when using Grain and user Library is never populated in the main loader, even with the last update…
Hope they put all my requests on H6
Still have all my HALion 1 contents and Discs. Wizoo Bass XXL still one of my fav…
That’s how loyal I’ve been to this product…!
well it sounds great that its in the work my concern is fixes HALion 5 has been out
for sometime and no fixes for more than a year, I haven’t even used HALion 5
yet so I guess I’m suppose to spend more money on 6 and hope I can start using it…
You see, that is not fare at all…! That’s why I said what I said about HALion and its 100% accurate. Just the fact that H5 has not been serviced for over a year. mmh!
AGAIN, HALion is the best sounding VST sampler out there period but we really need to get on it way faster.
One thing they Must put an extra effort is the CPU load… There is virtually no point or use to put “playback” to best or high quality if your CPU will start nagging about it and clip a lot. Even in stand alone… I always leave it at standard. Imagine having 12 or so instances or 16 programs running at once. And I’m at 512 samples buffer size when one single patch at high quality hits the CPU hard and my computer is very beefy. You can see that meter go up very fast
CPU load need to be addressed… But I know for sure its the fast heavy VST plug ins that it comes with, which are very high quality… Grain engine is also heavy on CPU. Same with Padshop Pro…
Only a hand full of users are passionate enough to work with HALion independently to create content. We should have 100s of library to chose from by now.
…was that a Freudian slip, … I agree “we are all being led down … the garden [sales] path by SB”
… been quietly watching and agreeing wit so much, Hal* family of apps, are cpu hogs, if and when they work
…was that a Freudian slip, … I agree “we are all being led down … the garden [sales] path by SB”
… been quietly watching and agreeing wit so much, Hal* family of apps, are cpu hogs, if and when they work
Are you comparing instances of equal complexity?
I.E. It’s not a fair comparison if your reference plugin is playing an unencrypted single layer patch that was sampled at the same clock rate as your project streaming over a single bus with no extra processing; while your halion reference is playing an encrypted, 16 layer, 7 channel surround sound patch, with 4 or 5 effects running in Halion (Like heavy convolution reverbs, multiple compression and distortion effects, amp simulators, etc…with some samples that may have been mastered at a different clock rate from your DAW project, etc…).
Don’t forget that several of the ‘H4’ Factory patches are 7 channel surround sound! Tweak the patches for stereo and save new copies if you don’t need surround sound!
My personal experience is quite different. Halion 5 is the most efficient plugin I have with anywhere near the power and feature set offered. The only thing I’ve run that uses less system resources (with a comparable number of tones being generated or samples played) is ARIA/Sforzando. There’s a pretty big difference in the complexity of the patches and samples I’m running in the two players though. I pile on the effects and layers with Halion…where in ARIA I’m running really lean libraries that were designed and optimized at a time when a dual core ‘Core Duo’ architecture and SATA2 platter drives were considered ‘high end stuff’ for consumers.
I’ve got an ancient AMD Hex core rig running only 8gig of DDR2 memory (all at stock speeds of well under 4ghz), and it doesn’t even break a sweat with very robust instances of Halion 5 (40 or more tracks). I usually track at 24bit 48khz (no need to go higher unless I’m hooking really nice microphones to the rig). My sample libraries are all over the map…some are 44.1khz, some 48khz, etc.
I use Halion 5 in at least 4 different hosts (Cubase, Sibelius, Finale, Bidule) on a regular basis.
In contrast, I have ‘single instrument’ monophonic sample based plugins by several other companies that require massive ASIO buffers of 1meg or larger (in all four of the previously mentioned hosts) to even get a single instance of them working on a single track (needless to say, I can only step input with these plugins…too much latency to play in them live).
I.E. ONE instance of a popular ‘violin section plugin’ (I’ll call it brand X since I’m not into bashing products that I ‘tested’ before I purchased and knew their shortcomings before I got them) is so resource hungry I have to instant render the tracks to use the plugin. If I activate the Brand X plugin’s reverb (which isn’t even convolution based) it’s totally unusable as a live plugin (must instant render). This plugin isn’t surround sound, and it doesn’t include any tools to simulate surround sound (while Halion does). In the brand X plugin(s), the ‘decryption protocols used to play back the protected content’ for a single track alone in at least 3 competing products on my system take more CPU than Halion is using to play back a ‘more lush and robust’ 16 to 20 track Halion Symphonic Orchestra Library based project.
Quite a few of the competing products I have don’t really have a ‘manual’ at all, let alone in dozens of languages! They cost as much as Halion 5 just to get a few orchestra instruments, and I can’t edit them much at all! They have predefined special characteristics that cannot be altered. They have individual samples that are out of tune, cannot tuned or replaced, etc. They have fixed reverb tails that I can’t get rid of or fine control. Any requests for information on how to adjust the disk buffers and such for my older system have either been ignored, or confirmed as ‘not possible’. So called ‘support’ wasn’t any better or worse than Steinberg’s. In short…they said, "You need in the least a mid level Sandy Bridge based rig to run our product (even though their spec sheets simply say ‘a dual core processer’ 3ghz or faster!) Just the CPU on such a rig cost more than my entire PC setup (not counting the software).
So…with the ‘cpu hog’ called Halion, I’m doing quite well on a 12 year old, bottom of the barrel, low end PC. I can’t say the same for many of the other products on the market right now. Alternatives as powerful, efficient, and flexible as Halion are twice the price…and that’s mostly for the privilege of staring at lists of not so great ‘third party libraries’ (again often more expensive than H5) that I’m not very interested in buying (and that come with free players anyway).
My experience is QUITE DIFFERENT.
Note, it did help to
- Read the MANUAL.
- Tweak the CPU, Disk, and Memory settings in Halion to optimal settings for my system (For my rig once an H5 instance needs more than about 400 voices…‘the host’ runs a bit more efficient if I let H5 do its own internal core management).
- Make sure I increase the max polyphony as my project gets larger. 99% of the time, if Halion starts sounding weird or dropping notes…if I look in the Option tab I’ll notice that the project is asking for more voices than the Max setting. Bumping that up to a large enough number fixes it.
As for the ‘if and when they work’ remark…
I do know ONE way to crash H5. Until it gets fixed it’s easy to work around. I hope they release a patch for H5 on all known issues that can ‘crash’ H5. One shouldn’t be required to buy H6 to get these basic fixes!
Putting things in perspective: I also know ways to crash most of the competing plugins that are of equal (and in many cases far simpler) complexity to Halion! Ironically, some of those plugins HAVE released several ‘fixes and updates’ in the past year, but I can still crash them just the same (sometimes the so called ‘updates’ cause more problems than they solve).
Those companies that have gone over to rapid prototyping ‘subscription’ models have been the worst in terms of charging users to get a steady stream of ‘alpha and beta’ phase ‘updates’ that often break more things than they fix. Be careful what you wish for. I’d rather have less frequent updates that are well tested in large scale production environments than be forced to pay $40 a month or more for some kind of ‘subscription service’ to get a steady stream of ALPHA releases and broken new features (and a lot of advertisements and HYPE).
I do know of a few things buried DEEP inside Halion 5 that don’t ‘seem’ to work quite the way it’s documented in English (perhaps just a translation error in writing the manual)…but the behavior was still consistent and useable. I really had to go digging and making complex sounds to find such issues. Despite some of my misunderstandings over the learning curve of mastering the instrument, there have always been at least 3 other valid methods supported by the Halion engine to finish my patches/programs and achieve the desired sonic effect.
I do agree that Halion needs some refinement in how users can save, manage, and distribute custom content. It can and should be more user friendly, with more tools to refine and distribute new content (I.E. Make third party libraries supporting the Macro and scripting engines to share or sell). I’m pretty sure that IS coming in H6. I’m interested in these new tools, so I’ll buy it
I have very little trouble getting Halion Engine products to WORK…and to work very well.
On my rig H5 and GA4 are very productive plugins AS IS. I easily got my $240 dollars worth out of H5 during the first 6 months of using it.
I’ve been with HALon since it came out…
GA4 is also heavy on the CPU. There is no one here more supportive or loyal to Steinberg products than me, but the fact that HALion is not being serviced is a slap in the face to me personally. I don’t want alpha or beta updates… I want the issues fixed and user content handling as well. I have been inputting all this to them since H4 came out. Users (or programmers I should say) should be able to use the macro page and the programmer should be able to ad artwork and parameters there. Have you tried to play back a bunch of HALion tracks in high or extreme quality? Its pointless.
CPU overload with a simple stereo sample in grain synth mode. 4 or 5 standard fx added. PADSHOP is also CPU abusive. I never go below 512 samples buffer size to work in peace with a more than capable computer.
GA4 with all its bells and whistles of high end effects makes it difficult to use it along side HALion and Padshop pro. I remove all the plug-ins and send all the pads to their own output to mix later in audio stems. Also the fact of its last decade limitations of not being able to handle more that 8 layers per note is very disappointing to me. mmmh My snare drum has 28 layers of velocity. Tom Toms go over 8 layers as well… Don’t want work-arounds, I want capabilities for the $$$
HALion is also a pain to import multisamples per note. when you do more than 8 samples at once per note, it goes bananas. Makes a mess.
I’ve been at work some times for long periods of time and the sucker crashes and I lose all that work. All user content does not show up in the main loader. (since 4 up to now, user content has been a pain to manage)
My reason for using HALion has always been the quality of the engine and sample quality.
Even in “standard mode”
Its library when it came out and the quality of the recorded samples by WIZOO back then. was limited but was good and I was finally able to drop my Soundblaster with its Synth chip that let me create my own library in SF2 and I had a large library of Sonic Implants library now called SONIVOX. I had the Neundo-RME interface.
Led down content: I have never used the little drum b-box that they added nor the so called ethnic instruments, and world percussion… those are a joke to me.
I also see a lot of repeats with the synths… They all are the same synth with different GUI. (kind of like new patches with their own GUI) Auron is Padshop - Retrologue sounds like HALionsonic and so on! I know because I fiddle with them all the time and I make patches all the time. I don’t sound design for Steinberg just to be clear.
The reason I use HALion is for creative purposes and the fact that I can’t stand KONTAKT but Kontakt has so much library that it would be embarrassing if I was the brains at Steinberg HQ
I’m not having the same issues, with GA4 nor H5. They’re the most efficient sampler and synth engines I’ve ever tried on this old AMD system (Second only to ARIA/sforzando running decades old libraries that were optimized for low end machines), but it would seem we take very differen approaches to designing, loading, and playing the programs for the instrument. A poorly thought out patch/program that’s grabbing resources it doesn’t really need at the moment isn’t quite the same thing as an abusive ‘plugin’. To me, part of the irony is that people are demanding the ability to more easily make overkill ‘abusive patches/programs’ while claiming that the plugin is already too power hungry. You want 24 velocity layers on ‘MPC’ trigger pads…well…that’s going to need either more memory to cut down on communication between the CPU and the bus, or more D2D action that’s going to need more CPU cycles moving chunks of data in and out of disk buffer memory…
I’ve not yet found an equally featured Alternative that’s any more CPU or resource efficient than H5. Sonivoxx plugins are the WORST on my machine (I still buy some of them because I like they way they sound, the prices are fair…they’ve got some really nice samples that are well tuned/balanced, etc…but my PC can’t really use them LIVE in real time…the playback engine is so bad on my PC that I’ve even resampled a good bit of the Sonnivox Orchestral Companion series for personal use in Halion).
The similar or redundant synths in Halion have been really helpful for me…since it’ll run in all my Hosts…where as some of those ‘similar’ synth engines that ship with Cubase…only run in Cubase…not with my other hosts.
It’s pretty rare that I’d put more than 8 ‘velocity’ layers on a single MIDI trigger. Foremost because I can’t afford controllers with MPC pads or key beds sensitive enough to actually have control over more than 16 velocity layers, and even 8 is a serious stretch for any of my ‘MPC’ pads. The velocity resolution/sensitivity just isn’t good enough on the majority of inexpensive or moderately priced MIDI controllers on the market. While Cubase does offer some options to artificially ‘expand’ the curve a little in the track inspector, and H5 and GA4 also allow some adjustments to how the velocity curve is interpreted…it’s still not really good enough for 24 layers.
Essentially, 24 layers is a resolution or interval of only “5.333ee” (128/24) per layer trigger. I’ve never been able to afford/own a controller sensitive and precise enough to get control of resolutions that fine. I’m pretty sure Steinberg researched this in their labs by connecting many different makes and brands of Controllers and recording ‘averages’ of the velocity messages that are actually being sent. So…for all but the most extreme of patches, on the best of equipment…24 velocity layers on a single MIDI trigger/note is overkill. Trim the patches down some, or spread them out over multiple triggers/pads/keys in a way that is more useful/playable. If the content is intended to ever be sold or shared…you’ll DEFINATELY want to include ‘lighter’ variants of the patches. Most of us will never realize the potential of a 24 velocity sensitive layer drum or cymbal patch with a single MPC pad trying to trigger it Bad patch design for ‘most’ users needs and equipment…only good for people with finely tuned ‘MIDI Drum Pads’, who will be using real drum sticks/mallets to play them (and such users will probably want to host sound engines for that on a separate PC (or at least a dedicated core or two that is allowed to discretely run at maximum speed [I use Plogue’s Bidule for projects that need discrete processing…quite a few folks out there swear by VEP for similar purposes]…independent from the DAW).
If I were doing an intricate marching snare drum, or something with 16 layers or more velocity sensitive layers I"d much rather split it into left-stick and right-stick pads or keys, as well as different triggers/pads for general ‘dynamic ranges’ and ‘head striking positions’ than cram it all onto a single trigger. For me at least…it’d be a far more playable instrument spread across more triggers/notes. It’d also be easier to manage (for me at least) in things like key and score editors.
If I had a really nice stick/mallet-driven drum pad controller sensitive enough to actually trigger 24 layers with predictability and reliability, and if I were a good enough drummer to actually play such an instrument…I personally would NOT be using GA4 in that case. I’d be more inclined to use Halion 5 instead (or better yet, audio track real acoustic drum loops), and I’d split it into cross fading layers with a continuous voltage foot controller to cross-fade between playing at the center of the head vs near the edges, etc. (or if it was really fancy pad that has that cross fading capability built in…it’d still be spread across different crossfaded layers or MIDI trigger notes). Also, instruments that are sensitive and precise enough to play things like 32nd note drum rudiments at 24 velocity layers in 120 BPM and faster would need to be isolated enough to get a core of its own, and it’d be more of a ‘solo instrument’ that’s ultra exposed in the mix. It’s not the sort of patch I’d expect to load up in a multi-timbered set up on a ‘single PC’ rig where the ‘sounds’ AND the ‘DAW’ are being hosted on the same mid-range or consumer level computer (A higher end PC could easily do it with a discrete host rewired or loopMIDI on the same system…in short, don’t blame the Plugin if the host is managing the CPU cores, keeping things synced to a common and strict clock, and won’t let it run to peak speed and efficiency).
GA4 is more designed to trigger pre sampled rudiments or loops. I don’t think it was ever really intended to be driven by a MIDI controller capable of realistically using 24 velocity layers on a single note/pad. MPC machines require a different approach, and one can still make amazingly complex and ‘playable’ drum kits. Use the banks and pads…spread that stuff out. You’ve got 128 of them by four agent kits (512)…so spread that stuff out so it’s playable on el-cheapo mushy-yuck MPC pads and gooey rubbermaid capacitance based keyboard velocity sensors flooding the current market-place. This way the engine doesn’t have to work as hard to manage stuff that you might not need loaded or managed in and out of D2D streaming buffers at all times. The user can call up exactly what he needs on demand with less system overhead and bloat.
More on 24 velocity layer instruments:
I’ll use the Sonivoxx 88 Piano plugin as a reference point. It’s a latency and CPU beast on my system. This ONE plugin, for ‘just a piano sound’ is one of the most CPU/Disk intensive plugins I have. I suspect the issue with this plugin’s play back engine is simply that it won’t let me increase the amount of samples it keeps in memory…it wants to stream everything from the massive sample set D2D over and over again…and my particular system isn’t crazy about that. So…I must use the lighter 4 velocity layer versions of Sonnivoxx 88 patches when I’m ‘playing live’ while also playing back other VSTi tracks, and temporarily change to the 8 or 24 layer patches and instant render them later. Such patches can be really demanding on system resources! I can’t really tell the difference between the 8 and 24 layer versions unless the piano passage is playing the same note in a really small velocity range over and over again at a high tempo. So…for more than 90% of my compositions, 8, or even 4 layers is plenty…occasionally I need the 24 velocity layer version for really dynamic passages that pound on the same chord or notes a lot in a short time-span…but it’s pretty rare…so I just load it long enough to instant render those passages later in some of the mix-down processes.
In contrast to the single 88 Piano plugin…I can load up H5 and get some 40 tracks out of it before it chokes and requires extra attention such as rendering some things to audio tracks before moving on. I know for a fact Halion is asking for some 400 or more voices and still NOT choking…while the 88 Piano plugin chokes things with nothing but a single 24 velocity layer piano patch loaded (granted it’s a FINE piano, with damper samples, and so much more…but I doubt it’s asking for more than 400 voices at a time).
Its rare for you to use more than 8 layers… That’s because it’s irrelevant to you and a ton of work, but not to me, nor to a great deal of people who like detailed instruments… Specially drums. 15 years using HALion man… I want my HALion to be better than the FRIGGING Kontakt. and what’s better about Kontakt. It has A LOT OF content to chose from. WHy because people don’t sample anymore so they make sure they have tons of content. This is why HALion is not selling as it should. People don’t sample anymore.
I have my snare drums with tons of layers and have no problem getting the effect I’m going for which is realism and the response of it. NOR HALion chokes on them…
AND I’m a drummer and I don’t like drums libraries where the drums are not responsive and it sounds like a drum machine. My cymbals start from very lite taps to very loud smacks… Also round ribbon adds even more realism to the instrument.
I don’t use drum pads, didn’t mention that. Didn’t say I’m aiming detailed sample libraries to you or everyone but there are a lot of people that likes this. And ten years of people asking me for them is a lot of people. And a Lot of Download (wish I had a $1 for every download ) and very happy users because of the way the drums responded when they played them on their Edrum kits or the midi programming they did.
The GSCW kit I gave away in KVR were half on the tons of layers I had originally. When you want a tap on the snare, you get a tap on the snare L-R plus a bunch of others, thus removing the fake machine gun effect on lots of drum sampled libraries.
Obiously you don’t use HALion as I do and drums are not your game.
Did you know you can program the velocities after the facts? and take advantage of the detailed sampled instrument? pencil tool in piano roll editor, select velocities and presto.
The argument is not that you can or can’t afford a pad with hi resolution midi but a lot of people do. And this involves those people. specially if you want your arrangement sounding realistic. When I record drummers and they screw up (and they do all the time or they want to record their own kit drum) I extract the midi notes from his playing and all his hits are converted to midi with velocity and for example, the Starclassic that I have sampled responds as it should and they have no clue I removed the original drums. Ex.2 I tell the guy don’t change the head now or by the end of the song you will be drooping the tune of the snare and your tom toms. “Nah I know what I’m doing”. ( “oh wow it did detune” ) So I have to fix the mistake in post. More money for me but I rather do it right once.
When I use my drum samples I have no problems nor all the elaborate apologetic cons you mentioned. Some artists can’t afford to pay for live drummers so I program them and Thank goodness for 128 layers divided by 24 or 28 samples layered. And also they are sick of EZD which is on every record hahaha!
The problem is Why the grain engine is so heavy? Why there is High or Extreme resolution in HALION and it chokes the computer?. I have a 6 Core AMD 3ghz. WHY user presets don’t show, etc, etc… and a ton of more relevant issues apart from been able to load more than 8 layers at once. WHY over a year to fix obvious problems and then come up with a H6 while H5 is going bananas? old history.
HALion needs work for all relevant issues that are affecting all the users (not just me). And I can rest assure you are not pushing HALion like we do. There is no big elaborate orchestral library nor gigantic sample piano libraries for HALion. I know piano players that can’t stand The Grand 3 because it does not response like a real piano and they like The WHITE GRAND or other large sampled Piano from a third party. And I say what? I love the grand 3 but I know what they mean.
Later I’ll give you an example of my drums.
I’ve never had problems getting third party libraries. They come with players.
I’ll concede that Halion might have shortcomings for doing a top notch super detailed drum set. What alternatives are there for similar money though, and how do they compare?
I’ve never tried to make a ‘super detailed’ real time drum set with things like realistic choking of sustained samples when the virtual head takes a second hit (is that possible in any sampler on the market?), squeaky pedals, and all the super detailed eccentricities of realistic drum playing may well require a custom engine designed specifically for percussion. I personally cannot imagine loading up such a program on my ancient PC and expecting it to work well ‘live’ without latency while other VSTi’s and stuff are also running at the same time in the same host. However, I have started with rather basic digital drum sets, and added some of those details in post.
For a super realistic and responsive real time drumming instrument…given the options I know of right now…I’d plan to serve such an electronic drum set from a dedicated PC (or isolate and run it discretely from the DAW on a high end PC), and sequence it using an old Atari ST (restored with a nice fresh cap job of course). I hate the latency issues with modern DAW systems…the Atari ST is rock solid and has superb resolution. They’re also pretty cheap.
Getting realistic ‘sounds’ spread across multiple triggers isn’t that much different from putting them all on the same trigger. I use four keys or pads instead of one, and integrate a CV foot pedal or two. I do NOT have a nice MIDI drum set though. I’ve got to use the pads and keys at hand. They aren’t sensitive enough for 24 velocity layers.
Yes, I’m aware that velocity can be edited in post, but I’m also aware that MIDI notes and crossfading layers can be edited in post. In post, or with ‘step entry’ style composing there’s not that much difference. When trying to play things in live, with cheap pads and keyboards…with minimal latency, while also tracking along with other VSTi plugins, all in the same host…the patch design needs to be different. MPC engines like GA4 are aimed at this sort of user. We ‘rough in compositions’ first, and if it sounds like a machine gun…we load and do the ‘detail work’ later. We don’t have a pro drummer at hand…so we rough it in and polish later. It’s not nearly as demanding on system resources as trying to load an instrument with gigs worth of samples (much of which probably won’t even be used during the session) and tens of thousands of potential triggers to track a ‘real time drumming performance’.
So I am curious of what happens if you load one of your super patches in Stand Alone mode and give the Halion engine access to all the cores. How much of your performance problems are due to the ‘host’ and the way it is managing resources vs the true ‘plugin potential’?
I’ve noticed that quite a few people are confused by the performance meters in Cubase and Halion. Those are NOT true ‘cpu’ meters. They are more of an indicator of relative performance within a specific time-reference…where everything needs to get done in sync to strict clock, etc. When things aren’t tweaked properly, I can peg that stupid performance meter in Cubase when my CPU is darn near idle (I can always get it sounding good again too…sometimes at a cost of latency…but then again I have cheap and ancient hardware…from CPU and motherboard to sound interface…so it works really well for what little I have invested in hardware here).
No doubt GA4 isn’t meant to go that far. Maybe it will be someday…
You’re correct that there is always room for improvement, and Halion does have a rather slow development cycle. The problem inspiring me to post here are claims that it doesn’t work, that it’s inefficient, or that it’s a waste of money, etc. None of that is true.
Third party libraries are an issue for some people, and that’s understandable. I didn’t get into Halion until version 5, and I KNEW it didn’t have many libraries for it. I wanted it to make surround sound stuff on the fly using unlimited numbers of DAW tracks to do multi channel samples at once…to integrate with Cubase and have FULL VST3 Expression support. At the time…nothing else on the market could do that, AND it was half the price of anything else on the market with as many features and synth engines.
I still contest the CPU/Resource efficiency thing. If there is anything heads above and better than Halion in this respect, with an equal or greater complexity and feature set, then it’s definitely in a much higher price bracket. I won’t argue that you might not find a more efficient ‘granular synth’ plugin…but how much does it cost? At some point it may well be more immediate (than waiting for future generations of software) AND less expensive to simply ‘use what we have’, and get one of the door stop PC’s out of the closet, and host some instruments on extra hardware? Ironically, hardware is cheaper than software these days…in fact, I’ve scoured enough stuff from people’s ‘garbage bins’ to make some decent pieces of music kit.
I think at least half of the issues some people experience with resource management are in the HOST, as there is a finite amount of time for plugins to get things done ‘in sync’ (between the clock ticks). Faster individual cores can help some with this, but in the digital realm, there will always be a finite amount of time…which is relative to the buffer size to your audio interface. At some point I hope more hosts will allow us to open a parallel matrix so we can get better use from multiple cores…but so far, none of the hosts in the consumer price range are doing that yet. So, essentially all the plugins are at the mercy of the host to a rather large degree.
On a PC as old and slow as mine…when I reach that ceiling with Cubase, I still have more than 40% of my CPU power free, so I can start moving VSTi plugins (where clock sync to the second with the rest of the DAW isn’t important) to a discrete Bidule and get several more instances going by using another 20% of the CPU.
If someone is on a budget and is looking for a well rounded set of sound scape tools with some of the best base content on the market, along with cutting edge psycho acoustic technologies, Halion packs a heck of a lot in the box for a fair price. I too wish Halion got ‘more love’ from Steinberg…but when I look around at alternative products, I see that the ‘love’ does come with a ‘price’ (and a lot of the ‘love’ projected by competing products is mostly sales hype and hot air…ultimately ‘paid for’ by the consumers).
Halion in its current state is more like an expandable Rompler. It is one heck of a nice bread and butter foundation for a workstation. One can make really nice projects, for all generas of music without having to buy a single ‘third party’ library. I wish I’d gotten Halion 4 back when I started moving over from racks and stacks to a software based DAW. I wouldn’t have needed at least three of the third party libraries I had purchased before H5 (Halion’s base content is better).
Having typed all this…I’ll be on my way from this thread. I apologize for approaching ‘rudeness’ in some previous posts. I don’t mean to be so impolite as to hijack a thread. I’m just dumbfounded at all the people who buy things without running the trials first, then claim it ‘doesn’t work’ and is a ‘waste of money’; or, folks who compare $200 options to $4,000 options; etc.
I am slightly curious about what H6 is about.
Any place to get any hints on this? Not that I’m really ready to update H5 yet.
It would be nice to see more realistic guitars and bass with more dynamics and perhaps articulation support.
BTW I am on an old 2008 Mac Pro on it’s last breath, and I have never had one issue with regards to CPU usage. To the contrary, on a full Cubase project, Halion is at it’s bast when it lets me fit in 3-4 extra instrument patches whereas, I would have never been able to load a few more VSTi. In a lot of cases I don’t know what I’d do without it.
H5 “sample” content is by no means heavy… Its the SYNTH ENGINE in GRAIN or Synth mode that kills it… Specially with synths that have 8 OSC multiplied effects and so on.
Specially with combo patches that have 3 or 4 synths running at once per patch. Like the default preset that loads up. It has 3 Synths running and each has a ton of things going on.
Apart from that, it bugs a lot when doing programming.
WHICH is the main point of HALion. Its a Sampler… Just very insignificant commands in HALion have cause crashes and makes no sense to me.I don’t want it to crash when I’m programming for the last 30min. and a simple drag and drop would make it freeze or the annoying splash that an error has …blabla… etc…
The sample content is very poor, Synths are great but very heavy.
Audio quality of HALion is the best out there.
ALL reported bugs need fixing, like last year…
cheers! Lets see what H6 is gonna look like because the H5 UI is …mmmmhhh! not very friendly for programming unless you have 3 monitors or a 2k or 4k monitor. I can live with that… I just want it to be serviced with the long list of bugs.
I do understand that sluggish feeling when you stack a lot patches in Halion. I try to stick to Padshop for granular, and use other synths initially, afterwards, using Halion as a supplement. So yeah my perspective is different. The main reason I wanted H5 was to be able to load my HSO libraries with articulations intact, and I have to say, that works nicely.
I have been weary of making fast moves in software when I know I’m ‘power using’ it. I actually have an innate habit of saving every time I load Halion or make a big move, save prior to certain other functions in Cubase, for that matter most pro software.
I suppose if Halion is providing the power to do these things, it should be able to handle whats available. It’s true that with the feature requests in the FR section, I had an expectation that these were requests for H5 and not a list of things we would like to pay for in the next version. With so many great competitive offerings out there, I will have to decide whether it’s worth it to push too far into Halion - the more you upgrade, the more you feel obligated to honor your investment into the platform.