Which VST for HSO I should use!


I have HSO and Halion Sonic SE ( from Cubase 10.5). Is Halion Sonic SE uses the same HSO as Cubase’?

You better use HALion Sonic SE. It can also play all the HSO sounds and has the benefit that it can produce 16 different instruments at the same time. So by that it uses the resources of your computer more efficiently than the HSO-Player.

Usually all of the latest releases of Steinberg hosts ship with the exact same version of Sonic SE; however, depending on when you last did any updates to Cubase 10.5…well, there might be more recent versions of SE out there for you.

Yes, All the Steinberg hosts share the same installation of Sonic SE, and the same content library manager serves all of your Steinberg hosts. Each host might ship with slightly different HALion content, but provided you have all the keys to all your hosts on the system’s elicenser…they can easily share content that might ship with one host, and not another. I.E. If you have your Cubase key on the system, then you could use Hybrid Synths content in Dorico. If your Dorico key is set up, you can use HSO in Cubase, etc. In cases where content is included in multiple Stienberg hosts on your system, only one copy is installed. I.E. Cubase and Dorico both ship with Basic and Artist libraries…both apps share the same vstsound files…so you don’t have multiple copies or anything…just the one.

Cubase comes with several HALion synth libraries and such that doesn’t come with Dorico. Dorico comes with HSO, and some choirs and such that don’t come with Cubase. If both Cubase and Dorico are registered in your eLiscenser, then you can use ALL the content in both Steinberg hosts.

Stienberg host installers that come with SE work like this…
Say you buy a Cubase 11 upgrade today, and install that. It’ll check your Sonic SE installation if one is on your system. If it’s older than the one that ships with Cubase 11…it’ll get updated. From there, ALL of your other Stienberg apps such as Dorico will also use the new version of Sonic SE.

Next imagine that you’ve you pulled an old archive copy of Dorico 2 that you wish to install on your system. That installer should sense that your current installation of Sonic SE is newer than what it has to offer…so it just reports, “Already installed”. Next it checks the content libraries…if they are already there, or newer…again it just says, “Already installed”. Etc. When you go to use Dorico 2, it’ll simply call up Sonic SE by plugin ID…it doesn’t know nor care that it’s a newer version. Sonic 3 SE will be backwards compatible with all versions before him that had that same plugin ID…so you’re good to go.

The important thing here is plugin ID. If Stienberg ever upgrades a particular plugin in a way that would break ‘backward compatibility’, then in general, they’d assign a new plugin ID, and hence forth the old version should stay on your system and be managed separately. While this doesn’t happen very often in my experience…it’s possible it could happen at some point. So…in essence…the goal is to keep a given plugin ID at the latest version possible.

In sort, anytime you install or update a Steinberg host on a system that already has Sonic SE on it, it only touches Sonic SE if it has something new/different to offer. If it does update/upgrade Sonic SE, it’ll be updated for anything that you’re using the Sonic SE plugin with (all uses the same plugin and content library).

It’s possible that a Dorico release might go out and later Sonic SE gets an update. I.E. Dorico 2 was still shipping with Sonic SE 2 for a while, even though Sonic 3 SE was available and perfectly compatible with Dorico. One can always grab the latest version of Sonic SE from here.

Requesting the download from that link asks for an email address, and a registration code for your elicenser is sent to you. Said key is optional if you’ve already got a key for a Stienberg host that ships with SE on the system. The free key does NOT unlock any HALion content that isn’t specifically set up to work with the free player. The free key’s purpose is to unlock the SE player for those who wish to use third party libraries designed for the free player on a system that doesn’t already have something that unlocks Sonic SE somewhere on the eLisencer. I.E. Someone who doesn’t have any Steinberg host that comes with Sonic SE liscensed at all, but purchased a sound library that requires the player.

Your Dorico and Cubase keys do unlock quite a bit of content however, and as long as elisencer and your Host keys are on the system…you can also use Sonic SE and all the HALion sound libraries that shipped with Dorico in other VST2, VST3, AU, and AAX hosts.

You can run the latest SE installer at any time and it’ll check to see the version on your system needs an update. If so, you get options to update.

It’s generally better to use Sonic 3, or Sonic 3 SE (or later when newer versions become available) for HSO, as these players grant access to quite a few features and abilities that you don’t get with the old single instance HSO plugin. I.E. Sonic SE is multi-timberal. It also has AUX busses of which you can add from a nice slate of effects that are included with Sonic SE. There are key mapping features, multi-output support, and much more. It’s even possible to layer up sounds by setting multiple instrument slots to the same MIDI channel. The full version of Sonic 3 provides even more options and features, as well a several more sound libraries.

HALion 6 (H6), the flagship design tool for HALion content is the absolute best for hosting HSO…as H6, being a power user sound design tool can also dive deep into the library and edit the fine details of the sounds (and more). It also includes the Sonic 3 plugin, and a heap of extra content.

It’s also worth adding that HSO can also be purchased on its own as a stand alone library. If you’ve ever purchased this, you probably also have an eLicenser key on your dongle for that too. It’ll work independently of your Dorico key. I.E. You could move the exclusive HSO key to a different dongle, and use HSO with the free SE player on a different system that doesn’t have Dorico, nor Cubase installed. In that case, you’d either use the simple single instance HSO plugin, or get a free key for Sonic SE as mentioned above, or use a full Sonic 2 or later, or HALion 5 or later player.

No…Cubase doesn’t unlock HSO. You’ll either need Dorico registered on the same system with Cubase, or have an exclusive HSO key as mentioned above registered in order to use HSO in Cubase. Vice verse for things like Flux and Hybrid synths that ship with Cubase, but don’t come with Dorico…if the Cubase key is on your system, then Dorico (or even non Steinberg hosts) can use them too.

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