Steinberg have just let 4.5 out of the bag which introduces even more new features
In case you bought it based on our recommendation we thought we should let you know that Steinberg have just let 4.5 out of the bag which introduces even more new features – addressing the user interface issues we had with an improved browser, adding advanced multi processor managements, introducing an audio warping engine based on the one in Cubase 6 (which we spoke about in our review here) increasing the synth’s oscillator count to a maximum of eight. Best of all, it’s a free update, so head over to Steinberg now to get the details…
It’s been some time coming, but Steinberg have finally released the fourth major update to their HALion sampler. We delved into the new features to see what was what…
Windows (XP/Vista 7), P4 2.4GHz or Core Duo/Athlon64 min / OSX (10.5+) Core Duo. 2GB RAM.
Articulation options for natural sounding compositions
Integral synth with 3 oscs + sub osc
Totally customisable interface layout
VST 3.5 support
Sample library smaller than competition
A couple of UI gripes
Price at Review: £292 HALion 4 is a big update to Steinberg’s flagship, with a lot going for it. We love the synth, and if you’re a Cubase user its value skyrockets due to the VST3.5 implementation.[like action=like]
Rather than cramming all of its features into a standard window or forcing you to memorise different page locations, HALion 4’s modular design allows you to create the sampler you’ve always wanted; the interface splits wherever and however you desire, and you can fill each pane of the main window with the elements of the software that make most sense to your workflow. Editing your samples? Why not a huge sample editing window running along the top of the software? Want an easy HUD for live use? Just arrange macro controls, quick select pads and the instrument rack into prime locations and get rid of the technical gubbins. It was great to be able to make full use of large screen, and saving different screen sets allows for all your use cases to be catered for.
Its inoffensive design, based around muted clay and blue colours, is easy to work with if a little utilitarian. Due to its simplicity we went scouting around the options to see whether we could change the dominant colour (or even colour code certain elements), but alas, no dice.
the modular approach that Steinberg have taken with HALion 4 has really paid off
There are some UI gripes, like a lack of tooltips, non alphabetical sorting of modules, and the inability to resize the main window by simply dragging its edges – as well as the aforementioned single colour scheme – but in general the modular approach that Steinberg have taken with HALion 4 has really paid off, making it potentially one of the easiest to use pro samplers available – providing you can settle on setups long enough to get used to them!
HALion 4’s synth is one of the most powerful additions to the software, and also one of the things that sets it apart the most from other samplers. Three oscillators, a dedicated sub osc, plus ring modulation and a noise generator add up to some very thick sound design capabilities, and rather than adding crazy wave table oscillators – which are often not much use – the traditional saw/square/sine pulse waves are on offer in standard, synced, PWM, CM and XOR variants, allowing pulse width/phase modulations to create unique sounds. It’s a shame there’s no dedicated drum synth controls, but maybe that would be asking too much.
All too often we’re forced to choose between either something that’s slightly under specced for our needs or something that’s got everything but the kitchen sink but is way too grand for what what we need it to do.
Steinberg have broken down their control concepts into modular offerings to allow us to mix and match our perfect control surface
Steinberg seem to have cottoned onto this, and rather than come out with a family of differently sized controllers as seems to be the trend, they’ve broken down their concepts into modular offerings to allow us to mix and match our perfect control surface.
Each controller is designed with a specific Cubase function in mind for extra tight integration with Steinberg’s flagship, but also doubles as a standard MIDI controller for maximum flexibility. The products, and their main features, are:
CMC-CH Channel controller: A hands on mirror of a Cubase channel strip
CMC-FD Fader box: Four touch strips with LED feedback
CMC-QC Quick Controller: Eight rotary encoders and a selection of buttons for quickly switching functions
CMC-PD Drum Pads: 16 velocity sensitive, tri colour LED drum pads
CMC-TP Transport controller: A mirror of the Cubase transport section with a touch strip for scrubbing
CMC-AI Cubase Advanced Integration Controller: A ‘smart knob’ large sized rotary encoder that can be set to various functions by the accompanying buttons
There are some neat and novel design choices on the CMC series; we like the look of the use of touch strips to sidestep the issue of fader position when switching between functions, but we’re not 100% sure about the dynamic illumination on the rotary encoders instead of a traditional LED ring. Tight integration with Cubase is great for Cubase users, and hopefully users of other software will be able to enjoy the controllers in standard MIDI mode.
The CMC series is due for release in October. No word on prices yet, but take a look at the below video for a good look at the controllers in turn – Steinberg have also set up a CMC minisite for your browsing pleasure.
Steinberg have just released the latest version of their flagship software sampler, HALion 4.
a big addition to HALion 4 is a virtual analogue synth
if you use any other Steinberg hardware or software, you’ll likely be interested in the improved integration with the rest of the Steinberg suite, including drag and drop connectivity between Halion and Cubase and Wavelab, VST 3.5 support, and automatic assignments to hardware.
The new interface, which revolves around separating the software window into various ‘editors’, looks very flexible – giving you the ability to set up the placement of the various elements of the software as you see fit, including saving various screens to switch between for different uses.
The other big addition to HALion 4 is a virtual analogue synth within the sampler, which gives it a real USP and should seriously increase its ‘all in one’ usefulness whilst simultaneously giving it an extra tool to spar with the gigantic library that comes with Native Instruments’ Kontakt 4, which dwarfs HALion’s 15GB collection (which includes the entire HALion Sonic library).
HALion 4 is available digitally now, and shipping very soon, for £295. More information and a review to follow…