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Steinberg's HALion 6 is quite a leap in terms of what you can do in software sampling and library manipulation from what you may be used to. Unsurprisingly HALion has become an incredibly deep and feature ridden application - it's been around since 2001. With all the features one would expect from a flagship sample manipulation system.
One of the real big pieces of news is the ability to design and create custom instruments and sample sets, create your own interfaces, macros and scripting and export them as self contained VST library patches for HALion and HALion Sonic - including the free HALion Sonic 3 SE - a free player. So you could in fact author content for sale from within HALion 6.
As well as the usual features one would expect: multi-timbrality, complex mixing and routings, deep synthesis features and sample manipulation, library features and the like, new features specifically in HALion 6 are:
Wavetable Editor - advanced wavetable creation and editing
Macro Page Designer - create custom interfaces for your sounds and sample sets
HALion Live sampling - from audio card input auto create key groups and more
HALion Scripting - customise instrument behaviours with LUA based scripting
Library Creator - create VST Sound libraries for exporting to HALion and HALion Sonic - including the free HALion Sonic 3 SE player.
AAX support - also works in AAX plug-in format
Library and instrument additions: (total library around 26GB)
The Raven Grand - new piano library - 6 velocity layers
The Eagle Grand - 12 velocity layers
Hot Brass - multi-sampled brass section library
Studio Strings - string ensemble library
Anima - two wavetable oscillators and arpeggiator synth
Skylab - granular synthesis engine
HALion Combi Library - new sounds available using layer architecture
Regular Sonicstate contributor Gaz Williams explores some of the new features with editor Nick Batt. Suffice to say this is an incredibly deep sample manipulation system, and also just general synthesis engine. Add to that the content authoring aspect and it's got a lot to offer both the content creator and technically competent musician.
Of course, if you don't need the content authoring or custom scripting and interfaces design aspect of HALion, then you can always opt for the more player oriented HALion Sonic 3 and save around £80 from the £282 price but get much of the same sample content.
Available as Stand Alone, AU, VST and AAX.
HALion uses the eLicenser copy protection, which can be used with the Steinberg USB dongle or authorized via the eLicenser software app.
Various upgrade paths are available from previous versions of HALion and HALion Sonic.