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Steinberg HALion 3.1

Dolphin id:3633 Product SKU:502014910

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Since the debut of HALion in 2001, Steinberg’s software sampler has repeatedly raised the bar for other virtual samplers. With HALion 3, you can load almost every sound library available on the market and use numerous tools to shape and even radically reinvent sounds. A clearly-arranged user interface, excellent performance, flexible routing options and the awesome sound quality of the sample engine and filters – all this makes HALion 3 a top-flight software sampler and a welcome addition to every music production toolbox.

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HALion - The VST Sampler

Since the debut of HALion in 2001, Steinberg’s software sampler has repeatedly raised the bar for other virtual samplers. With HALion 3, you can load almost every sound library available on the market and use numerous tools to shape and even radically reinvent sounds. A clearly-arranged user interface, excellent performance, flexible routing options and the awesome sound quality of the sample engine and filters – all this makes HALion 3 a top-flight software sampler and a welcome addition to every music production toolbox.

  • 256 voices, 16-way multi-timbral, 128 programs per instance
  • Supports nearly all common sampler formats, audio file formats as well as ISO, Nero and Toast Disc Images
  • Resource-sparing operation courtesy of innovative RAMSave technology
  • 5.1 Surround-enabled Sample Engine, supports audio files up to 384 kHz
  • Unlimited number of virtual outputs
  • High-quality Waldorf filters
  • Extensive effect section
  • Integrated browser with useful tools for searching, organizing, categorizing and archiving your samples
  • Fantastic options for shaping sounds (Loop editor, synchronizable envelopes and LFOs, STEP envelopes, etc.)
  • HALion 3 sound library containing more than 160 high-quality instruments

New Features

With more than 50 new features, HALion 3 offers unprecedented depth and breadth of access, enabling you to work more productively and efficiently than ever before. Figuring prominently among its many innovations are an intuitive new system for sound categorization as well as impressive new insert and send effects.

  • Rewire Compatibility - With the version 3.1 release, HALion now supports the ReWire protocol and therefore readily integrates into all ReWire-enabled host applications such as Pro Tools®.
  • Enhanced Disk Streaming - With the benefit of the all-new Advanced Disk Streaming mode, even better disk streaming performance is assured.
  • Q Controls - Q controls are macro regulators that you can allocate to almost any HALion parameter. Eight Q controls are available for each program; they can be allocated individually. Many HALion sound libraries, among them the included library, contain predefined Q controls for the given sound’s vital parameters.
  • MIDI Learn - With the new MIDI Learn mode in HALion 3.1, the various Q controls are quickly and easily assigned to any MIDI controller. With this function, you can now control nearly every parameter in HALion using the controls on external MIDI hardware.

New Features in HALion 3.0

  • RAMSave Technology - HALion 3 is endowed with the novel RAMSave technology. This new feature was developed specifically for HALion to make it easier to work with memory-hungry sample programs. If you like working with sophisticated samples of instruments such as drum sets and string sections, you’ll love the substantially reduced RAM demand and faster loading times.
  • Effect Section - Impressive new insert and send effects abound. Boasting 27 high-quality effects, the new FX section is ready to rise to every sound-sculpting challenge. Effects may be applied to individual samples, sample groups or even entire programs. The new routing options let you patch effect signals directly into the host application’s VST mixing console.
  • File Browser - A new File Browser featuring drag & drop support, favorites, sound categorization as well as database and indexing functions is on board package. The impressive collection of new Sound Management Tools affords you a clear view of all your audio files. And with the intuitive new sound categorization system, finding the right samples and instruments is a piece of cake.
  • Alternate Mode - Another hip new feature, Alternate Mode extends HALion with a range of functions that brings more spontaneity and expression to your playing. For example, every note-on command can serve to trigger another sample – a great option for enlivening drums and realistically replicating the action of bowed stringed instruments.
  • User Interface - Freshly tidied up, the uncluttered interface of HALion now handles even more intuitively. And with the new improved tool tips providing good advice, even newbies will find working with HALion a breeze. Frequently used settings for envelopes, modulations and effects may be stored as presets. And to afford you an even better view, many panels can be opened in a separate window.
  • Import Formats - Providing support for even more formats, HALion 3 now imports Kurzweil und Kontakt sounds as well as Zero-X BeatCreator and Groove Slice BeatQuantizer formats. In the DVD’s 3rd Party Demo folder, you’ll find a demo version of the ZeroX BeatQuantizer. Try it out for a limited period of 15 days.

Quality and Performance

Steinberg’s award-winning HALion Sample Engine supports 5.1. Surround sound and audio files with resolutions ranging up to 384 kHz/32 bit. As a fully multi-timbral instrument, HALion can receive data on 16 MIDI channels simultaneously and load up to 128 programs. Each HALion instance can send up to 256 voices to up to 256 individual audio outputs*! The advanced disk streaming engine ensures fast loading times for samples as well as exceptional performance, so that even very intricate samples of complex instruments play without a problem, even from different hard disks.

Multi-samples to Infinity and Beyond

Every HALion program may entail an (in theory) unlimited number of individual samples. You can create up to 4,096 folders per program, which can be played and edited independently (for example, according to velocity) or collectively (as layers). Every program can be loaded as a subordinate folder of an existing program to create layer and complex sound combinations in a matter of seconds.

User Interface and Workflow

Remarkable ease of use and intuitive handling are two of the many hallmark advantages of HALion 3 that make this sampler such a joy to work with. Though very clearly structured, the user interface offers all the functions that professionals demand and deserve. This third incarnation of the software sampler has been optimized in many ways, particularly for tasks involving complex instruments.

Frequently recurring tasks such as mapping samples and editing modulations in the Modulation Matrix are quickly achieved. Numerous Sound Management Tools such as Favorites, Instrument Categories and Display Filters*** help you keep track of tasks and find sounds quickly – even if your sample collection is enormous.

What’s more, HALion offers various functions for streamlining workflows, including user-definable key commands and movable, scalable windows that let you keep a watchful eye on vital editing panels.

You can save core features such as envelopes, modulations and effects as presets and reactivate them in a flash. Courtesy of the informative tool tips, GUI functions are largely self-explanatory.

Macro Page

The Macro Page in HALion is the perfect tool for swiftly selecting programs, adding effects and performing basic editing tasks. Though you’ll find more extensive sound-sculpting options in other editors, the Macro Page affords you fast access to crucial parameters such as envelopes, filters and LFOs.

Sample Formats

Whatever sampler you may have relied on in the past, HALion lets you reuse your sample CDs. Compatible with nearly all sample libraries available on the market, it speaks the lingo of AKAI, E-MU, Kontakt, Kurzweil, Roland, GIGA, EXS24, SF2, LM4, LM4 MkII, REX, ZGR (ZeroX BeatCreator), WAV, AIF and SD II (Mac only).

Another very welcome feature, HALion not only loads samples from physical disk drives, it even accesses ISO files and Nero Disc images directly without having to burn them first.

Integrated Sound Library

The included HALion 3 Library contains more than 160 meticulously sampled instruments for almost every application. Look no further for hip drums, strings, pianos, guitars, basses and synthesizers. The sound library is clearly organized and arranged in instrument categories, making it very easy to find the perfect sound for the occasion. Every instrument in the integrated HALion 3.1 sound library offers preset Q controls to facilitate fast and intuitive sound design.

File Browser

The powerful File Browser in HALion lets you conveniently search the contents of sample CDs/DVDs or (external and internal) hard disks for suitable samples. You can audition sample programs, copy them to hard disk, manage files and folders, define favorites and assign programs and folders to specific instrument categories.

The Auto Browse function lets you search for HALion-supported file types in selected partitions and folders. Courtesy of the efficient database and indexing functions, you can scan the entire sample collection using keywords and categories to locate suitable sounds very swiftly, regardless of which storage medium they happen to reside on. Beyond that, you may filter searches according to program category, file type and/or text info.

You can also opt to open the file browser in a separate scalable window.

Sound libraries featuring HALion Sound Bank (HSB) format are loaded automatically with the corresponding instrument categories.

RAMSave Technology

RAMSave is an innovative new technology designed to automatically boost the performance of HALion. When you work with large sample programs such orchestra combinations or drum kits, frequently only a fraction of the loaded samples is actually used. When RAMSave is enabled, HALion automatically dumps all samples that are not used in the current song from the main memory. To this end, it scans the MIDI notes and deletes all samples that are not assigned to any of these notes. This lightens the RAM’s load and ensures faster loading times.

Effect Section

To put even more creative sound-shaping options at your fingertips, HALion 3 ships with an extensive new effect section featuring a rich selection of 27 inspiring effects in the finest audio quality. Courtesy of the terrific Routing Matrix, HALion 3 offers utmost flexibility in effects mapping: Up to four insert effects, program inserts and global send effects are at your disposal. The good news gets even better: You are free to assign each effect to an individual sample, a program or even the entire bank. And you can patch send effect outputs to any virtual HALion output. Covering the full range of standard studio effects, the effect program offering extends from subtle reverb and EQs to guitar stomp-box FX such as auto wah and distortion.


If you’re looking for greater flexibility and control in your modulation options, you’ve come to the right place: HALion 3 and its Modulation Matrix let you define up to twelve different modulation assignments. You may assign all internal and external modulation sources (LFOs, Velocity, Envelopes, Modulation Wheel, Pitch Wheel, and so forth) freely to the modulation destination of your choice (for example, Cutoff, Volume, Pan, Pitch or Sample Start). As you would expect from a VST instrument, you can of course use one modulation source to control several parameters simultaneously. What’s more, for even more intuitive sound design any MIDI controller can be assigned to any modulation effect.

The MegaTrig function lets you engage controllers or keys to switch among different sample programs. This feature comes in quite handy when you want to spice up a track with added variety, say by playing variations of the same instruments (perhaps by picking one bass line with a pick, the other with “fingers” or by using different articulations for a string section). Five different Release Trigger modes and Crossfades are available to tweak every changeover to your taste.

The Alternate function lets you assign several sample variations to each note so that a slightly different sample is played for every attack. This injects a fresh, human feel into every line, which is especially beneficial in conjuring realistic strings and percussion instruments.

The envelopes in HALion comprise up to 32 editable steps that let you map modulation envelopes step by step. When the Sync counter is activated, the Step envelope is synched up to the host application’s tempo – that’s all it takes to create modulations that groove in time with the beat.

Q Controls

The freely configurable Q Control knobs afford you instant access to up to eight parameters. You can assign Q controls individually to every HALion program. In the event of program change, they will change their assignments automatically. Many new sound libraries offered by leading sample vendors feature predefined Q controls for the given instrument’s crucial parameters. Though your Q control settings are stored with the program or bank, you can also access them as separate presets.

MIDI Learn

With the practical MIDI Learn function, you can assign each of the eight Q control knobs to a MIDI controller in a matter of seconds. Very handy indeed, MIDI Learn is a powerful tool granting you convenient real-time control over sound parameters using any desired external MIDI device.

Original Waldorf Filters

HALion 3 ships with filters provided by Waldorf, the legendary synthesizer manufacturer. Featuring the unique Fatness parameter, these classic high-, low- and band-pass filters excel at delivering sumo-sized tone with breadth and warmth unrivalled by any sound found on other software samplers.

Excellent Compatibility

HALion 3 supports all standard plug-in formats such as VST, DXi, AU and Rewire and integrates smoothly and seamlessly into every professional host application. A standalone version is available for live scenarios and similar applications.

HSB - HALion Sound Bank

A hip new feature that debuted with HALion 3, HSB serves as a playback format for HALion 3 and HALion Player. An HSB file may contain up to 128 programs and an unlimited number of individual samples. Today many reputable sample vendors offer sample libraries in HSB format, which are very easy to install. Alongside the actual sample content, the HSB format accommodates instrument categories, descriptive remarks, copyright info and other meta information.

*Depending on the computer system’s performance

Minimum System Requirements

The minimum system requirements state the minimal specification your computer must have to be able to use the software. A more powerful system may be required for certain tasks or larger projects. You can find more information about computer system specification and setup here.


  • Mac OSX 10.4
  • Power Mac G5 2 GHz minimum / Intel core Solo 1.5 GHz
  • 1 GB RAM (2GB recommended)
  • 4 GB free HD space for installation
  • DVD drive required for Installation
  • CoreAudio compatible audio hardware
  • Steinberg Key and USB port required
  • Internet Connection required for license activation
  • For using as plug-in or Rewire slave-device, a VST2, AU (tested in Logic 7.2 and Digital Performer 4.6 only) or Rewire compatible Host is required.


  • Windows XP Home or XP Professional
  • Intel / AMD processor 1.6 GHz minimum
  • 1 GB RAM (2GB recommended)
  • 4 GB free HD space for installation
  • DVD drive required for Installation
  • Windows MME compatible audio hardware (ASIO compatible audio hardware required for low latency operation.)
  • Steinberg Key and USB port required
  • Internet Connection required for license activation
  • For using as plug-in or Rewire slave-device, a VST2, DXi2 or Rewire compatible Host is required.

*The Steinberg Key (USB copy protection device) required to run this product is not included. Customers who do not own a Steinberg Key must purchase one separately. The same Steinberg Key copy protection device is then used for all Steinberg products that require it.

Image: Steinberg HALion 3.1

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