Laptop Studio — Music software reviews, news and info for computer music

2 May 2005

HALion 3 — Grooves review

Filed under: Music software at 9:53 am (no comments)
halion-3

HALion 3, the latest version of Steinberg’s software sampler, was reviewed a little while back by the excellent Grooves magazine. They rate the included library highly: “Halion 3 includes several high-quality sound libraries that both demonstrate the power of the sampler and make the product a useful instrument in its own right.” Well, you’d hope it would be useful for the price!

They also give a nod to the Alternate function, which modulates the same MIDI note differently each time it is played. This prevents a common problem with samplers — every note sounds the same, whereas real instruments (even analog synths) sound slightly different each time.

Compared to the previous version, they like how HALion 3 organises the layout and use of samples, though the sample categories are not quite as flexible as they should be — categories cannot be added or renamed, and sample categorisation did not always work.

The main downside of HALion 3, they say, is that it is very resource-hungry. They say you need a heavy-duty workstation to use it to its potential, even with their fancy “RAM Save” function, which unloads samples from memory when they’re not required. This heavy resource usage may also explain the apparently random crashes they had. Save early, save often!

Overall they say HALion 3 is a very good product, though not as a pure sound-design tool: “HALion is better suited for emulating traditional instruments. If that is your goal, or if you need strong keyboards out of the box, few other soft samplers can compare with the usability and sound reproduction qualities of HALion 3.”

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