Control Sounds Halions 5 with program changes

All topics on HALion 4, HALion 5 and Steinberg's VST workstations HALion Sonic 1 and HALion Sonic 2
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New Member
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Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2016 12:03 pm

Control Sounds Halions 5 with program changes

Post by letsdoit »

Hello To all,

I have bought Absolute2 which included Halion 5,

I would like to control the choosen of the sounds from Halion 5 from another program (halions running as VSt in a host) with program changes

In Halion Sonic you can do this but only in GM mode where the sounds are pretty the GM bank.

I still have not found a way to do this.
Has anyone tried this with succes??

I want to make several soundbank which included 128 sounds per bank. As Steinberg itselve as a company has given zero feedback and only refers to the users on the forum for a solution i ask the question here.


BTW tip for Steinberg. If you develope and sell products perhaps you can also give a answer to question from people who actualy bought your products instead of only refering to your forum.....

Brian Roland
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Joined: Fri Jun 19, 2015 5:24 pm

Re: Control Sounds Halions 5 with program changes

Post by Brian Roland »

Sonic 2 only accepts program changes in one of two ways.
1. In General MIDI mode it will call up instruments that are GM1 compliant. They're actually not bad...just realize they need a touch of processing (reverb, chorus, etc. & guitars and basses can be run through the many virtual amp effects provided by the Halion engine).

2. You can call up an entire multi-setup with a single program change. You'd have to define all of the instrument slots together as a changes them ALL at once, so you can't swap individual slots channel by channel.

Big brother, Halion 5 will respond to program changes (the first 128 instruments in a Multi table) if you allow this in the 'options' tab.

Be careful though, the current version of Halion 5 has a bug that can crash the whole host when rapidly swapping out anything but the GM instruments via this method.

My workaround for the program-change crash bug has been to simply channel hop, or set up key or continuous controller switches instead of relying on program changes. This has worked out really well for me in my Sibelius or Finale soundsets. In fact, it's a little more flexible in terms of tweaking things out for detail while I'm building a score. I just need to remember to give myself more instances of Halion to work with for the project (since it needs more channels) Each articulation/variation I need is all preloaded and available for me to fine tune at will.

Say I want to swap between a huge acro string section, some pizzicato, and a tremolo.

Method one:
I can set each instrument on a separate channel and have my sequencer or keyboard controller change channels rather than sending program changes. This method would work with Sonic as well, particularly if you use multiple instances of Sonic for each instrument or family/section of instruments (I.E. Putting everything you need for a first violin section in a lone Sonic instance).

Method two: In Halion 5 I could edit the instrument so a key switch or CC message changes between the different string bow/pluck styles. To do this just pile the instruments as separate layers into the same instrument and set up a method to switch between them on the fly.

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