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Steinberg ship Halion Symphonic Orchestra

New instrument features a whopping 27GB library
The latest incarnation of Steinberg's Halion software sampler features a massive 27GB sample library of orchestral sounds and an intuitive user interface. There are over 1200 brass, percussion, string and woodwind patches and combinations, each in 16- and 24-bit formats, which Steinberg claim can be used convincingly in everything from R&B to chamber music.

Halion Symphonic Orchestra (HSO for short) features Real Ambience — a function that adds recorded room ambience without the use of artificial reverb — along with the Crescendo Controller, which blends between sample layers in real-time, allowing realistic control of the instrument's dynamics, and RAM Save, a freeze function that puts less strain on the computer's CPU.

HSO's user interface displays a strip of virtual knobs that control eight of the instrument's most useful parameters below details of the patches in use, with options to change the MIDI channel, panning and output routing of each one.

HSO is currently compatible with Windows XP on the PC, and Mac OS X v10.4 on Apple G5s, with a version for Intel Macs to follow shortly. It can either be used as a stand-alone software instrument, with Rewire, or as a VST, Audio Units or Direct X plug-in.

The full package costs £399.99, or you can choose to crossgrade from any other (non-Steinberg) orchestral software instrument for £199.99. There are also updgrades available for Halion String Edition users — £149.99 for Volume One users and £69,99 if you have Volume Two. If you dont already have one, you'll need a Steinberg USB dongle for authorisation, which can be obtained from UK distributor Arbiter's web site for £19.99.

If you want to listen to an MP3 demo of HSO, go to Watch out for a review in Sound On Sound over the next few months.

Arbiter Music Technology +44 (0)20 8207 7880

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