Review Iconica Sections & Players by Steinberg


Steinberg team up with Orchestral Tools to deliver the first high-end orchestral library for HALion 6, HALion Sonic 3, and the included HalionSE. Iconica Sections & Players has a great sounding sample set with user-friendly functionality and everything you need to get started with virtual orchestration.

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Review Iconica Sections & Players by Steinberg


Iconica Main Interface

Steinberg’s Iconica Sections & Players promises to bring a high-end orchestra to the virtual sampling and sound design system HALion.

Last year I had a chance to review HALion 6. I found the sample player and sound design tool had some incredible functionality. In the review, I criticized the stock orchestral instruments as I didn’t feel they stood up to the playback quality and performance of other orchestral instruments that were on the market.

All that has changed with the release of Iconica Sections & Players.

Steinberg team up with Orchestral Tools to deliver the first high-end orchestra library for HALion. As most of the Sample Library Review regulars will know Orchestral Tools has been knocking it out of the park with their orchestral instruments including the Berlin series and the Metropolis Ark franchise.

For the Iconica release, it is evident that Orchestral Tools brought their instrument development and sampling expertise to the table for this collection. With a serious download size of 190 GB uncompressed to disk, Iconica is a serious orchestral collection that stands up to its contemporaries on other platforms.

The library contains Strings sections, Brass sections and soloists, Woodwind Soloists and a range of orchestral percussion instruments.

The instrument selection covers all the major performance tools of the orchestra delivering standard (longs and shorts) articulations and dynamic (crescendo/decrescendo/repetitions performances) articulations and includes Adaptive True Legato for some of the instruments.

Those thinking that this collection was ported over utilizing the same sample set as Orchestral Tools‘ Berlin series would be mistaken. Iconica Sections & Players was recorded at Funkhaus in Berlin and has its own character and delivers a really nice sound during playback. For the recording sessions, the developers brought 76 musicians into Funkhaus’s Studio 2. For the record, Orchestral Tools’ Berlin series of libraries was recorded in Teldex Scoring Stage across town.

Iconica Mixer Panel

The library delivers an option for several microphone positions with natural and clear playback containing just enough room to make it lively and yet dry enough that I found myself bussing out the orchestra into one of my go-to reverbs. I add this to the PROs of the library as I think it adds versatility without pigeonholing in the playback sound and allowing users to sculpt the performances to their desire.

Articulation Switching Display in the “Callrack”

The library comes with a very user-friendly key switching system as well as Tuning Scale controls and the Multi Microphone Position controls found on the Mixer Page.

Iconica Tuning Scale pop-over controls

As you can see in the review video (above) I did have a little trouble getting the HALion SE to play back smoothly. It took a little while to adjust RAM parameters in the Streaming Settings panel but I finally found a good setting for my Mac and Logic setup to work without flaws.

Although I was testing the library out on a 7200RPM drive I would recommend an SSD as this might solve all of the buffering and sample playback issues I was having without so many adjustments.

Steinberg has incorporated VST3’s unique Note Expression and Expression Maps. Cubase & Dorico users will be aware of the power of Expression Maps as these features allow users a convenient alternative to viewing/editing controller data.

If I had to characterize the library I would say it leans a little more to a classical sound with very natural dynamics and performances captured with a comfortable amount of room to keep the samples lively.

Iconica offers versatility in this collection of orchestral instruments that cover most tools needed for creating realistic virtual orchestration. The playback is smooth and functionality is very user-friendly and I love how the library covers pretty much everything you need to get started with virtual orchestral scoring!

I can see how this is going to be an excellent addition to the toolkits of pop, rock and electronic music producers looking to get into high-end orchestral programming as well as for those serious about writing for an orchestra for film, games and tv.

Oh I almost forgot, there is a 30-day trial version available from the Steinberg website so check that out yourself if you are curious if this instrument is right for you.

Iconica Sections & Players sells for $799.99 from Steinberg


Iconica downloads as 150 GB and decompresses to just under 200GB. It contains Strings, Brass Sections with Brass, Woodwind solo instruments as well as chromatic and non-chromatic percussion.

Iconica Sections & Players is compatible with HALion 6, HALion Sonic 3, and the included HALion Sonic SE

Iconica Sections & Players sells for $799.99 from Steinberg


Demos of Iconica Sections & Players by Steinberg

Videos of Iconica Sections & Players by Steinberg