Free Music Software: Get Steinberg X-Stream Spectral Synthesizer

Free Music Software: Steinberg has introduced X-Stream, a free spectral synthesizer virtual instrument for Mac & Windows.


  • Free monophonic spectral synthesizer
  • Drag and drop: Turn any samples into smooth evolving soundscapes and textures.
  • Craft abstract drones and effects for scores, games and electronic music.
  • Works with all versions of HALion in a wide variety of DAWs.
  • More than 100 presets.

Here’s what they have to say about it:

“The free X-Stream spectral synthesizer transforms your sample into a colorful spectrum of sounds. Stretch the playback of samples, loops or even whole tracks to extreme lengths and create ethereal dreamy soundscapes and textures.”

X-Stream Audio Demo:


Steinberg X-Stream is available now as a free download.

Note: Either HALion 7 or the free HALion Sonic are required to required, along with registration at the Steinberg site.

12 thoughts on “Free Music Software: Get Steinberg X-Stream Spectral Synthesizer

  1. Steinberg already had its hands a superb and powerful spectral synthesizer (And polyphonic by the way) with Padshop and its spectral resynthesis oscillator. They let it die and rot, with a shameful lack of updates, a small, unusable and non-scalable 2012 GUI, etc. No way I’m spamming and wasting space and time with their Halion Sonic engine, their Library Manager, along with their Download Assistant, their e-licenser activation manager, to get this, even if it’s free. I wouldn’t be surprised if they fully milk it with a paid polyphonic version in the near future. And keep letting Padshop rot of course.

    1. That’s a lot of pent-up anger directed at a free plugin offering. This might come as a complete shock, but there is a very real cost to update old software. If it doesn’t earn money, companies have to stop development. So, yeah, stuff “dies and rots.”

    2. Hmm, yes, I can agree; I was in awe with Padshop – was one of my first softsynths – and it’s sad it isn’t alive anymore… and, yes, I’ll let it pass by.

    3. Steinberg no longer uses the eLicenser, although they still support it. Almost all of their programs now use Steinberg Licensing which does not require a dongle, lets you use on multiple machines, and in my experience is very simple to use.

      The spectral engine with this new synth is different than Padshop’s. It has extra spectral options that are pretty fantastic. I still use Padshop too, but this has been a very nice free surprise from Steiny. I do agree that the library manager and download assistant being two different programs is at times awkward, but once you figure out what each one does, it isn’t a big deal imho.

      Anyhow, just wanted to correct your outdated e-licenser assumption in case that makes a difference to you or others.

  2. Not that I disagree with all of your criticisms, but there is already a polyphonic version of this in Halion (Spectral Synth) pretty much identical sans the fancy new GUI and monophonic limitation. I also cant understand how a company the size of Yamaha/Steinberg have the worst GUIs (and arguable UX) in the business, but it makes good sounds…

  3. When I saw that Halion 7 was on sale, I was curious to see if it was worth the sale price. My superficial searches showed that some people really like it. I couldn’t find any details about how good the included sample library is, but the demos seemed mostly synth focused.

    Even with these free offerings, there is some “cost” to users. Beyond the steps to install, more significant is the amount of space it might occupy, both on the hard drive, and in your creative mind-space. Now that I’ve “accumulated” some VI’s, I’m a bit more selective.

    I decided to pass on Halion 7, and I pass on this freebie for similar reasons. I have these sonic bases covered elsewhere.

    This does seem like a nice instrument for someone who wants that epic soundscape thing.

  4. Intriguing, but yes, the arduous sign-up process partly makes it a meh for me. I like its basic shape, so its tempting. Its also a case of how much system space and upkeep are required. I can already drop samples into several places and moosh them into shape, so there’s limited gain in it for me.

    I’ve learned to avoid the KVR Bug, where you pile up too many shiny things and clog up your own creative tubes. Novelty can sometimes get old fast. Pick a platform like Live and build it up internally as far as it’ll go. Once you have your base studio established, its easier to see clearly & buy smarter.

    I’ve also found both Yamaha and Steinberg to be very, um, *fussy* in strange ways. They have positive aspects. Its just that they have corporate mindsets that clash with my own. The basic Yamaha GUI is notorious for baffling a certain % of us. I nearly married an SY85 (a real beaut), but we couldn’t bridge the language gap.

    1. Thanks, for this S-Trigger Dave.

      It’s weird that Synthtopia gave me “Click to Edit” and “Delete” options for YOUR post.

      GUI design is an art. Some companies get that.

      Yamaha has frustrated me in the past, as well, in this regard. Good features & sound, but weird logic.

  5. it is free indeed, but it supposes a full installation of Halion which many of us dont care or want. I find it a bit deceptive in that sense, because when one reads “free”, 90% of the time is is an instrument that works as a simple VST, without an extra layer of software. To me it feels like a way to lure people in to Halion…

    1. It is really free! All you need is Halion Sonic 7.1. a free download. Don’t know where all the negative vibes are coming from. This is free stuff, running in a free engine. Do some manual reading to get it installed. The engine is not available anywhere else. Compare if in doubt, it’s free after all.

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