We have another plugin comparison for you. This time it’s synths: Omnisphere vs Serum!
In this article, we take an in-depth look at these two cutting-edge sound synthesizers that are reshaping the musical landscape. Omnisphere is Spectra Sonics’ flagship synthesizer, and it is a powerful and versatile instrument. This award-winning program combines multiple types of synthesis into a single incredible-sounding instrument that will inspire a lifetime of experimentation.
Xfer Records’ Serum, on the other hand, is a wavetable software synthesizer plugin. It creates electronic sounds with wavetable synthesis. The LFO Tool from Xfer Records is well known. LFO Tool is a Windows and Macintosh-compatible FX plugin.
Serum: A Brief Overview
Serum is an oddly named synth with surprisingly clear and low-aliasing wavetables. Even when forced to be filthy, it manages to preserve a slick and polished appearance, which is no minor task. With its zappy envelopes, very malleable LFOs, and other Warp tools, Serum is more than simply a source of shifting pads and atmospherics: it is also a very capable and adaptable synthesizer. It also boasts one of the most beautiful user interfaces for a powerful synthesizer.
Serum has a host of features that enable it to achieve the soft synthesizing it is renowned for.
Three assignable envelopes are available in Serum. Each may be graphed with extraordinary parameters. Synthesizer oscillator output ranges are a traditional use of envelopes. This is feasible with Serum with the aid of assigning an envelope to one or extra of the 4-oscillator “degree” controls.
The first envelope is already programmed to behave as a quantity envelope for the output of all oscillators; however, it is not always immediately obvious from Serum’s interface. As a result, converting any of the ADSR settings for that envelope will extrude the form of the entire quantity of distributed serum.
Assigning person modulation assets to a huge quantity of parameters is an effective method for developing a community of modulations, sound moves, and controls on synthesizer sounds, turning actual units into actual-global performer actions. Simulate the way it reacts. For example, whilst a guitarist performs a string with a pick, the louder the sound, the extra the force.
However, the performer’s conduct influences more than one acoustic “parameter”. In addition, the perceived brightness of the sound, the period of the temporary or assault phase of the sound, the autumn time of the sound, and different traits of the guitar sound improve.
Expression: Aftertouch & Random
Random Serum Aftertouch Modulation is a “hidden” characteristic, however, it’s far more critical for developing expressive presets and sounds that reply to the moves of various performers.
Ironically, even many sorts of sounds and genres as an entire do now no longer require such expressive flexibility. However, all who desire to take the records of MIDI keyboards to the following degree need to be acquainted with Aftertouch Mod. It cannot be used at once from the principle display of the Serum UI or as a draggable mod supply, which includes the Mod Wheel so that you will see the functions right away whilst the synth is first loaded.
To assign aftertouch, visit Serum’s ModMatrix, which you could get an entry to from the Matrix tab on the pinnacle of the UI. Looking on the drop-down listing of to be had mod assets, you could see that “Aftertouch”, even “Poly Aftertouch”, and different very beneficial random assets may be assigned.
When it involves including a brand new degree of expressiveness and “overall performance” to synthesizer sound design, those assets are recreation changers. By incorporating them into your presets, you could upload a brand new degree of sonic complexity for your manufacturing and overall performance toolset.
The small “Poly” discipline within the Voicing phase of Polycerum is used to decide the most quantity of oscillator voices that may be performed concurrently in a selected patch. If handiest an unmarried oscillator is lively and there are presets without an extra unison voice (that is, a one is displayed within the Unison discipline), this discipline indicates the number of keys that may be performed at the equal time.
However, maximum presets make the photograph apiece extra complicated. In maximum cases, more than one oscillator might be lively and the principle oscillators will cause more than one voice. This runs out of overall voices and limits the number of MIDI notes that may be precipitated at the same time.
However, in case you need to play chords, the oscillator engine will reset on every occasion you attain the most vocal limit, ensuing in an unexpected jerky sound extrude.
Of course, there is an easy solution. The brink is excessive enough to seize the entire quantity of sounds you need to play at the same time. Of course, there is a compromise here. The better the poly count, the better the CPU consumption. However, spotting the hassle is a critical first step.
Voicing: Unison Width
Width has ended up an increasing number of critical characteristics of cutting-edge song manufacturing, possibly reflecting an extra choice for quantity. As a result, many cutting-edge synthesizers come pre-established with a number of strategies for manipulating the perceived width of sound.
Serum’s ability to stack unison oscillator tones right into an unmarried preset enables thicker, psychoacoustic “bigger” sounds. Another attention is how the stacked audio is sent throughout the stereo discipline. If you increase the quantity indexed within the unison discipline and upload a unison voice to oscillator A or B; it is going to unfold over the complete stereo discipline. This is good for generating a massive and extensive variety of results.
However, in case your occasion calls for more than one synthesizer, you may quickly locate that blending too huge and extensive sounds creates a muddy, messy effect. This is in which Serum’s Unison Width field is available in handy. Some alternatives for controlling Serum’s voice stacking or Unison and characteristic operations are at the Global Settings tab on the pinnacle of the person interface.
The first column controls OscA, and the second one OscB and Width fields (default set to 100) may be modified by clicking and dragging. Use this to slender the width of the sound. For example, placing the number one or the front oscillator to a narrower variety (for example, 30-50) and placing the secondary or heritage oscillator layer to the most is attractive.
LFOs: Making the Predictable Unpredictable
Apart from envelopes that make predictability unpredictable, Low Frequency Oscillation or LFOs are some other fundamental supplies of modulation that may be synthesized. These very gradual waveforms (normally within the 0.1-20 Hz variety) permit for error-loose periodic modulation of the sound, from easy tremolo and vibrato consequences to shimmering Sci-Fi pitch sweeps. Assign LFOs to them
Omnisphere: A Brief Overview
Melodics, textures, and atmosphere are more prominent in Omnisphere. It allows musicians to experiment with tremolo, auto-pan, sidechain compression, and other fascinating effects, such as the notorious dubstep wobble effects.
Omnisphere is a highly sophisticated synthesizer with more features at the disposal of its users.
Hardware Integration Synth
Omnisphere is the only software synthesizer in the world with a hardware synthesizer integration feature. Omnisphere’s significantly expanded synthesis capabilities are unlocked by transforming over 65 well-known hardware synthesizers into extensive hands-on controllers.
Users may easily control Omnisphere using the familiar layout of their compatible hardware synth. Virtual instrument operators are now able to experience the benefits of the hardware synth process, while hardware synth users can entirely expand their capabilities.
Eric Pershing has created over 1,600 new patches for the Omnisphere software synth. Every hardware profile includes an Omnisphere controller sound in the Hardware Library that was produced expressly for usage with that hardware synth. A wide range of genres inspires these sounds, and many of them have a distinct “vintage analog” vibe to them.
Omnisphere includes a huge library with over 13,000 patches, all organized so you can find exactly what you need quickly. There is also a library of intriguing EDM patches to look forward to, including purely Sound sources from custom-built instruments, circuit-bent tones, and psychoacoustic effects.
Comparing Serum and Omnisphere
Serum has more tools available. However, Omnisphere is more powerful because it supports all types of synthesis. It also comes with more presets out of the box and has more effects to choose from, layers to utilize, among many other adjustments that put it above Serum.
Pros of Serum compared to Omnisphere.
Let’s look at the pros of Serum compared to Omnisphere.
Serum is much easier to use than Omnisphere due to the complex nature and wide variety offered by Omnisphere. It is easier for amateurs in synth to use Serum.
Serum is cheaper compared to Omnisphere. Omnisphere largely due to the complexity and options it offers is costlier.
Cons of Serum compared to Omnisphere
Let’s look at the cons of Serum compared to Omnisphere.
Serum can only play one sound at a time, so if you want to utilize more than that, you will need to create a new instantiation for each sound you wish to use.
It has fewer filter engines as compared to Omnisphere. This makes creating and editing much slower as compared to when using Omnisphere.
Pros of Omnisphere compared to Serum
Let’s look at the cons of Omnisphere compared to Serum.
Omnisphere features a more flexible filter engine and additional filters, allowing you to tailor your filter sound further with stereo control, drive, and a variety of other characteristics. It also includes all of the filters from GForce Software’s “impOSCar” virtual synth. When generating or revising a complex patch, this allows for a considerably speedier process.
Then there are the drawable LFOs, Envelopes, and Macros, which, depending on your preferences, are more fun to play with than percentages or virtual knobs. Almost any parameter can be modulated, and there are several modulation sources and targets to choose from.
Cons of Omnisphere compared to Serum.
Omnisphere is expensive compared to Serum and may not be accessible to many upstarts or less resourceful sound creators and editors.
Omnisphere is more difficult to use, and many amateurs would struggle. Its complexity makes it less suitable as it limits the number of operators.
Serum vs. Omnisphere: Conclusion
Omnisphere has a superior sound library and is more well-rounded as a good selection, due to Eric Persing and Diego Stocco, two of the best sound designers of our day. With the wavetable editor, formulae, and additive engine, Serum may have a more flexible wavetable engine and deeper sound design capabilities.
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Josh is the founder and main author of Songwriter Nation. He has played music for over twenty years and even studied music at university earning a minor in music.