PC Xfer Records Serum VST AAX v1.2.7b2
The dream synthesizer did not seem to exist: a wavetable synthesizer with a truly high-quality sound, visual and creative workflow-oriented interface to make creating and altering sounds fun instead of tedious, and the ability to “go deep” when desired - to create / import / edit / morph wavetables, and manipulate these on playback in real-time.
Serum has a Wavetable editor built right in- you can create your own wavetables in a variety of ways. Import audio directly from audio files - Serum has a variety of methods and options for analyzing audio for breaking it apart into individual waveforms. You can import single-cycle wavetables of course, as well as many at once (with in-built sorting options, or manual re-ordering). Morph between various wavetables using standard linear interpolation (crossfading) or via harmonic/spectral morphing. Draw directly on the waveform, with optional grid-size snapping and a variety of shape tools. Generate or modify waveforms using FFT (additive). Create or process waveforms using formula functions. Processing menu options allow you to do the other tasks you would want, such as apply fades, crossfades, normalize, export, and much more.
Playback of wavetables requires digital resampling to play different frequencies. Without considerable care and a whole lot of number crunching, this process will create audible artifacts. Artifacts mean that you are (perhaps unknowingly) crowding your mix with unwanted tones / frequencies. Many popular wavetable synthesizers are astonishingly bad at suppressing artifacts - even on a high-quality setting some create artifacts as high as -36 dB to -60 dB (level difference between fundamental on artifacts) which is well audible, and furthermore often dampening the highest wanted audible frequencies in the process, to try and suppress this unwanted sound. In Serum, the native-mode (default) playback of oscillators operates with an ultra high-precision resampling, yielding an astonishingly inaudible signal-to-noise (for instance, -150 dB on a sawtooth played at 1 Khz at 44100)! This requires a lot of calculations, so Serum’s oscillator playback has been aggressively optimized using SSE2 instructions to allow for this high-quality playback without taxing your CPU any more than the typical (decent quality) soft synth already does. Load up Serum and we think you’ll be able to notice both what you hear (solid high frequencies, extending flat all the way up to the limits of hearing) as well as what you don’t hear (no unwanted mud or aliasing gibberish- just good, clean sound).
The modulation system allows for drag and drop connections between mod sources and destinations. Want an LFO controlling a filter cutoff? Simply drag the LFO title to the cutoff knob. This LFO->Filter connection will now appear in the Mod Matrix as well. In other words, you have two views/approaches for creating and modifying your modulations: sometimes a list is nice, other times you just want the job done fast and easy.
Serum includes all of the filter types found in LFOTool in addition to some brand-new ones. Flangers, Phasers, and Comb filters all of which can key-track to the musical note you play. Dual filter types let you control or morph between filter types. Get creative with atypical processes for filters such as downsampling, or the unique filter types found nowhere before, such as the dirty-sounding French LPF.
An effects rack with 10 effects modules lets you get your sound all the way to the finish line inside Serum. Effects can be re-ordered to any configuration you want. Virtually all effect parameters are also available as modulation destinations. This is especially useful on monophonic synth sounds. For example, apply an LFO to control reverb size or dry/wet, or velocity to control distortion amount. Many of these effects and modes were built just for Serum, so there are many unique effects to choose from, such as Hyper, which simulates (additional) unison amounts, or a dual-waveshaper which allows for a distortion you can morph between two separate wave shapes.
"In short, Serum is just brilliant. What a fantastic synthesizer.
The sound is great, clean and rich. With a host of factory wavetables (analog, digital, spectral & vowel) and the ability to use your own waveforms, you get an incredibly versatile sound palette. It takes some CPU, but the sound quality is definitely top notch, and it’s easy to create huge, fat sounds, especially with unison detuning.
You might expect Serum to sound very digital, but it can also do analog type sounds well. Steve has implemented some neat tricks like Chaos LFO’s to introduce subtle variations in the sound so you can do things like analog type oscillator pitch drift. Love that!
The interface is most beautiful and probably one of the best I’ve seen when it comes to easy of use. You can create very complex sounds without things getting too complicated.
With clear visual feedback on the interface and handy tooltips on all controls, it’s hard to get lost.
The modulation system is also done really well. Simply drag and drop to assign parameters, and for more detailed control you get a full mod matrix page. The envelopes and LFO’s are flexible and with the visual animations you can instantly see what is happening as you design your sound.
Serum also comes with a bunch of useful effects, such as a compressor, reverb, delay, chorus, etc. The filter here is the same as the multi-mode filter available on the oscillator tab, but here it’s a master effect.
Lastly I’d like to mention the waveform editor. It might seem a bit daunting at first, but after spending some time with the editor you will find this part of Serum is very powerful, yet again, easy to use. You can import your own single-cycle or multi-cycle waveforms, draw and edit with handy tools, process single frames or the whole table in various ways, control waveform harmonics, and more. You can even enter math formulas to generate waveforms."
Serum comes with over 450 presets, 144 wavetables
Available in AAX, AU (Mac only) and VST formats (32 and 64-bit)
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