So you’re wondering whether Serum is better than Omnisphere, and if Omnisphere is really worth the extra money.
The short answer is that Omnisphere is better. It’s more powerful, and has a lot more use than Serum. However, it’s not that simple.
They both have their own purposes in a music production setup, and it’s not really a case of having one or the other. I personally have both and use them just as much as each other, often preferring Serum for a lot of tasks Omnisphere would be better at, purely because of the load times and CPU.
Serum is great for versatility, easy on the CPU and pretty cheap.
Omnisphere is a synth you can literally make anything with. It comes with a much larger library of sounds and great functionality. So not really a surprise it 3x the price of Serum.
If you can only pick one, read on, because we’re going to help you decide which is best for your situation.
In this article we’re going to cover everything you need to know about Serum & Omnisphere, and whether Omnisphere is really worth the extra money. Let’s start with a quick comparison table:
|Spectrasonics’ Omnisphere 2||Xfer Serum|
|Sound Library||5,439 Sound Sources||144 Wavetables|
|Presets||9,223 Patches||450 Patches|
|Oscillators||20 Oscillators per patch||2 Oscillators + Sub and Noise|
|Effects||58 FX Units||10 effects|
or 20$/mo (Sweetwater)
or $9.99/mo (Splice)
Is Serum Better Than Omnisphere? (Quick Answer)
Omnisphere is better for complex sound design. It can do everything Serum can, but better. You get granular capability, sampling, a huge custom library of samples, & more for $499. However, Serum much cheaper, lighter on the CPU, and incredibly versatile – offering plans as low as $9.99/month rent to own.
I would recommend you get both, because they both have different uses.
There are some things I personally wouldn’t use Omnisphere for, and prefer Serum because it’s quicker, and still produces a great sound.
However, when it comes down to a competition between the two; Omnisphere will win every single time.
Like we said above though, it’s not all that simple. It depends on who you are as a producer, and what your needs are. Some of you may never need the power of Omnisphere and it would be a waste of money. Read on so you can make an informed decision when buying your dream synthesizer.
Sound Library & Quality
Omnisphere offers one of the most comprehensive sound libraries you can get.
The new Spectrasonics Omnisphere 2.8 library comes with almost 15,000 total sounds for music production. In particular, over 9000 Patches and presets, over 5000 sound sources, and 144 Multis.
The factory library of Omnisphere is absolutely gigantic, and it would take years to go through everything.
The sound library isn’t all about quantity either, Spectrasonics are well known for their incredible sound quality. Especially with their well-known hardware synthesizers emulation (Minimoog, Jupiter 8 etc.), which are sampled so well you can’t tell the difference between Omnisphere and the real thing.
Additionally, Omnisphere can also serve as a hub for your other Spectrasonics products, such as Keyscape, meaning you can use the sounds and patches from Keyscape or Trilian, inside Omnisphere to create truly, organic, real sounding patches.
Serum also has an awesome library of presets and wavetables, with over 450 presets and 144 different wavetables. Though, admittedly, Serum doesn’t really touch Omnisphere in terms of depth and quality, but for the price, it’s one of the best wavetable synthetizers around.
In fact we love Serum so much, it’s actually our favorite synth for beginner and intermediate sound designers. The versatility, with little to no CPU load, and the incredibly low price, Serum is the best value for money synth on the market.
Serum and Omnisphere are quite different, and the power of Serum comes not from it’s library, but wavetable synthesis design. The 144 wavetables you get plus formulae and additive engine, are more than enough to last you an entire lifetime of sound design.
Additionally, you can create your own wavetables from any audio, or even PNG image.
That being said, you can do pretty much everything you can do with Serum on Omnisphere, since it also has wavetable editor capabilities. Serum is in no way even close to how good Omnisphere is, but sometimes, you don’t need everything in the world, just a bit of it.
In terms of versatility and amount of sounds, Omnisphere still reigns supreme, and Serum comparatively seems minuscule. That being said, there are drawbacks to both, that make the decision of which is best, more difficult.
Modulation & FX
Put head to head, it’s easy to see why Omnisphere is so much more powerful than Serum. It just has much deeper sound design capabilities.
In terms of Modulation, both synths have Envelopes and LFO’s, that can be bound to pretty much any control or setting parameter within the synthesizer. Both Serum and Omnisphere have 2 filters, Serum has 75 filter presets and Omnisphere boasts 34 in total but with a more flexible filter engine.
That being said, Omnisphere packs eight LFO’s per patch, as well as 12 ADSR envelopes.
Serum has 8 drawable LFOs and 3 Envelopes, which are more than enough for most sound design. But, when you want to create more complex sounds, more modulation is key.
The more oscillators you have, the more complex your patch is as well. And, while Serum has 2 Wavetable oscillators, a sub oscillator and a noise generator, you can have up to 20 different oscillators per patch with Omnisphere as modulation source.
The amount of FX is also quite different between the two contenders, with Serum having 10 awesome creative effects with macros, in contrast to Omnisphere’s 58 FX Units that you can easily chain. You can even use modulators for your FX chain within Omnisphere, and they’re fully integrated within the synth.
Ease of Use & UI
In terms of simplicity and ease of use, there’s no doubt Serum wins.
Most producers have learned synthesis with Serum, and it’s still one of the best ways to learn sound design and music production.
That being said, Serum is also considerably less powerful than Omnisphere, which means that it’s easier to make a quick and intuitive UI.
Omnisphere on the other hand will have a steeper learning curve, it’s more complex, and there’s way more to do within Omnisphere, than Serum. Once you get your head around it however, using Omnisphere is a pleasure.
When you’re comfortable with all types of synthesis, Omnisphere just feels like the best thing you can get. It’s easy and fast to use, and when you get into a proper workflow with Omnisphere, it’ll be hard to give anything else a chance.
Outright head to head however, Serum is much easier, and more comfortable to use with features like its drag and drop source to destination mapping. The amount of possibilities Omnisphere offers, makes it impossible to compete with something as comparatively simple as Serum.
However, Omnisphere came up with a lot of solutions to make sound design less intimidating, such as the orb that allows to dynamically manipulate the sound with a mouse or a surface controller. They also mapped a lot of controls to the mod wheel.
CPU consumption is easily the biggest issue, when it comes to Omnisphere.
It’s an incredibly powerful synthesizer, and, especially for more complex patches, is bound to start crapping out on weaker computers.
As long as you keep your patches minimal, your CPU should be fine, however, processor load isn’t the only issue with Omnispheres usability. Even if you have Omnisphere installed on an SSD, the load times of the plugin can be quite long.
Omnisphere has to load it’s entire, gigantic sound library, so it’s understandable, but it can be oh, so annoying.
Serum in comparison is lighter than a feather. Even the most complex Serum patches are gonna load quickly, because your computer has less work to do.
If you have a weaker computer, Omnisphere might be too heavy for you. You’re more likely to get annoyed at how much it taxes your computer, than actually use it to it’s full extent.
Serum is perfect for weaker computers and will pretty much work on a potato. You can easily have over 10 instances of Serum in one project, without your CPU suffering too much.
So, to sum up, If you don’t have an amazing computer, you’re better off using Serum. If your computer has no problems handling heavier software, Omnisphere’s usability very much justifies it’s CPU consumption.
Omnisphere vs Serum
It’s hard to compare Serum vs Omnisphere, when they are such different beasts. On the surface, both of them are VST synthesizers, so how much difference could there really be.
Which one you think is best, entirely depends on who you are as well as your limitations. If you’re just beginning producing, and are trying to get your head around sound design, Omnisphere will be too much for you.
The biggest issue with software as powerful as Omnisphere, is option paralysis – you have so much to do that it can be overwhelming, and you end up not doing anything new.
If you’re just starting out, get Serum, It’ll be way easier to learn, more fun to use, and it won’t destroy your CPU
If you’re an advanced producer, Serum can start feeling very limiting, it’s much more focused, than Omnisphere. While you get only a couple wavetable oscillators, and a little bit of modulation and FX, you get pretty much endless amounts of creativity with Omnisphere.
There’s never been a time where we’ve felt limited by Omnisphere, it just can do most everything you would want. If you’re not scared of having all of the options and features in the world, dive into Omnisphere you really won’t regret it.
It’s also important to mention, that there’s a big price difference between Serum and Omnisphere, so if you’re looking to get a synth on a budget, Omnisphere will not be for you. Serum is also available as a rent-to-own plugin from Splice, so it’s super cheap to get into using Serum instantly.
Lastly, as mentioned before, if you have a weaker computer, we’d say Omnisphere isn’t for you. Baring through the loading times and CPU crashes, can be too annoying to deal with, even on average systems, while Serum will work on a potato.
How Many GB Is Omnisphere 2?
Omnisphere 2 is over 64GB. This means that you’ll need enough space available, and where you install Omnisphere can seriously impact loading times. For best performance you should install Omnisphere on a SSD drive.
If you’re running Omnisphere off an external Hard Drive, make sure your Hard Drive is 7200RPM or SSD. 5200RPM external Hard Drives will work, but it will take a good while to open the plugin and switch presets or waveforms.
Best case scenario would be installing Omnisphere on an SSD, which would minimize the loading times for Omnisphere.
In comparison. Serum takes up less than 1GB, with most of that space being taken up by the included Presets and wavetables. Buying from Splice is even better, since the entire install fits within 200MB’s of space.
If you don’t have hard drive space to spare, Serum is pretty much the best option for you. If you don’t mind leaving 64Gb for Omnisphere, you won’t regret it.
What Is So Good About Omnisphere?
Omnisphere has a lot of good things going for it. Easily the most versatile and powerful synth on the market, but what actually makes it so good?
Omnisphere is a sound design powerhouse. You can create a patch with 20 different sound sources, from wavetable generators, to sampled pianos, into a complex patch, and then load another patch, just as complex alongside it. You can play these two patches at the same time, or even mix them, to create one giga-patch.
The possibilities with Omnisphere are nearly infinite. If you have any other Spectrasonics’ products, such as Keyscape, you can even use Omnisphere as a hub for them.
This way you can have one plugin you go to, for all of your keyboards, synths, sampling, and any other sound design.
Besides computer processing power, there’s theoretically no other reason to use anything, but Omnisphere. Sure, you may want a specific patch, from a specific experimental 3rd party synth, but when it comes to classic synthesis, whether it’s wavetable, analog or granular, Omnisphere is the king.
Is Omnisphere Good for Hip Hop?
Omnisphere is great for Hip Hop. A lot of industry Hip Hop and Trap producers use Omnisphere due to the insane amount of sounds and instruments. Presets like the Mellotron Flute, Broken Square Lead & Hall of Fame Lead, have been used by everyone from Kanye West, to Playboy Carti.
In Memorium is probably one of the most popular presets, having been used in tons of legendary songs, by artists like Metro Boomin and Rick Flair.
When it comes to Hip Hop however, it’s not as much about the quality of sound, as it is about the emotion and character of it. So Serum is just as great for Hip Hop as Omnisphere. That being said, Serum is missing a proper Sampler, which is a big part in Hip Hop production.
If you’re a Hip Hop producer and want a new synth, Omnisphere is definitely worth trying out. Whether it’s for the amazing sound library, or the Spectrasonics’ plugin integration, it’s hard to find a fault with Omnisphere.
Omnisphere is easily the most powerful and versatile synth you can get today. With a gigantic sound library, impressive usabillity and awesome integration, there’s not much that competes with Omnisphere.
Whether you’re making hip hop or EDM, it’s all about how you use a synth, than the synth itself. If you’re just starting out learning sound design, you don’t need Omnisphere, it’ll just be overwhelming, start with Serum instead.
If you’re already an experienced sound sculptor, Omnisphere is going to be one of the best purchases you’ll ever make.
Toms is a music producer & DJ, born and raised in Post Soviet Latvia. Currently based in Brighton, Toms has had over 6 years of experience with all things production and in that time, he’s done a tonne of cool stuff! He’s played multiple festivals, had experience in the field with mixing & mastering and even become a freelance journalist in the music industry.
Toms currently creates music under the alias Sovereign. Producing music that’s intimate and subtle, while full of edge and energy, the young producer combines the artistic sounds of Trip Hop artists like Massive Attack, with the energy and youthfulness of producers like Flume, Jamie XX and Yaeji. You can check his stuff on Soundcloud.