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Spectrasonics Omnisphere Reviews
Having used other Spectrasonics Vst Instruments I had a good idea that this Vst Instrument would be amazing sonically, and after installing it onto my Macbook I wasnt wrong. The sounds are absolutely amazing, far better than any other Vst Inst out there on the market. The sounds are natural and respond exactly how they would in really life.
The interface is fantastic and easy to use however when you first start using it the different widows for patches and sound sources can be confusing as they both look the same. Ive been using this for a few weeks and I still have not got through alot of the sounds but to the vast size of the core library.
The sound designing aspect of Omnisphere is really easy to grasp and its easy to blend sounds together to create your own patches but editing individual aspects of the sounds can be difficult if you have never done it before but after spending time learning how to edit them it becomes easy.
The live section of Omnisphere is fantastic and great for improvisation and if you just want to jam and its really easy to setup.
The downside to this fantastic instrument is the price as for just one instrument is very pricey but if you ask me its well worth the money due to the amount and quality of the sounds that come with it.
Another bad point is that the core library is 40gb which is alot if you dont really have much space also some of the patches are CPU killers and its really easy to forget how many patches your using at one time.
So overall this is a great tool and the sonic clarity and improved fidelity of even the old Atmosphere patches is well worth the asking price.
I also bought this after eagerly watching its development on their website.
Having also read James\' review he has covered some of the things that I was going to mention but to be a little less techie for you who just want to know how good/bad or indifferent it is:
First, you MUST watch the \'how to\' videos on their website once you\'ve registered it online..
Having viewed the already numerous forums on Omnisphere I also fell into the trap of just installing it then trying to use it without having a clue how to use it.. DON\'T..
The interface at first is \'under whelming\' in as much as there aren\'t many clues as to where, what or how the sounds are:
The \'biggest\' sound is a \'Multi\' (up to 8 patches) and a \'Patch\' consists of up to 2 \'Sound Sources\' and the basic sound is called a \'Sound Source\'. Access to all three levels is available on the \'Main\' screen and its easy to get lost in the depths of the process trying the most basic of things..
Once you\'ve gotten your head around the structure/application of it, its astonishingly powerful.
The library is Huge and it took me two days to demo half the sounds!
There are a lot of patches that as James said are unusable because of their complexity and sheer depth..
but.. deconstructing these patches is a fantastic lesson in how to use its multitude of functions. Which in lieu of any documentation is handy.
The sounds are nearly all heavily effected so they do take up a lot of room in the mix but you can tame them down..
There are so many effect options in the various levels its easy to build a sound that is waaaay too huge..
To give you an example:
I also run Absynth 4 which is a pretty \'fat\' sound and Omnisphere makes it now sound a bit thin in comparison but is because of how much the \'stock\' sounds are effected/filtered etc..
Its a biy like buying a new TV: it comes out the showroom with everything on full so it looks amazing but after a while you start turning it down as its a bit overwhelming..
The same for Omnisphere..
With a little experimentation features like the Arpeggiator and the filtering can be either subtle or really mess with your mind..
Its down to how you use it..
It doesn\'t too processor hungry either, I run Logic 8 on a G5 Dual Quad 2.8 with 8Gb of ram and even with all sorts of other stuff running Omnisphere hardly registers so you can use many instances of Omnisphere tracks.
The way you can categorise the sounds into an easily manageable, searchable and even \'randomly shuffable library is similar to Absynth but much, much more powerful, giving easily access to the 30+ gigs of sonic delight..
I believe that this one of the most creative musical instruments that has EVER been available and we\'ll still be raving about for years..
To quote the missus\' I used to have a boyfriend till Omnisphere came out\'
That says it all!
I have given Omnniphere a 5 star rating because Omnisphere is indeed a very unique synth but depending on what you intend to use it for will depend on how useful you find it. In short, for film incidental sounds and effects it would probably deserve a 9, but for music productions (dance, trance, pop etc) it would probably only deserve a 4.
Omnisphere is a synth that contains a massive 30Gig library of sounds which can be layered and grouped to make more complex sounds, and is based on a very logic and structured interface to make access to, and manipulation of these sounds, very easy considering the size of the source library.
At the lowest level, Omniphere\'s sounds are known as \'Sound Sources\' (and these constitute the 30Gig library). Sound sources, and paired to make patches (although a patch can just have one \'sound\' because you can simply turn off the other sound source), and these patches can be grouped to make multi-instruments. Furthermore, a patch can be a combination of a sound source and a \'synth\' which, or indeed two synths. The synth engine is very much like most \'synths\'. All the common waves are present (sine/ triangle/ saw tooth etc).
I could write a book on HOW the sound sources and synths can be modulated, but for brevity, I\'ll simply say that the modulation opportunities are very versatile and can sync to tempo of your track.
Pros of Omniphere:
Omniphere contains a massive library for the money, and many sounds are beatiful and very unique. An excellent piece of gear for incidental music music in Films and TV production but you probably won\'t use 95% of the library.
Cons of Omniphere:
The marketting hype word of Omniphere is \'psychoacoustic\' - that\'s quite a word but I would get overly excited, because this simple means... well... not much really. If you record a sound and play it back, you\'re ears hear the sound and your brain interprets it. The BIG problem with Omnisphere is that the sounds are WAY TO COMPLICATED! As I mentioned above, at the lowest level, the SIMPLEST sound you can get to is the \'Sound Source\'.The problem with most of the sound sources is that they\'re WAY too complicated to actually use in a track such as pop, dance etc). Let me give you an example.
Many \'sound sources\' only in fact work as drones. The only way they\'d work in a track is by hitting a key on your keyboard and holding it for part of, or the entire track, because if you hit a different key it\'s simple too dissonant to \'work\' or \'fit\'.
Many \'sound sources\' contain some kind of filter sweep or infact ANOTHER sound bouncing in and out (these sounds are not caused by the arpeggiator in Omniphere which but are HARD RECORDED into the \'sound sources\' - meaning it\'s impossible to reverse this effect. This means that you\'re entire track would have to be based around THIS sound, and you would probably find this very constraining as opposed to creative because even the groove of your track would be set. Of course you could get into time stretch and LOADS of chopping and moving of segments but then you\'d lose the high fidelity of the recordings ultimately.
Those of you who had Atmosphere (the product previous to Omniphere) will have noticed this as a problem. Again, the sound sources were TOO complicated. Personally I found myself using perhaps only a hand ful of the sounds in Atmosphere (a few of the strings and pads) - because all other sounds simply had TOO much movement in them, and indeed took up TOO much space in the mix (resulting in very heavy EQ\'ing to try and get rid of the \'busy\' bits of the sounds which generally didn\'t work).
Improvements to Omnisphere:
To make Omniphere REALLY useful for people, in as far as using many of the sounds in REAL music, the sound sources need to be simplified and then the beautiful sounds that Omnisphere creates need to be created by modulation of these simple sounds (as mentioned, the \'simple sounds\' - the \'sound sources\' in Omniphere are themselves MUCH too complicated). This means that a user could reverse engineer back to the simple sound source file and use a level of complexity that it required for a particular track. At the moment, I feel you\'ll find yourself looking for hours for a sound simple enough to actually use in your productions in the massive \'sound source\' library.
I\'m happy I purchased this item. I\'ve no doubt the odd sound will come in useful (perhaps 5 of the string sounds) and a few other bits but it would be nice if the root sounds (the sound sources) were not modulated in any way and were much simpler. The would make the other 95% of the library actually useful the musicians who don\'t want their creativity clamped because the sound simply cannot be made to fit in the track.
Some musicians on the other hand might light this and find it inspirational, because the single Omnisphere sound will probably stimulate a creative idea to build a track around it (if you can get over the fact that the sounds are generally too complicated for a mix and take up WAY too much of the frequency range in a non-harmonic way.
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