Review: Spectrasonics Omnisphere
Positives:Full blow synth with real-time DSP oscillator waveforms & multiple synthesis options
Omnisphere's 42GB core library gives you tons of sonic material to manipulate
Omnisphere's "go as deep as you wish" interface allows you to dig deeper without all the clutter
Outstanding arpeggiator that even syncs to stylus RMX grooves
Orb feature & free iOS app makes sonic exploration even easier and more fun
-tons of high quality multi-effects (distortion, delay, chorus, reverb, and MANY more) built right in to use on your patches
-enough variety in the patches and sound sources that it can find a place in virtually any type or genre of music
Negatives:inability to load your own samples as sound sources
browser does not use sound sources as keywords when searching through patches
can be overwhelming by the shear amount of quality content in this one instrument (could be a positive too)
you will have to read the manual (or watch their videos) to get the most out of this synth, though it can be "plug and play" for the learning challenged
In my professional opinion, Spectrasonics is one of the few companies on my list who’s products are instant buys. Everything they make seems to have the “midas touch” in that they are all well thought out, highly inspirational professional creative tools that are not only easy to use, but FUN! This of course is true of their arguably flag ship product Omnisphere.
Off the bat, Omnisphere offers a host of synthesis options: Waveshaping DSP synthesis, Granular synthesis, Timbre Shifting, FM, polyphonic Ring Modulation, Harmonia, as well as many ways to manipulate these sources through their “Dual Multimode Filter” structure, Chaos Envelopes,and their innovative Flex-Mod modulation routing system, which makes modulation of parameters incredibly easy and visually easy to do. So there is plenty here to keep all the synth purists busy exploring and manipulating the synth section alone. But what makes Omnisphere an extremely powerful and creative tool is it also has a sample playback engine with over 42GB of sound sources, ranging from orchestral strings, electric and acoustic guitars, vintage keyboards like electric pianos & Mellotrons, organs, voices/choirs, and various other acoustic and world/ethnic instruments. It also has multisamples of the raw waveforms of classic synths from Yamaha, Moog, Oberheim, Roland, etc. as well as some very unique sound design sources which can used to make some incredible textures, pads, hits, and overall ear candy.
What I love off the bat was Ominispheres EXTENSIVE library of presets, which are over 5,000 patches and over 8000 total sounds captured and/or created by some of the best sound designers in the world!! So even if you dont edit a sound, you still have a TON of variety to choose from, which given Omnisphere advance browser features is very easy to sort, rate, add keywords to in order to either find new sounds for a particular project (i.e. a complex, evolving, drone vocal texture) or simply keep a tab on your favorites.
Omnisphere also has an extensive amount of added FX racks, which cover the full spectrum of signal processing (i.e. classics from reverb, chorus, delay, EQ, compression to creative effects like the vocal formant filters, all types of distortion, amp sims, etc. Omnisphere also has a full blown mixer for balancing the volume between multiple patches with its own aux FX’s for even more sonic manipulation!
Small nit picks:
1. Inability to load your own samples as sound sources. Granted the 42GB of included sounds will keep you going, but I would have LOVED to add my own sound sources to use within Omnisphere, but I guess you can’t have it all.
2. browser does not use sound sources as keywords when searching through patches. For example, say I love the soundsource “abandoned 1″ and want to find all the patches that use this soundsource. Unfortunately you cannot search patches by the sound source that created it! Seems like an oversight, and though not a deal breaker is very annoying.
3. can be overwhelming by the shear amount of quality content in this one instrument! However, because of this, if you take the time to learn the patch browsers AWESOME sorting features, as well as have a basic understanding on what can be done to sounds in the edit page, FX page, etc, you’ll better understand how much variety and limitless manipulation options this instrument contains.
Final word: Hands down this is by far the best instrument investment I’ve ever made. Though its not necessarily inexpensive, given the huge variety of possibilities this instrument offers its an exceptional value! I’m a film composer so I write music for all sorts of genres, and Omnisphere has managed to find a place in practically ever project I’ve worked on. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!
Make sure you check out more details from Spectrasonics website: http://www.spectrasonics.net/products/omnisphere.php