Are you tired of using presets and samples? Create a unique sound design and stand out from the crowd with your music production with Xfer Serum / Serum VST.
- 1 Xfer Serum Features
- 1.1 Visually Stunning GUI
- 1.2 Import & Edit Custom Wavetables
- 1.3 Realtime Wavetable Manipulation
- 1.4 Incredible Filters
- 1.5 Powerful Modulation with Flexible LFOs & Envelopes
- 1.6 Ultra Clean Oscillators
- 1.7 Built-In FX Suite
- 1.8 Custom Skins
- 1.9 Sampling via The Noise Oscillator
- 1.10 Advanced Unison
- 1.11 Serum FX (VST Plugin)
- 2 Industry Adoption
- 3 Serum VST Limitations
- 4 Serum VST Value
- 5 Xfer Serum Coaching
- 6 Conclusion
What is Xfer Serum / Serum VST?
Serum VST is an easy to use wavetable-based software synthesizer made by Xfer Records’ Steve Duda. It includes 450 presets and 144 wavetables. Serum VST has dual wavetable oscillators in addition to a dedicated sub and noise oscillator, all of which deliver supreme sound quality and unthinkable flexibility.
It is an incredibly useful tool to step up your sound design and music production, and we recommend you use serum to achieve those ideal sounds that your current samples and presets can’t satisfy.
Who is Steve Duda?
Steve Duda is an acclaimed music producer and software engineer. He’s worked alongside legendary acts such as Nine Inch Nails and Deadmau5. Steve started Xfer Records and also developed the infamous VSTs – LFO Tool, Cthulhu, and Nerve.
Xfer Serum Features
Visually Stunning GUI
Xfer Serum delivers instantaneous visual feedback in a fun and intuitive fashion. The wavetable view can be switched between 2D and 3D modes for an in-depth look at the wavetable contents.
Import & Edit Custom Wavetables
Xfer Serum not only comes with a ton of great wavetables, it also gives you the ability to create your own in a variety of ways. For example, you can import audio samples directly into the wavetable editor for a custom, one of a kind wavetable. Serum VST has a ton of options for analyzing and re-shaping these audio clips into whatever strange wavetables you can dream up. Draw directly on the waveform with optional grid-size snapping and a variety of shape tools. Generate or modify waveforms using FFT (additive). You can even create or process waveforms using formula functions. Processing menu options allow you to do the other tasks you might want, such as apply fades, crossfades, normalize, export, and much more.
Realtime Wavetable Manipulation
In addition to moving through the set of wavetables (up to 256 make up a single oscillator), you can manipulate the waveform itself in a separate realtime process referred to as Warp. This allows for FM/AM/RM/Oscillator Sync and many other ways to modify the waveform, including “Remap” modes – a graph editor for drawing your own custom table manipulations.
Serum includes all of the filter types found in LFOTool in addition to some brand-new ones like 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 different filter types. Get creative with atypical processes for a filter such as downsampling, or the unique filter types found nowhere before, such as the dirty-sounding French LPF.
Powerful Modulation with Flexible LFOs & Envelopes
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.
Ultra Clean Oscillators
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). This 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 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).
Built-In FX Suite
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.
Delay, Reverb, Hyper / Dimension, Flanger, Phaser, Chorus, Multiband Compressor, EQ, Distortion, and Filter.
We all know that staring at the same synth for hours on end can sometimes be a bit uninspiring. With Serum’s ability for custom skins, you can easily switch out the aesthetic for a fresh or even retro look.
Sampling via The Noise Oscillator
The noise oscillator enables users to drag-and-drop audio files giving Serum sampling capabilities. The noise oscillator can be ran through any of the filters and FX Serum offers, making Serum a powerful sampler.
Serum will let you stack a single oscillator to use up to 16 voices. Each of the wavetable oscillators have a number of unison advanced parameters. Stack settings allow for note (e.g. octave) layering to get a fuller sound for a single note-press. Set the voices to all have their unique waveform at once with the Unison WT Pos setting or have them all skewed in a different way with the Warp control. A variety of tuning modes per-oscillator lets you get the sound blooming or swarming like you want.
Serum FX (VST Plugin)
Aside from the standard version of the synth, Serum comes with SerumFX. This is an additional insert style plugin that you can add to any processing chain, whether MIDI or audio track. This enables you to use the LFOs, FX, and even oscillators as post-processing on ANY audio signal – even live!
With its robust features and amazing sound, it’s no surprise Serum is one of the most widely used synths within the music production industry. There are countless preset expansion packs on the market to upgrade your arsenal of sounds. Some of which come straight from the professional producers you may strive to sound like.
Gravitas Create has plenty of Serum Presets for sale as well as a few free packs to get you started. Check out our latest free pack here: Catalyst Vol. 2.
Serum VST Limitations
Great sound quality and extensive modulation capabilities do come at a cost. Serum can be a bit CPU intensive. However, most modern computers shouldn’t have any trouble running multiple instances. Serum also doesn’t have a dedicated arpeggiator. But if you are creative with modulations, there are a few workarounds to get very usable results.
Serum VST Value
Currently, Serum comes in at a competitive price-point of $189.00. If that’s a bit too much for your budget, don’t fret. Splice offers a Rent-To-Own plan of $9.99 a month – for 19 months. This plan allows you to try it free for 3 days and cancel or pause at any time with no hidden fees or interest. Once paid off, Serum is yours to keep with your very own authorization key, good for use on two different computers.
Xfer Serum Coaching
If you have serum VST but still want to learn more about it and how you can innovate your sound, book a coaching call! Wolf-e-Wolf can easily help you with Xfer Serum and show you how to use serum to achieve an advanced bass music sound design.
If you are serious about your music production, buy it! Serum is an amazing, easy to use, groundbreaking soft-synth with unique features. It’s insanely flexible modulations, high-quality sound, and a reasonable price-point. Serum VST will save you a lot of time and help you create your best music yet.
This synth is already leading the pack as one of the best and will likely continue to upgrade and expand with new features. If you are still on the fence about it – try the demo here!