Xfer Serum Serum FX Update V1.2.7b1
Xfer Serum Serum FX Update V1.2.7b1
the very first thing we need to know is how serum works. the synth is able to produce good melodies, chords, basses and leads, all using traditional subtractive synthesis and modulated oscillators with lfos, all from a single engine, but now we will not be able to achieve this sounds using a traditional daw. serum is not a midi driven synthesizer. every parameter of its 81 oscillators can be modulated, so we need to find how to use these tools in a non-conventional way. serum is not a multilayer plug-in, and no modulation matrix is built-in, so we need to set up a very simple workflow, consisting in two non-destructive steps: first we will simply set the synth up for various sound sources, using the instrument panel, and then we will design our melodies, basses, leads and other elements using sample players and synthesizers. this way we will be able to use everything we know about plug-in effects, and we will still be able to maintain a very low latency, giving a clear and instant sound. in this way, serum can be compared with other synths such as maxmsp, pure data and reaktor, and not to the deep synth engines like massive or fm8.
of course, serum is not a single midi instrument. it works through a set of 81 oscillators with a very low latency, which means they can be freely modulated, and the modulation can be assigned to the velocity of the note played. the note parameter is a big dark grey area in the instrument panel. if we play a note on a, say with a velocity of 100%, the synth will play an e. it is the leftmost slider. the definition of the e note in the instrument panel is as follows:
the matrix controls are the ones that allow for the most precise and efficient control of serums effects during a live performance. you can assign various different functions to the matrix, including modulation, delay, reverb, chorus, phase, pitch and volume. the matrix is an effective control in its own right, and i found it to be just as useful and fun as the classic lfos. the matrix controller has an editable back panel with a number of useful settings, such as the ability to program the number of rows and columns in the controller, and the ability to adjust the velocity curve. this controller has proven to be a useful way of controlling serum from the time of my first impressions, and i can recommend it to any serum user.
the few dozen different effects are as diverse as you might expect them to be, ranging from hard-edged digital effects like delay, chorus, reverb, ring mod, and a few others, to more organic sounding effects. the number of effects is quite large, and when selecting an effect, serum will dynamically display the list of all the available options to choose from. the list displays all the parameters that can be altered, with each parameter belonging to a certain category, such as the usual controls, or fx parameters. each category also has its own submenu with parameters for the selected category. to make the choice easier, each category and sub-menu also features the ability to create a custom sub-menu for use with a particular effect.
the effects can be stored in the user’s preferred location, either in a folder or in serum itself. since the effects are all organized in a dedicated folder, you can easily access them any time you need them. another useful feature is the ability to record external audio in serums collection of audio tracks, for inclusion in a future sound patch. the audio track clips will be automatically deleted when you leave serum. another handy feature is the ability to undo any modification you make to the current patch. the undo function is active for all audio tracks, and can be activated by hitting the undo button. serum is by no means a sound designer’s tool, but the ability to quickly set up a patch and get creative with the effects is nice.