The Simple Guide To Omnisphere

What is Omnisphere?

Omnisphere is a gold mine of sound design. Think of it as a master sampler.

Omnisphere allows you to browse their massive library of samples (50+ GB) to build your sound from. You can layer each sample in layers titled A, B, C, and D to create your own ‘patches.’

 

When I discovered Omnisphere, it almost felt too good to be true. The availability of every kind of sound in the synth is unbelievable. It’s different from other synths because the oscillators it’s generating the sound from aren’t just basic waveforms. You can create the sounds from real recorded samples too.

Here are a few examples of some of their samples:

A piano on fire! The best-known use of the sample is at the beginning of ‘I’m Coming After You‘ by Owl City.

Creating an instrument out of an Altoids can:

Omnisphere also has samples of popular synthesizers as well, making it even cooler!

Another example of how creative the team at Spectrasonics has gotten:

Omnisphere has plenty of ambient sounds making it perfect for sound designers and film composers:

How does it work?

Each section divided up by letters comes with a lot of standard features you expect to see in a synth. The oscillator section is broken up into samples, and synthesizers.

The synthesizer section is all sampled directly from those countless gooey hardware synths. It comes with everything from a Juno 60 to Nords and even the Minimoog. What’s great about these samples is that they aren’t recreations in software, but they are taken directly from those instruments.

The sample browser lets you explore the countless samples to build your sounds from. They have everything from sampled pianos on fire to world instruments to booms and drones… really anything you can imagine.

Since the sound options are so diverse, Omnisphere is excellent for all musicians of all genres and walks of life and is perfect for those musicians out there, creating new styles.

If you click the magnifying glass next to the word oscillator inside of a patch, it will pull up ‘Oscillator zoom.’

Here you can do even more fine-tuning of the sample itself. You can do things such as FM (frequency modulation, ring modulation, waveshaping, unison (my favorite), harmony generation, and granular modulation.

Each one of those features deserves a deep dive itself, but for most people, they’ll be looking for the unison feature. Unison lets you detune the sound slightly to create a very wide sound. Unison is a significant aspect of creating those ‘supersaw’ sounds you hear in electronic music.

The FX section allows you to add effects like reverb, compression, delay, tape saturation, amp simulators, etc. This is very powerful, too, though I prefer to add my reverb and delay in the DAW with sends.

Patches

Alternatively, you can browse the patch library, which are sounds from multiple layers and effects already created for you.

You can browse patches and samples by category, type, genre, and the author.

A neat feature of the patch browser if you like the patch you’ve selected and want to hear sonically similar sounds, you can click on Sound Match next to attributes, and it will pull up an entire list of similar tones.

To get even more meta, you can even layer patches together to create ‘multis.’

Our sound capability tree structure is now:

Samples x 4 = 1 Patch

Patch x 8 = 1 Multi

A newer feature in Omnisphere lets you use the samples from those countless analog and hardware synthesizers, and now Omnisphere will map its controls to your physical synth, letting you control Omnisphere with your synth dials to get the ‘interacting with a real instrument’ feeling.

Outro

Hopefully, by now, you can start to get an idea and a taste of how powerful Omnisphere is. DAWs nowadays come with so many great sounds to get you started. Once you’re ready to open up an entirely new world of sonic flavor, Omnisphere is here waiting for you.

What features do you love about Omnisphere? Let’s chat down below!

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