Xfer Records

Xfer Records has announced Serum, a new Advanced Wavetable Synthesizer for Mac OS X and Windows in VST, AU and AAX plug-in formats.

Here's what they say: "The dream synthesizer did not seem to exist: a wavetable synthesizer with low aliasing / high-quality sound, visual and creative workflow-oriented interface, the ability to create / import / edit / morph wavetables, and manipulate these tables further in real-time."

So Serum was created.

Wavetable Editor With FFT, Formulas, Draw

A full-blown utility inside the plugin - Serum has a comprehensive wavetable editor built right in, and you can create your own wavetables in a variety of ways. Import audio directly from audio files - Serum has a variety of methods and options for importing + analyzing audio (WAV or AIFF) for breaking it apart into individual waveforms:

  • You can import single-cycle wavetables of course, as well as many at once (with in-built sorting options, or manual re-ordering).
  • Morph between various wavetables using standard linear interpolation (crossfading) or via harmonic/spectral morphing.
  • Draw directly on the waveform, with optional grid-size snapping and a variety of shape tools.
  • Generate or modify waveforms using FFT (additive).
  • Create or process waveforms using formula functions.
  • Processing menu options allow you to do the other tasks you would want, such as apply fades, crossfades, normalize, export, and much more.

Ultra-clean Oscillators

In Serum, the native-mode (default) playback of oscillators operates with an ultra high-precision resampling, yielding an effectively 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 Xfer Records 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 (virtually no unwanted mud or aliasing gibberish- just good, clean sound).

Modulation - Work The Way You Want

The modulation system allows for both drag and drop connections between mod sources and destinations, as well as a mod matrix. You can drag a mod source to a destination control, and this modulation assignment will now appear in the Mod Matrix as well. In other words, you have two views/approaches for creating and modifying your modulations.

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.

Large Assortment Of Filter Types

Serum includes the filter types found in LFOTool in addition to some brand-new ones - 89 filter variations in total. 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 filter types. Get creative with atypical processes for filters such as downsampling, or the unique filter types found nowhere before, such as the dirty-sounding 'French' LPF.

Built-in Modulatable Effects Suite

The integrated 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 which will morph between two separate wave shapes.

Advanced Unison

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 unison 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 unison Warp control. A variety of unison tuning modes per-oscillator let you get the stack sound blooming or swarming like you want.

Pricing & Availability

Serum has a MSRP of $189 US and a target release date of Friday, September 19th.

Once available for sale in the coming days, an introductory price of $129 (33% discount) will be available through October 31st, 2014. A demo version will also be available.

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