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User Reviews by KVR Members for Serum

Rate & Review Serum Now!

Reviewed By Xenos [read all by] on 2nd November 2014
Version reviewed: XP on Windows
10 of 10 people found this review helpful.
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I don't typically review a synth unless it is either underrated, really cool, or just plain terrible. Serum earns a 9 out of 10 in my book. After checking out some videos of the synth on YouTube, I just _had_ to pick it up. It surpassed my expectations.

Overall Thoughts:

If you own N.I. Massive, many aspects of the patch design workflow will be immediately familiar. You have the same drag and drop functionality, where you can click on, say, an LFO, and drag it to any of the knobs. This functionality is combined with a mod matrix, so you both ways of working, which is really cool. The mod matrix page also allows further tweaking after you've set things up, such as altering the modulation curve, reversing the direction of the modulation, and adding an additional source to control the modulation (such as adding the modwheel to control LFO amount). You also have 4 Macro controls for further tone shaping, which users of Massive will be familiar with. Having said all this, I definitely think many Massive users would do will to pick up Serum as the sound between the 2 synths are different, and Serum has functionality that Massive lacks. IMHO, while I love Massive, I like Serum better. It's more customizable, so you can dig deeper and really carve out your own unique sonic niche. My only problem with Serum, currently, is the CPU usage. I'm on a 10 year old machine and just hitting 3 notes on a complex pad patch brings my CPU to its knees. Maybe the developer could add a "draft" mode in the future?


The wavetable creation features in Serum are phenomenal. You can draw your waveforms, or you can import any sound file. From there, you can edit the wavetable morphing in many different ways. This really gives the patches you create their own unique sound, as you are not limited to a factory wave set. You also have a wide variety of ways to warp the wavetables, including even FM synthesis with the other oscillator, ring modulating them, or more standard warping features such as wave bending, mirroring, PWM, etc.

You can also import samples and use them in the "noise" oscillator, which vastly increases the different kinds of sounds Serum can make. While I haven't tested it yet, it looks like you should be able use your imported sample as a modulation source as well.

You have a full suite of high quality onboard effects which can be ordered any way you like. There is also a very generous selection of different filter shapes, which even includes a plethora of exotic "filters" such as ring modulation, bit crushing, phase shapes, flange shapes, etc - even reverb as a filter shape...interesting :). You have 3 LFOs and 3 Envelopes. The LFOs are highly customizable. Aside from the standard shapes, you can build your own sequences and even push a button to turn your LFOs into one-shots/envelopes.

Sound and Presets:

Going through the presets gives the impression that Serum is mostly for hard, dirty and aggressive sounds, but the synth has a softer and more sublime side as well. Definitely NOT a moog or oberheim, but capable of more than just screaming in your ears haha :). I've made some sweet, chill leads and ambient pads with it. On the harsher side, I love the dubstep basses Serum makes - definitely gives Massive some serious competition in that area. This is where making custom wavetables really adds to the fun :). Since I compare Serum to Massive so much, I'd like to try and describe the differences in sound between the synths. Massive's filters are utter SHIT, which always bothered me because that has been one of my personal favorite synths. Serum's filters are far, far superior, IMHO. They can be uber-phat and really sing with the proper settings, or you could thin 'em up if you like. The character of Serum's unison is better as well. Not sure how to describe it, though. "Thicker" is the best I can do there lol. A synth's onboard effects is a big contributor to the overall sound as well. Compared to Massive, I find Serum's distortions "warmer", as well as the fact that you have far more distortion types. The chorus sounds fatter and is much more customizable. Massive's reverb is shitty, whereas Serum's reverb is decent. Also, Serum has an onboard compressor, which many of the presets make use of for that "squashed" sound which is popular nowadays. My only gripe with Serum's overall sound is its tendency toward strong higher frequencies, which requires some extra tweaking if you want to tame it.

Value for Money:

The wavetable customization and ease of use for that functionality alone is worth the asking price. It's all done from within the synth, so no extra outside work is required.


One of the best GUI's out there. Very professional, easy on the eyes, and easy to navigate. The tabs are necessary as there simply isn't enough room on normal sized monitors to cram everything onto a single screen. but they are done in a way that doesn't impede your workflow.

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Discussion: Active
16 September 2014 at 5:51pm


17 September 2014 at 11:44am


17 September 2014 at 12:55pm

yes, there's an annoucement now here http://www.kvraudio.com/news/xfer-records-announces-serum-wavetable-synthesizer-for-mac-and-win-vst-au-and-aax-27366.

release is planned for this Friday.

18 September 2014 at 2:01pm

Still planning on a release, tomorrow? :D.

18 September 2014 at 8:41pm

all systems go.

19 September 2014 at 1:41pm

Following the countdown on Facebook... Several hours have past since Steve said it would be released.... Take my money already!!!!.

10 October 2014 at 7:26pm

Based purely on synthesis, this is my favorite soft synth yet.

24 November 2014 at 10:11am

Definitely a good pick. Xenos' review above is a nice resource for getting an idea.


21 March 2015 at 7:48pm

hello, im new on forum... willing to buy serum for my sounds... :)

1+- how do u set LFO amount ? (for pitch there coarse pitch assignable i saw... but for other thinks ?)

2- how do u decide the LFO start at this frequencie... and not random ? (free LFO mode like sylenth possible ?)

AWESOME SYNTH... my next buy. plz respond ^^ thx in advance <3.

21 March 2015 at 7:59pm

also how i do random and S&H waveform with LFO ?

24 May 2015 at 12:28am

you may want to try his website for questions xferrecords dot com.

14 July 2017 at 12:36am

Can I consider this Synth as the best one on the market for now?

9 January 2018 at 3:09am

I love this synth.

1 March 2019 at 1:40pm

After 20 years of trying and buying most of the big synths (and some cheaper ones) I now only use Serum and (occasionally) zebra 2.8. The versatility of Serum is breathtaking.

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Average user rating of 4.70 from 10 reviews

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