After 3 years in development, Xfer Records has at last released its eagerly awaited wavetable synthesiser SERUM, and, thanks to its truly high-quality sound, it quickly gained popularity among the vast majority of electronic musicians. Its visual and creative workflow-oriented interface to make creating and altering sounds easy and fun instead of tiresome. You can create / edit / import / morph wavetables, and manipulate these on playback in real-time.
The wavetable creation features in Serum are phenomenal. You are not limited to a factory wave set. You can draw your waveforms, or you can import any audio file. From there, you can edit the wavetable morphing in many different ways. So you create your own unique sound. You also have a large variety of ways to warp the wavetables, including even FM synthesis with the other oscillator, ring modulating them, or more standard warping features. Morph between various wavetables using standard linear interpolation (crossfading) or via harmonic/spectral morphing.
Serum's ultra-clean oscillators guarantee playback of wavetables without any artifacts. Many popular wavetable synthesizers are astonishingly bad at suppressing artifacts. Artifacts mean that you are (perhaps unknowingly) crowding your mix with unwanted tones / frequencies.
The modulation system is handled by an intuitive drag-and-drop system, similar to that of Massive, but with a 32-slot mod matrix letting you see everything in one place, and advanced features. Want an LFO controlling a filter cutoff? Simply drag the LFO title to the cutoff knob.
Serum give you the ability to 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.
This synthesiser includes all of the filter types found in LFOTool in addition to some brand-new ones. Phasers, Flangers, and Comb filters all of which can key-track to the musical note you play. 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. You’re able to place any filter across the whole synth’s output as the filter collection is mirrored in the effects rack for convenience.
Serum has an effects section which includes 10 effects: Chorus, Delay, Hyper/Dimension, Compressor, Distortion, Flanger, Phaser, Reverb, EQ and Filter. Effects can be dragged and dropped in any order, though parallel processing is only available through the use of each module dry/wet control. These effects also can be used to process sound outside the synthesizer. For this there is a special version of Serum - SerumFX.
1.30b1 (May 25 2020)
Fix: preference: Limit Polyphony to one of any note number was causing a filter click on new/stolen note
Fix: SerumFX was latching on stop which could cause LFOs to become offset
Fix: Some on-screen help tooltips were displaying the wrong tip information
Fix: Flip Vertical was moving LFO Bus modulation assignments
Fix: Remove Modulations context menu item was not removing LFO Points on Windows
Fix: Alt key was not reacting on AAX Windows
Fix: In 1.29b9, graph curve handles were not drawing on X-Shaper / Remap graphs
Fix: Adjusting LFO 5-8 rate with notes playing was not reacting until new note
Fix: Updated Mix/Level image artwork
1.29b9(May 23 2020)
- Fix: Typing entry values for the new FX level knobs was responding in percentages instead of the dB range
- Fix: Drag modulators to LFO graph was flickering in some OS/DAW combinations
- Fix: Drag modulators to exactly LFO point (instead of X Y) was assigning (to another point) when it should do nothing
- Fix: typing negative values setting LFO rate in Hz mode would get accepted in some situations
- Fix: changing the preset browser filters/search could leave the previous row location in the list selected.
- Fix: modulated icon on numeric controls not drawing the indicator greyed when the mod source was unfocused
- Add: Improvements to LFO drag to point handling + cosmetics
- Add: Remove LFO modulation points checks if the bus is no longer used by points, and if so, removes the bus mod matrix entries
- Fix: remove point modulation mentioned above
- FIx: potential memory leak in bitmap loading additional memory footprint reduction
- Fix: potential issue in compressor circuit on preset load
- Fix: using "(no category)" filter in preset browser was not displaying presets
- Fix: wrong assignment for single LFO curve via right-click on Windows
- Fix: right-click pop-up menu for LFO points was offset if zoom not 100%
- Add: SerumFX now reloads oscillator states from songs (external load / not presets loaded internally).
1.29b7(May 18 2020)
- New: LFO Point modulation
Right-click (ctrl-click MacOS) on a point in the LFO Graph, you will see “Modulate X” and Modulate Y” options on the pop-up menu.
You will then see a list of (in use) LFO Busses plus one empty one (e.g. you only see "LFO Bus 1" only when starting a new preset) followed by a list of Mod Sources.
By selecting a mod source, you are Creating a Matrix assignment (Selected Mod Source -> LFO Bus) and also the point association (e.g. point X axis->LFO Bus).
The busses allow for multiple points to be controlled by a single Matrix assignment/depth.
You can e.g. drag-select multiple points and assign them to the same bus.
- New: drag-export last played note as wav file.
You should see a waveform icon appear when mousing over the very top-left of Serum's window (top-left corner of SERUM logo).
Drag this to the DAW, it records the last played note+velo+duration to a file (Serum Presets/Renders/).
This is a replaying of the note, so the result is like playing the note again (e.g. will not be literally identical in sound if random or BPM-sync features are enabled).
Please note: you are creating audio files on your hard disk by using this feature (they don’t ‘magically’ get created in the DAW project, that would be nice if it were technically possible), so management of these files is up to you. Serum does not use them directly itself, but if you drag it to your DAW, your DAW may now be referencing this file. If you drag a lot you will end up with a lot of audio files in the Renders folder, so you may want to consider file management techniques (e.g. relocate or consolidate if using in a project) ahead of time. You can alt-click the drag export button to open the Renders folder in the OS.
- New: Hi resolution resampling of Serum's skin bitmaps on Windows (gets macOS resampling quality).
Since this is heavy computation (slow), to speed up opening Serum, the resized images get cached (%APPDATA%\Xfer\Serum) of the last set skin+zoom size. So Serum will resize slower when setting the zoom to a new setting, or selecting a new skin, but if you save the size and/or skin as the default(s) in the SERUM logo menu, then opening should be faster than ever on subsequent openings of the window.
- New: automation parameters for the 8 LFO Rise, LFO Delay controls - these controls were not automatable in the DAW previously.
- New: Level Trim controls for the effect modules
Clicking on the MIX switch on any effect mix knob will expose a modulatable level parameter, to attenuate or boost the output from any effect. This can be useful for attenuating the effect chain level to e.g. match Direct Out oscillators, or gating/muting sound as well as boosting (e.g. in front of distortion for more drive).
- New: velocity (click Y location) to clicking the onscreen piano keyboard
- New: “init all LFOs” to main menu
- Fix: when at 110% zoom, tooltip numbers were drawing overlapped on adjusting AHDSR controls modulation depth popup value (note: it is likely there are similar value-display issues to locate and fix)
- Fix: manual value entry on distortion Q below 0.1 would crash
- Fix: better browser support for nested folders, truncated text in the preset filters when using Sort by Location
- Fix: polyphony limit handling / released notes were getting priority over held notes in some situations.
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