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Apples / Oranges? V-synth vs. Omnisphere?


timwat

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My rig has evolved to where I'm comfortable with my meat & potatoes - pianos, EPs, B3 - for me the staples are there. Perhaps not best-of-breed, but more than sufficient for my gigging.

 

I'm now interested in augmenting with a more "pure synth" kind of solution that will reward time invested programming. I'm hoping for thick, complex pads, unique leads, usable expressive capabilities - sort of something to develop my own 'voice' with. I'm also very intrigued by the Vocal Designer tech of Roland's, and my one chance to play with this recently on a V-Synth XT was very positive - I can see where this could provide an area of exploration for me for some time.

 

Problem is V-Synth is expensive (especially the GT and XT new), and I'm not entirely sure what the differences between the various flavors (original w/ 2.0, XT and GT) are aside from the obvious form factors.

 

I'm also intrigued by Omnisphere, and heard nothing but positives from users, and everything I've heard sounds incredible. But of course that dictates a laptop (which is already the center of my rig) and I'm told it puts pretty serious demands on computer performance. Also, there's a real attraction to me of a standalone hardware piece that will allow me to go deep.

 

Does any of this make sense? I'm not in a position to make an immediate move, but these two paths are attractive to me and I'm curious what your comments might be.

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I've never fooled with the V-Synth or any of its flavors, but I can tell you about Omnisphere. Everything you've heard is correct. It's wonderfully deep, sounds incredible, you can tweak for days & there are patches to start you off with that'll take an eternity to get thru.

 

It is however, a CPU hog. For whatever reason, the more parameters I MIDI enable to external controllers, the more of a hog it becomes. I don't use it on my Laptop rig because it's already pretty maxed out- 3 instances of Atmosphere is less consuming than 1 of Omnisphere (granted, Omnisphere is multi-timbral & has tons more under the hood). But on my studio rig it is always my 1st go to instrument for non acoustic sounds.

Custom Music, Audio Post Production, Location Audio

www.gmma.biz

https://www.facebook.com/gmmamusic/

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I've never played Omnisphere, but like you and everyone else have only heard wonders.

 

I do, however, own a V-Synth XT. I've had it for about a year and a half now and it is a very important part of my rig. I wouldn't say central to my rig, because it is much more specialized. So here's what I think:

 

-The V-Synth is an incredibly powerful synthesizer with deep programming options, yet very intuitive interface. Its color touch-screen makes it easy and fun to navigate. If you're into sound-design, you'll spend countless hours exploring everything from old-school analog, to modern sounding drum kits, from thick lush 80's-like pads, to cinematic sound fx for horror, suspense and drama, screaming leads and thundering basses. The routing of the synth blocks can be configured into various structures thus giving you various synth techniques like subtractive, FM, Ring mod, etc.

 

-The V-Synth is also a top-notch sampler. You could sample directly through it's inputs or load samples via USB or PC card. The samples do have to be encoded for the V-Synth, but this is necessary to be able to take advantage og the elastic audio capabilities (independent control of time, pitch and formant in real-time).

 

-2 COSM blocks each with 16 types of filters and processors, goes way beyond your typical lowpass filter. These allow you to shape your sound into very unique ways.

 

-Very powerful effects section with three blocks: multi-fx, chorus and reverb.

 

-D-50 and Vocal Designer cards allow for the XT and GT models to act as a D-50 or a extremely powerful vocoder.

 

Now enough with the endorsement, here's the bottom-line:

 

Very deep, very versatile yet very unique personality. To have all these possibilities in one machine is mind-boggling. The trade off is that the VA sounds although sound great aren't as authentic as say a Nord Wave. You could only have 50mb of samples in any given project. Mult-timbral capabilities a bit limited. But it produces sounds I've never heard anywhere else while at the same time serving as a very simple sample loop player, or drum machine. The versatility is uncanny and very inspiring as a player and a sound designer

 

Overall, a great machine. I would definitely get another one if ever it was lost or stolen.

Ian Benhamou

Keyboards/Guitar/Vocals

 

[url:https://www.facebook.com/OfficialTheMusicalBox/]The Musical Box[/url]

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3 instances of Atmosphere is less consuming than 1 of Omnisphere (granted, Omnisphere is multi-timbral & has tons more under the hood).

 

However, the Atmoshere patches sound even better in Omnisphere.

Omni is a killer synth. I upgraded my DAW, and added a 3gig boot option to allocate more ram to the host & apps, and everything runs smoothly.

What we record in life, echoes in eternity.

 

MOXF8, Electro 6D, XK1c, Motif XSr, PEKPER, Voyager, Univox MiniKorg.

https://www.abandoned-film.com

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However, the Atmoshere patches sound even better in Omnisphere.

Omni is a killer synth.

 

Yes they do! One other thing though. While I think Eric Persing (the brain behind Spectrasonics) is the premier programmer, just about all of Omnisphere's patches have a ton of effects on them. Oftentimes you have to strip some of that down to make things work in a mix.

Custom Music, Audio Post Production, Location Audio

www.gmma.biz

https://www.facebook.com/gmmamusic/

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How is Omni as a live instrument, and how is the computer performance burden?

 

I'm pretty sure my relative "weighting" of use would be 70%/30% live vs. recording - and since I use Mainstage and Ivory as my live rig now, I'm a little worried about the CPU hit Omni would add to my Macbook Pro with if I tried to run simultaneously.

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You mentioned you would like to develop "your own voice" with this synth. Omni is great because of the enormous core library of samples which you can also mix with VA waveforms, but creating your own sound from the samples can be challenging. I've been using Omni for about half a year now, and getting my presets to not sound like minor tweaks of sound sources is tough.

 

I love Omni, but if you are looking to program a synth from the ground up and make a sound that is totally you, you might want a synth that lets you go a little deeper. Sure Omni has deep evolving FM pads, but you are stuck with what's in the core library. If you wanted to make your own, you'd be stuck. Tweaking samples can lead to easy patch creation, especially when you have access to granularity and polyphonic wave-shaping, but ultimately all your presets end up sounding like the samples that are your building blocks.

 

So try Omni, and see if you are happy with how deep you can go. If it works for you, go for it, the core library offers a plethora of inspiring sound sources. But if you find your self wanting to import your own samples, or having a few more routing options, maybe a different synth would better suit establishing "your sound".

GIGO
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Hey tim, here's a video of Jordan Rudess demo'ing Omnisphere:

 

http://www.spectrasonics.net/news/2009/jordan-rudess-on-using-omnisphere-with-dream-theater/

 

To me, it's a sound with a lot of mojo.

 

(As an aside, I also enjoyed what Jordan did here. Hot licks, yes, but he can play very lyrically and emotionally. Which I didn't realize...)

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You can store the samples in another location other than where the app resides, but it doesn't make any diff to the CPU.

This is a large library (48gig), with lots of real time effects.

Like I said, I added a dual boot 3gig 'switch' and it has helped quite a bit.

What we record in life, echoes in eternity.

 

MOXF8, Electro 6D, XK1c, Motif XSr, PEKPER, Voyager, Univox MiniKorg.

https://www.abandoned-film.com

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would this help with CPU demands?

Inside your computer you've got the fastest access to the drive, via PATA or SATA.

 

Moving that to USB not only creates a bottleneck at throughput, it also taxes the CPU even more because USB is a dumb protocol.

 

Even then, when the drive's not there and you try to boot anyway, you get applications that complain. Just replace your internal drive with a bigger one. Terabytes are costing nothing nowadays, and 2.5" drives for laptops already come in 500+ gb sizes.

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