Omnisphere 2.5: Hardware Synth Integration and double voice architecture

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Omnisphere 2.5: Hardware Synth Integration and double voice architecture

Post by Guy Rowland » May 03, 2018 5:29 am

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At Superbooth, Spectrasonics has announced a major update of its flagship software synthesizer Omnisphere.

Spectrasonics say "With the new version 2.5, Omnisphere becomes the first software synth in the world to offer a Hardware Synth Integration feature, which transforms well-known hardware synthesizers into extensive hands-on controllers for unlocking Omnisphere's newly expanded synthesis capabilities. Simply put, this new feature makes using Omnisphere feel just like using a hardware synth."

Hardware Synth Integration

The innovative new feature bridges the physical experience gap between software and hardware, allowing users intuitive control and the ability to easily create/modify Omnisphere sounds by using the familiar layout of their supported hardware synth with minimal setup. The initial release will officially support over 20 popular hardware synthesizers from Moog, Dave Smith Instruments, Roland, Korg, Behringer, Novation, Sequential and more to come. The supported hardware synths cover a wide range of types and price ranges for different types of users.

On the technical side, the new Hardware Synth Integration feature in v2.5 goes far beyond the typical "MIDI Learn" approaches that most software synthesizers employ. Under the hood, Spectrasonics development team has carefully designed unique "Hardware Profiles" for each supported hardware synthesizer, to make the special features of that hardware work seamlessly with Omnisphere by translating MIDI messages from the hardware into satisfying sonic results in Omnisphere. This new system allows Spectrasonics to enable sophisticated interactions from a single touch of a knob, including the ability for Omnisphere to automatically recall entire FX racks, assign multiple scaled parameters and even instantly create complex modulation matrix routings on-the-fly. The new development system also allows Spectrasonics to add new profiles for new hardware synths in the future. Most importantly, it's easy for musicians to use - simply by selecting the hardware synth from the drop-down HW menu.

Expanded Synthesis Capabilities

The new version 2.5 vastly expands the synthesis capabilities of Omnisphere by doubling Omnisphere's voice architecture to Four Layers per patch. Each patch can now utilize up to 12 envelopes, 8 LFOs and the Modulation Matrix has been doubled to 48 modulation routings. Newly designed State Variable Filters are included, which were specially created for the OB-6 hardware profile and can seamlessly blend between lowpass, notch and hipass filter modes. Over 50 New "Analog" Oscillator Wavetables are included and featured in the new hardware profiles.

New Hardware Sound Library

Omnisphere 2.5 includes a new "Hardware Library" with hundreds of new patches created by Eric Persing and the Spectrasonics Sound Development team using the Hardware Synth Integration feature. Each hardware profile has a corresponding set of sounds in the Hardware Library which were specially designed using that hardware synth as an Omnisphere controller. The new sounds feature a wide range of categories and many have a distinctly 'classic analog' flavor. Best of all, the new sounds are available for ALL users, regardless of if they use hardware or not.

"Since the beginning of computer-based music, the biggest limitation of software synthesizers has been the lack of physical interaction. It's hard to beat the immediacy of a physical synthesizer that you can touch. We are very excited to be able to finally eliminate that problem by utilizing the world's finest hardware synthesizers to fully control Omnisphere." said Eric Persing, Creative Director of Spectrasonics. "We've never felt that the worlds of software and hardware synths should be segregated into different 'camps'. Our virtual instrument users can now experience the joy of the hardware synth workflow and hardware synth users can now fully expand their capabilities into the vast sonic world of Omnisphere."

Omnisphere v2.5 features:

Hardware Synth Integration.
New Hardware Library adds hundreds of new patches for all users:
Over 13,000 Sounds total now included.
Vastly Expanded Synthesis:
Four Layers per patch.
Doubled Mod Matrix.
New State Variable Filters.
8 LFOs, 12 Envelopes.
Free for all Omnisphere 2 users.

Hardware Synths supported include:

Sequential Prophet 6.
DSI OB-6.
DSI Rev 2.
Moog Voyager.
Moog Little Phatty.
Moog Sub Phatty.
Moog Sub 37.
Moog Subsequent 37.
Korg Minilogue.
Roland System 8.
Roland System 1.
Roland SE-02.
Roland SH-01A.
Roland JP-08.
Roland JU-06.
Roland JX-03.
Roland VP-03.
Novation Bassstation II.
Novation Peak.
Behringer Deepmind.
*complete list of new features and supported synths will be announced upon the official release in mid-Summer 2018.

Public Beta

The 2.5 update will initially be released in May 2018 as a Public Beta. All registered Omnisphere 2 users with Standard licenses are eligible to sign up to join the Public Beta test. Spectrasonics is encouraging end users to participate and provide feedback in the Public Beta test. The company says that users who give high quality testing/feedback reports in the Public Beta will be eligible to join the official Spectrasonics Beta Team for future products.

Eligible users can sign up for the 2.5 Public Beta program through their Spectrasonics User Account.

Pricing and Availability

Omnisphere 2.5 is a free update to all registered Omnisphere 2 users. Public Beta starts in May. Official Release Mid-Summer.
I don't yet really understand how the hardware thing works - it seems that sonically everything is still contained in Omnisphere, and the hardware is a giant remote control, customised to each synth. I'd have thought visual feedback on the hardware would be pretty limited. Still, having expanded synthesis and some new synth-based soundsources and patches will be fun.

https://www.spectrasonics.net/news/news ... php?id=111


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Re: Omnisphere 2.5: Hardware Synth Integration and double voice architecture

Post by Guy Rowland » May 03, 2018 7:33 am

I think I get the hardware thing now, having re-read the blurb a few times. Basically - don't think about using the synth as a remote surface for programming Omni. Instead, I think the idea is that you now have a new variant of your hardware synth. Forget switching between the two, just program with the hardware as normal, except it will be sonically different as it's using the Omnisphere engine not your own hardware's one.

Pretty cool idea, actually.

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Re: Omnisphere 2.5: Hardware Synth Integration and double voice architecture

Post by GR Baumann » May 03, 2018 9:45 am

:shock:

WOW, I didn't see that coming!

:thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup: :thumbsup:

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Re: Omnisphere 2.5: Hardware Synth Integration and double voice architecture

Post by GR Baumann » May 03, 2018 9:50 am

I always had a soft spot for Roland system 8... I think that's next :)

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Re: Omnisphere 2.5: Hardware Synth Integration and double voice architecture

Post by Ages » May 03, 2018 10:09 am

Sounds pretty cool. Hopefully the standard is not some expensive, proprietary thing though..

I'm most excited about the "vastly expanded synthesis". I don't know what the hell it's gonna be, but I'd be very happy if they added one extra oscillator per layer. That's my main issue with Omnisphere 2..


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Re: Omnisphere 2.5: Hardware Synth Integration and double voice architecture

Post by Guy Rowland » May 03, 2018 10:26 am

Ages - the expanded synthesis is mostly 2 more layers, from 2 to 4. So that makes 4 primary oscillators per patch, plus the gazillions in Unison and Harmonia.

We wait to see how this hardware integration works exactly, specifically whether or not Spectrasonics provide the specific integration per synth and its a done deal, or whether or not users can come up with their own. I can see a whole user community building up there if they allowed it. You could in theory map different virtual synths to each hardware one from what I can make out.

Georg - funnily enough I was looking at the System 1m. There would actually be room for this in my setup, amazingly, right on top of all the Swissonic keyboard controllers I'll never use. I'll need to research and live with the idea for a while - it could be a bit more of a toy than anything else for me. Then there's those natty little boutique versions of the 106, Jupiter 8, JX-3P and the SH-02.

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Re: Omnisphere 2.5: Hardware Synth Integration and double voice architecture

Post by Ages » May 03, 2018 10:41 am

So you're saying we are going to get extra oscillators for some of the 8 layers?

I do use Unison / Harmonia to make up for only having 2 oscillators, but I'd still prefer an extra one so I can mix 3 different waveforms together. There's just some patches I can't make as well as I'd like with Omnisphere because of this limitation. Well, unless I start making Multis, but I don't wanna do it that way :P


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Re: Omnisphere 2.5: Hardware Synth Integration and double voice architecture

Post by Guy Rowland » May 03, 2018 10:49 am

As far as I can make out, there will now be 4 layers, not 2, and they will all be exactly the same - just multiply a layer by 4 rather than by 2 as it is at present. 4 oscs, 4 unisons, 4 FMs, 4 everything. If you look at the image at the top, you can just about make out that the C and D layers have been added to the tabs in the blurry GUI behind. BTW, right now you can add other waveforms in Harmonia, you're not restricted to the primary one. Just click the Wave field on the RHS of the Harmonia tab. That said, of course you can only do this if you're not using unison or granular, and this is one of the main ways that extra layers will be helpful. (Like you, I never want to get involved in multis!)

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Re: Omnisphere 2.5: Hardware Synth Integration and double voice architecture

Post by GR Baumann » May 03, 2018 11:13 am

Guy Rowland wrote:
May 03, 2018 10:26 am
Georg - funnily enough I was looking at the System 1m. There would actually be room for this in my setup, amazingly, right on top of all the Swissonic keyboard controllers I'll never use. I'll need to research and live with the idea for a while - it could be a bit more of a toy than anything else for me. Then there's those natty little boutique versions of the 106, Jupiter 8, JX-3P and the SH-02.
I played it at Musikstore in Cologne when it came out, was stuck there with the Aria system for three hours, which went by in no time really. When the shop opened I started to play around, and the manager got us coffee and breakfast, he apparently enjoyed my "blindfold" life improvisation, being at home with Roland since many man years, this was an easy Gig. The funny thing was, when the shop crowded up and people started to join, they thought I am a Roland presenter and asked questions. LOL I sneaked out after three hours, and it was really hard not to pull the Visa out and take a few cratons with me, but two days earlier, I just had purchased a new NEC 30 Inch Spectraview Reference and iOne Preo calibration system. ( Fucking serious money!) for my photography endeavours.

What I would have wished for is another level of build quality, that being said, the existing plastic build is no concern, it is smooth, no aftertouch though, all in all I suppose a matter of personal preference of build aesthetics. The pleasure playing with it is fantastic and inspirational, to me that is.

Can't wait to see what level Omni2.5 is integrated with RS 8, I would think it to be of the highest integration, I would not be surprised at all.


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Re: Omnisphere 2.5: Hardware Synth Integration and double voice architecture

Post by Muziksculp » May 03, 2018 11:27 am

Omnisphere 2.5 looks Awesome !

Thanks for the heads up.


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Re: Omnisphere 2.5: Hardware Synth Integration and double voice architecture

Post by Guy Rowland » May 03, 2018 11:58 am

Holy cow, just finished the video. I'm trying not to type the words "game changing" but failing. What a fascinating idea, and looks superbly executed.

This really bears out something that I've thought for a long time, that the UI itself changes the sounds you get from a synth.

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Re: Omnisphere 2.5: Hardware Synth Integration and double voice architecture

Post by kpc » May 03, 2018 1:14 pm

Looks really nice. Makes me think I should be looking at Hardware Synths again. This could be very cool.

I like the idea of the Roland System 8 - but that damn paddle control for Mod and Pitch is the worse. I wish they would go back to the duo controls. Rules it out for me. Seems like the OB-6 is a good option, though a bit pricey. hmmm. lots to ponder. But a very cool development and make me glad I have Omni 2.
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Re: Omnisphere 2.5: Hardware Synth Integration and double voice architecture

Post by Guy Rowland » May 03, 2018 1:18 pm

Yes, I'm looking at hardware for the first time in... 25 years maybe? Course its all well and good to have 20 cool synths arrayed around you, but physical space and all that, and choosing only one will of course just give you that one hardware flavour. I'm really only thinking about expanders at this point, and probably just one of the smaller ones that can sit on my keyboard.

One thing I'd dearly like to know is if the beta can be run alongside the existing version. I'm guessing not as they've never worked like this before, but there again AFAIK they've never done an open beta either.


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Re: Omnisphere 2.5: Hardware Synth Integration and double voice architecture

Post by Erik » May 03, 2018 4:30 pm

This is so so brilliant ! And free, btw,for us Omni 2 users.
Don't have any of this hardware and do not plan to grab one in the next future, unless I win at the €million or something.And I would be
Hardware companies gonna love Eric because of this innovation, aren't they ?
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Re: Omnisphere 2.5: Hardware Synth Integration and double voice architecture

Post by Guy Rowland » May 03, 2018 4:52 pm

Erik wrote:
May 03, 2018 4:30 pm
Hardware companies gonna love Eric because of this innovation, aren't they ?
It's such a weird thing. Feels like everything has turned on its head. Since forever, there hasn't been a decent synth controller, and part of the problem has been that fixed controls are... fixed. It took me a few hours to get round this announcement, because all the while I'd been thinking "how can one synth control all of Omni?" Answer - it can't. I'd genuinely never considered what Eric came up with, flipping the whole thing and turning what was a stumbling block into the solution. I've always known Omni sounded great and was incredibly versatile, but hearing the range and quality there was so impressive.

So yeah - suddenly I'm looking at hardware synths in a new light. But so weird to think "I'm not sure I'll ever bother plugging the audio jack in". A quite absurd state of affairs, and damning to all those companies who have never once created a decent synth controller between them. All it ever needed was proper hardware controls for a software synth (OK, seamlessly integrated). Apart from impOscar and the MS20, which were small scale esoteric things, nobody ever really tried. One starts to wonder if some enterprising manufacturer will start producing shell versions of their synths, with all the audio circuitry missing. Also great for miming on TV appearances.

As an analogue worshipper, this is heaven - all those new patches in Omni progammed by the hardware, even as it lives in software. It's wonderful to me to have all this focus on all that diverse analogue sugary goodness.

Omni 2 has been a somewhat mixed experience. A huge step forward in so many ways, but there's the tagging nightmare, the recent issues with terrible load times and (ongoing) Windows granular CPU use. All round I'd fallen a bit out of love, as you can probably tell I've fallen head over heels all over again.

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Re: Omnisphere 2.5: Hardware Synth Integration and double voice architecture

Post by Ages » May 03, 2018 6:57 pm

I just watched that video. I think I see what's going on now. Sounds like a great update! My oscillator prayers have been answered :D I love the way it will customise all the routing depending on which hardware synth you use with it.

I didn't catch everything that was said though. Do you only hear the sound of Omnisphere when using it with a hardware synth, or is there some kind of mixed mode where you hear both? It looks like a cool thing to have if you already own one of those synths, but otherwise they're very expensive soft synth controllers haha :P

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Re: Omnisphere 2.5: Hardware Synth Integration and double voice architecture

Post by tack » May 03, 2018 8:11 pm

Well, props to Spectrasonics. This is a great idea.
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Re: Omnisphere 2.5: Hardware Synth Integration and double voice architecture

Post by Home Studio 87 » May 03, 2018 8:57 pm

Impressive really, I like the innovative way of Spectrasonics…...

:blush: Sorry for my "Frenchy" English…...
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Re: Omnisphere 2.5: Hardware Synth Integration and double voice architecture

Post by Guy Rowland » May 04, 2018 2:47 am

Ages wrote:
May 03, 2018 6:57 pm
I didn't catch everything that was said though. Do you only hear the sound of Omnisphere when using it with a hardware synth, or is there some kind of mixed mode where you hear both? It looks like a cool thing to have if you already own one of those synths, but otherwise they're very expensive soft synth controllers haha :P
No mixed mode, everything in the whole video is 100% Omnisphere, I guess a mixed mode would be your mixer! I did think it would interesting to a/b, but not in the way the internet is usually obsessed with a/bs. To me it’s not about “do they sound the same” it’s actually the opposite... how different are they? What new directions do the same physical controls take you?

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Re: Omnisphere 2.5: Hardware Synth Integration and double voice architecture

Post by GR Baumann » May 04, 2018 2:51 am

What a bloody massive project!!!!

You have to get all of them manufacturers on board to share technical details with Spectrasonics for them to be able to include that layer in Omnispheres architecture. To get over that hurdle alone is a enormous achievement! It just shows the excellent working relationship Eric has with the entire industry. Of course, the sales pitch is about selling more hardware. I'd guess the Omnisphere Userbase is probably in the mid 10 thousand region, now project the potential sales over time and you have a very interesting proposal. It is all about synergies and with HW sales more and more declining this is a sexy proposal for them in deed and enough motivation to hand over secret specs.

Ingenious, but that was just the easy part. The technical implementation of that layer must have eaten up many hundreds developers hours with serious headaches, and while redundancies are there of course, each HW will pose a new level of difficulties to deal with!

Eric, just in case you read that, out of technological curiosity, and if you can share this.

How many lines of code is Omnipshere 2.5 now (My wildest guesstimate would be 50.000 - 70.000), and how many lines of code was Atmosphere compared?

Last but not least, another massive and free update. Unbelievable!

Quick someone put that medal on Eric's chest now.

SYNTHESIS WORLD CHAMPION ALTRUIST

Thanks a lot Eric and Spectrasonians!
Best
Georg

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Re: Omnisphere 2.5: Hardware Synth Integration and double voice architecture

Post by GR Baumann » May 04, 2018 2:56 am

With each new instance of Omnisphere, I guess you can call up a different HW. Mindblowing!


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Re: Omnisphere 2.5: Hardware Synth Integration and double voice architecture

Post by Guy Rowland » May 04, 2018 3:05 am

Yes to all that Georg. Wasn’t it fantastic just to see Eric hands on with so many synths? The man loves synthesis. Urs is another character that I always love watching, the sheer love and enthusiasm always comes over in a similar way. One thing I don’t know is if Eric gets permission to scan the wavetables and name them - I presume so?

And yes, two instances could be different hardware controllers. The only limit would be how much hardware you own...

The System 1/8s perhaps suggest one more idea. Since they were conceived to host plug outs natively, you could have Omni profiles for those Plug Outs too. I’m presuming that the 1m = the 1 as far as the profiles go, but would be good to get this confirmed.


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Re: Omnisphere 2.5: Hardware Synth Integration and double voice architecture

Post by Erik » May 04, 2018 3:08 am

They’re one momznt in the video when Eric is actually comparing Sub 37 audio output to the Omni one hés tweaking.

Guy : those boutique have really tiny controls.

One better choose his right hw option : the ine with the most controls/sliders ? Oh, the drama !!! Now one ´ll have to pounder sounds (Omni preset « mapping »), controls/sliders AND sound of the original machine.
Headaches ! Headaches !
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Re: Omnisphere 2.5: Hardware Synth Integration and double voice architecture

Post by Erik » May 04, 2018 3:10 am

But my I7 already struggles with Omni, I’m afraid to get into trouble with this update..
"I'm using more black notes now and there are a lot of chords in the last album, too" Vince Clarke -1986

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