Spectrasonics’ Omnisphere 2 was already one of the most powerful synthesizers in the software realm, but with the release of the version 2.5 update, which we first saw at Superbooth earlier this year, it's set to integrate with your favourite hardware synths.
Designed to “bridge the gap” between software and hardware, the idea is that synthesists can use their hardware to control Omnisphere, but this isn’t just basic MIDI Learn we’re talking about. There are dedicated profiles for each supported synth - models from Roland, Korg, Behringer, Novation and Sequential are already supported - with the theory being that MIDI messages from the hardware are translated into “satisfying sonic results” in Omnisphere.
We’re promised sophisticated interactions from a single knob touch - you can recall entire FX racks, assign multiple scaled parameters and create complex modulation matrix routings on-the-fly. Just select your synth of choice from the drop-down menu.
Omnisphere 2.5 also includes new synthesis capabilities. The voice architecture has been doubled to four layers per patch, and each patch can now call on 12 envelopes and eight LFOs. There are now 48 routings in the modulation matrix, and new state-variable filters are included. These were specially created for the OB-6 hardware profile and can seamlessly blend between low-pass, notch and high-pass modes. What’s more, over 50 new ‘analogue’ Oscillator Wavetables are included and featured in the new hardware profiles.
The sound library has been updated, too, with a new ‘hardware library’ containing hundreds of new patches created using the hardware integration feature. For each hardware profile you’ll find a corresponding set of sounds that were designed using that particular synth as an Omnisphere controller - you can access these whether you own the ‘real’ synth or not.
“Since the beginning of computer-based music, the biggest limitation of software synthesizers has been the lack of physical interaction,” says Eric Persing, Creative Director of Spectrasonics. “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 utilising the world’s finest hardware synthesizers to fully control Omnisphere. 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 2.5 is a free update for all existing users and is available now from the Spectrasonics website.