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SPECTRASONICS' OMNISPHERE

Spectrasonics' Omnisphere 2.0 Power Synth delivers out of this world sounds...

Omnisphere
Omnisphere

It’s been a long time coming, and for many the wait was almost too long to bear. Finally, a plugin that has shaped the dance music production scene has been revamped and is out to conquer all.

Omnisphere 2.0 from Spectrasonics was officially released a few months ago and this eagerly-awaited soft synth has already taken its place at the top of the pile. Not many soft synths can come near to the sonic capabilities of Omnisphere 2.0 or deliver the performance that makes this one of the most powerful music creation products in the market place.

Spectrasonics have always released pretty sturdy and robust virtual synthesizers, from back in the day when it gave to the world Atmosphere the forerunner to Omnisphere, Stylus a powerful groove synth that has featured on many a dance floor filler and Trilogy a truly impressive Bass synthesizer that has torn apart many bass bins in its time.

All these three soft synths were unleashed to the masses in 2002 and reined supreme for an eternity. But as with all top-flight operations, Spectrasonics didn’t leave it there and throughout the years continued to develop their virtual instruments and technologies to the point where they unveiled the updated versions of these soft synths.

Welcome Stylus RMX, Trillian and Omnisphere: these three products improved on their original versions, a feat most thought couldn’t be possible, and once again Spectrasonics led the pack in terms of powerful virtual instruments.

Now after all that success, they've only gone and done it again with the release of Omnisphere 2.0 — aptly named Power Synth. The name itself just doesn’t do it justice; Omnisphere 2.0 has to be one of the most powerful soft synths on the planet.

The depth and body of the sounds on offer are simply breathtaking. It’s a true synth-player's dream; sound sculptors and anyone who is into the sound design element of the dance music scene will simply be in awe of what Omnisphere 2.0 delivers.

When DJ Mag Tech first ran the upgrade package (which was a simple process within itself) and called up a software channel on the DAW, we were greeted with the familiar blue-looking GUI, which instantly brought a smile to our faces. Once we started tinkering away on the keys of the controller keyboard, we realized that we were playing on something special.

The sounds were immense, and we immediately spent the next five hours (!) creating new tracks and riffs. Omnisphere 2.0 gave instant inspiration, it was like being given a new lease of creative life — every patch we played on led to a new track! This level of inspiration is surpassed on any synth. It is obvious that we are fans, but only because Omnisphere 2.0 is that good.

The reason why this Power Synth sounds so amazing is down to the engine that drives the plugin. The technology that sits behind Omnisphere, Spectrasonics’ STEAM software synthesis, has been developed and refined over the years to what it is today.

Ominsphere 2.0 brings many different types of synthesis together into one fully-featured soft synth. FM, Wavetable and Granular Synthesis are just some of the options that are available. An immense selection of Filters are also available to be used, as well as the ability for users to import their own audio as a soundsource into Omnisphere and then tweak it using the plug-in's extensive editing facilities.

Users now have over 12,000 sounds to explore; it is colossal (we're not even half-way through them all and we’ve been playing on this for a few months now!). These presets are the starting point for your own creative endeavors, and the basis for you to start tinkering away on your own sounds — that is, if you feel brave enough to jump into synthesis.

If it’s a step too far for your capabilities don’t worry, small tweaks of the presets can be done by using the sound manipulation tools that are part of Omnisphere’s make-up. 58 FX units are on offer, which can be applied to the sounds to further enhance and change them to suit your needs.

When we first started working on this review, it was destined to be a more technical read — principally highlighting the mechanics of Omnisphere. However, as we played with it more, we thought this level of detail would be far more technical than what we wanted to relay.

Basically, we hope that this review will fire up your tastebuds to go and get it, and at least play with it. Once you hear Omnisphere 2.0 and see for yourselves what can be done with this virtual instrument, you will be as hooked as we are. Omnisphere 2.0 is like having a room full of the world’s best synths in one box!

Build Quality 9
Ease of Use 9
Features 9
Value For Money 9
Sound Quality 9

Hype
Sounds that have to be heard to be believed. A synth with the WOW factor that can find its home in any dance music genre.

Gripe
Too many good sounds to go through in its preset banks.

Summary
Omnisphere 2.0 has to be the most powerful computer-based virtual instrument on the market — simples.

9/10 DJ Mag Star Product Award

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