Spectrasonics Omnisphere 1.5 – Here’s What’s New

At the 2011 NAMM ShowSpectrasonics announced and demonstrated Omnisphere 1.5, the latest version of the company’s flagship synthesizer.

  • Omnisphere 1.5 includes a new interactive interface called “The Orb”, which offers real-time synthesis manipulation capabilities, along with many deeply expanded additions to the synthesis engine and user interface.
  • The update also includes many important user-requested features such as the new 5-Column Browser view and support for polyphonic aftertouch.
  • The new version also includes a significant update to the factory patch library, taking advantage of all the new sound design capabilities and bringing the total number of included sounds to over 8,000.

Omnisphere 1.5 is set to be released on February 15th, 2011 as a free downloadable update for all registered users.

In the video above, via Sonic State, Spectrasonics’ Eric Persing demonstrates the new features of Omnisphere 1.5.

Here are the official details on Omnisphere 1.5

Expanded Synthesis

Omnisphere 1.5 includes new and expanded synthesis capabilities, with newly designed “zoom” interface views for the synthesizer’s Harmonia, Waveshaper and Granular synthesis areas. Harmonia can create extremely rich sounds by adding up to 10 oscillators per patch with new independent modulation possibilities on each oscillator. The Waveshaper now includes more extreme sound mangling capabilities with the new polyphonic “Crusher” and “Reducer” modules, which include ‘Animation’ and ‘Force’ parameters that can all be modulated. Omnisphere’s Granular synthesis area has been made significantly more powerful by including new ‘Speed’ and ‘Position’ modes, which create dramatic polyphonic shifts through the audio and time spectrums. At the center of the Granular Zoom interface is a new real-time ‘Granular Visualizer’ showing a colorful graphic model of the effect of parameter edits, all of which makes Omnisphere’s complex Granular synthesis easier to understand and more fun to use.

“Our goal for Omnisphere has always been to make it the ‘best of both worlds’ – awesome sounds AND a dream instrument for sound design,” says Eric Persing, Founder and Creative Director of Spectrasonics. “As longtime synth geeks ourselves, we are just as excited as our customers to see how Omnisphere is growing and evolving as a synthesis platform. We’re really looking forward to hearing how our users explore the new sonic worlds this version opens up. I think it’s some of our best work yet.”

The Orb

The innovative “Orb” feature of Omnisphere 1.5 is both a remarkable sound manipulation tool and an intuitive performance interface — it can be thought of as a ‘circular controller.’ Now with a single click of the mouse, the user can instantly customize the sound. Best of all, the Orb automatically works with every patch a user has, there’s no setup necessary.

The user simply moves the Orb cursor with a mouse, a MIDI controller or in the case of an iPad, with fingers directly on the Orb itself. As the Orb moves around the concentric circles, it morphs between automatically generated parameter scenes in Omnisphere’s STEAM engine in a highly intelligent and musical manner — all patch dependent — manipulating the sound in subtle or radical ways appropriate to that particular patch. If the user doesn’t like what the Orb has created, a complete new set of manipulations can be chosen by simply rolling the “Dice” button, which instantly creates a brand new group of intelligent sonic modifications and effects to try. There’s no limit to how many serendipitous sonic variations the “Dice” can create – opening up the vast power of the STEAM engine to every user, regardless of synthesis knowledge.

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