ORIGINALLY RELEASED IN 2008, OMNISPHERE QUICKLY GAINED FAVOR AMONG synth-heads and media composers for its vast library of expertly designed presets, paired with a best-in-class synthesis engine that provided an arguably unmatched level of programmability. Since then, there have only been two upgrades, version 1.5 (reviewed Aug. 2011) and now, finally, version 2.0. Omnisphere has always been considered by many producers and players to be the platinum standard among soft synths. But since its initial release, the market has exploded with VIs that attempt to be “Omni killers.” So at V2, does Omnisphere still have what it takes? Read on.
While some software upgrades focus on specific features or certain types of users, Omnisphere version 2 is panoramic in scope. Indeed, with Omni 2, Spectrasonics has delivered a huge dose of more across every aspect of the instrument. There are more effects (58 in total, up from 33), more oscillator waveform choices—both samples and digitally modeled—more modulation routing possibilities, more filter types, a bigger, better user interface, and the list goes on. Whether you’re a sound designer, music producer, composer, or synth player, Omni 2 offers something for just about everyone.
Existing users will appreciate that Omni 2 has a similar look and feel to earlier versions. Coming from version 1.5, I found the learning curve to be minimal, and whatever head scratchers I did encounter were quickly solved by digging into the detailed and informative user manual (available in HTML or PDF).
The upgrade can be purchased directly from Spectrasonics as a 20GB download (allow four to six hours depending on your Internet service), which is delivered via custom download software. I’ve had problems with other larger downloads that relied on an Internet browser, but Omni 2’s download manager never skipped a beat and the installation process was a breeze. New users can purchase a download of the upgrade or physical DVDs from an authorized reseller. Once installed, the new version overwrites the previous, and sessions that use earlier versions will load version 2.0, with patches being backward-compatible.