Hello there my inspirations today I’m going to teach you a little bit about Xfer’sSerum an extremely powerful virtual synth used by thousands of professionalmusic producers now the goal of this video is to get you acquainted with thesoftware starting off if you haven’t already obviously you’ll need to getyour hands on Serum if you want to use it once you’ve gotten your hands on the Serum license next thing you need to do of course is install it I have a folderon my computer where I keep all my third-party plugins and I can tellAbleton to look at that directory plugins by going into my preferences andthen going under plugins I set my custom folder right here and then just draggedin the serum VST when all said and done Ableton should recognize that you havethis plug-in and it should be ready to work the next thing you need to do isassign Serum to an instance of a MIDI track in your DAW MIDI tracks are whereyou can play your notes virtually this will be the actual melody or maybe astack of chords that you want Serum to play in Ableton you can assign a MIDItrack and instrument by dragging Serum onto it or by double-clicking on Serumat this point if it doesn’t open up already you can look down here you canclick this little wrench icon and Serum will open up now this is where we’llspend the bulk of this video just going over the interface and explaining how tomake your own sounds now I know this can be a little bit intimidating at firstbut let’s go through this chunk by chunk and just explain what everything doesand hopefully just dissect this a little bit real quick before we get into themeat of this video I wanted to give a shout out to today’s sponsors SkillshareSkillshare is an online learning community for creators and viewers of mychannel will love what they have to offer let’s face it if you’ve landed onthis video you’re the type of person looking to learn now you could learnabout a virtual musical synth plug-in by following along with some random guystutorial on the Internet but what if in the unlikely scenario that videoactually leaves you with more questions than answers and now you just want tolearn more then why not check out one of the more than 25,000 classes Skillsharehas to offer on topics such as music design technology and much much moreskill shares premium membership gives you unlimited access so you can joinwhichever community or classes that are perfectly tailored to your needs skillshare is super affordable an annual subscriptioncomes down to be less than $10 a month plus on top of that if you click thelink in the description below you can get a two month free trial so join themore than 7 million creators learning with Skillshare today whether you wantto fuel your curiosity creativity or even career skill share is the perfectplace to keep you learning and thriving in today’s modern world thank you somuch for supporting this video and channel skills share now let’s get backinto learning about serum where I’ll be picking up by going over the interfaceof the software the first section I’d like to call out is this top rectangleright here here.
On the Left these four buttons are your different tabs theselet you navigate between different windows of serum and we’ll be usingthese very frequently this section right here handles all of your presets so sayyou made a sound and serum that you really like this allows you to go backto it as a saved preset these are saved on your computer you can find them byclicking this menu button and selecting show serum presets folder otherwise youcan also load up presets by clicking the menu button and selecting load presetthis floppy disk icon allows you to save your presets so if you made some changesand you want to save this serum preset you can choose where it goes and do soaccordingly we have this main menu drop-down which we just used briefly butessentially this is where miscellaneous settings and options are if you everneed to look through them use this main menu drop-down and finally the lastthing I’d like to call out on this top rectangle is this master knob this isyour volume this essentially just says how much gain will be sent out by seruminto your digital audio workstation so again in my case Ableton you want tokeep an eye on this little bar right here if your serum instance is too loudthen you’ll go into the red which is called clipping and that’s generally abad that distorts your sound so just keep an eye on that and maybe manipulateyour master volume if you think that is fitting next let’s focus on theoscillator window let’s make sure this oscillator tab is selectedand let’s select menu and knit preset this is just the default preset thatserum comes with this is the most basic sound you can possibly get for now let’sgo into Ableton and draw in a singular note nothing too crazy just a good ol Cafter we hit play this is our serum presetif you’re hearing sound that’s good that means you’ve set up serum properly andwe’re ready to learn how to use this plug-in the meet of serum comes down tothese two oscillators we have oscillator a and oscillator B you can toggle theseon or off by clicking this square right next to their name if it’s grayed outthat means this oscillator is off if it’s blue the oscillator is onoscillators.
Basically are just sound generators they’ll essentially producethe sound that we want to hear by repeating a very basic pattern over andover and over again and that pattern is what’s called a wave table we can selectour wave table by clicking right here where it says default or by clickingthese arrows same as before and navigating through a bunch of differentwave table presets you can’t actually import your own custom wave tablesstarting off let’s select analog basic shapes now this is just a sine wave andwhat this oscillator will do is play this sine wave over and over and overagain producing our sound sure enough we just have a sine wave you can change thepitch of your oscillator by manipulating these numbers right here on the far leftwe have our octave and then we have semitones and then a fine tune which arein cents named accordingly there are a hundred cents in a semitone and thenthere are twelve semitones in an octave now here’s where things get reallyexciting you can stack on different voices on top of this oscillator you canthink of this as just a copy pasted version of this oscillator on top ofitself playing at the same time but then we can manipulate it to be slightlydetuned creating a whiter sound so here’s my singular saw wave with onlyone voice and then with two which sounds interesting doesn’t sound great but wecan work with it this first knob marked D tune determines how detuned each ofthese voices are in comparison to each otherlet’s set this to about eight voices and then move this d2 knob and hear whatchanges so as I clicked and dragged this knobthese voices got more detuned from each other when producing music it’s actuallykind of nice to have a little bit of detuned sound granted too much can sounddissonant is not great so you can tweak this to your liking this blend knobdetermines how much the voices stand out compared to your original oscillator TheCloser this is to a hundred percent the more those additional voices will standout this phase knob determines where ourwavetable starts playing its sound .
If I want my oscillator to start producingsound at the very far left of this wave table then I should slide my phase knoball the way down and the opposite is true for if I want it to start on thefar right side this random knob will determine the starting position of yourwave table on each different note if you want a unique sound upon each differentnote then consider adjusting this random knob next let’s look at the wave tableposition knob so we have our wave table this is a sine wave right but serum ispretty cool in that not only do we have a singular wave table but we canactually have multiple sub tables you can see the different sub tables in thiswave table think of these as different frames different slices of a sound whichwe can then produce with our oscillator and then manipulate with these knobslike we have been already moving this wave table position knob allows me toselect each of these different sub tables so in this one particular casethis basic shapes wave table I can select between a bunch of different subtables that I want to produce my sound so in this case I have maybe oh I sawtooth shape that’s actually pretty cool and then I can manipulate these knobslike I had been before this middle knob allows you to choosebetween a bunch of different warp modes these are significant ways to manipulateyour sound and the name is pretty self-explanatory this warps your wavetable say for example if I want to choose this asymmetrical plus – that’smy warp mode and then I can adjust this warp knob to determine how much thateffect takes place and you can see it’s manipulating my wave table so you canplay around with all these different modes to get the sound that you’relooking for pan adjust the stereo field for your oscillator so if you want thesound to go to the left ear or the right ear and you have a level this is thevolume that this oscillator will output and you can have an entirely secondoscillator playing on top of that so with oscillator B I can turn it onand do the same thing just go around using a different wave table andgenerating a different sound and at its core that’s gonna be yourmain tool from making sounds in serum that’s your sound generator the rest arejust kind of manipulating building off of this oscillator you can also add on asub oscillator so I guess in theory this is sort of a third oscillator but theseare just very basic sounds your very simple wave tables so in this case youhave for example a sine wave you have a square wave sawtooth and you can onlyadjust their octaves the pan and the output volume now if you find serum eatsup a lot of your CPU which I mean it does for me and you only want a verybasic wave table then this might be the way to go use a sub oscillator oralternatively.
If you just want a really subtle static layer right below youroscillators just tack on a sub oscillator you can add in some noise this is whereyou can add in just some noise sound on top of your oscillators you can choosebetween a bunch of different presets and adjust their phase as we have beforesame thing with the random you can adjust its pitch as well as its pan andvolume you can also toggle on one-shot mode soif you don’t want the sounds to loop only play one time per note and alsopitch tracking mode so since this noise comes with a pitch knob you can adjustthe frequency of your sound right you can turn this on and this will adjustaccordingly with whatever note you play rather than just being a static amountof pitch on top of that on the far right here you have a filter you can turn onthis filter to EQ different parts of your serum preset you can choose betweendifferent filter types so these are the passes what frequencies you’re isolatingor alternatively bringing out say for example I want to choose a low 24 sothis is a low pass filter in this case the 24 just determines how sharp of acutoff this is and you can adjust the cutoff frequency by using this cutoffknob these squares over here determine what oscillators this filter is appliedto in this case oscillator a/b my noise oscillator and my sub oscillator if youclick them turn them blue then this filter will be applied to the sound thatcomes out of each of these oscillators otherwise if it’s grayed out it’s almostas if this filter is turned off entirely for only that oscillator so in this caseif I turn on my filter and apply it to oscillators a and B I’ll be able toadjust the cutoff value by moving this knob I should hear that effect these twooscillators but not my sub or my noise so what I did right there was that iscut off all those frequency values from oscillators a and B and then I was leftwith only my sub and noise basically when I got to the very end this res knobright here is the resonance this determines how sharp this what’s calledthe Q value is set to so on this particular filter this is this cutoffright here so up in this res means whatever value this cutoff is set to say680 Hertz that’s actually gonna be boosted that’s gonna have some gain andthen I think above it and below it is slightly less so it’s lowered pan is thesame thing as before your stereo sound you know left-right these drive and fatknobs manipulate the gain of the EQ the actual boost and a little goes a long way and thenfinally you have this mix knob this determines what percent of this filteris applied to all of your oscillators now serum is really cool in that you canalso drag on these LFOs onto any knob an LFO is this graph down here that willplay over time which can be looped or alternatively can just be one shot butdragging them onto a knob is a way to automate that knob to change over timelet’s start off with an emit preset just fresh new start to get the point acrossand let’s lower this level starter play my note right now I shouldn’t hearanything because this oscillator isn’t producing any sound or at leastoutputting any volume if I were to drag this LFO one on to my level and then hitplay you see this bar moving across my LFO asit sweeps through this graph actually automates this level knob so as I goover here and I hit the highest part the the more vertical.
I amthat means the farther I am gonna be on this blue circle that means essentiallyI go from 0% all the way to 100% it’s as if I’m moving this knob but at the rateof this graph I can add different points on this graphlittle nodes by double-clicking anywhere and then moving these around I can double-click on them to removethem again right in the middle of any two dots you can click and drag thiscircle and this adjusts the curve of that line and I can adjust the rate of this bymoving this knob down here this rate knob if I don’t want it synced to a beat Ican untie this BPM and now I can change the speed by selecting a different Hertzvalue this rise determines the ramp up howquickly this volume takes place so if I select it at two bars it’ll take twofull bars for this to even reach full volume or I guess rather full output can alsoadd in a delay and you can smooth out this LFO as well in the case of theirsudden glitchy sounds or clicks now your overall sound is affected by what’scalled an envelope particularly by default envelope 1 this determines howquickly your sound takes place that’s judged by this attack right here a quickattack means your sound will be at full volume instantly whereas if I drag it upa little bit and have a 150 millisecond attack that means it’ll take that longto ramp up to full volume your release knob determines how longthat sound stays after the note has stopped playing the sustain knobdetermines how loud your volume stays over time and the decay determines howlong that stays active so over one point for five seconds this will drop 18decibels and then once I it stopped then itfollows this release finally some minor miscellaneous bellsand whistles around here you have your pitch Bend knob in the bottom left thisadjusts the pitch of your sound set to these values by default it’s set to 2semitones and negative 2 semitones that means when this knob is all the way upthis sound will be pitch bent by 2 semitones I can change these values maybe honest set it to 12 semitones up and maybe only 7 down that means moving thisknob all the way up will effectively pitch Bend my sound by an entire octaveand then if I go all the way down by seven semitones and then everywhere inbetween right you also have your voicing tab over herethis determines if your sound is mono that means only one voice can be playingat a time so if you want to build chords with your serum preset then you wouldn’twant to turn this mono sound on however if you’re only playing singular notesturning on this mono sound has its benefits for example if you want to adda portamento a slide to your sound so if I were to add a second note on top ofthis one right here right now if I were to play this this is what I hear howeverif I’ve selected mono voicing I can adjust this portamento so it slidesbetween the two notes let’s actually turn off this LFO and of course the time determines thetime between the notes the transition time and that more or less covers it forthe oscillator tab this is where you’ll spend the bulk of your time generatingyour actual sound from here we’re just gonna manipulate it until we getsomething that we like you can do so in the FX tab so serum actually hasbuilt-in audio effects you don’t even have to worry about in your doll addingaudio effects on top of your MIDI track for example you can do it all selfcontained within serum itself.
Now I won’t go through all of these too muchin detail that’s just a little too much to cover but essentially you can turnthem on toggle each of them to your choosing and then you can actually movethem around to determine the order they take place in this flows through top tobottom which means whichever audio effect is at the very very top will getadded on to your sound at first and then what’s below it will get tacked on topof that output so in this case if I were to have my Hyperdimension effect and adelay my oscillators will generate whatever sound I make in this window andthen that’ll get fed into my Hyperdimension effect but you can seeright here I can manipulate this effect to my liking by turning these knobsagain play around with it yourself and then that spits out a sound which mydelay effect then manipulates which it then might go into say a phaser forexample that’s the third one in this stack and then maybe an EQ so here’swhere you can actually manipulate your sound to your liking next we have thematrix window anytime you drag and drop an LFO on to another knob or an envelopeonto another knob you’ll create a quick patch in this matrix window this isessentially just a quick view at all of your automation I guess so all of theseLFOs or envelopes that affect your sound over time or to a certain rate you canmanipulate super quick using this matrix window let’s do another Anette presetmaybe let’s add in an LFO on to this detuned noblets d tune this over timemaybe at a sixteenth rate add in eight voicesif I go into my matrix window I can see this route right here this is from mylfo1 right and mind you you can have up to four different LFO is all entirelydifferent and this is what it’s mapped to in this case oscillator A’s detunedknob I can quickly change where it’s assigned to if I want at just you knowthe click of a button that’s super easy and I can adjust how much it’s affectedthe amount so you can use this window if you have alot of different mappings going on and they’re kind of hard to follow honestlymaybe you can tell that something’s mapped to your blends knob but you don’tknow what you know it’s not envelope whan novel to not off of one two threefoot oh it’s envelope three right you could have easily found that informationby going under the matrix window and then just looking for whateveroscillator A’s blend is mapped to oh right here it’s envelope three got itperfect and then finally you do have a global settings window now if you’re abeginner honestly I wouldn’t recommend messing around with this too much thisis one of those things where you have to be really comfortable with the softwareto even begin tinkering with these but granted it is nice to know to have ifyou ever want to manipulate these settings so just look into this a littlebit if you ever know there’s a setting you want to manipulate once you’re donefeel free to save your preset and then you can use it whenever wherever even anentirely different project you can just boot up an instance of serum drag itonto a MIDI track load up your preset and you have that sound that you justmade.
I hope that helped explain the interface at least just a little bitmake it a little bit less intimidating I know it can be a lot to look at but onceyou know what everything does you can get familiar with the software and thenstart making your own sounds eventually becomes second nature and you can justmake whatever you want just like that so thanks guys I reallyappreciate it and I will see you in the next one bye