Is Omnisphere The Right Tool For You?

Keyboard
Talking synths

In addition to seeing all the posts on Facebook, I’ve recently be asked the same question by many keyboard players and musicians alike. “Should I get Omnisphere, and is it worth it?” The immediate answer to that question is undenieably…. YES! With that in mind, let me clarify a few things.

What is Omnisphere?

In short, it’s an incredible software synthesizer “plug-in” that has extraordinary power and versatility. It is used by many of the top keyboard players for Hillsong, Jesus Culture, Bethel, and more. Unlike traditional keyboards, you can expand your patches and sounds simply by purchasing them online and importing them into Omnisphere. Peter James is one of the main keyboard players for Hillsong and he makes all of the patches that he’s used on the Hillsong albums available for purchase through Multitracks.com. You simply pay a small fee and instantly have the sounds off the record. It’s great!

Do You NEED it?

You don’t have to have Omnisphere to play modern worship music. Omnisphere is incredible, but it’s not a requirement. There are many great “soft(ware)-synths” out on the market including Apple MainStage, Native Instruments Komplete, etc. These all have great sounds and features. Most of the time I end up using all of these in combination with Omnisphere. Omnisphere does, however, make life a lot easier and the patches are more accurate than some of the other systems.

Try It With These Lessons

Open Up The Heavens

Love the groove and it's a great opening set song.
This whole tune is built on 16th's.
Great opening intro riff.
Time to rock the B3!
Song Key: 
D
BPM: 
99

We Believe

Strong lead and simple acoustic strumming
So much fun!! Get ready to let loose in the chorus!!
Great Worship Rock Anthem!
Time for the ARP!
Album: 
You Hold It All
Song Key: 
C
BPM: 
132

Holy Spirit

Beautiful acoustic picking and some strong lead work
Toms..Toms.....and more toms!! Fun song!
5 string lows.
Four Chord Song!!!
Album: 
If We're Honest
Song Key: 
D
BPM: 
72

Why do I Use It?

The level of control is unprecedented. The synthesis engine allows a ton of possibilities. It has an easily browsable but enormous library. The arpeggiator is both powerful and very easy to use. LIVE mode combined with the iPad app is AWESOME. It's what you see me using it in nearly every lesson. All this adds upt to tying multiple keyboard performances into one.

Do I Need Anything Else To Utilize It?

You’ll need a host program like MainStage, ProTools, Logic, etc in order to run Omnisphere since it is a “Plug-in”. MainStage is $30 in the apple app store. I personally use it to run my rig live while running Omnisphere and other great soft-synths and it's only $30.

Conclusion

If you've got the budget, it's definitely worth it. It's pricier than others but I personally believe it's worth the investment. You can pick it up here. I've attached a few lessons where I've used it so you can see it in action. Not a Worship Artistry member? You can get a year of lessons cheaper than a month of private teaching here.

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Comments

Alternatives?

Hi Ryan,

I'm currently leading Worship in a youth ministry, and we are looking at ways to get some better sounds for our keyboard player as he is currently using the stock sounds that come with our cheap-ish keyboard. In the past for a previous player, we used Mainstage set up on my laptop next to him and found it hard for him to control it with the laptop while playing.

Are there any alternatives to Omnisphere that work similar where we can have an Ipad set up to control mainstage?

mainstage remote

I know there is a remote to control Logic that you can get on the iPad but if anyone knows if it works with mainstage or if anyone has a link to good tutorials for using an iPad to control mainstage or even good tutorials for learning how to use mainstage I would really appreciate it. Please reply with links to youtube videos or with some answers on the iPad control app.

Save on keyboard?

Hi Ryan - One of my churches needs a new keyboard, but we have a very small budget - like under $1500 (not even that much really) - so I am considering investing in Omnisphere and a less expensive keyboard, but something that still has enough keys to make it fun. The one we have now is a very old Yamaha digital piano with something like 6 voices. It can layer two voices but doesn't split. Do you have any suggestions for an inexpensive keyboard to use with Omnisphere...or is there any chance it will work with what we have? Or should I get a decent keyboard first and Omnisphere later?

Keyboard for omnisphere...

If you want to save money, you could use your current "very old Yamaha digital piano" with omnisphere as long as the Yamaha has MIDI in/out ports. You would need to invest in an interface like such... http://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/Uno?adpos=1o1&creative=55226096281&device=c&matchtype=&network=g&gclid=CIbh4oy118oCFU4WHwod9HAOMQ
It's a great interface that I use anytime I travel and have to use someone else's keyboard. It won't have all the bells and whistles of a controller keyboard, but you can still use it to play Omnisphere. In fact, the keyboard that I used for teaching I never use to control Omnisphere outside of simply playing it. I setup all my sounds and layers inside of Omnisphere and use my iPad to control it.

Starting Omnisphere 2 via Mainstage 3

Hey Ryan, I was just curious if you have a guide/tutorial listed anywhere explaining how one really starts up and really even begins the amazing program that is Omnisphere 2 (running through Mainstage 3)? I have already installed said programs on my MacBook Pro, and have even gotten into the Omnisphere patch browser. It seems to be an amazing program, but I have one slight dilemma... There's no guide... Anywhere. There are plenty of guides for the Omni TR app on the iPad, (which I am trying to use also), but I cannot seem to be able to view all of the patches on that app.

Back to the Omnisphere in Mainstage, are there any guides or manuals anywhere that you know of, that really go in-depth and simply explain exactly how to start up the program as a beginner?

Thank you,
Csweeny02

Hi Ryan, I'm trying to help

Hi Ryan,
I'm trying to help @Csweeny02 with the setup of Omnisphere with Main Stage 3. We can get the ipad and laptop to communicate with each other. The issue we are having is that no matter what we do, when we select different patches for each channel, they all will switch to the last patch selected. Ch1 can be strings, Ch2 can be drums, Ch3 wind instruments...but when I go back to channels 1+2, even though the listed patch still shows strings and drums, when I click on the file to see the different sounds, they will show the wind instruments voices. I cannot get each channel to stay with the designated patch I set for them. There's gotta be something I am just missing here, but as @Csweeny02 has stated, we do not have any manuals, instructions, or tutorials to show us how everything works. Spectrasonics hasn't returned any replies to our inquiries and we cannot find anything on youtube or forums to give us some help. If you have any suggestions or advice, could you please contact me at iamtheghostdrummer@gmail.com?

Thank you for everything on worshipartistry.com, it is an amazing site.

ghostdrummer

Please disregard

I figured it out.

Thank you,
GhostDrummer

Omni TR, playing live and switching between songs

Hi Ryan

Thanks for your great resources on using Omnisphere and Mainstage - they've been a great a help and are really well put together.

My question is around how you use Omni TR when playing live (i.e. a set of songs). As I understand it, Omni TR can only connect to one instance of Omnisphere at a time. How do you personally get around that when playing multiple songs, which require different multis in Omnisphere? Do you have different patches in Mainstage for each song, with a separate Omnisphere instance per patch (in which case, between songs, you would need to quit Omni TR , re-open, and select (guess!) the right instance for the next song in the set)? Or do you just have one instance of Omnisphere (at the concert level in Mainstage) and switch patches within Omnisphere itself when moving between songs? Is there another alternative? I really want to try using Omni TR live, but can't seem to solve this problem elegantly!

Many thanks again for all that you do!

Matt

Omni TR LIve...

Hi Matt,

I just noticed on the forum that I didn't respond to you. Sometimes I respond via email, so hopefully I did that, but just in case...

You nailed it. I have different patches in MainStage for each song, with a separate (and ONLY ONE Omnisphere instance per patch. Then between songs, I quit Omni TR completely by double clicking the home button, swiping up on Omni to completely close it from the background, re-open, reconnect, and select the next instance. In order for the order of instances in Omni to match the patches in MainStage, you need to open MainStage with all of the patches FIRST, then open Omni. Then they should match.

Unfortunately, I haven't found a more elegant solution. If you happen to, PLEASE LET ME KNOW!:-)

Again, so sorry for not getting back to you. Hopefully I did thru email or you've already figured it out. Thanks again for reaching out and for being a loyal subscriber.

Bundle

How can I buy the bundle on one song? I can't find the place to purchase it.

bundles...

Our patch store is going LIVE in the next few weeks. We've been hard at work all summer to make it work right for you guys. You'll get an email letting you know that the patch store is live. Feel free to reach out again in the next few weeks if you don't happen to get that email.

Ipad

How do you attach your iPad? It doesn’t seem to just be sitting on your keyboard but I can’t figure it out?