Being a synth player doesn’t necessarily require you to build your own patches.
Sure, if you have a certain sound in mind, but, there is something magical going on when you browse pre-made presets and all of sudden, song inspiration comes in and it’s all because of the actual sound you’re playing.
Let's take a look at the best serum presets.
Table of Contents
What is a Serum?
Serum is an advanced polyphonic virtual synth. What makes Serum different from the rest of the software is the ability to create the most advanced wavetables so far while using significantly less CPU power. It’s really flexible and it can sound both modern or vintage depending on the presets you choose and your personal taste.
It’s also worth mentioning that the Serum FX panel is really powerful and it helps a lot to get a certain sound.
How Does a Serum Preset Work?
As you can see Serum is a very complex synth capable of creating some unique sound and effect configurations. Luckily, all those options can be stored inside a file called preset, from which it can be recalled and ready for use with a single click.
Serum Presets is a convenient way to store and recall various parameters from the Serum synthesizer and effects panel. It will work on any platform supported by the Serum regardless of where it was created in the first place.
Presets can be organized with different tags and categories or they can simply be stored inside the user bank.
However, bear in mind that most commercial packs will either be based on the instrument type or genre-oriented and will come with predefined categories that will probably work for you just fine. They may also come with the set of their own wavetables, but most of the time the setup will be really streamlined so you can easily browse it and pick your favorite presets.
It may also be useful to know that you can store not just Serum sounds, but Serum effects chain setups as an independent file as well. This way you can have the same effects on the different sound presets.
Comparison of the Best Serum Presets
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Review of the Best Serum Presets
It would be impossible to review all the Serum Presets categories and even harder to define the “best for the money” category as it’s all related to the genre you’re looking for. That’s why our review categories will try to cover all important genres instead.
Best All-around Serum Presets:
Future Shapes of Serum
It was hard to pick an all-around product, so the choice was based on how many genres can be covered.
Future Shapes of Serum is a bank, oriented towards modern EDM music. It comes with 150 sounds of bass, keys, leads, pads, plucks, synths, FX, and Sequences.
On top of that, it delivers LFO modulation shapes for all sounds and you’re getting 400 of such presets. Those can be used on every patch you have in the collection so it’s an add-on that will fit literally any genre.
Speaking about sound, we especially loved how Sequence presets worked on our songs and you have a dozen presets to pick from. But in general, all the usual sound categories are covered and all presets are very close to being at production-ready level for deep house, lo-fi, chillout, progressive, and other EDM genres.
Best Serum Leads:
Impulse Factory Hard Lead
This collection comes with awesome, gritty, in-your-face leads, with perfect wobbles that can cover the whole spectrum when needed, pulsating patterns that can act as a rhythm substitute on drop parts, everything is included.
Our favorites are distorted patches that will fit in all songs without any patch editing. All 70 presets come with assigned filter cutoff or distortion control via Mod Wheel on the MIDI keyboard controller.
But, while this works for progressive and trance sounds, we would like to see some collection of different sounds as well, for example, some LFO modulated soft leads. It would expand the use of the whole library.
If you’re looking to spice up your next EDM anthem, this library has a wonderful palette of leads for your themes. The sound quality will make a significant difference to your song production.
Best Serum Pads Presets:Emotions:
Dark Beauty Serum Presets
Pads fit anywhere. If you have a feeling that your song is a bit dull and unimpressive, you can easily bring it back to life with a good pad sound. You can even build a whole song around a single massive pad layer.
Luckily for us, Push Buttons decided to extend a bit over with this collection so, besides giving you typical beautiful pads, lush strings, and vintage analog-like poly synths, many rhythmic and complex evolving sounds are not easy to create from scratch. Most of these complex sounds have a dedicated macro and mod wheel controls as well.
Some will extend to bass-like sounds, others would go towards lead sounds, and of course, there are special FX-based sounds to build a certain atmosphere.
Speaking of genres, anything modern and cinematic will work, but we strongly advise you to experiment and try any genre with these sounds.
Best Serum Bass Presets:
Extreme Serum Bass
One can’t have too many bass sounds and that’s probably what guys from Zenheiser thought when they made not a 100 but 101 bass preset library for Serum.
All kinds of bass presets for EDM are here - sub, acid, metallic, future, growl, mod, squelch, yay, wobble - you name it.
There are also dedicated flange bass presets if you need it to play some other song part than just building a core. Some presets can even be used as basic drone sounds if you apply basic filtering and envelope editing on it.
Our only remark goes for not having vintage-like and distorted bass sounds. But, since most of these sounds are oriented towards Dubstep, it may not be so important for their target audience. Some basic sounds go pretty well with the Deep House and Minimal genres, too.
Best Dubstep Serum Presets:Pumped:
Serum Dubstep Essentials
This is a very handy pack for all EDM beginners out there. It was made to cover all the basics one may need for starting their project.
There are 60 presets at your disposal made especially for dubstep. Many sounds are step-based, aggressive, modern, futuristic, and loud, and they are all pumped to the production-ready level. Sound wise, if you try to imagine a typical dubstep sound, you’re probably going to get it from this library.
Unfortunately, we would be glad to see some more traditional synth sounds in this pack, but the guys from the W.A Productions had a different idea - to bring your song to that dubstep vibe as fast as possible.
If you haven’t worked before with the macros, this library may be a nice tutorial so you can understand all the benefits of assigning features to the macro knobs in Serum.
Best Hip Hop Serum Presets:
Patchworx LoFi Hip-Hop
There are 64 Serum custom presets all supplied with a specific melody or groove available in both MIDI and WAV format. Audio files are recorded in a 24-bit format that will allow you more headroom at production stages.
Half of the collection is dedicated to the bass and pad sounds while the rest covers pluck, FX, keys, and leads. Unfortunately, no drum kit is available in this collection.
It’s a nice add-on to have all wave loops have a dedicated MIDI file so in case you like the tune but you would like to experiment with the different sounds, it’s possible with this bundle.
Patchwork targeted the LoFi subgenre of hip-hop with this collection and it works just like we would expect it. But, honestly, we don’t see why it wouldn’t also work for any kind of atmospheric and chilled genre, like Downtempo for example.
Best Trap Serum Presets:
Loopmasters Trap Serum Presets
This pack holds the basic collection of trap sounds. It includes awesome sub-bass sounds that you will really feel on a good sound system, typical electronic tom sounds based on the legendary TR-808 you’ve heard everywhere, eerie and LFO modulated pads, and a couple of useful risers.
All the presets come with the assigned MIDI phrase so you can hear a quick hint of how it is supposed to sound and if you like it, you can also put it in WAV format directly into your project.
We also feel that the Synth Lead part of this collection could be a bit better optimized. We advise you to put some filters and modulation effects on it to spice it up.
But luckily, such lead synths are not mandatory parts of trap music and those other sounds are really great sounding and versatile.
Best Synthwave Serum Presets:
Patchworx Synthwave - Serum Presets
This preset pack is made from 150 presets of Bass, SFX, Keys, Lead, Pad, and 4 Pluck sounds including 4 Drum setups, 78 wave loops ranging from 70 to 180 BPM, and 77 MIDI files.
The melodic preset has a dedicated MIDI pattern or groove so you can get the quick auditioning demo of the sound. SFX presets have a nice presentation of Serum modulation and noise capabilities, but our favorite presets are definitely Leads.
All sounds are specially tailored for dedicated retro electronic music of the ‘80s which can be utilized into other subgenres such as Outrun and Synthwave if you add a bit more reverb or tap delay over it.
They were designed to sound with obvious inspiration from famous composers such as Jean Michelle Jarre and Vangelis and there are enough bass options that will cover all the typical song layouts.
Best House Serum Presets:
SoundSpot Serum Deep House Essentials
Serum Deep House Essentials is made by dance music producers with an idea to provide you with all the basics required to produce a full Deep House song.
There are 64 with dedicated MIDI melodies and basslines for quick inspiration hints, and those files are also available in wave format if you have a busy project.
Maybe not all users will agree, but we actually like the fact it doesn’t try to provide you with the original content. It focuses on giving you all the necessary presets and MIDI files you’re hearing in every track so you can get the core of the song done really fast and you will be surprised how useful those 10 loops can be.
And while it’s meant for deep house music, we can easily imagine those bass sounds in any modern pop song as well.
Best EDM Serum Presets:
Electropolis for Serum
This pack contains 128 Serum presets including dozens of Arps, Basses, Leads, Pads, and FX patches. Besides those patches, it also provides you with growls perfect for electro, glitch-hop, and riddim.
Patches found in Electropolis are really modern. Synth leads have a nice blend of analog sound packed in the modern digital vibe, sounding clean and sizzling, while Arps will come in handy to any project you are about to create. You may feel at first that there should be more Arp patches, but eventually, you’ll understand that you can utilize those available in various combinations.
We would recommend this library to anyone who is looking to create some dubstep tracks, but if you think outside of the box, some bass patches and wavetables could be used in other genres as well, like a trap, for example.
Advantages of Investing in a Quality Serum Preset
If you’re still uncertain whether you should buy Serum Presets, let’s break it down for you so you can understand all the benefits you would get from it:
Creating Serum presets might be a tiresome process, especially regarding wavetable presets. Buying a proper Serum Preset bank can save you hours of preset editing. And let’s be fair, most of the time, the sound you’re looking for already exists, so it would be silly to waste time “reinventing the wheel”.
Serum sound designers have devoted a lot of time to create a preset that will sound almost pre-produced and that will fit the specific genre the best. It’s not just the preset you’re buying, you’re using a part of their music production experience as well.
Not all users compose the same way nor do they all excel in the same fields. Composing skills have nothing to do with sound designing so there is nothing wrong with focusing on the content you’re really good at and let the others do what they do the best.
And while buying a Serum Preset bank doesn’t mean you will find the exact sound you need, it may direct you in the right way so you can modify it much easier than going from scratch.
Serum Presets have a different purpose than to be played for YouTube demo preset presentations. If you like what you hear, save a lot of programming time, go and purchase any preset pack, and then use them in the real songs.
Remember, songs make presets great, not the opposite way.
People Also Ask
Let’s devote some time to understand the basic terminology around Serum synthesizer. Understanding what wavetables, supersaw, and the whole workflow around Serum preset navigation will help you to understand the whole virtual synthesis world as all those VSTs have a lot in common regarding its architecture.
What is Wavetable?
Wavetable synthesis is a technique of creating single-cycle waveforms that oscillate periodically. It’s biggest trait is that the sound can be harmonically changed with moving to a certain point of wavetable, which makes this synthesis ideal for long pads and drone notes where notes can evolve slowly and create a unique timbre.
What is the Supersaw?
Supersaw waveform is made out of several saw waveforms played together slightly detuned. It was created by Roland on the JP-8000 synthesizer and it has a broad use in all kinds of electronic music. It is often mixed with a similar but silkier and brighter waveform called hypersaw.
How to Tune a Serum Preset so It’s on Key
Beneath the OSC display, there are SEM and FIN panels and you can readjust the tune from there. You may also check the detune value if you’re using unison mode and there is an option in Global Tab on the right side where you can specify the Master Tune and load a custom Tuning File.
What Presets Does Serum Come With?
Xfer Serum comes with a bunch of presets containing leads, basses, sequences, and many more, but it’s safe to say that it won’t even unlock half of the potential Serum can achieve in total. That's why we highly recommend purchasing additional genre-specific banks for Serum.
Where to Put Serum Presets?
Serum presets should be stored inside ~Xfer\Serum Presets\Preset folder by default. You can create subfolders at this point in any way you find logical.
How to Import Serum Presets
Go to the top right corner and select Menu and then Show Serum Presets folder. You can either create a new folder to store new presets or use already existing ones.
Once you drag and drop presets go back to the menu, press Rescan folders, and new presets should appear in your Serum library.
How to Save Serum Presets
All you have to do is press the Disk icon on the top right, create a file name, and select the folder where you want to store your new preset.
You can also assign it a different preset name by editing the value in the upper right corner and provide additional descriptions optionally.