Xfer Records SERUM - How to use 1. Basics and customizing presets

Author: sleepfreaks

Taking an in depth look at the next contender “SERUM”


Xfer Record’s SERUM was first sold 2 years ago, and has gradually grown a strong following.
We received a multitude of requests for this series from YouTube and email, so we have decided to dive into this plugin over a number of articles.

The key characteristics to this synth is its incredible easy/joy of use, visuals, and its sound.
Lets start by learning the basics.

Product site : http://sonicwire.com/product/99927

SERUM – Tutorial video

  1. 1SERUM How to use ① Basics and customizing presets
  2. 2SERUM How to use ② Oscillator controls
  3. 3SERUM How to use ③ Modulation controls
  4. 4SERUM How to use ④ Easy sound design Tips

Selecting presets

SERUM contains a variety of fantastic presets, some even from famous artists.
It’s a great way to create your sounds, starting with a solid foundation from these presets.


Presets can be chosen from the black window at the top.
In addition, by clicking the “< >” button, you can try out different sounds.

SERUM – Basics and layout

After choosing a preset as your base, learn the basics to begin designing your own sounds.
SERUM has 2 main oscillators, with a sub and noise oscillator.


Turn it on/off by clicking the blue button on the side of the name, or use the “LEVEL” knob to adjust the balance.

The “DIRECT OUT” on the side of the SUB oscillator, allows you to choose whether or not to apply effects to your sound.


This is great to keep “off” when you don’t want to apply sub-bass/effects.

OSC A and B’s waveform (Wavetable), can be selected by clicking on the waveform name.


You can also utilize the “< >” button to move to the next sound.
There are a wide variety of sounds on board, and can be previewed when changed; just listening to the sounds provides hours of fun!

Envelope and LFO basics

When you want to add movement to the sound, use the envelope/LFO from the bottom.
The left is the envelope (x3) and the right is the LFO (x4).


In this preset, there is a 7 next to LFO1, meaning the LFO is being applied to 7 different parameters.

In addition, by clicking that area, you can view the parameters that are being assigned to it.


Here you can perform the following functions

  • Individual parameter names:Assign on/off
  • Bybass(Activate) all Destinations: Temporary bypass of LFO assignment (can return later)
  • Remove all Destinations: Completely delete LFO assignment

LFO basic functions

By clicking on the folder mark near the LFO knobs, you can select a preset LFO type.


Next, lets try changing the RATE.
The further the RATE is turned to the right, the wavelength becomes shorter (moves faster).


By turning on the “BPM” switch, the wavelength syncs with the tempo, allowing you to choose from RATES (i.e. 1/2, 4). This works great for syncing the timing with a beat.

Envelope basic functions

SERUM’s envelope’s master volume is assigned to “ENV1.”


For example, to change the attack of the sound, move ENV1’s “ATTACK” knob, or drag the left hand dot.

There may be instances when you want to control the Release but you can’t find the dot.
In this case, use the magnifying glass icon on the right and drag it up/down.


You can get a full view of the envelope, and control the Release.

Visual confirmation of ENV/LFO assignment

You can also visually confirm where the envelope and LFO are being assigned.
By clicking on the ENV/LFO tab, the knobs that are assigned will light up blue.


By dragging (up/down) the mark above the knob, you can adjust how much env/lfo is applied to it.



Lets examine the filters as well.
In SERUM’s filter section, you can decide which oscillators to apply it to from the buttons on the left.


For this example, there is a “B/P/N 12” filter applied to “OSC A” and “NOISE.”
You can select filter types similar to other parameters, by clicking on the name above.

Of course, envelopes and LFO’s can easily be applied to each parameter, allowing for creative freedom in the sound design process.

Reading/saving presets

Once you’ve customized some presets, and come up with cool sounds, it’s a good idea to save them.
It’s a very easy process; simply click the disk mark on the side of the preset name, and select where to save it.
You can access the saved sounds from the “User” folder as well.