Serum vs. Zebra vs. Bazille vs ...? Meaningful comparisons?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
sporkles
Posts: 3188
Joined: Sun Feb 18, 2007 8:43 pm
Location: Schmocation

Serum vs. Zebra vs. Bazille vs ...? Meaningful comparisons?

Post by sporkles » Thu Oct 08, 2015 6:55 pm

Zebra has been on my "list" for ages, but Serum has really tickled my fancy - dialling in gnarly sounds is super intuitive and easy. I'm pretty sure I don't *really* need either one, but does anyone have good arguments for one over the other? Is there even any point in comparing them?

(Edited topic to match the development of the thread.)
Last edited by sporkles on Wed Oct 21, 2015 7:30 am, edited 1 time in total.

beats me
Posts: 23319
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2007 6:39 pm

Re: Serum vs. Zebra - a meaningful comparison?

Post by beats me » Thu Oct 08, 2015 7:01 pm

Can’t give a complete overview but I’d say for simplicity and being visually obvious Serum wins.

sardaukar
Posts: 29
Joined: Tue Jan 22, 2008 1:26 pm

Re: Serum vs. Zebra - a meaningful comparison?

Post by sardaukar » Thu Oct 08, 2015 10:09 pm

Love the visual aspect of Serum. Animated modulations of parameters is fantastic for identifying what is going on in a patch.

Just a shame however, that going by the patches included, it sounds quite sterile to my ears.

beats me
Posts: 23319
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2007 6:39 pm

Re: Serum vs. Zebra - a meaningful comparison?

Post by beats me » Thu Oct 08, 2015 10:31 pm

Also you can add custom wavetable libraries to Serum. I’ve seen vids where users have all the wavetables from Access Virus and Omnisphere 2. 8O

There are a lot of YouTube videos on Serum you can check out for the basic idea.

Martin Gifford
Posts: 425
Joined: Mon Jun 14, 2010 12:48 am

Re: Serum vs. Zebra - a meaningful comparison?

Post by Martin Gifford » Fri Oct 09, 2015 9:59 am

SOUND:

Zebra sounds warm and organic. Serum sounds sterile, cold, dry, and digital. But a huge number of people love Serum. Those who don't like it always complain about the same thing, i.e. the digital sound. I liked the sound of Serum for about 20 minutes, but it increasingly became like nails on the chalkboard of my soul.

USABILITY:

This can be a surprisingly personal thing. Many people find Zebra complex, but I find it intuitive. Weirdly, I find Hive, for example, unintuitive whereas everybody else finds it intuitive. So maybe it depends on how your particular brain is wired.

CONCLUSION:

Watch videos and try the demos and work with each for an extended session. You can freeze tracks if you create something you like with a demo.

granted
Posts: 157
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2006 6:18 pm

Re: Serum vs. Zebra - a meaningful comparison?

Post by granted » Fri Oct 09, 2015 2:20 pm

I think you should be comparing Serum and Codex. Comparing Serum and Zebra is kind of odd since they are so different.
One thing to keep in mind is CPU usage. Serum can be quite heavy on the CPU. On my laptop Serum is a monophonic synth, on my desktop it's a polyphonic synth.
Serum is also in active development. There are new betas frequently with not only bug fixes but new feature requests included as well. U-he is good about updates too.
Full disclosure: I don't actually own Zebra nor have I used it. But I do own Serum and Codex and somewhat related I own Diva and Bazille.

pencilrocket
Posts: 1718
Joined: Tue Jun 15, 2010 10:46 am

Re: Serum vs. Zebra - a meaningful comparison?

Post by pencilrocket » Sat Oct 10, 2015 3:37 am

sporkles wrote:super intuitive and easy
About the easiness Spire is easier and toward usable synth sound in electronic music songs.
Image

Machinesworking
Posts: 11098
Joined: Wed Jun 23, 2004 9:30 pm
Location: Seattle

Re: Serum vs. Zebra - a meaningful comparison?

Post by Machinesworking » Sat Oct 10, 2015 4:41 am

Someone already mentioned, but the comparison is about as crazy as you can get when talking about essentially wavetable synths.
Very different sound. I've used Zebra since it was OSX and AU only, but beyond that Serum is designed with that mouse guy, which I can't say I'm a real fan of, (suing people who used samples included in Fruity Loops that he sold to Fruity comes to mind) whereas Urs Heckman is a really decent person.

Read this if you want an idea of why I would rather give my money to Urs. Besides the simple fact that Zebra is an amazing synth and Urs is very generous with upgrade pricing etc.

http://createdigitalmusic.com/2008/12/a ... c-samples/

beats me
Posts: 23319
Joined: Fri Mar 30, 2007 6:39 pm

Re: Serum vs. Zebra - a meaningful comparison?

Post by beats me » Sat Oct 10, 2015 7:01 am

pencilrocket wrote:
sporkles wrote:super intuitive and easy
About the easiness Spire is easier and toward usable synth sound in electronic music songs.
8O

That is seriously like EDMs best kept underdog softsynth secret that not even my loudmouth will mention it. +5 dexterity to you!

granted
Posts: 157
Joined: Sun Oct 01, 2006 6:18 pm

Re: Serum vs. Zebra - a meaningful comparison?

Post by granted » Sat Oct 10, 2015 3:08 pm

beats me wrote:
pencilrocket wrote:
sporkles wrote:super intuitive and easy
About the easiness Spire is easier and toward usable synth sound in electronic music songs.
8O

That is seriously like EDMs best kept underdog softsynth secret that not even my loudmouth will mention it. +5 dexterity to you!

Oh great you guys mentioned Spire, THANKS A LOT (sarcasm).

sporkles
Posts: 3188
Joined: Sun Feb 18, 2007 8:43 pm
Location: Schmocation

Re: Serum vs. Zebra - a meaningful comparison?

Post by sporkles » Sun Oct 11, 2015 2:07 pm

I've demoed both in the past, and the reason I'm asking is more for the sake of an interesting dialogue and the fact that I know that I already have the tools I need, and that I'm really just looking for quicker routes to the desired results. I hear some fantastic sound design in the Hans Zimmer verson of Zebra, whereas the included presets in the regular version sound incredibly bland and mundane. With Serum, I can make interesting sounds very easily, but I consider it more as a complement to the synths I already own, whereas Zebra - based on my own (limited) tweaking and the presets, is overlapping at best.

Another thing to take into account is the absurd CPU hit of Serum. I cannot imagine the monster machine required to use this care-free like I do my other synths (ranging from Massive and Sylenth1 to Alchemy). Then again - the kind of sound I picture myself making with Serum is definitely more effect-y and ornamental - the kind of sounds I readily freeze&flatten anyway.

I'm pretty sure my question is getting more and more leading, here, but the *logical* choice for someone who owns all the NI synths, Ableton Suite, Alchemy (CAMEL AUDIOOOOO!), Cyclop and Sylenth1 is Serum, right?

Then again - does anyone have any insight into the legendary next version of Zebra...? And, Machines, I get what you're saying - Urs seems like a super guy, and I've really wanted to throw some money at U-he, but I simply haven't been able to go for it. But Steve Duda also comes across as a very amicable fellow, from what I can tell watching his Serum vids.

Tarekith
Posts: 17333
Joined: Fri Jan 07, 2005 11:46 pm
Location: Ableton Forum Administrator
Contact:

Re: Serum vs. Zebra - a meaningful comparison?

Post by Tarekith » Sun Oct 11, 2015 3:45 pm

Have you thought about Omnisphere?

Treshell
Posts: 28
Joined: Tue Aug 20, 2013 4:18 pm

Re: Serum vs. Zebra - a meaningful comparison?

Post by Treshell » Sun Oct 11, 2015 6:41 pm

No, a more apt comparison to Serum would probably be Waldorf Nave or Tone2 Electra2

tedlogan
Posts: 1343
Joined: Thu Dec 20, 2012 7:23 pm
Location: Leamington Spa, UK
Contact:

Re: Serum vs. Zebra - a meaningful comparison?

Post by tedlogan » Sun Oct 11, 2015 10:49 pm

sporkles wrote: I hear some fantastic sound design in the Hans Zimmer verson of Zebra, whereas the included presets in the regular version sound incredibly bland and mundane.
Bear in mind that most of ZebraHZ's presets do not even use that version's addons (diva filters, per-channel compression and the resonator)and can be programmed with normal Z. Don't judge vanilla Zebra by its factory bank. I too find it relatively mundane, even though Howard Scarr is the synth preset king in general.

Also check out the previous factory bank, much more interesting sound design, but you're probably making your own sounds anyway. I've used Zebra for a few years now and still come upon surprising new sounds. An amazing synth. Those comb filters make for some really good sounding fantasy ethno weirdness, amongst other things.

I've only demoed Serum, and thought it sounded great. Very clean modern character to it. Not worked with it much though.

deva
Posts: 1685
Joined: Fri Jun 02, 2006 4:32 pm

Re: Serum vs. Zebra - a meaningful comparison?

Post by deva » Mon Oct 12, 2015 3:32 am

Not thrilled with the sound character of Serum. It is high quality for sure. And fun to experiment with wavetables. Bit heavy on the cpu, but that would not deter me if I loved the sound.

Zebra is amazing. For me, an endless source of beautiful sounds. A complete must have.

Post Reply