Omnisphere is a powerful and vast software synthesizer come rompler come sample engine. Out of the box, it comes with over 14,000 patches for you to play with, but how do you go about finding the one you want. I’m no synth patch designer and usually take other people's work and edit the patch to fit the track I am working on. To find these sounds I use the Boolean Search facility of Omnisphere.
Now, I hear you say, “The Boolean what??”. Just a quick background stop to explain that this system was invented by George Boole. Boolean logic is recognized by many electronic searching tools as a way of defining a search string. You can find out more about Mr Boole in this Wikipedia article and the Boolean system named after him in this article. This will give you an idea of why we use the terms ‘OR’, ‘AND’ and ‘NOT’ to narrow the search field and find that sound you were looking for.
Bringing this into Omnisphere I would suggest ensuring that all your tags conform to the Spectrasonics standard. Once this is done it should be much easier to find the sound you want. Handily there is a third-party tool that speeds this process called omnitag. You can then select the type of sound that you want using ‘OR’, ‘AND’ and ‘NOT’. OR allows you to find sounds that contain one tag OR another. The AND tag finds patches that contain everything you have selected. Whereas the NOT is kind of special in that it finds sounds that are NOT tagged with what you have selected.
This way of searching works not just in the patch library view, but also in the multi-view and also the sound source view.
This is probably better represented as follows.
Shortcuts for Mac and PC
I am going to make an assumption in these examples that you are looking for Film and Electronic patches or sound sources for your production.
Keyboard shortcut = Command/Click (MAC) Control/Click (PC)
This option says, “Show me results that are tagged with either of these Attributes.”
Example: Within the Genre column, Command-click (Mac) or Control-click (PC) “Film” and “Electronic” to display only those sounds that are tagged with Film or Electronic tags.
To choose OR, simply select the Attribute (OR is the default filter state).
To make multiple selections us Command-click (Mac) and Control-click (PC).
The selection(s) in the column will be highlighted in blue and both circles in the icon will be filled in.
Keyboard Shortcut = COMMAND/CONTROL/CLICK (MAC) Control/Right Click (PC)
This option says, “Show me results that are only tagged with BOTH of these Attributes.”
Example: Within the Genre column, Command-right-clicking/Command-Control-clicking (Mac) and Control-Right Click (PC) “Film” and “Electronic” will display only those sounds that are tagged with BOTH Film AND Electronic tags.
The selection(s) in the column will be bordered in blue and only the intersection of the circles in the icon is filled in.
Keyboard Shortcut = Option/Click (MAC) Command/Option/Click (Multiple Selections) (MAC)
Alt/Click (PC) Control/Alt/Click (Multiple Selections) (PC)
This option says, “Show only those results that are NOT tagged with these Attributes.”
Example: Within the Genre column, Option/Alt-click “Dance” to remove any sounds from the results that are tagged as Dance.
To choose NOT, use Option-click/Alt-click and select an Attribute.
To make multiple selections, use Command-Option-click (Mac) and Control-Alt Click (PC).
The selection(s) in the column will be bordered in red and only the left circle in the icon is filled in.
Using the Text Search Field
You can also type expressions into the Search field to filter your results.
Typing “Film and Electronic” will include Patches that fit both genres.
Typing “Film or Electronic” will include Patches with either Attribute.
Typing “Film and not Electronic” will include Patches suitable for Film, but not ones that are Electronic.
Parenthesis or brackets as they are sometimes referred to can also be used for multiple criteria selection:
(Film or Electronic) and (Dramatic and not Disturbing).
I’ve created a short video demonstrating these different ways of using the search facility within Omnisphere, which you may find helpful. Please subscribe to the channel as I upload on a regular basis both useful tips and my musical creations.