Just last month I wrote about Cymatics’ first pack of 2017, and how they’ve started off the year right. In just a short period of time, Cymatics has already topped their last pack, and have reaffirmed my claim about 2017 being an even bigger year than the last.
Going back to their “roots” and what they’re most known for, Cymatics has released yet another great bass music preset pack. Nuclear for Serum plays host to phenomenal sound design; from the intricacies of their sequencers and arpeggiators, to the secrets hidden in their bass design, this pack truly showcases the power of Serum in the bass music realm, and why Cymatics are the go-to for presets and sounds. Included in the pack are presets, project files, and one of the coolest things I’ve seen done by a production company – something I’ll touch on later in the review.
With every Cymatics pack you purchase, you have access to a slew of ready to use sounds. Staying true to what Cymatics has offered in the past, the pack treats you to 185 presets including: arps, basses, plucks, leads, sequencers, pads, “synths”, and FX. Included in the 185 presets are an additional 125 wavetables used to make presets from the pack, giving you professional wavetables to use in your own sound design. Going through the pack, I was overwhelmed while flipping through the sounds. I caught myself toying around with the pack, playing with LFO shapes and rates, as well as constantly tweaking each already assigned macro to create new sounds entirely. With the flexibility provided to you on each sound (in the form of 4 pre-made macros, and mod wheel assignments), you can create entirely new sounds with each preset – essentially giving you double the amount of sounds in the pack.
In a “bass music” pack, most people will be purchasing this pack purely for the bass sounds. If you are, and you don’t care about what else is included in this pack (which is a lot, and you should care about everything in this pack), you won’t be disappointed. Each sound is meticulously crafted to be used instantly and fit into a mix quite easily, something that I find rare with the majority of presets I audition. With techniques used such as double FM, double filters, using the Noise oscillator as an pseudo “wavetable,” I am 100% confident that you’ll be hearing these patches used in some quality bass music tracks.
Something that came as a surprise to me, was the inclusion of Riddim presets. Moving aside from the “riddim is dead” meme, artists like Phiso have been seeing their tracks played out an incredible amount recently, and its a sub-genre that is incredibly reliant on sound design and rhythm. Knowing this, the Cymatics team has included a few riddim presets; some of which are actually among my favorite sounds in the pack. I see these as a nice inclusion in the pack, with Cymatics making sure to touch all bases in bass sound design.
Some of my favorite bass presets are Nano Riddim, Spag Ready, Junk Seq, Plumber and Razorblade.
I find the Synth patches included are applicable as one shot basses, with the exclusion of HowBowDah and Mantis, as they play a rhythmic pattern as well. Often in bass music, there is an intricate combination of basses used in order to create call and response, rhythm, or additional “oomph” to sounds. I found the Synth patches perfect for use as an addition to the Bass sounds, which is why I’m including them in the “Bass” section of this review.
Similar to their previous packs, Cymatics has included multi layer arpeggiators, allowing you to hold a single note and have an entire melodic sequence play. Taking full advantage of LFOs, both Oscillators and the Noise Oscillator, there are some great song starters and patches to take inspiration from. Some arp presets include melodies under the arp, a bassline, or even three separate arps playing off of each other. With the included macros, you have full control over what you have playing throughout the preset, as well as the ability to change the unique qualities of each sound. Covert is by far my favorite arp included, with Climb Aboard taking a close second.
The plucks and the leads in this pack are really good. Each preset sounds great regardless of the octave you have them playing in, and some even sound different in each octave – allowing you to use each sound in a unique way, depending on which octave you use. With each sound being individually unique (believe me, I’ve seen preset packs with 5 lead sounds with the exact same settings – just a new wavetable, or just slightly different FX), I find each sound has their own life and character – something that can provide inspiration based upon which preset you choose. I really like the diversity Comb my Saw offers, and Skank Guitar is one of my favorite off-beat sounds in a while.
As mentioned in my Helix for Serum review, Cymatics does a great job with making unique and usable sequencers. With each sound providing a different use, the diversity here is a breath of fresh air from sequencers of other packs. As with every patch, the comments of each preset explains what the sound is intended for. The sequencers can be used in intros, the background of breaks, and the background of drops. As I tend to stay away from sequencers as I find them difficult to fit in a record, I can definitely see myself using sounds such as Conceptualism and Stargate.
Although there are only 8 pads included, each one is great. Every preset is very full, and offers a lot of customization through the macros; something that might be a necessity as some of the sounds use pitch modulation. Although a great addition to the sound, if you don’t like how the pitch modulation sits, or it doesn’t work with the instrumentation already in your track, you can easily turn off everything related to pitch, and simply use the sound as is. I’m extremely thankful for the inclusion of the pitch macros, as it provides users with a more comfortable experience using the sound, and can definitely create some interesting writing. Check out First Pitch and Son of a Pitch for some of the coolest pads I’ve come across.
Now a standard in each Cymatics pack, they have provided a large array of projects for you to study and reverse engineer. With the projects available in Ableton, FL, and Logic, a large majority of producers will have access to these upon purchase. I know a lot of people learn through others, and this is a great way to learn from professionals. Each project is fully written and mixed, giving insight as to how to arrange a drop, write a musical section, and how to get a good, clean, and professional sound.
As mentioned earlier in the review, I had made a claim that 2017 will be a huge year for Cymatics in my review of Helix for Serum. To my surprise, Cymatics has surpassed my claim.
For each of the 1250 packs available for purchase, Cymatics is providing a “Start to Finish Dubstep” course – included in the pack. The team at Cymatics has put together a video series for Nuclear, aiding you in the creation of Dubstep tracks. Even if you’re a veteran producer, everyone can appreciate creation through the eyes of someone else as it allows for a different insight – giving you ideas and techniques you may not have come up with on your own. Included in the course are 21 videos, such as Bass Arrangement, Mixing and Mastering, and Breakdown writing. Definitely something worthwhile, and as a student of a music production school, something I genuinely appreciate included in the pack.
If that wasn’t enough incentive to purchase the pack, they’re also giving away something I find quite unbelievable. All 1250 producers who are able to purchase the pack will have access to a private Facebook group, where Drew from Cymatics and his team will personally help you with questions you have for a three month period. Again, something that is extremely unique to Cymatics, setting them aside from other production companies and solidifying themselves as the go-to for production resources.
Within the group, Cymatics is hosting a Private Song Contest as well. Only available to the 1250 people who purchase Nuclear, you’ll have the opportunity to win the following:
- A ticket to EDC Vegas where you will be FLOWN OUT by Cymatics and have the opportunity to hang out with them throughout the festival,
- 5 Million followers worth of reposts on Soundcloud and,
- $1000 cash
I’ve never seen a production company go so far out of their way to provide opportunities such as these to their customers. If you’re able to purchase the pack I HIGHLY recommend doing so.
To conclude, the pack is great, and what Cymatics has done aside from the pack is phenomenal for the community and those who can purchase the pack. I said previously that 2017 will be huge for Cymatics, and I believe they made that statement true with this release.
For more about Cymatics and Nuclear for Serum, visit here to go to their website.