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Spectrasonics OmniTR
Review by:Tony Grund


3 Stars

Spectrasonics OmniTR


OmniTR is a free app released by Spectrasonics to be used with their Omnisphere soft synth. It is a controller that handles the basic control parameters of Omnisphere directly from your iPad, leaving your other controllers free to be used for other stuff.

We welcomed OmniTR as a great addition to our onstage keyboard rig, especially when it came to patch selection and Orb manipulation. In the studio, we often use the iPad for things such as transport and mix adjustments, so it’s not quite as useful there, but not because of any faults of the software. We only have one iPad, so we have to choose what it is most useful for. With a second iPad at our disposal, this app would definitely see a lot more studio use.

The setup of OmniTR is well thought out and easy to use. There are four windows that can accessed, each with a different focus: Main, Orb, Controls, and Jumbo.

The main window allows you to choose and mix the levels between the various sounds. It has controls for levels for each of the sounds, Mute and Solo buttons, and arpeggiator On/Off and Latch buttons.

Spectrasonics OmniTR Orb

This is probably the most instantly awe-inspiring aspect of the app. It is a direct graphic representation of the Orb section of Omnisphere. The ball on your computer and on your iPad represent each other: move the one on the computer and the one on the iPad moves, and vice versa.

Orb is a sphere divided into quadrants, with each area representing changes to the sound. Closer to the center is dry; out towards the edge is wet. Wherever we moved the ball with our finger changed the sound in some way. Real-time rhythms can be tapped out in this manner, too, adding spice to a part.

Movement can be set and modified with the Inertia button. There is a Record button as well that lets you record and lock that movement into one-, two-, and four-bar loops. If you’re not happy with the changes Orb is making, hit the Dice button and the settings will randomly change!

The Orb section is really fun to play with, and fully realizes the potential of the software plug-in. Playing with the Orb on the computer using our mouse just isn’t the same. We used this a lot to make cool rhythms from well worn sounds to give them new life.

Spectrasonics OmniTR Controls 2

This screen has controls for a variety of different functions within the sound itself. For example, we could control the level and panning as above, but there are also controls for other functions such as filters, envelopes, and LFOs. These various functions are accessed through a menu in the center of the screen. Switch between the sounds you are controlling by selecting the numbered tab on the left.

On the Control screen is also a cool pitch bend ribbon control, a real throwback to the past! This was a cool addition that any synth soloist will be able to put to a lot of use.

Spectrasonics OmniTR Jumbo

Although most of OmniTR can be used very well in a live setting, the Jumbo window is specifically designed for use on stage. It displays eight large buttons that represent each of the sounds loaded into Omnisphere. Selecting one or several of the buttons means you’ll be directly controlling those sounds.

In reality, all of OmniTR’s functions work really well. There was no lag, and changes were fluid, especially within sections like Orb and Controls. The only problems with using OmniTR on stage come not from the software itself, but rather a phenomena that we’ve noticed more and more since using the iPad in real world situations: sweat! Water on the surface of the iPad tends to make it more difficult to control, so if you sweat a lot while rocking out, you may run into problems with precise adjustments. Keep this in mind when using any iPad app, and make sure you practice in sweaty, grimy conditions before taking your iPad into a real, live environment.

OmniTR is a free app, but is completely useless to anyone who doesn’t own Omnisphere. In the studio, it is a good tool to have around if your iPad isn’t busy with other applications. On stage, OmniTR is a great companion, and can do a lot for your live sound changes and sonic tweaking. Along with a nice fader and knob set, OmniTR will really help your computer-based keyboard rig reach its full potential.


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