Serum Tutorial - 25 Serum Tips You Need To Know

Serum Tutorial - 25 Serum Tips You Need To Know
If you're like me, when you first started Xfer Serum it seemed almost impossible to learn everything.

Even after watching every Serum tutorial I could find online, there was still so much to discover.

This is why I decided to compile my 25 favorite Serum tips in one place!

These techniques are essential to know for better sound-design and quicker workflow in Xfer Serum.

If you want to read an in depth review of Xfer Serum, click here.

If you prefer watching videos, we also made a Serum tutorial video with these 25 tips that you can watch:

Tip 1: Hold "Alt" While Clicking a Knob

Instead of getting very accurate when changing the mod depth (clicking the tiny blue circle dot), hold “Alt" and click+drag a knob to change the modulation depth.

This method is a little less picky and allows you to quickly modulate parameters.

Tip 2: Copy an LFO To Another

Copy 1 LFO to another by holding "Alt" and clicking+dragging the LFO1 “tab” (or any LFO) and dropping it on-top of another.

This allows you to easily copy your modulation source to a new LFO to further edit it.

Tip 3: The Compressor is a Limiter

Set the compressor's ratio all the way to the right, to "limit" to turn serum into a limiter.

#3 compressor limiter image

Tip 4: Chorus/Flanger/Phaser - 0 Rate

Unlike most Chorus/Flanger/Phaser units, in Serum you can set the rate to 0 for ultimate control.

This allows you to modulate the parameters yourself instead of using the built in LFO.

Tip 5: Mouse Over Help

If you're ever confused while using serum, hover your mouse over a parameter and wait, for a “description” window to pop up

That way you can figure out certain parameters without referring to the manual.

#5 hover mouse image

Tip 6: Change All LFO Curves At Once

Hold "Alt" while changing LFO curves to change them all at once.

#6 change lfo curves at once image

Tip 7: Add Curves To Modulators For Nonlinear Curves

In the “Matrix” tab, it’s possible to adjust the “curve” of modulators.

Click and drag on the curve slope to change it.

This can add an entire new element to your sounds!

#7 curves to mod image

Tip 8: Serum FX Envelope Trigger

Send MIDI to Serum FX on a separate channel to trigger the envelopes.

A great way to process your sounds further, or even use the FX from Serum on audio or other synths!

#8 midi serum fx image

Tip 9: Give Your LFOs Attack

Give your LFOs attack with the "rise" knob.

This means that whatever parameter the LFO is mapped to, it will take 1/128 time of the BPM for the LFO to reach it’s full range of motion.

In Env mode, this behaves as a “fade-into” the envelope.

#9 Give your lfo attack image

Tip 10: "One Shot" Noise Mode

Deactivate the forward facing arrow in Serum for One Shot noise.

This is excellent for percussive bursts on the front of sounds.

#10 %22one shot noise%22 image

Tip 11: Loop LFOs In Envelope Mode

When using an LFO in envelope mode, press Shift+Command+Click (Mac) / Shift+Ctrl+Click (PC) to create a loop point, in which it will continuously loop.

Click on a pre-existing curve node to turn it into a “Loop” point

The grey letter “L” will appear over the node to indicate that it is a looping point.

This allows you to create cool looping LFO shapes.

#11 loop LFO IMAGE

Tip 12: Lock LFO Points To Grid

When moving LFO points, hold “Alt” while dragging a point and it will snap to the grid.

Tip 13: Turning LFOs Into Steppers

Hold "Shift" to turn your LFO drawing tool into a stepper.

This trick is great for creating arps and sequences!

#13 Turning Lfo to Stepper Image

Tip 14: LFO "Anchor" Button

The "Anchor" button in the LFO section is useful for keeping your LFOs perfectly in sync with your song.

However, it may cause skipping if a change is made mid switch.

This can avoided by turning "anchor" off, which may put things out of perfect sync.

#14 LFO Anchor IMAGE

Tip 15: Quickly Add Modulators

Quickly add mod sources by right-clicking and clicking "Mod Source".

#15 Quickly add mod image

Tip 16: Uni/Bi Directional Modulators

Decide whether a modulation is going unidirectional or bidirectional (one way or both ways) with the direction arrow in the modulation matrix.

This is saying whether it is starting from the beginning or in the middle.

#16 Uni:bi Directional Modulators image

You can change the type between Uni/Bi without visiting the Mod Matrix window by holding “Shift+Alt” while clicking on the knob with a visible modulation assignment.

Tip 17: Envelope Magnifying Glass

Use the magnifying glass to view longer envelope times or use the lock symbol to lock it to that screen.

#17 Envelope Magnifying Glass image

Tip 18: Change All LFO Points At Once

Click and drag to select multiple LFO points to change all at once.

#18 Change All LFO Points At Once image

Tips 19: Single Oscillator Chords

Try making the range 7 semitones for example create single oscillator chords with the unison pitch and width control knobs.

#19 Single Oscillator Chords image

Switch to the “Global” tab and copy these Osc 1 unison settings.

Tip 20: Reset Any Parameter

Press Command/Ctrl+Click on any parameter to reset it to it’s default value.

Tip 21: Change "Mix" To Level

Click “Mix” on the filter section to transform it into ‘Level’ which essentially makes it a gain knob.

This can be super useful if you overdrive the filter using the "Drive" knob and need to compensate the volume.

#21 Change %22Mix%22 To Level image

Tip 22: Quickly Scroll Through LFOs

Alt+Click on the LFO Folder to easily cycle through LFO shapes.

#22 Quickly Scroll Through LFOs image

Tip 23: Filter To Phase

Click on the filter display window to see it’s phases.

#23 Filter To Phase image

Tip 24: Fine Tune Your Noise

Fine tune the noise under the “Global” tab to tune your tonal sounds that are out of tune

#24 Fine Tune Your Noise image

Tip 25: Turn Pictures Into Wavetables

Drag + Drop a PNG picture file into serums waveform display window to use it as a wavetable.

#25 Turn Pictures Into Wavetables image


I hope you learned something new from this Serum tutorial!

If you haven't already, I highly encourage you check out our 30 Day Guide to Advanced Bass Design in Serum!

It's a 33 page PDF that goes WAY more in depth than this article did, and it gives you daily tasks to complete that will advance your sound design faster than you could ever imagine...

It also includes tons of daily videos to show you step by step how to complete each daily task.

So if you're looking to step up your sound design, go check it out: CLICK HERE

If you have any questions about this article, comment below and we will help you out!