Audio Unit Apple introduced the Audio Unit (AU) plugin specification in macOS. Since this plugin standard is native to macOS – and not to any specific host or platform (like TDM or VST) – Apple has encouraged companies to adopt it as a standard for all Mac audio applications. Although it is not cross-platform, many host applications like Logic, GarageBand, Digital Performer, Abelton Live and others have adopted the Audio Unit plugin standard.

AU Abbreviation for Audio Unit

AUX Send An alternate variable audio output used to send a signal to a dedicated FX rack for additional FX processing. In Omnisphere, there are four AUX Sends per Part on the Mixer Page. They route audio to corresponding AUX FX racks. For example, Aux Send knob 1 routes audio to AUX FX rack 1, etc. AUX Send knobs control the volume sent to the AUX FX racks.

AUX Return An AUX Return routes audio from an AUX FX Rack directly to Output A—the Master Fader.

Automation As you manipulate controls on the Omnisphere interface, the host’s automation records these movements and plays them back. These recorded movements can also be edited from inside the host application. You may also use a hardware control surface to manipulate some of Omnisphere’s parameters as well.

Bar A vertical line on a musical staff that indicates the beginning or end of a measure. Synonymous with measure.

Bi-polar control This kind of control has more than one function within its movement range. Usually, there is a center detent position where the control is off. Moving one direction from the detent position activates one function and moving the other way from the detent position activates a different function. The Master Filter on the Edit Page is an example of this: in the center position, the filter is off. Moving the slider to the left of the center detent position activates a Low Pass Filter. Moving the same slider to the right of the center detent activates a High Pass Filter.

Browser The dynamic, searchable area of Omnisphere that offers access to the Core Library of Soundsources, Patches and Multis.

Buss A path which routes audio from one or more sources to a particular destination.

Bypass Disengaging an FX Unit so that it no longer affects the audio. Doing this saves CPU power.

Clone To duplicate – Used in MIDI learn terminology. Duplicates the current set of MIDI Learn parameters from Part 1 to Parts 2-8. This is a great time saver when setting up an external hardware MIDI controller. You can set up Part 1 with all the MIDI Learn parameters you like, then clone Part one to all the other Parts. More…

Cycle One Cycle has been completed when something runs from its start point to its end point. This can refer to things like grooves or LFO waveforms.

Column A vertical list of available choices in the Browser. Omnisphere’s Columns can be changed to list a variety of Attributes.

Compressor/Limiter A device for reducing the effective dynamic range of an input signal by preventing it from rapidly exceeding or falling below a selected amplitude threshold. The first part of a compander, it is used to make loud parts of a signal softer and soft parts louder. Beyond the threshold, the ratio of the signal’s input level to its output level (e.g., 2:1, 4:1) is user-selectable. A compressor is commonly used to keep levels within an acceptable range, but because it can slow a signal’s rate of decay below the threshold, compressors are also used to add sustain to instruments such as electric guitar and bass. The limiter acts like a compressor, but operates only at the top end of the dynamic range. The limiter has a faster attack time (1µs to 1ms) than the compressor alone (1ms to 10ms). A compressor/limiter is traditionally inserted between the outputs of a device and the inputs of the mixer or mastering recorder. More…

Center detent This is the neutral position of a parameter’s knob or slider, especially in reference to bi-polar controls. When in this position, the function is disengaged and does not affect anything.

Defaults These are predetermined settings that Omnisphere recalls when it is first instantiated, cleared, reverted, or when a global mode is changed. Spectrasonics provides factory defaults, but you can replace them with your own settings.

Directory Used in reference to a folder on the computer’s drive.

Drop-down menu One of these menu lists appears when you click on an Omnisphere display window with a downward arrow. Once you click on the appropriate window, a menu appears to “drop down”. Once the menu list appears, you can select an option in the menu with the mouse. Synonymous with pop-up menu.

DSP Digital Signal Processing – refers to the manipulation of digital audio in a computer. The more processing you would like to do, the faster and more powerful computer you need.

Engine The core software code that structures the operation of audio functions in a plugin. The engine developed by Spectrasonics that is responsible for running is Omnisphere is STEAM (Spectrasonics-Team), and Stylus RMXs’ engine is S.A.G.E (Spectrasonics Advanced Groove Engine)

Expander (1) A signal processing device which is the inverse of a compressor, providing the gradual attenuation of signals that fall below a user-defined threshold. This process, known as expansion, reduces background noise and at the same time increases the dynamic range of the input signal.

Fader A controller in the form of a slider that usually affects the loudness/softness of audio levels. Placing a fader at Unity or 0 gain means that the audio channel is outputting the same audio level as was input to the channel. Most faders allow you to make the volume louder and softer than the originally input signal. Also used to refer to any type of slider. Synonymous with Slider.

Folders/Sub-Folders An organizational tool on a computer that allows grouping of files. Also known as a Directory. A sub-folder is a folder inside another folder. Also known as a sub-directory.

Footer The section at the bottom of the Omnisphere GUI that will change depending on which page you’re currently viewing.

FX Slot An area where an FX Unit can be loaded. There are three FX Slots per FX Rack.

FX Unit An FX Unit is an internal Omnisphere software signal processing plugin which gets loaded into an FX Slot. Each FX Unit is a real-time sound processor. Currently, there are 33 FX Units in Omnisphere.

FX Rack The area designated to load FX Units. An FX Rack consists of four FX Slots.

FX Parameter Any knob, slider, drop-down menu or button that a user can select and adjust. The result is a change in the sound passing through the FX Unit (unless it is bypassed).

FX Preset/Patch Saving all the current parameter settings of a single FX Unit creates an FX Patch. Users can save custom FX Patches. These FX Patches will be available later in any session. Patch is synonymous with Preset.

FX Rack Preset/Patch Saving all the current parameter settings of an entire FX Rack creates an FX Rack Patch. An FX Rack Patch can be any combination of up to three FX Units with any settings. Users can save custom FX Rack Patches with custom names. These FX Rack Patches will be available later in any session. Patch is synonymous with Preset.

Global Anything that affects the status of the entire plugin.

Groove Lock Omnisphere’s Arpeggiator can import Stylus RMX’s grooves as MIDI data to synchronize RMX grooves with the Arpeggiator.

GUI Graphic User Interface – In Omnisphere this is the plugin window and all the pages that you see and manipulate.

Host/Host Application A computer application or hardware device capable of loading Virtual Instrument software plugins. Also known as a Sequencer or DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). Logic, Digital Performer, Pro Tools, Cubase, Nuendo, Sonar, GarageBand, Live, Tracktion, Fruity Loops, Metro and Acid Pro are all examples of software hosts that work with Omnisphere.

Instance When you open a Omnisphere plugin your host, there is one instance of it in your session. If your computer is powerful enough, you can run several instances of Omnisphere at once.

Instantiation/De-Instantiation The process of opening/closing plugins from your host. Synonymous with Loading/Unloading, Opening/Closing, Loading/Deleting, etc

Inverted Reversed or negative polarity modulation.

1) An external MIDI controller capable of triggering notes via piano-style keys.
2) Also a text-entry ASCII computer keyboard. There are several keyboard-mouse combinations that provide access to Omnisphere’s features.

Knob A control that can be turned clockwise and counterclockwise. A knob can be used to control a wide variety of parameters.

Learn MIDI Learn is capable of mating an external physical controller with virtually any parameter inside Omnisphere for remote performance control and automation applications.

LFO Low Frequency Oscillator – a continuous, cyclical modulator that can be used to affect a sound in many ways. For example, you can use it to “auto-pan” audio, produce tremolo or filter sweeps.

Limiter See Compressor/Limiter

List A display menu of available options. Usually they are presented vertically.

Menu Two different meanings:

1. Refers to a collection of sounds or grooves that are mapped on a single keyboard layout for easy access. 2. Refers to a user interface software pop-up/drop down list of options.

Menu Item Refers to the items in the list of a pop-up/drop-down menu in the software interface.

MIDI CC MIDI Continuous Controller. MIDI has 128 possible controllers. Omnisphere can respond to any of them using the MIDI Learn feature.

Multi patch Omnisphere is eight-part multi-timbral and settings for all the Patches that make up a Multi can be saved as a ‘Multi Patch’.

Multitimbral The ability to operate on more than one MIDI channel at a time. Omnisphere is 8 Part Multitimbral.

Omni Through the MIDI Learn function, Omnisphere is capable of being setup so that it responds to any incoming MIDI CC messages on any channel.

Parameter An Omnisphere control that can be manipulated to affect the audio.

Part Each Omnisphere Part can load its own Patch and operate independently of all the other Parts. There are 8 Parts in Omnisphere. Each one has its own numbered button in the Header. Parts 1-8 correspond to MIDI Channels 1-8.

Patch A pre-saved set of parameters. Also known as a Preset. A Factory Patch is a patch created by Spectrasonics. A User Patch is a patch that you can save and name yourself. The name comes from older synthesizer days when many physical patch cords were used to create sounds by connecting parts of the synthesizer together with the patch cords.

Peak Peak value is the maximum instantaneous excursion from zero of an audio waveform, as measured by a peak meter (PPM). The peak value of a sound is also the maximum instantaneous pressure excursion of the sound

Pitch Shift The process of changing the frequency of a sound. It can be changed so that it is higher or lower.

Plugin A software application that runs from within a host application to provide additional functionality.

Pole The rolloff slope of Filters is measured in db.  For every 6db of rolloff, the filter has an additional Pole.  A two-pole filter has a rolloff slope of 12db and a four-pole filter has a rolloff slope of 24db. Omnisphere has filters with 6db, 12db, 18db and 24db rolloff slopes.

Pop-up Menu One of these menu lists appears when you click on an Keyscape display window with a downward arrow. Once you click on the appropriate window, a menu appears to “drop down.” Once the menu list appears, you can select an option in the menu with the mouse. Synonymous with drop-down menu.

Power Filter A great sounding filter developed in cooperation with Gmedia from their reknowned impOSCar synthesizer. Be careful when using it though, because the Power Filter can be VERY loud and it requires a fair amount of DSP power from your computer.

Preset A set of parameters that has been previously saved and is available for recall. Sysnonymous with Patch.

Retrigger When this parameter is activated, Omnisphere resets an LFO waveform back to its beginning phase position at the start of each measure.

Reverse Plays a sample backwards.

RMS Compression Root Mean Square. A formula for describing the level of a signal. RMS is derived by squaring all of the instantaneous voltages along a waveform, averaging the squared values, and taking the square root of that number. For sine-like signals, average power = RMS RMS

Round Robin Term referring to a sampling technique that allows a repeated note to trigger a different take each time it’s played, giving a natural sounding result and eliminating the “machine gun” effect.

RTAS Real Time Audio Suite – a Digidesign proprietary, cross-platform plugin format for Pro Tools.

S.A.G.E. Spectrasonics Advanced Groove Engine – when Spectrasonics created our own in-house software development team, SAGE was the technology developed that became the basis for Stylus RMX.

Sample Start Parameter that controls, from a timing standpoint, how far from the beginning a sample will be triggered. When Reverse is engaged, this controls the end point.

Sequence A computer file saved by a sequencer/DAW that contains tracks of MIDI notes and audio files.

Sequencer A computer application that allows recording, entry and editing of MIDI notes and audio files. Also known as a host if the sequencer is compatible with plugins.

Slider A control that you move back and forth or up and down depending on its orientation. Moving a slider can control a wide variety of parameters. Synonymous with Fader.

Sound Directory A directory that contains Suites. It is the sub-directory of a Master directory.

Standalone A software program that is capable of running on its own without a host application.

STEAM STEAM stands for SpectrasonicsTEAM and is the engine for Omnisphere and many exciting future instruments.

Sub-Page These are pages within a main Editing Page. For example, on the FX Page, there are 6 FX sub-pages.

Sync Abbreviation for Synchronization. When this feature is on, Omnisphere locks corresponding parameters to the host’s tempo and then adjustments can be made using rhythmic values like 1/4 notes, 1/8 notes and 1/16 notes. Otherwise the parameter is controlled by Cycles per second.

Tube An electronic device which consists of various types of electrodes (anode, cathode, etc.) and a heating element, all contained in a vacuum. Its simplest form, the diode, is used as a rectifier. The triode is functionally similar to a transistor. Tubes are called valves in the UK.

Unity When a parameter is set so that it does not make any changes to the passing signal.

Unity gain The attribute of a device which neither attenuates nor amplifies a signal. Most signal processing devices have unity gain, which means that they neither amplify sound nor cause insertion loss, and therefore can be added into an audio system at various places without changing the overall gain of the system.

Unlearn Parameters that have been mated with a physical controller can be unattached via this feature of the MIDI Learn section.

Value Definitions 8x – this value stretches a cycle of a parameter such as an LFO across 8 bars. 1/8 – this value cycles a parameter such as an LFO every 1/8 note. 1/8D – this value cycles a parameter such as an LFO every dotted 1/8 note. 1/8T- this value cycles a parameter such as an LFO every triplet 1/8 note.

Valve See Tube.

VST Virtual Studio Technology – a cross-platform plugin platform created by Steinberg.