If you're in the electronic music realm and you haven't heard of Serum, then you're probably living in a cave.
This synth VST is one of the most powerful and versatile VSTs out there, though its underbelly can be overwhelming, and in many cases, time-consuming, whether you're new to the world of synthesis or a seasoned pro.
The good thing is that there are tons of high-quality Serum presets out there. So today, we're going to take a deep dive into the world of paid Serum preset packs so you can make your music-making process flow like butter.
Best Future Bass Serum Presets
1. Cymatics Future Bass for XFER Serum - $67
While it might sound a bit expensive, this is an excellent future bass pack. In fact, buy this premium pack and you'll never have to buy future bass Serum presets ever again. For starters, the sound design quality from the Cymatics team is always top-notch. There are not any exceptions. With this pack, you get tons of XFER Serum packs, drum loops, synths, and MIDI files to get you started.
They've also thrown in an Ableton Project File that will help you learn how to use the various soundbanks, allowing you to unleash your full potential as a producer.
2. Surge Sounds Futures Bass - $19
Surge Sounds Future Bass is one of the grooviest future bass preset packs around. Whether you produce future bass, EDM, dubstep, or a combination of the three, this pack has just about everything you need. From nostalgic pads to sharp leads to thundering bass sounds, you get 300 sounds to start creating epic music!
3. W.A. Production - Future Bass MegaPack - Free
When you consider how many high-quality sounds come with this free pack, it's a wonder they're not charging for it. With 385 sounds, perfect for future pop, future bass, trap, and EDM, there are tons to explore. Plus, this Future Bass Mega Pack comes with 238 drum samples, 60 Serum presets, and 42 MIDI files, each of which sounds like absolute ecstasy. It's a must-have for any music producer.
Best Trap Serum Presets
1. BYKER.com Trap Vol. 1 - $22.76
Anyone in the world of trap music production knows that the genre has a sound completely unique to anything else. So if you want to create the right atmosphere for your trap track, you need the right sounds.
The BVKR.com Trap Vol. 1 preset pack has a wide variety of trap-centric basses, leads, brass, effects, and more, all to create high-quality trap music. You'll find 80 Serum presets , as well as nine Serum wavetables, 43 MIDI loops, and 46 audio loops.
2. Cymatics Nightmares Vol. 2 - $35
This unique blend of hybrid trap sounds is perfect for those who want sophisticated sound design and cutting-edge tones. Cymatics is a big name in the world of trap sample packs and these Serum presets are no exception. As with most of their sample packs, they made six project files so that users could see how many of these sounds were meant to be used.
In all, you get 75 Xfer Serum Presets, 60 wavetables, and the included project files. If you want to make cutting-edge trap music, then the Cymatics Nightmares Vol. 2 is a solid choice.
3. Mode Audio Silhouette - $54.28
With 50 hard-hitting presets and 18 custom wavetables, there is plenty to enjoy with Mode Audio Silhouette . You'll find massive 808 basses, hard-edge synth plucks, airy pads, and earth-shaking leads. Beyond that, Mode Audio also included 29 monumental drum loops, which act as solid accompaniment for the presets, as well as 69 MIDI loops, all of which are labeled and organized by tempo and key.
If you're ready to cast your music in the dark underbelly of the city, then make sure to pick up Silhouette.
Best Dubstep Serum Presets
1. Production Master Vicious Dubstep Serum Presets XL - $26.97
Guillotine, who you might know from MA Music, recently teamed up with the crew at Production Master to create this one-of-a-kind dubstep pack. Within this pack, you'll find a library of 300 Xfer Serum presets , which is the largest library of presets that the company has released to date.
You'll find monstrous bass shots, slamming leads, deep wobbles, grinding reeses, atmospheric pads, and shrieking synths, great for getting the crowd pumping. Every preset in this pack was carefully crafted and refined to give you a professional sound right out the gate. It's worth every penny.
2. Gravitas Create Catalyst - Free
Dubstep producers need powerful sounds to make the speakers shake, which is why many of them use Serum presets to get what they require. Gravitas Create Catalyst is packed to the brim with high-end dubstep Serum presets, including modern bass sounds and futuristic synth tones.
In this preset pack, you'll find 164 Serum presets from some of the top producers in the game, including Jon Casey, Prismatic, Chrizpy Chriz, and many more!
3. Cymatics Xfer Serum Starter Pack - Free
While it wasn't exclusively made for dubstep, there sure are tons of great dubstep sounds in the Cymatics Xfer Serum Starter Pack. Like we said before, Cymatic is the top daw in the realm of Serum preset packs. These free Serum presets even blow many paid prests out of the water.
You get 100 Serum presets and 50 wavetables, many of which can amp up your dubstep production. Of course, if you're into trap and future bass, you'll find some great Serum presets for those as well.
Best House Serum Presets
1. Mode Audio Unwind Serum Presets - $18.97
This house preset pack from Unwind will have people caught up in total dancefloor worship with a mixture of deep, dark, emotion-laden tones and characterful delirium. Just listen to the demo that Mode Audio put together and you'll hear how fantastic these sounds are.
With this paid presets pack, you get 40 synth chord presets, five pad presets, and five bass presets. Mode Audio even threw in 50 custom wavetables and 50 MIDI loops, each of which has been labeled for key and tempo.
2. Cymatics Future House for XFER Serum - $37
For quite a while now, Tchami and Oliver Heldens have been revolutionizing the house music game. With high-energy drops, clean mixes, and incredible sound design, they've almost created an entirely new genre of music. The Cymatics team came together to reference and analyze some of the best future house tracks in the current industry, and developed near-identical presets that give you access to the sound you know and love.
Future House for XFER Serum has some of the most technically-advanced house presets for Serum you will find. Plus, all of the project files that you hear in the demo are included in this pack, giving you a better understanding of how you can use them.
3. W.A. Production Free Serum Future House
Whether you make future house, deep house, or you just can't seem to leave the house because you're stuck playing with Serum presets, the Free Serum Future House pack is the bomb. You'll find 36 free Serum presets in this presets pack, as well as eight custom noises and eleven custom wavetables. Most of the sounds you hear in this pack were inspired by artists like Curbi, Oliver Heldens, and Hexagon.
Best Drum and Bass Serum Presets
1. Loopmasters Fourward DnB Sounds 1 - $20.29
If you're ready for some seriously fast-paced musical assault, then the Loopmaster Drum and Bass Serum Presets pack is for you. You'll find a selection of highly usable and expertly shaped Serum presets brought to you by some of the most creative producers and sound designers around. You'll find 80 custom presets , as well as 80 MIDI files and 80 wav files. From drums to bass to synths to FX and beyond, you'll have everything you need to produce studio-quality drum and bass right out the gate.
2. Outer Space Jump Up DnB - $16.00
You'll find tons of essential Serum presets in the Outer Space Jump Up DnB preset pack. Soundvolt's highly talented in-house designer used his 15 years of sound design and electronic production experience to bring you one of the hottest DnB packs out there.
There are 40 premium Serum presets in this sample pack. In our eyes, these guys went for quality over quantity, as each sound in this pack is of the highest tier. From heavy womps and wobbles to evolving alien synth sounds, you'll have everything you need to get the dancefloor shaking.
3. TC Serum DnB Presets Pack - $4.20
Within this unique modern DnB preset pack , you'll find 34 of the freshest Serum presets around that TC uses for his everyday music-making. With such a low price, you get more than what you pay for. From Jump Up to Neurofunk and beyond, many of these sounds are super versatile too, which is better than having a thousand one-trick-pony sounds.
Best Indie/Chillwave Serum Presets
1. GOGOi Chillwave for Serum - $18.85
Within this unique sample pack , you'll find 60 expertly crafted Serum presets for indie, chillwave, and electronica music. Whether you want to add some buttery nostalgia to your vaporware track or spice up your chillwave song with some bright summer vibes, you'll be able to use the many high-end sounds found in this pack.
2. EchoSoundWorks Unison - Free
Not many people know this, but Serum works as an excellent virtual analog synthesizer as well. During the late half of the 90s and the early 2000s, many synthesizers used wavetables synthesis to emulate hardware from the 60s and 70s.
Plus, nothing works better for a chillwave song than an analog-style sound. If you want to obtain the warm, unmistakable sounds of analog and inject them into your Serum environment, then Echo Sound Works Unison is a great place to start!
To make this pack, Echo Sound Works sampled iconic vintage synthesizers, such as the Jupiter 8, the Prophet, the Juno 60, and the Moog Model D.
3. Synthctrl Vaporwave Keys and Pads - Free
With a retro aesthetic and nostalgic sounds, vaporware began slowly taking over the Internet over the past decade or so. Of course, music producers who aren't already enveloped in the genre may have realized that a lot of these nostalgic sounds are not that easy to recreate.
It's likely because most keys, pads, and electric pianos found in the vaporware genre combine characteristics of vintage synth music and futuristic electronic music.
If you're ready to go back to the age of dial-up with some smooth, retro tones, then Synthctrl Vaporwave Keys and Pads is one of the best premium packs around.
4. Gum Road Serum Lo-Fi Vol. 5 - Free
Sometimes, the hi-fi, in-your-face, modern electronic sound doesn't cut it. In those cases, you might need the lo-fi sound that Gum Road provides. In the world of lo-fi music, you find tons of hazy, vintage samples and jazzy melodies.
With Gum Road Serum Lo-Fi Vol. 5, you get plenty of unique sounds to add freshness to your lo-fi tracks.
BONUS TIP: If you're looking for ways to make your music production sound more lo-fi, make sure to head over to our recent blog, How To Make Lo-Fi Music: The Ultimate Guide .
Best Trance/Progressive Presets
1. Titan-2 XFER Serum Presets - $24.36
If you're looking to take your trance tracks to the next level, then look no further than the Titan-2 Xfer Serum Preset pack. Within the pack, you'll find 90 high-level presets, including driving synths, massive leads, lush plucks, spacious pads, and bouncing basses. Each preset also provides Macro Control allocation, delivering an instant injection of inspiration and flexibility.
All of the sounds in this pack were inspired by some of the genre's top artists, including Eric Prydz, KSHMR, Hardwell, Martin Garrix, and MOTI. Whether you make Big Room, Electro, Future House, or Trance, you'll find all the ingredients you need in this pack.
2. Serum Trance Essentials - $11.00
In collaboration with legend Grega Cucnik, Freshly Squeezed put together a collection of high-end samples, perfect for making trance music straight out of the box. Here you'll find 256 presets, many of which you'll recognize from artists like Andy Moor, Mark Sixma, Daniel Kandi, and Armin Van Buuren. Beyond that, there's a well of original sounds too, including gritty basses, smooth arpeggios, warm plucks, and anthemic leads.
With such a low price, it's worth every penny.
Is Using Presets Cheating?
We often see people online debating about whether using presets is cheating. Of course, when you use a preset, you're not actually creating the sound but rather using a sound that someone else worked to build.
There are many purists out there that believe each and every aspect of the music-making process should be an individual one. However, we believe in taking a more open-minded approach to using presets, as it can speed up your workflow. You may not want to spend hours and hours on sound design, and we feel you.
Here are a few things that might make you feel better about using presets:
Allow the Sound Designers to Design
As a music producer, you already have plenty of skills that you've developed over the course of your mastery. Now, just because there are some music producers that love sound design, most of the time, it's not the case. There are millions of producers out there who couldn't build a supersaw or make hard-hitting sub-bass. That's totally fine.
Not every beatmaker who uses samples can play the instruments on those samples, and not every mix engineer can master. Allow yourself to use the expertise of true sound designers out there so you can focus on your music production without spreading yourself too thin.
Get Ideas Out There
If you're stuck in a creative rut, there's no reason you can't use presets to start fleshing out ideas. You may not know what kind of sound you want to use over that sweet drum loop you just laid down, and that's totally fine.
The beauty of presets is that you can lay down MIDI notes and browse through hundreds of sounds to test things out and find the right fit. In the end, doing so can save you tons of time and energy that you can exert elsewhere. Plus, you might end up finding presets that you never thought would have worked, which could expand your production techniques.
Use Presets to Learn
While presets are great for giving producers sounds that are ready-to-roll, smart producers use them as learning tools. If you open up a Serum preset that you really like, you can dissect the various parameters of the preset (where the knobs are turned, what kind of settings are used, etc.) to get an idea of how the sound designer got there.
Essentially, presets can give you blueprints with a map to get to where you want to go. Once you have an idea of how the various parameters are coming into play, you can reverse engineer your favorite Serum presets. Having the ability to reverse-engineer is a MAJOR skill for any great music producer and is a skill you should look to develop.
How Many Presets Does Serum Come With?
While you can clearly download thousands of third-party presets from various sound design companies, you might be asking,
How many presets does Serum deliver right off the bat?
The good thing is that Serum comes with more than 450 presets to get you started. Each of these presets is arranged into intuitive categories, such as leads, basses, synths, pads, FX, and more!
Beyond the free Serum presets that come stock, there are 144 wavetables that come with it too. It's important to understand that each Serum preset makes use of a single waveform or wavetable as its foundation. So, if you open up a Serum preset that you like and simply change the foundational waveform or wavetable, you can craft a brand new preset with only a few simple clicks!
Adding the Presets to Serum
So, you've downloaded thousands of presets, and you're looking to pack them into your Serum arsenal. Thank the mighty music production gods that Xfer made it easier than ever to add presets to the plugin. Here's a simple step-by-step:
Once you've opened up Serum, head to the "Menu" button and choose "Show Serum Presets." The folder that stores your Serum presets, including wavetables, noises, LFO shapes, and effects chains, will pop up on the screen.
You will have different folders in your "Serum Presets" folder, though the one you want to open up is simply called "Presets." Inside this folder, you'll find a "User" folder. Take your recently downloaded Serum presets and copy them over into this folder. You will also find your custom presets that you've made when using Serum in this folder.
Lastly, to ensure your new Serum presets show up within the plugin, you can navigate to the "Menu" button and press "Rescan folder on disc." After that, all of your new presets should show up in your presets menu the same way your stock presets do.
Using the Presets in Serum
While Serum presets can make your workflow far more efficient, there are some cases where they can be detrimental. It's so easy to lay down a MIDI chord progression or melody and spend the next two hours getting sucked into listening to different sounds interact with the rest of your mix. When you have thousands of Serum presets at your fingertips, it's easy to waste hours of valuable time going through all of them.
Any producer will tell you that even finding a single sound can be incredibly time-consuming.
One of the best ways to avoid this is by taking your favorite presets and dissecting them. As we said before, you'll learn a lot about how sound design works, though you'll also be able to take presets that are almost to where you want them and make small tweaks and adjustments to get them there. This way, you won't have to give up on a preset you've landed on because it doesn't quite fit.
One of our favorite ways to dissect and reverse engineer presets is by getting rid of all of the modulation parameters and effects in the preset chain. Essentially, you can work your way back to get to the foundational wavetable or waveform before slowly adding different pieces back to see how they work. The beauty of dissecting presets is that you might find something that inspires you along the way. If you do, you can remember it for the next time you want to design a sound.
Elevating Your Music With The Best Wavetable Synth VST Around
There is a reason that Serum has remained such a popular choice for sound designers, music producers, and experimentalists.
Not only is it an incredibly intuitive piece of software, but it is also one of the most flexible and high-quality-sounding pieces of software out there today. Even if you don't have the cash to shell out for paid preset packs, there are TONS of free serum presets out there too.