Since I haven’t been leading worship regularly for the last year, topics for this site have not been at the forefront of my mind. However, in the last month I’ve had the opportunity to play keys with an old friend and lead as a guest for an Easter set. Each afforded an opportunity to try something new, and I’ll go into detail about what I did and what I learned over the next couple months. This month, I’m looking at the rebuilding of my keyboard rig.
I’ve been a MainStage guy since version one and before that I ran a virtual synth rig hacked together with Logic. About a year ago I decided to rebuild everything in Ableton Live so I could start to integrate loop-based elements into my sets. My MainStage set was SUPER basic — a very authentic, dynamic unprocessed piano, and a simple warm pad. While moving to Ableton, I wanted to reinvent my sound to be more “modern worship”, including super effected, compressed pianos and huge synth sounds.
The biggest hurdle in moving from MainStage to Ableton is the lack of content that comes with Ableton. MainStage comes with a HUGE library of built in instruments, patches, and effects, but even though I sprung for the “Suite” version of Ableton that includes their content library, I found it pretty sparse and not very applicable to Worship. I’m not afraid of designing my own patches, but I didn’t love the UI of the synths included with Ableton. I decided to find some plug-ins to fill the gap.
I’m not sure how I discovered Xfer’s Serum synth, but despite its EDM roots, I’ve been really happy with the sounds I’ve been able to get out of it. Through Splice, you can get it on a $10 per month rent-to-own basis, which makes it really attainable for almost everyone.*
I took a quick Instagram poll, and I was surprised to find out that not a single person that replied to the poll was using Serum for worship. Since it’s really popular in the EDM community, there’s not a lot of appropriate patches that come with it, so I’m going to post the patches I’ve created and have been using in worship for free download.
*Quick reminder; I don’t do ads or sponsorships here. If I recommend a product, it’s because I genuinely love it and paid for it with my own money.