Alright folks.. here's the scoop. Spectrasonics had a booth at NAMM devoted almost entirely to Omnisphere. My friend has pictures of the screen as the demo was performed and I'll get those up as soon as he gets them to me. Those can actually tell the story much better than I can, and when I get them I'll update this post.
The following assumes you know Spectrasonics' way of doing things, primarily in relation to Atmosphere and I'll try to order my points intelligently.
For people familiar with Atmosphere, recall that you could have two layers going on. It's the same thing with Omni. An instrument can have two layers, but instead of just a rompler, you now have a waveform oscillator (so Romp-Romp, Romp-Osc, Osc-Osc).
A single layer has an intense amount of options inside itself. Distortion is polyphonic. You can do graintable synthesis of the sample library, but it doesn't sound glitchy at all, and they stress that. It's QUITE smooth, and there are 8 parameters for manipulating it such as rate, grain size, blah blah blah. It even has a basic FM synthesis built in. The 'carrier' doesn't have to be an oscillator, it can be a built in sample. The modulator, however, is an oscillator of your usual variety, which makes sense since having a sample as your modulator would result in noise most of the time. Those are just the main two synthesis options that struck me.
Modulation? Holy crap.. The mod matrix possibilities are huge, and easy to implement. Say you want to modulate the FM modulator frequency (which i believe is specified as a fraction/multiple of the carrier), you just right click and select what source you want... LFO, AMP MOD, FILTER MOD, Some crazy advanced MOD. The advanced mod envelope is great. It's a tempo based X-Y chart in which you can add and subtract vertices and adjust the curves, quite easily I might add. (I have a picture of this coming soon, and it'll clarify what I'm talking about) you can randomize it and snap it to the temp grid and add some flavor to any sound. That can be routed to most anything, as well.
The arpeggiator is pretty sweet, especially, when used in conjunction with their groove/percussion plugin. If you pick a latin rhythm for the percussion, do a tempo lock, and then drag the built-in midi to the Omnisphere, it will apply the groove to the arpeggiation. Instant gratification. (have a picture for this too, stay tuned)
Effects. Imagine Guitar Rig.. or Reason. Very graphically oriented, rack-mount looking interface. Can't give you a list. But you've got your usuals, including a formant filter. I think the formant filter is based off of Delay-Lama, as the little monk dude was on it. I found that interesting.
Alright... so Multiply that times two, and you have an instrument. But you can have 8 instruments at once in what they refer to as "live mode." Now I assume it's just streamlined for live performance, but I'm sure it'd sit just fine for studio production work as well. Anyone familiar with Reason's NN-XT or Live 6's instrument rack will follow this a bit better than others I suppose. (I have a picture of this too, for clarification). An instrment can be assigned to a key range, note velocity, or even modwheel/midi position. Freakin' awesome. Instruments can overlap, and have the ends of the range fade, so transitions throughout the key/mod/velocity range are seamless.
If I think of anything more that I can't recall right now, I'll post it. Oh, and they did their presentation on the biggest Genelec's I've ever seen in person. http://www.genelecusa.com/products/...monitors/1038b/ 15" woofer, cripes.
So... yeah, there ya go. I'll be saving up for it.