XILS-Lab debutes new FM and VA synth plug in


XILS-lab creates KaoX as virtual instrument inspired by legendary FM synthesizer bolstered by virtual analogue and chaotic algorithms


GRENOBLE, FRANCE: 
virtual instrument- and effect plug-in-specialising software company XILS-lab is proud to announce availability of KaoX — a virtual instrument inspired by a legendary FM (Frequency Modulation) synthesizer, albeit bolstered by virtual analogue sound synthesis and additional chaotic algorithms in an advanced two-layer architecture allowing for a powerful sound creation tool to fuel DAW-driven synthesizer dreams with a much more easily understood signal path than its iconic FM forefather — as of April 12…


To appreciate its iconic inspiration is to truly appreciate the power of KaoXXILS-lab’s latest virtual instrument. Indeed, the early-Eighties synthesizer market was dominated by analogue synthesizers using analogue circuits and analogue signals to generate sounds electronically, which, when made available as programmable polysynths with patch storage, were costly with limited polyphony. Putting paid to that dominance, an Eighties-dominating 16-voice FM synthesizer changed course — changing the course of musical history in the process — by generating sounds via frequency modulation, a form of sound synthesis whereby the frequency of a waveform is changed by modulating its frequency with a modulator. Mass manufactured using very-large- scale integration chips by a Japanese giant of a company who had licensed the technology from Stanford University, California — composer, musician, and professor John Chowning developed the digital implementation of FM synthesis while there, the world’s first commercially-successful digital synthesizer subsequently sold over 200,000 units within three years — around 20 times more than the most iconic analogue synthesizer of all time sold in its impressive decade-long lifespan — and its preset sounds soon became staples of the Eighties pop pantheon with E PIANO 1 purportedly ending up on 40% of the US Billboard Hot 100 chart toppers throughout 1986. Therein lay the rub. Really complex menus and a lack of conventional controls meant that few learned to program the comparatively keenly-priced instrument in depth — despite FM synthesis lending itself to creating brighter, glassier sounds, as well as imitative acoustic sounds so much better than its instantly unfashionable analogue adversaries, programmable polyphonic or otherwise. Of course, fashions change with time and technology; the instrument in question has long since fallen out of favour. Although analogue synthesizers — somewhat ironically — are now more commonplace than they ever were with a perceived warmth of sound and appealing hands-on control working in their favour, the convenience of an ITB (in the box) workflow with DAW-driven virtual instruments and effect plug-ins has far from lost its appeal for today’s music-making masses. Time to revisit the wonderful world of FM synthesis with a modern-day twist? Knowingly, KaoX does just that. After all, as a virtual instrument- and effect plug-in-specialising software company, XILS-lab loves to create tools that inspire its users to create more imaginative music than they ever dreamed possible!
Put it this way: with KaoXXILS-lab has created a virtual instrument inspired by that legendary FM synthesizer, albeit bolstered by virtual analogue sound synthesis and additional chaotic algorithms in an advanced two-layer architecture allowing for a powerful sound creation tool to fuel DAW-driven synthesizer dreams with a much more easily understood signal path than its iconic FM forefather since said signal path is easily understood through the use of illuminated modules in a GUI (Graphical User Interface) that is equally easy on the eye. KaoX’s knowing nod towards the preset-powered popularity of its iconic FM forefather is immediately obvious for all to see and hear in an easy-to-tweak simplified view allowing its UP (upper) and LO (lower) synthesizer layers — each with independent synthesis modules — to be combined in three different ways. Working in single mode, only the selected layer is active and heard, while both layers are active and heard in SPLIT and DOUBLE modes — the lower part of the keyboard playing the LO layer and the upper part of the keyboard playing the UP layer in the case of the former, while both the UP and LO layers are simultaneously played across the keyboard in the case of the latter. Limited controls are available in this simplified view, including TUNEDRIFTGLIDEVIBRATOFREQ (vibrato frequency), DEPTH (vibrato), (wheel), TREMOLOFREQ (tremolo frequency), and DEPTH (tremolo), plus CHORUSDELAYPHASER, and REVERB effects, enabling users to easily play presets and to tweak them accordingly — adding vibrato and tremolo or switching effects on and off, for instance.
Alternatively, activating an advanced settings view brings the wonderful world of KaoX into full view, allowing more adventurous users access to the virtual instrument’s internal modules to tweak or change any parameter therein, aided by contextual help windows, while active modules are helpfully illuminated. FM synthesis options are available on each of the two available layers with eight operators grouped in two banks with independent pitch — perfect for creating chorus-like FM sounds or punchy stereo patches — and two outputs (O1 and O2). Each FM OPERATOR features one LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator), one envelope, WHEEL and VEL (velocity aftertouch) access, two user-definable external modulators (assignable to any KaoX modulation source), KEYB (keyboard follower) 2D pad, RATIO or FIXED frequency selection, and a lowpass filter. Furthermore, virtual analogue synthesis options are also available on each of the two available layers with two continuous waveform analogue oscillators (ANALOG OSCILLATOR 1 and ANALOG OSCILLATOR 2), two zero-delay-like analogue filters (FILTER 1 and FILTER 2), four D-ADSR envelopes, and four VCA outputs for bringing a depth and warmth to the sound creation table. That said, KaoX also allows its users to create sounds that they had never thought possible, thanks to two chaotic oscillators (CHAOS OSCILLATOR 1 and CHAOS OSCILLATOR 2) and two chaotic ring modulators (CHAOX 1 and CHAOX 2). And as if that was not enough to keep committed sound creators seriously satisfied, KaoX comes complete with a flexible four-track step SEQUENCER, where each track can be assigned to the UP or LO layer with independent sustain and gating or used as a modulation source.
Sound-wise, KaoX comes packed with 500-plus presets programmed by world-class sound designers Mikael Adle, Soundsdivine, Status, Nori Ubukata, Tom Wolfe, Xenos, Yuli-Yolo, Zensound, and many more — more than enough to point anyone of any ability in the general direction of where they might musically want to go. Getting there is made much easier with its integrated single-window preset manager making finding the right patch for the task, managing presets and sound banks, as well as creating custom tags, an efficient easy-going experience that could barely be dreamt of back in the early Eighties. Today the time has clearly come to revisit the wonderful world of FM synthesis with a modern-day twist and appreciate the power of KaoXXILS- lab’s latest virtual instrument par excellence — from France with love… and all without the need for very-large-scale integration chip mass manufacture! 



KaoX 
is available to purchase as an iLok (2 and 3 dongle hardware or software) protected plug-in priced at an introductory promo price of €99.00 EUR until May 15, 2021 — rising thereafter to an MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) of €179.00 EUR — directly from XILS-lab via the dedicated KaoX webpage (https://www.xils-lab.com/products/kaox-p-168.html), which also includes more in-depth information. 


KaoX can be directly downloaded as a multi-format AAX, AU, and VST (Mac OS X 10.8 and later) and AAX and VST (Windows 7, 8, and 10) plug-in from here: https://www.xils-lab.com/products/kaox-p-168/download.html

Listen to several KaoS-showcasing demo tracks providing the soundtrack to XILS-labs’ latest teaser video here: https://youtu.be/qeZJvGe6a4Y 

XILS-lab updates PolyM to 1.1.0

XILS-lab pushes polysynth hommage beyond the pleasure principal with welcomed PolyM 1.1.0 update additions
GRENOBLE, FRANCE: audio software company XILS-lab is proud to announce availability of PolyM 1.1.0 — updating its critically-acclaimed, authentic-sounding software recreation of a pioneering polyphonic analogue synthesizer manufactured between 1975 and 1980 (based on divide-down oscillator technology similar to electronic organs and string synthesizers of the time), and arguably made most famous by British ‘new waver’ Gary Numan, notably seen as well as heard when ‘driving’ over an endless ‘synthscape’ in the trailblazing promo video for his 1979 chart-topping ‘Cars’ single; someone since observed that career-defining song’s parent album, The Pleasure Principal, “…is almost an album-length advert for the Polymoog…” — with welcomed additions including a new preset manager and an ability to run as an effects plug-in, plus compatibility with Native Instruments’ Native Kontrol Standard (NKS®), as of October 2…
PolyM first put in an appearance last year, when XILS-lab clearly considered those oft-overlooked Polymoog presets to be well worth revisiting, recreating an ‘unlimited’ polyphony polysynth that was recognisably revolutionary upon its initial release and making it fit for today’s creative computer-based music-makers with a state-of-the-art software makeover. Making that happen took two years — such was the complexity of its inspirational hardware predecessor. PolyM palpably didn’t disappoint, deftly reproducing yesteryear’s divide-down technology with two TOD (Top Octave Divider) oscillators — one for the sawtooth wave and another for the square, slightly detuned for a phenomenal phasing effect (when running independently in FREE mode), yet taking the concept further forward by adding polyphonic pulse width modulation. Meanwhile, in LOCK mode, those two TOD oscillators are almost locked in phase, producing PM (Phase Modulation) instead of FM (Frequency Modulation) when the square wave oscillator is modulated in pitch. The two TODs can also be modulated — tempo-sync-able — in pitch by an LFO (Low Frequency Oscillator), while the square wave oscillator has it own pulse width modulation by a tempo-sync-able LFO. Alongside a distinctive envelope generator, this represents the musical heart and soul of PolyM, pushing that revolutionary polysynth sound kicking and screaming into the future!
Further features of note include: 71 emulated chips, offering mixer, VCA (Voltage-Controlled Amplifier), envelope, 12dB filter, and pulse width modulation for each of the available notes; stunning-sounding 24dB ladder filter (using XILS-lab’s critically-acclaimed zero-delay algorithm); nine dedicated acoustic filters — STRING, PIANO, ORGAN, HARPS, FUNK, CLAV, VIBES, BRASS, and VOX — carefully recreated from the original (model 203a); RESONATORS filter bank with three parametric (6dB and 12dB) filters matching the original; three vintage — DEL. (delay), PHAS. (phaser), and REV. (reverb) — effects (with adjustable settings from within an Advanced Settings Panel alongside nine modulation slots for furthering sound design possibilities well beyond the scope of the original hardware); and more.
Today, thanks to the PolyM 1.1.0 update, there’s even more to (literally) make a song and dance about. As such, the NPM (New Preset Manager), a newly-integrated, single-window affair allowing users to easily and speedily perform different tasks with welcomed visual feedback — for example, locate and load the best fitting preset in seconds courtesy of a multi-criteria search engine, save/save as presets with (user-generated) tags, batch-tag multiple selections of presets, export/import multiple selections of presets, and select view (such as showing only favourite presets) — represents a major step in PolyM’s evolution; by that same token, those acoustic filters and RESONATORS, as well as the three vintage-sounding effects, are also available to work with other sound sources when running PolyM purely as an effects plug- in proffering plentiful possibilities for modulation; meanwhile, support for Native Instruments’ NKS® extended plug-in format for all virtual instrument developers delivers intuitive and seamless interaction with the German giant’s cutting-edge KOMPLETE KONTROL S-Series keyboards and MASCHINE hardware.
Helpfully, there are now over 300 professionally-programmed presets available as creative kickstarters in PolyM; parameters are all MIDI- controllable, combining to musically position this soft synth par excellence as an innovative instrument of its time while retaining a certain pioneering polyphonic analogue synthesizer’s coveted performance properties of the past. Put it this way: while what the deceased Austrian neurologist (and founder of psychoanalysis) Sigmund Freud would have made of this polysynth hommage is obviously open to speculation, surely the still active Gary Numan should approve… as will anyone’s bank balance by paying (comparatively) so little for so much playing pleasure. Thanks to its welcomed 1.1.0 additions, PolyM pushes beyond the pleasure principal in both senses, so anyone wishing to sonically travel back to the future should seriously consider adding it to their soft synth arsenal — all the more so at an attractive (albeit time-limited) introductory promo price representing a welcomed 40% saving. Best be quick, though — time waits for no man… or woman (or child)!
PolyM 1.1.0 is available to purchase as a USB eLicenser or iLok (1 and 2 dongle hardware or software) protected plug-in at an introductory promo price of €89.00 EUR until October 31, 2018 — rising thereafter to an MSRP of €149.00 EUR — from XILS-lab here: http://www.xils-lab.com/products/polym-p-160.html
PolyM 1.1.0 can be directly downloaded as a multi-format (AAX, AU, RTAS, VST), 32- and 64-bit soft synth and virtual effects plug-in for Mac (OS X 10.7 and later) and Windows (XP, 7, 8, 10) from here: https://www.xils-lab.com/products/polym-p-160/download.html
About XILS-lab (www.xils-lab.com)
Based in Grenoble, France, XILS-lab is an audio software company, created and managed by Xavier Oudin. Having created some of the best known virtual instruments and effects plug-ins on the market for various companies over the last 20 years, today he focuses on bringing his passion for audio, instruments, and music to bear on his own company.Working with highly-skilled professional musicians and sound designers, the company collectively believes that a virtual instrument or effect is not simply a series of mind-boggling mathematical algorithms designed and scrutinised over by bookish PhD engineers but rather a useful and useable musical tool made for musicians. Moreover, XILS-lab loves to create virtual instruments and effects that inspire its users to create more imaginative music than they ever dreamed possible!

XILS-lab literally creates plug-in pleasure principal when recreating revolutionary polysynth

GRENOBLE, FRANCE: audio software company XILS-lab is proud to announce availability of PolyM — an authentic recreation of the pioneering Polymoog polysynth, dreamed up by American designer Dave Luce and produced by Moog Music between 1975-1980, but benefitting from finest French software skills to truly create a plug-in pleasure principal as arguably the best ‘virtual’ divide-down oscillator technology-toting soft synth available anywhere and teaching the old dog some new tricks in the process — as of July 3…

That’s today. Putting PolyM in its present-day context involves initially looking back. But back in the early-Seventies, setting out to create an analogue, functional voltage-controlled synthesizer that was polyphonic against a backdrop of monophonic mainstays proved problematic for many. Moog’s musical solution came quicker than most, making an appearance in 1975 in its extremely expensive ($5,295 USD), nine-preset original form as the Polymoog keyboard (model 203a). It included a front panel packed with an almost continuous row of slider pots (permitting presets to be fully modified into more individualised analogue sounds via various subtractive synthesis parameters, including a 24dB Moog ladder filter section — allowing modulation modulated from its own envelopes and low frequency oscillation — alongside a unique and flexible three-band resonant filter section with lowpass/bandpass/high-pass filter modes) before being joined in 1978 by a marginally more economically-viable ($3,995 USD), 14-preset stripped back version (with editing reduced to volume, tuning, high-pass filtering, and basic LFO — Low Frequency Oscillator — features), which was also (confusingly) called the Polymoog keyboard (model 280a), though the original fully-variable version was then rebadged, admittedly, as the Polymoog Synthesizer.

Saying that, unlimited polyphony united the two innovative instruments in question, albeit unlimited in the sense that all 71 notes of their weighted touch-sensitive keyboards (capable of being split into three sections, each with independent volume control) could sound simultaneously, but based on divide-down oscillator technology — similar to electronic organs and string synthesizers of the time — to generate all notes and pitches using a small number of fixed-frequency oscillators as an alternative to ‘traditional’ VCOs (Voltage-Controlled Oscillators). Obviously, the Polymoog cannot create each voice from individual oscillators and filters, nor store sounds programmed by the user — unlike the first generation of microprocessor-controlled designs that soon followed suit, such as Sequential Circuits’ classic Prophet-5, the world’s first fully-programmable polyphonic synthesizer — as a result. Regardless of those limitations and reliability issues inherent in its complicated, convoluted design downfall, some notable users still shaped some stunning-sounding records using the pioneering Polymoog.

Prime example… as an innovative individual almost alone in seeing the opportunity for a star of synth-based music, a futuristic-looking Gary Numan notably ‘drove’ over an endless Polymoog landscape in the pioneering promo video for his 1979 chart-topping ‘Cars’ single and arguably opened the floodgates for the wave of (mainly British) synth-pop acts that trailed in his wake. Wisely — and appropriately — once observed: Gary Numan’s classic breakthrough, The Pleasure Principal, is almost an album-length advert for the Polymoog. Those beautiful, stark, synth-strings frozen all over the songs is the Polymoog’s Vox Humana preset.

Fast-forward, then, to two years ago, and XILS-lab clearly considered those oft-overlooked Polymoog presets to be well worth revisiting, recreating an ‘unlimited’ polyphony polysynth that was recognisably revolutionary upon its initial release and making it fit for today’s creative computer-based music-makers with a state- of-the-art software makeover. Making that happen was easier said than done, however — hence that two-year development time. That equalled the same time taken to develop the original, overly-engineered historical hardware from which it drew its innovative inspiration, ironically — hardly surprising, given that the Polymoog uses a TOS (Top Octave Synthesizer) system with a TOG (Top Octave Generator) chip to create a bank of 12 square waves representing the top octave of the keyboard, each of which are then passed through a divider chip to create all the lower octaves, and can then be processed to create other wave shapes; making matters more complicated, the Polymoog has two sets of TOS chips, generating two wave shapes (pulse and sawtooth) per key — two oscillators per key, effectively. There are also two envelope generators, two VCAs (Voltage-Controlled Amplifiers), and two fixed filters for each key. Those circuits are combined into a custom chip called the Polycom, mounted on a small card, and there is one Polycom card per key. That all adds up to a whole lot of circuit boards in one cumbersome keyboard…. little wonder, then, that reliability became an issue!

No such issues with the perfected PolyM, but no pain, no gain getting there as XILS-lab CEO Xavier Oudin obviously learned — the hard(ware) way — when taking today’s much more reliable route to software-based synthesized splendour: “Recreating this legendary synthesizer as a virtual analogue synthesizer was a real challenge, but we decided to take up the gauntlet. This was made more difficult due to our real machine’s poor condition.”

Continuing against all odds, Xavier Oudin and XILS-lab literally created a plug-in pleasure principal when recreating the revolutionary Polymoog polysynth as a soft synth plug-in par excellence — even ending up with more bells and whistles when finally finished. “It took more than two years, analysing, measuring, testing, and scratching our heads,” he concurs, before adding: “But we are proud to now offer PolyM, one of the best — if not the best — ‘virtual’ divide-down-based virtual synthesizers out there!”

In there is what counts, though, and PolyM palpably doesn’t disappoint… deftly reproducing yesteryear’s divide-down technology with two TOD (Top Octave Divider) oscillators — one for the sawtooth wave and another for the square, slightly detuned for a phenomenal phasing effect (when running independently in FREE mode), yet these take the concept further forward by adding polyphonic pulse width modulation. Meanwhile, in LOCK mode, those two TOD oscillators are almost locked in phase, producing PM (Phase Modulation) instead of FM (Frequency Modulation) when the square wave oscillator is modulated in pitch. The two TODs can also be modulated — tempo-sync-able — in pitch by an LFO, while the square wave oscillator has it own pulse width modulation by a tempo-sync-able LFO. Alongside a distinctive envelope generator, this represents the musical heart and soul of PolyM, pushing that revolutionary polysynth sound kicking and screaming into the future!

Further features of note include: 71 emulated chips, offering mixer, VCA, envelope, 12dB filter, and pulse width modulation for each of the available notes; stunning-sounding 24dB ladder filter (using XILS-lab’s critically-acclaimed zero-delay algorithm); nine dedicated acoustic filters — STRING, PIANO, ORGAN, HARPS, FUNK, CLAV, VIBES, BRASS, and VOX — carefully recreated from the original (model 203a); RESONATORS filter bank with three parametric (6dB and 12dB) filters matching the original; three vintage — DEL. (delay), PHAS. (phaser), and REV. (reverb) — effects (with adjustable settings from within an Advanced Settings Panel alongside nine modulation slots for furthering sound design possibilities well beyond the scope of the original hardware); and more…

More than 260 presets are available to help users get going and all parameters are MIDI-controllable, combining to position PolyM as an innovative instrument of its time while retaining the one-time pioneering Polymoog’s performance properties. Put it this way: while what Austrian neurologist and founder of psychoanalysis Sigmund Freud would have made of it is obviously open to speculation, surely Gary Numan should approve… as will anyone’s bank balance by paying (comparatively) so little for so much playing pleasure! Perhaps PolyM pushes beyond the pleasure principal?

PolyM is available to purchase as a USB eLicenser or iLok (1 and 2 dongle hardware or software) protected plug-in for an introductory promotional price of €99.00 EUR until August 31, 2017 — rising to an MSRP of €149.00 EUR thereafter — from XILS-lab here: http://www.xils-lab.com/products/polym-p-160.html

PolyM can be directly downloaded as a multi-format (AAX, AU, RTAS, VST), 32- and 64-bit virtual soft synth plug-in for Mac (OS X 10.7 and later) and Windows (XP, 7, 8, 10) from here: https://www.xils-lab.com/products/polym-p-160/download.html

For more in-depth info, including several superb-sounding audio demos, please visit the dedicated PolyM webpage here: http://www.xils-lab.com/products/polym-p-160.html

Watch XILS-lab’s lovingly prepared PolyM promo video here: https://www.xils-lab.com/audiosample/PolyM/PolyMTrailer.mp4