Black Lion Audio PG-P Portable Power Conditioner with power filtering

Black Lion Audio announces availability of PG-P Portable Power Conditioner complete with proprietary PG-P PORTABLE FILTERING TECHNOLOGY


CHICAGO, ILLINOIS, USA: boutique audio company Black Lion Audio is proud to announce availability of its PG-P Portable Power Conditioner — a studio-class power conditioner complete with proprietary PG-P PORTABLE FILTERING TECHNOLOGY to provide the same noise filtering found in the majority of rack-mount power conditioners, despite looking like a run-of-the-mill surge protector — as of July 15…
Poor-quality power is the bane of many musician’s lives. Let’s face it, poor-quality power knows no bounds — in homes, on stages, and especially rehearsal rooms. Whether working with modern modeling amplifiers or vintage synthesizers, poor-quality power has a nasty habit of adversely affecting signal paths, which is never a good thing. Thankfully, Black Lion Audio has been trusted by musicians for years to modify the best gear and make it even better, which is exactly what it took to create the PG-P Portable Power Conditioner — taking industry-standard designs, and improving them to the point of peak performance.
Power conditioning, of course, comes naturally to Black Lion Audio. After creating an acclaimed line of confidence-inspiring, rack-mountable power conditioners, including the recently released PG-2 (https://www.blacklionaudio.com/store/products/pg-2/) — a full-featured peak performance power conditioner with a 120V Power Grid of 14 outlets providing an average of 99.7% of noise filtering, thanks to proprietary PG-99 Filtering Technology, the Chicago-based boutique audio company collectively felt that the time had come to provide the world with proper portable power.
Put it this way: while the resulting PG-P (Power Grid Portable) might well look like a run-of-the-mill surge protector, in reality it is a studio-class power conditioner that not only provides more noise filtering than other portable power conditioners but the same noise filtering found in the majority of rack-mount power conditioners! Cue proprietary PG-P PORTABLE FILTERING TECHNOLOGY, as boldly blazoned in writing across its top panel. Pictures paint a thousand words, according to the saying, so picture this: the PG-P itself is built using premium Panasonic capacitors, selected due to their superior execution in eliminating high-frequency noise that robs equipment of its peak performance. Interestingly, in testing, this provided an average of three times the noise filtering capability of other portable power conditioners at the same price point.

Perfect for any musician’s rig, the PG-P provides studio-grade power on the go via six wall-wart-spaced outlets, backed by confidence-inspiring Ground OKProtection On, and Clean Power On LEDs. Let the music play… in homes, on stages, and even rehearsal rooms! 

PG-P is available to purchase through Black Lion Audio’s growing global network of dealers/distributors (https://www.blacklionaudio.com/dealers) with a MAP (Minimum Advertised Price) of $69.00 USD and an SSP (Suggested Selling Price) of 69.00 EUR (excluding VAT).

For more in-depth information, please visit the dedicated PG-P webpage here: https://www.blacklionaudio.com/store/power-conditioners/pgp/

ModBap Modular Per4mer update to v1.1

Per4mer firmware update version 1.1 improves performance effects and introduces new features to make Per4mer even more performative.

Per4mer firmware update version 1.1 brings a host of updated functionality that truly takes Per4mer to new heights. 

Mix Mode offers an entirely new way to interact with Per4mer’s performance effects allowing the user to use the 4 FX knobs as readily available individual wet/dry knobs to perform the effects DJ Mixer style.

Rest easy with the new and widely requested save features allowing the user to save the current state, restore the previous state, and recall the last saved settings between power cycles.

Download the update here.

Join the livestream on Friday June 25th, 2021 at 6:30pm pst for Q&A and demo of new features. 

New Features at a glance…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xfrTyTdjAF4

  • 4 new color presets
    • Wax 2 (heavy on the warble easy on the artifacts. white noise added.)
    • Fixed Low Pass Filter
    • Fixed High Pass Filter
    • White Noise
  • Wet/Dry knob for Color processor allows you to dial in as much or as little of the active color preset as you desire.
  • Mix Mode – use the 4 knobs like 4 readily accessible wet/dry knobs on one page allowing you to dial in as much or as little of the 4 performance effects (Delay, Reverb, Glitch, Tape Stop) as you desire in a performative manner.
  • Gain added to the compressor
  • Save (to manually save all settings) and restore previous
  • Remembers your settings between power cycles

Improvements include

  • Improved performance for Glitch effect zero-crossing / crossfade to improve clicks on engaging and disengaging.
  • Improve performance for Reverb pre-delay to fix leaks when totally counterclockwise.
  • Improved performance on reverb when the compressor is engaged to improve audible distortion.
  • And more…

Button combos at a glance (current and new)

  • TAP= tap tempo (tap twice to set tempo)
  • Color= toggle color processor off and on
  • Comp= toggle compressor off and on
  • COLOR+FX1 KNOB = Color wet dry
  • SHIFT+ARCADE BUTTON = Latch effect
  • SHIFT+TAP (SHORT) = SAVE
  • SHIFT+TAP (LONG) = Restore
  • SHIFT+COLOR (short) = cycle colors (there are now 8 colors)
  • SHIFT+COLOR (long) = CV Targeting
  • SHIFT+COMP (short) = Comp Key
  • SHIFT+COMP (long) = Performance Mix Mode Enter/Exit
  • SHIFT+COMP+FX1 KNOB = compressor gain
  • SHIFT+COMP+COLOR+TAP = Factory reset

Take a deeper dive into the User Manual 1v1 to learn more about the all-new Mix Mode and save/restore features. To get going quickly check out the quick reference guide.

For more info and to purchase the Modbap Modular Per4mer, head over to the their shop.

Focal Naim America Announces “Mixed on Focal”

HD Audio streaming playlists of songs mixed on Focal speakers show off what the music was meant to sound like when listening on Focal speakers

Today Focal Naim America, a leading North American importer, and distributor of premium consumer and professional electronics brands, has announced “Mixed on Focal” a new program to highlight the true sound of music as the artist, mix engineer, producer, and record label meant the songs to be heard. The first “Mixed on Focal” playlist is available today for Qobuz, TIDAL, Apple Music, and Amazon Music HD with new playlists to be released regularly. Support for Spotify HIFI is planned when it is released. Songs and albums mixed on Focal speakers are featured on the high-resolution audio playlists and are available to Focal HI-FI and Pro Audio dealers, as well as the Press Corps and current and prospective customers. Whether it be in a HI-FI or Pro Audio dealer demonstration, or their home or recording studio using Focal speakers, the music will perfectly translate as the songs are all mixed on Focal. 

“Mixed on Focal playlists are a perfect way to show off the incredible sound of Focal speakers,” said Romain Vet, VP of Marketing & Communications, Focal Naim America. “The pro audio community works tirelessly to record and mix the best sounding music possible, and listeners dream about hearing the best representation of that music — now we offer them a way to hear the music as it was mixed and meant to be heard – by listening on Focal speakers with ‘Mixed on Focal’ high-resolution streaming playlists.”

Mix engineers featured on the first “Mixed on Focal” playlist include Mike Pepe (Focal Trio6 Be / Twin6 Be), Ryan West (Focal Solo6 Be), Eric Stenman (Focal Trio6 Be), Rob Tavalglione (Focal Trio11 Be), Luca Pretolesi (Focal Trio11 Be), Jimmy Bralower (Focal Twin6 Be), Ian Boxill (Focal Solo6 Be), and Will Yip (Focal Trio6 Be). 

A selection of recording artists they mixed and are included in the playlist are Sydney Sprague, Wilder, Taking Back Sunday, Sundressed, AWOLNATION, Diplo, Jason Derulo feat. David Guetta & Nicki Minaj, Lenny White, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson & Merle Haggard, KAMAUU, Rebecca Angel, Ryan Shaw, Mark Rivera, Chad Everett Butler, Aron Stornaiuolo, Nothing, Tigers jaw, and Movements, with many more artists, albums, and songs to be announced and available on “Mixed on Focal” streaming playlists in the future.

Mixed on Focal” High-Resolution Audio Playlists:

• Qobuzt.ly/ujDm
• TIDALt.ly/ajMi
• AppleMusict.ly/aSf2
• AmazonMusicHDt.ly/qkHH

Find out more about the “Mixed on Focal” engineers and get the latest HD Audio playlists: https://www.focalnaimamerica.com/artistsexperiences

Visit North American distributor Focal Naim Americahttps://www.focalnaimamerica.com

Focal Clear MG Headphones My thoughts for daily sound design usage

When I was recently presented the opportunity to review the Clear MG headphones from Focal it could not have come at a more opportune time.

I was in the middle of researching what would be my next pair of headphones and have recently remodeled my studio. Headphones in general are an integral part for a sound designers’ studio. often I am checking sounds, and balance on multiple monitor sources as well as multiple headphones. Open back headphones tend to be preferable as they provide the most transparent sound stage and create less ear fatigue. This puts the Focal Clear MG pro headphones directly in my workflow.

check out my impressions video

The Clear MG Professional open backs tick all the right boxes for me but I had not had a chance to give them a go in person. Upon arrival I was greeted by the sleek packaging and headphone case. The premium experience you can expect with these headphones is evident from the outset. Unboxing the headphone you receive 2 OFC 24 AWG copper cables supplied one with 1/4″ and the other a 3.5mm with a 1/4″ screw on adapter (3ft. or 1.2m + 16ft. or 5m spiral) and an extra set of ear cushions.

Lets get to the important stuff however.

Looking at the specs you will notice the Clear MG offer a new magnesium cone for even greater dynamics. This translates to 5hz-28khz frequency response and a total harmonic distortion of just .25% at 1khz/100DB SPL. they weight in at just under a pound and operate at 55 ohms. This means that you can drive these without a powerful separate headphone amp. Most professional audio interfaces these day have more than enough juice to get these going.

How does this translate to your ears though?

Focal Clear MG Professional in their custom form fitted case

My first impressions (even during the run in period which should be roughly 24-40 hours depending on your method of choice.) was a very detailed high end without the harshness I often associate with certain premium brands. I decided to pair the Clear MG pro’s with my SPL Marc One monitoring and recording controller. The advantage of this is of course using the Marc One’s crossfeed control. Couple the open back extremely transparent design of these headphones with the crossfeed of the Marc One and I found myself stunned at the sound stage presented to me. I found my self actually preferring the Clear MG pro’s to my main monitors due to the definition in both the highs and the low end. The best way I can describe it is confidence inspiring. I was able to easily translate between my multiple sets of monitors using these cans.

SPL Marc One monitor controller

I think one of the telling aspects of whether a set of headphones will really work well for me is how comfortable they are over an 8 hour period in the studio. recently I have needed to use these quite extensively and found the headband and cushions to be very comfortable. The headband has a nice perforated microfibre/ leather covering While the ear cushions are Memory foam covered in the same perforated microfibre.

The open back design is surprisingly transparent. Without audio being played back I did not find myself constantly wanting to pull them off my head to hear what was happening around me. This might sound minor but I can’t say the same of my AKG’s and that can cause undue fatigue on the headband and ear cushions.

The overall build quality again inspires confidence in that yoke is solid aluminum and the jacks for each connecting ear piece are very solid. I notice no resonant or hollow feeling aspects at all. Nothing about these feel cheap or weak. the internal “M” grille and outter honeycomb also feel very well machined.

Speaking of machining. Focal has created their own 40mm inverted M shaped driver cones for these headphones. This is one of the specialties of Focal. They aren’t just a headphone or speaker company. They specialize in actually milling their own product components. This sort of attention to detail is not lost on me when I am listening through these headphones. you can really feel the attention to detail in every track and sound put through these.

I wanted to find some downsides for this little write up… I am struggling though. If I were really pressed, I would want the coiled cable about another foot longer (though I can just use an adapter can’t I…) Focal has set these at a price point of $1490 and I really can’t complain after having actually used these for the last month or so steady. They feel worth every penny and then some.

Type Circum-aural open-back headphones
Impedance 55 Ohms
Sensitivity 104dB SPL / 1mW @ 1kHz
THD 0.25% @ 1kHz / 100dB SPL
Frequency response 5Hz – 28kHz
Speaker driver 15/8″ (40mm) ‘M’-shaped magnesium dome
Weight 0.99lbs (450g)
Cables supplied
16.5 feet (5m) asymmetric cable (1/4″ – 6.35mm TRS jack)
3.94 feet (1.2m) asymmetric cable (1/8″ – 3.5mm TRS jack)
1/8″ (3.5mm) to 1/4″ (6.35mm) stereo jack adapter
Spare earpads 2 x spare earpads supplied
Carrying case provided 97/8×91/2×43/4″ (250x240x120mm)

IK Multimedia releases UNO Synth Pro and UNO Synth Pro Desktop

IK Multimedia releases UNO Synth Pro and UNO Synth Pro Desktop

Now shipping the new paraphonic dual-filter analog synthesizersreaching new levels of sound design, flexibility and connectivity

UNO Synth Pro - Image

April 29, 2021 – IK Multimedia releases UNO Synth Pro and UNO Synth Pro Desktop. Developed in collaboration with Italian boutique synth-maker Soundmachines, both these new analog synthesizers take the groundbreaking UNO Synth monophonic synth and expand it in nearly every section: more oscillators, more filters, more sequencer memory, more effects, more presets, more connections and more programmability.

UNO Synth Pro puts this amazing new sound engine in a rugged metal chassis with a 37-key semi-weighted Fatar keybed, while UNO Synth Pro Desktop provides a more portable form factor to travel anywhere.

The UNO Synth Pro’s unique dual-filter, 3-oscillator paraphonic design lets it create nearly any synth sound imaginable, and with 256 presets, a new 64-step sequencer and expanded CV/Gate and audio connections, users will quickly find it’s the ideal creation station for any outboard rig.

Huge, real analog sound
Three analog oscillators offer continuously variable waveshape, including pulse-width modulation. Oscillators can be hard-synced for more harmonically complex tones, and oscillator FM (frequency modulation) lets users shape everything from bell-like sounds to screaming industrial tones. UNO Synth Pro even includes ring modulation for wobbly, sci-fi sound, and a white noise generator for a wide range of percussive sounds and epic rises.

Dual-filter design with 24 available modes
In addition to the original UNO Synth’s 2-pole OTA multimode filter, UNO Synth Pro adds a new SSI 2/4-pole LP filter with self-oscillation. The dual filters can be used in series or parallel, with invertible phase, for a total of 24 possible filter modes. This unique design offers nearly limitless tonal possibilities, from recreating classic vintage sounds or forging completely new, experimental sounds.

Massive sonic flexibility
UNO Synth Pro offers two full ADSR envelopes, one dedicated to the filter and the other to amplitude, with both available as sources to modulate everything from oscillator pitch and waveshape to LFO speed. Two LFOs (low-frequency oscillators) can create classic synth vibrato, wah and tremolo as well as do more complex modulations including audio range FM.

A 16-slot modulation matrix makes routing all these a breeze. Users can quickly and easily design even the most sophisticated modulation scheme, with both internal and external sources.

Deep onboard effects
UNO Synth Pro offers four effect blocks: an analog overdrive circuit from the original UNO Synth, plus three new, custom-designed digital effects: modulation, delay and reverb. External signals can also be routed through these effects.

Improved playability
UNO Synth Pro offers a premium 37-key semi-weighted keybed made by Italian manufacturer Fatar, while UNO Synth Pro Desktop provides an enhanced version of the original’s long-lasting capacitance-sensing keys along with pitch and mod strips for enhanced expression. Both units add firm-touch rubber pads for the control sections, plus LED-backlit indicators and an LED display for key information, making it easier than ever to use live on stage or in deep programming sessions in the studio.

Powerful presets, sequencer and arpeggiator
UNO Synth Pro offers 256 user-editable presets, each capturing the full state of the sound engine from oscillators to effects. An onboard 64-step sequencer offers both step and real-time recording, with automation of over 80 parameters, letting users create incredibly intricate and evolving soundscapes, and even write CV and gate automation. And a 10-mode arpeggiator makes it easy to create intricate patterns and runs, which can be recorded into the sequencer.

Advanced connectivity
UNO Synth Pro offers two noiseless, balanced stereo outputs as well as headphone out, for studio audio quality in any situation. USB and 5-pin DIN MIDI In and Out make it easy to integrate with other synths, Mac/PC and mobile devices, and its assignable CV/Gate connections lets UNO Synth Pro interact effortlessly with a Eurorack or other modular system. And now, an audio input allows access to the filter and FX section for external signals, in addition to the original pass-through for daisy-chaining multiple units together without using a mixer.

Options, pricing and availability
UNO Synth Pro and UNO Synth Pro Desktop are available now from the IK Multimedia online store and from IK authorized dealers worldwide for $/€649.99* and $/€399.99 respectively. 

An optional USB power bank for UNO Synth Pro Desktop is available for $/€29.99.

*All pricing excluding taxes

For more information about UNO Synth Pro or to see it in action, please visit: www.unosynthpro.com and www.unosynthpro.com/video

Erica Synths Black BBD analog Delay announced

fully analog delay!
Erica Synths Introduces Black BBD Analog Delay ModuleFeaturing two bucket-brigade delay lines, users can create multi-tap delay effects and inspired time-based modulationRiga, Latvia, April 29, 2021 — Erica Synths has unveiled its new Black BBD Eurorack module, featuring two BBD (bucket brigade delay) lines — one short (1024 stage) and one long (4096 stage). Users can seamlessly sweep between both stages with the BBD Mode knob, while controlling other parameters including Time, Feedback, LFO Rate and more. The Black BBD is one of a kind analog delay module that inspires sound design in the studio or in live performance. Both BBD stages work simultaneously and you can smoothly fade between each BBD mode, creating distinct multi-tap effect. Furthermore, an advanced BBD clock noise cancellation circuit is implemented, and this reduces unwanted BBD noise without filtering higher frequencies of the audio signal. 

Most parameters on the Black BBD are voltage controlled, enabling users to integrate the module in more complex modular setups.  

 FEATURES:Full analogue designTwo BBD lines (1024 and 4096 stages)Smooth crossfade between BBD linesBuilt in LFOCV control over Time, Feedback and Dry/Wet mix 

The new Erica Synths BBD is available now for €260 at the Erica Synths shop and at authorized dealers. For more information visit the Erica Synths website.

Empirical Labs releases Rev 3 of AROUSOR

Empirical Labs releases Rev 3 of AROUSOR™ as ultimate evolution of flagship compressor plug-in with more Distressor-based tones “The plug-in is a game changer ITB; I have, for a very long time, been a fan of the Distresser on snare, and now I have that again.”


“The plug-in is a game changer ITB; I have, for a very long time, been a fan of the Distresser on snare, and now I have that again.” 
– GRAMMY® Award-nominated record producer, engineer, and mixer Jacquire King, 2021


LAKE HIAWATHA, NJ, USA: Empirical Labs Inc. (ELI) is proud to announce availability of AROUSORRev 3 — the ultimate evolution of its flagship compressor plug-in, introducing more tones based on its Distressor hardware counterpart, itself one of the best-selling high-end compressors of all time as the product that started it all for the professional audio signal processing equipment designer and manufacturer/plug-ins producer, with the addition of two Opto (and B) compression modes, as well as two additional (6:5:1 and 7:1) ratios for even more dynamic possibilities, available for free to existing owners of AROUSOR as the update they have been waiting for — as of March 30…

Being borne out of ELI founder Dave Derr’s love of classic compressors like the 1176, LA-2A, and Gain Brain (amongst others), the Distressor incorporates his favourite sonic characteristics of outstanding outboard originally released way back when with other unique and interesting features that have made it a staple for audio engineers all over the world as one of the best-selling high-end compressors of all-time. It is inevitable that such a popular product would one day receive the plug-in treatment, taking the soul of the company’s professional audio signal processing equipment hardware and applying it to the wonderful world of ITB (in the box) workflow within a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), albeit AROUSOR is the only native Distressor plug-in produced by ELI itself. As a new and improved (EL8-X) version of the Distressor increased its tonality with the addition of new features, so AROUSORRev 3 — the ultimate evolution of ELI’s flagship compressor plug-in — introduces more tones based on its Distressor hardware counterpart.

Kicking off with two Opto (and B) compression modes based on the time constants of a classic and a modern LA-2A compressor that many existing owners of AROUSOR have been waiting for — it is, after all, a much-loved Distressor feature, noteworthy new additions to AROUSORRev 3 also include a SOFT CLIPPING expert (e) panel — allows for introducing more second harmonic distortion and an ability to place the compressor input before or after the soft clipping circuit; a Listen mode — to hear what frequencies are affecting the DETECTOR SIDECHAIN EQ’s compression detector; additional 6:5:1 and 7:1 ratios (accessible by enabling ALT mode in the RATIO section) — for even more dynamic possibilities; and an enlargeable GUI (Graphical User Interface) — to double its original size for more comfortable onscreen editing.

ELI’s classic knee compression with proprietary high-resolution detector modelling remains at the heart of everything AROUSORRev 3 does so well, with 12 unique compression ratios, including the famous brick wall — RIVET mode in AROUSOR-speak — for maximum gain reduction. Remaining features well worth highlighting here are an adjustable broadband SOFT CLIPPING control — for introducing warm saturation; a unique AtMod ATTACK MODIFICATION control — to change the shape of the initial attack; an advanced high-pass/band-pass DETECTOR SIDECHAIN EQ — for fine-tuning compression detector response; and Mix knob with (panel-enabled) Dry Level Trim — for parallel compression.

As the update existing owners have been waiting for, AROUSORRev 3 has brought the legendary tone of ELI’s analogue hardware into the digital realm with even more possibilities as an ITB game-changer… just ask Jacquire King, whose work with the likes of James Bay, Kings of Leon, and Shania Twain has received 30-plus GRAMMY® Award nominations to date! 


AROUSOR Rev 3 is available for purchase as an AAX-, AU-, VST2-, and VST3-supporting 64-bit effect plug-in for macOS (10.7 or higher) and AAX-, VST2-, and VST3-supporting 64-bit effect plug-in for Windows (7 or higher) for a time-limited introductory promo price of $129.00 USD for the first 10 days — rising thereafter to an MSRP (Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price) of $199.00 USD — directly from ELI here: https://www.empiricallabs.com/product/arousor/

A fully-functional, 15-day trial of AROUSOR Rev 3 is available to download from here: http://www.empiricallabs.com/downloads/

An iLok account is required for activating both the demo and full versions of AROUSOR Rev 3 via iLok Cloud or using an iLok 2 or iLok 3 USB dongle. (Pleasenote that ELI’s BIG FrEQ EQ plug-in — partially extrapolated from its much-loved Lil FreQ hardware EQ — is now also iLok Cloud compatible in its latest update.) For more in-depth information, please visit ELI’s dedicated AROUSOR webpage here: https://www.empiricallabs.com/product/arousor/ 

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