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

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! 

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 

Waldorf Music announces availability of 128-voice, FPGA processing-powered Kyra VA Synthesizer sensation

having teased the musical masses last year, then turned heads and opened ears when unveiling a preproduction prototype at The 2019 NAMM Show in Anaheim, California earlier this year, with repeat showings Stateside (at Synthplex 2019 in Burbank, California) and closer to home (at SUPERBOOTH19 in Berlin), high-quality synthesizer developer Waldorf Music is proud to announce availability of Kyra — its eagerly-awaited 128-voice, FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) processing-powered VA (virtual analogue) synthesizer sensation — as of October 7…

Accompanying documentation proudly proclaims that Kyra “…is one of the most powerful music synthesizers ever built.” But this is not hardware hyperbole on Waldorf Music’s part. Put it this way: with 32x oversampled hardware sound generation and 96kHz floating point sound processing providing guaranteed contention-free 128 voice channels, Kyra is guaranteed to make its musical mark as a sensational synthesizer that is as easy to use and easy on the eye as it is powerful and flexible.
From first glance it is patently obvious that Kyra is a beautifully-designed desktop VA Synthesizer — as the wording elegantly emblazoned on its eye-catching front fascia subtly states. As a truly multitimbral instrument it features eight independent ‘parts’ with up to 32 notes per PART, each effectively being a complete synthesizer with sound sources (OSC GROUP 1OSC GROUP 2SUB 1, and SUB 2); FILTERS; modulators (EGsLFOs, and MOD MATRIX); multi-effects unit (EFFECTS); and a USB 2.0 connection — can exchange MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) information, as well as send the audio from each stereo PART to a computer as eight stereo 24-bit streams at 96kHz (with 48kHz downsample mode available) and one stereo audio return from the computer supporting a single 24-bit stereo audio stream from the host DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). With that being said, the only other resource they share are the four balanced, stereo output pairs — OUT A (Right and Left),OUT B (Right and Left), OUT C (Right and Left), and OUT B (Right and Left) — using 32-bit DAC (Digital-to-Analogue Conversion) running at 96kHz sampling rate connected to four internal stereo busses and that powerful pool of 128 hardware voices. Versatility further abounds as each PART has a dedicated multi-effects unit comprising nine stereo effects modules — namely, three-band EQFormant filter, input LimiterDistortion module, Delay module, six-state PhaserChorus flanger, Stereo reverb, and output Limiter — with dedicated audio stream via USB (Universal Serial Bus).
Better still, each PART hosts a Patch from the pool available to the system. Speaking of which, Kyra has a generous Patch storage capacity of 26 banks — through to Z, each containing 128 patches. That’s a total of 3,328! The first seven banks are ‘user’ patches stored in RAM (Random Access Memory), meaning users can change them quickly and individually using the Store sequence. The remaining 19 banks are ROM (Read-Only Memory) patches that users can recall and use just like RAM patches but cannot be replaced using the Store sequence. It is, however, perfectly possible to freely copy whole banks between RAM and ROM, so all are user- programmable. And any Patch can be recalled via MIDI program changes and Bank select commands. Whatever way anyone views it, Kyra far from short-changes from a live performance perspective or when working with it in a studio setup as an alternative.
As a sensational synthesizer with a spectacular specification, Kyra doesn’t disappoint from the all-important sound standpoint, starting with two primary virtual alias-free oscillator groups (OSC GROUP 1 and OSC GROUP 2) per voice, each with Saw (sawtooth); Wave (waveform) — with no fewer than 4,096 18-bit linear PCM (Pulse Code Modulation) single-cycle 32x oversampled wavetables covering a huge range of synthetic and emulated sound sources with two wavetable sources per voice; Pulse; and noise simultaneously available. Also OSC GROUP 1 and OSC GROUP 2 each has an independent detune-able oscillator — SUB 1 and SUB 2 — with four selectable shapes and two selectable (Octave) pitches. Real Hard Sync, ring modulation, and FM (Frequency Modulation) are available between those oscillator groups.
Get this, though: switching from Wave mode — meaning Kyra adopts a virtual analogue synthesis model which has the advantage that it is easy to construct sounds using intuitive subtractive synthesis — to Hypersaw mode configures the voice to use a special algorithm comprising six real oscillators to quickly create lush-sounding soundscapes. Digging deeper, Hypersaw mode replaces Wave mode’s two oscillator groups with a single source whose tonal content is constructed with just two adjustable controls — Hypersaw Intensity and Hypersaw Spread (geometric detuning). Built entirely out of multiple, harmonically-rich sawtooth waves or ‘partials’ each adjusted to that special algorithm, the Hypersaw provides characteristic soundscapes ideal for a wide range of uses — from high-impact lead sounds through to lush, animated pads. Placed in Dual Mode, the Hypersaw has 12 real oscillator sources with an additional adjustable stereo spread.
Successfully synthesizing sound is inextricably linked with flexible filtering. Fortunately for discerning users, Kyra’s FILTERS front panel perfectly positions powerful control, creatively implementing accurate emulations of classic analogue ladder filters with 2-pole (12dB/octave) low pass (12dB LP), band pass (12dB BP), and high pass (12dB HP), plus 4-pole (24dB/octave) low pass (24dB LP), band pass (24dB BP), and high pass (24dB HP) configurations. Creatively, 128 filters are configurable for single or dual parallel (Dual Filter) true stereo operation.
Onwards and upwards, three fast-response ADSR (AttackDecaySustainRelease) envelope generators with EG Slope setting are also at hand. Helpfully, one is assigned to the VCA (Voltage Controlled Amplifier), another to the filter, while the third can be freely assigned. All are available in the MOD MATRIX (modulation matrix), itself being a six-channel affair with up to three destinations per channel giving a maximum of 18 routings. It is also worth noting that the three LFOs (Low Frequency Oscillators) — with 128 wavetable shapes, monophonic, polyphonic, random, anti-phase, and quadrature stereo phase settings — are also available in the MOD MATRIX and additionally as a MIDI clock sync source.
Creativity continues courtesy of an arpeggiator (ARP) on each PART with 128 preset patterns; UpDownRandom, and Chords modes; and an ability to synchronise to MIDI clock. Arpeggiators are aimed at live performance, primarily, but can clearly complement composition. Kyra’s ARP is an integral part of a Patch, so settings are always stored.
Far from forgetting its helpful high-resolution 256×64 pixel graphic OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) display alongside the traditional array of MIDI InOut, and Thru connections — complimenting USB 2.0 — on five-pin DIN, as well as full key microtuning capability with MIDI Tuning Standard (MTS support), it is fair to say that Kyra is, indeed, one of the most powerful music synthesizers ever built… a sensational synthesizer with a spectacular specification, set to take performances and compositions to higher states of musicality and sound design! 

The Kyra VA Synthesizer is available through Waldorf Music’s growing global network of distributors (https://www.waldorfmusic.com/en/international-distributors) at an SRP (Suggested Reseller Price) of €1,843.00 EUR (excluding tax).

For more in-depth information, please visit the dedicated Kyra VA Synthesizer webpage here: https://www.waldorfmusic.com/en/kyra
Watch Waldorf’s wonderment-causing Kyra VA Synthesizer promo video here: https://youtu.be/HafV6CGS43Y 

Rob Papen releases new virtual analog vst B.I.T (back in time)

Rob Papen progresses back in time to bring B.I.T. into being as analogue-modelled soft synth fit for today

ECHT, THE NETHERLANDS: virtual instrument and effect plug-in developer Rob Papen Inspiration Soundware is proud to announce availability of B.I.T. — bringing namesake company founder and acclaimed sound designer Rob Papen’s persistent passion for subtractive synthesis into being as an aptly-named, analogue-modelled software synthesizer fit for today’s DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) workflow — as of June 11…
B.I.T. stands for Back In Time — an apt acronym for Rob Papen, collectively or otherwise. On the face of it, namesake company founder and acclaimed sound designer Rob Papen’s passion for subtractive synthesis remains as strong as when he first started working with synthesizers way back when, purchasing an analogue Korg MS-20 semi-modular monosynth and accompanying analogue SQ-10 sequencer at the tender age of 15 — more recently reaffirmed by self-publishing the publicly praised The Secrets Of Subtractive Synthesis combined book and DVD package based on his The 4-Element Synth© teaching method. Moving back to task — to the wondrous world of B.I.T. specifically and Rob Papen collectively, the virtual instrument and effect plug-in developer’s newest software synthesizer sets its inspirational sights solely on analogue-modelled synthesis, rather than combining the best of analogue modelling with hybrid synthesis techniques that have hitherto formed the much-admired musical backbone of the company’s classy creations.
What’s with the apparent change of musical direction, then? The concept behind B.I.T. comes down to this: classic analogue synthesizers still show an appeal that the renowned Rob Papen brand is perfectly positioned to tap in to. This is not surprising since Rob Papen himself still has a pristine example of Roland’s (former flagship) Jupiter-8 analogue programmable polysynth — purchased brand new back in the ‘dying days’ of analogue in 1983 (albeit now seriously sought after and astronomically priced) — taking pride of place in his studio setup; several other analogue classics comfortably reside there alongside it, including that ‘teenage’ Korg combo. Clearly inspired by backward progression, pure analogue-modelled synthesis is the order of the day when it comes to B.I.T. — no spectrum waveforms or samples required!
Really, making the most of Korg’s classic MS-20 requires patch cables, but B.I.T. does not need any as an analogue-modelled software synthesizer plug-in par excellence — despite demonstrating masterful modular-like attributes. An advanced MOD MATRIX makes for painless patching while a smart ADV (advanced) panel positioned below the oscillators offers a helping hand. Activating ADV allows users to quickly make useful connections, such as the LFO and ENV (envelope) to the oscillator parameters. Pushing further forward, B.I.T. also allows OSC 1 to modulate OSC 2 in several ways, which increases its sound palette to take in phase modulation, frequency modulation, and ring modulation.
Musically, of course, any Rob Papen software synthesizer would likely be viewed as being incomplete without an arpeggiator — as, arguably, would Rob Papen’s prized Roland Jupiter-8, and B.I.T. is no exception to this unwritten rule. Indeed, its fully-featured ARP can also work in sequencer mode and has an additional FREE row that can be used to modulate other elements of B.I.T. by using the MOD MATRIX.
Making it to the finish line, B.I.T. brings with it some superb-sounding effects, comprising CHORUSDELAYFLANGER, and PHASER, plus Rob Papen’s proprietary REVERB, so no need (necessarily) to turn to an external reverb of any kind to bring some space to the virtual instrument and effect plug-in developer’s newest software synthesizer.
So while B.I.T. stands for Back In Time it could conceivably stand for Be Inspired Today! After all, Rob Papen has added a 16-voice, authentic-sounding, analogue-modelled software synthesizer fit for today’s DAW workflow to its lengthening line-up of virtual instruments, intermixing innovative design, uncompromising sound quality, and musical, production-grade presets — over 950 this time — to make tracks truly shine. Still better, B.I.T. brings with it the secrets of subtractive synthesis, thanks to namesake company founder and acclaimed sound designer Rob Papen!

B.I.T. can be purchased from authorised Rob Papen dealers worldwide or as a download directly from Rob Papen for an introductory promo price of 79.00 EUR (including VAT)/$79.00 USD until the end of June 2019 — rising thereafter to 99.00 EUR (including VAT)/$99.00 USD — from here: https://www.robpapen.com/buybit.html

B.I.T. Stands for back in time and is a modern take on vintage analog synth modeling

Note that B.I.T. is included in the latest version of the eXplorer 5 bundle (https://www.robpapen.com/eXplorer-5.html), so existing owners only have to download the latest installer and run it to add B.I.T. to their Rob Papen virtual instrument and effect plug-in collection.
B.I.T. is available as a 64-bit AAX-, AU-, and VST-compatible software synthesizer plug-in for Mac (OS X 10.8 – MacOS 10.14) and as a 32- and 64- bit AAX- and VST-compatible software synthesizer plug-in for PC (Windows 7/Windows 8/Windows 10) — AAX for PT 12 or higher (PC).
B.I.T. uses a serial/license system with activation when registering. (A second serial for a secondary computer is available after registering the original.)
For more in-depth information, please visit the dedicated B.I.T. webpage here: https://www.robpapen.com/bit.html
Some superb-sounding audio demos made only with B.I.T. can be heard here:https://www.robpapen.com/dmdocuments/RobPapen_BIT_Classic_Synth_Demo01.mp3https://www.robpapen.com/dmdocuments/RobPapen_BIT_Classic_Synth_Demo02.mp3https://www.robpapen.com/dmdocuments/RobPapen_BIT_Contemporary01.mp3

Arturia unleashes iSpark for iPad, why you should care.

So below I’ll post the regular press release and info but lets talk about why this release actually matters.Menu

  1. you can use your SparkLE usb controller with this app, that means you have an actual tactile hands on drum machine experience with just a iPad as the processing power… think about this for live shows or that “stand alone drum machine” feel… thats pretty dope right?
  2. its available for iPad air and above… why does that matter? well because it means they are jamming serious power into this app and not letting older iPad units hold it back with lack of processing power. This is a double edged sword because I’m sure Arturia risks missing out sales from owners of older iPad devices. It also means the writing is now on the wall for those of us with older iPads (I currently own an iPad 4 and was hoping to get one last year out of it.)Studio2
  3. the in app store looks to have a promising host of content. Already there are three promising expansions with more to come. I love new sounds at affordable prices.Library2
  4. ableton link is already tested and working along with a host of other sync abilities. very nice to see this app playing nicely in a host of varied environments. Continue reading