Wednesday, June 25, 2014

XILS Lab XILS 4 Review

Recently I was given the opportunity to check out XILS Lab's new XILS 4, which is the successor of XILS 3, a plugin version of the famous VCS3 by Electronic Music Studios (EMS).  The original release of the VCS3 came in 1969, making it one of the oldest synthesizers, yet today it's still lusted after and used by many great electronic artists, like LCD Soundsystem, Vince Clarke, Brian Eno, and Kraftwerk.  At first sight, the VCS looks more like old communications equipment than it does a musical instrument, and the plugin's interface accurately recreates that feeling.  The interface isn't quite as easy to grasp as your more modern plugins at first, but if you're considering the X4, you likely know that and are embracing it, as different interfaces are what allow synthesists to create so many different sounds.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Dave Smith announces the Pro 2

After teasing an announcement all week, Dave Smith Instruments has unveiled a new flagship monophonic synthesizer called the Pro 2.  The Pro 2 marks a natural progression of Dave's synth engines, using the digital oscillators and analog filters of the Prophet 12 but using a form factor similar to the Mopho SE.  At $1999, the new mono synth isn't cheap, but the incredible list of features justifies the price point.

The Pro 2 has a ton of great little features, like paraphonic mode, 32 step sequencing, and control voltage integration.  The amount of connectivity and control it offers is astounding, and this looks like it could be THE modern style mono synth, bucking the analog oscillator standard of today in favor of digital, albeit more editable, oscillators.

This is a slam dunk for Dave-- the keyboard won't attract the low-price aficionados, but DSI already has multiple synths for those crowds, between the Tetra, Mopho, Mopho Keyboard, and Mopho X4.  The sound demos in the video above show how warm and deep it can be.  The sheer sonic possibilities could make this a great all-in-one modern mono synth, with full blown connectivity.  The only thing that might hold it back is its price-- for just $1000 more, you could get a full on Prophet 12, or for $200 more the Prophet 12 module.  Can't wait to hear more.  For more information, read on below or check out the official DSI site.

From Dave's site: