Xils Lab released StiX Drum Machine – First Impressions

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Xils Lab, the developer behind a lot of different Synthesizers (XILS 3, XILS 4, PolyKB II…) just released StiX Drum Machine. This product is a virtual analog and multi synthesis drum machine with a next level XoX. I was involved in the Beta Test team and StiX is really a new kind of drum machine. I can understand that you ask why StiX is now better than all the other drum machines on the VST market. Here are my aspect why StiX is unique and special 

Most of the drum machines offers only one kind of synthesis or often very limited. Often you can see that they offers classic virtual analog and modelling and it’s done or often only sample playback. StiX has all this on board and expand this area to much deeper synthesis world. You can morph your virtual oscillators, doing FM to audio rate and even waveshaping opitions are available. Cross Synthesis and Samples offers you much more deeper sound possibilities. The screenshot below shows you how deep the synthesis structure in StiX actually is.

What is pretty cool, you can switch from the advanced page to a more easy way to manipulate your sounds. 

On the synthesis part, I must say that the FM synthesis works with sine oscillators with wave shaping possibilities. What StiX makes very interesting, is the fact that you can load on the third oscillator a sample and make cross synthesis modulations between all components. To make it easy in your final results to adjust a parameter, you can define Macro Controls for your controls. Further the LFO operates in audio rate and  StiX comes with a fourth generation of Zero-Delay Feedback Filters. 

For receiving an amazing drum sound flavour, StiX offers to the users fast and snappy envelopes with time multipliers. The synthesis technology is modeled after rare analog Synthesizers for giving your sound the perfect drum machine sound. 

What is amazing in this new drum machine is the PolyStep Modulator. Personally, I’m not the big big fan of a classic drum machine because it’s a bit to boring how it sounds. We can found such sound in every drum machine sample library. This change with the usage of this feature. If you select your “magic steps”, on this places, you will hear changes in your sequences because the step sequencer is driven by macro modulations. Example you can select some steps where the filters go up a bit and after setting your value, the sound go up in this location every time and go back in the step step. So this changes gives you something unique in your sequence. You can use the modulation matrix with positive and negative intensity

If you lose your inspiration during your play with StiX, you can randomise very easy on the right side of the sequencer panel. Maybe you find a perfect sequencer part for your track. 
In the picture below, you can see Mod 1 and Mod 2. This are the modulation options in the sequencer part. For making your sequencing more interesting, you can select some parameters and making step modulations with them. Try it, it’s awesome. 

StiX comes with a lot of other features, which I doesn’t take care in my writings because there so much. This my favourite features so far. StiX comes with 400 drumpad presets and with 50 drumkits. Further you can 70 global presets with hundreds of different patterns. StiX comes in the final release with a lot of sample content from Le Lotus Bleu and Wave Alchemy. 

For making your drum track perfect, you can even activate the effects of StiX. Analog Delay, Phaser emulation, natural reverb and a crusher/distortion unit are on board of this plugin. An easy to use mixer is included in the plugin for mixing your perfect sequence. 

StiX is a 32 and 64 bits plug-in and is available for 
Windows (XP, Vista, 7, 8, 10) as VST, RTAS, AAX 
Mac OSX 10.5 + as VST, RTAS, AAX and AU. 

My conclusion: Xils Lab StiX is a unique drum machine for your system. It begins from a very classical drum machine approach and goes far away from them to a new territory of drum machine synthesis. You can create very wired and modular style of sounds. Even the possibility to split your steps in the sequencer, offers you a lot of playground of new experimental stuff. Yes, you have read it correctly: you can split the drum steps in different under steps like 4 8 4 8 (standard 4 4 4 4). It’s unique and if you love making new unique sounds, try this beast of synthesis based drum machine. 

More Informations and a demo version are available here:


Here is my play around video with StiX 

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