STiX is a new virtual analogue drum machine from French software company XILS-Lab. It claims to encapsulate 35 years of drum machine heritage. To achieve this STiX features 10 different synthesis methods and a ton of samples including 15 kits from Wave Alchemy that cover all the usual suspects – TR, Linn and what-not.
The 10 synth engines comprise of plenty of impressive sounding things: Virtual Analog morphing oscillators, FM @ audio rate, Sine + Waveshaping, Samples, CroSS Synthesis. 4th Gen 0DF Filters, Macros Knobs, Step Modulators, LFOs, Unique R-Clap Evs and ADSR, exclusive PolyStep auto-modulator. I’m not sure those things are “engines”, more like elements of synthesis.
I confess that the marketing speak on the website and press release is leaving me rather cold. The overview video powers through the features too fast and the sound doesn’t reflect what’s happening on screen and so i’m left feeling a bit non-plussed with it all. So to try to get to the facts STiX is sound source of virtual analogue and sampled historic drum sounds combined with a step sequencer. It features 2000 presets, 720 patterns, 60 drum kits and 390 exclusive samples.
The grey, metallic and dated looking interface consists of three sections. Along the top are the ten drum sounds loaded for that kit and a comprehensive synth panel for editing and tweaking the sounds. It has an “Easy” and an “Advanced” mode with the easy side having an interesting XY vector pad which I imagine lets you stumble into some creative results. The more advanced view gives you access to the nuts of all the aforementioned synth elements.
In the middle you have a large step sequencer section.The grid can be set independently for each track so you canhave competing timelines running against each other. Each track can be selected to show further grids for each sound dealing with – modulation, velocity, gate and such like – it’s really quite comprehensive. At the bottom you have a simple mixer to control relative levels although you can also load a multiple output version of the plug-in if you’d rather mix through your DAW.
There’s a lot in here to be explored but i’m not sure the overview video does them any favours – I’d really like to see and hear more about what it can do so come on XILS-Lab, get some decent demos online.
STiX is available now for OSX and Windows in VST format and requires either an iLok or eLicenser dongle to run. There is a demo version available dongle free. Until the end of April the cost is €125.
More information: https://www.xils-lab.com/pages/StiXbyXils.html