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Novation's brand new XioSynth is a synth, audio interface and controller in one compact unit. It features some incredible onboard sounds, many programmed by top international producers, Novation-class synthesis in its most compact and affordable format to date, with seamless audio interfacing and MIDI controlling capabilities to boot.
The XioSynth features 200 hard-hitting onboard patches, utilising a new optional filter distortion to produce an even greater range of sounds than on previous synths, from the distinctive clean British sound to the filthiest and grittiest of sonic characters. Furthermore, 60 of the onboard sounds come from internationally acclaimed artists and producers from a variety of musical genres, namely James Zabiela, Ferry Corsten, Rennie Pilgrem, Roots Manuva, Shimon and Skeewiff. As such, every one of the patches on the XioSynth is eminently and instantly usable for creating synthesized music of any kind.
Also included is a brand new patch programming facility called 'X-Gator'. This is a 32-step sequencer where varying levels of each step can be set to create interesting rhythmic patterns, without having to rely on an external sequencer. Of course, the X-Gator, like all effects and the arpeggiator, will synchronise automatically to incoming MIDI clock to make composing and performing along to a track very easy.
In addition to quality synthesizing, the XioSynth provides everything else required to produce and perform music with a computer, through its comprehensive audio/MIDI interfacing and MIDI controlling ability. One USB cable is all that's needed to turn your computer into a complete workstation for recording, controlling and synthesizing. However, for those keen to escape the confines of the studio, XioSynth works just as comfortably as a standalone instrument, even powering off AA batteries for complete portability.
Sixteen onboard memory slots for MIDI Templates are pre-programmed to work with popular software straight out the box and, since the device is class compliant (no drivers for Win XP or Mac OS X), you truly can just plug and play. Additionally, the XioSynth boasts a new hybrid mode that allows simultaneous synthesizing and MIDI controlling, making it a worthy tool for the widest range of applications.
The audio interfacing spec includes the ability to record a microphone with phantom power, as well as simultaneously stream the onboard synth audio directly to the sequencer via the USB cable. Although the device is class compliant (no drivers are necessary), there are drivers provided that minimise the latency and make XioSynth more stable with certain software platforms.
As with the ReMOTE SL (Novation's revolutionary Automap MIDI controller), an accompanying DVD offers a series of video tutorials, which succinctly explain the operational basics and main features. These offer relief from written manuals and are a quick and easy way to get started with XioSynth.
All of these features, plus the semi-weighted keyboard mechanism, Xpression pad and stick, and attractive price make the XioSynth an exceptional value.