|XILS 3 :
|"The sound of XILS 3 is amazing, finally we can have an EMS in the studio and fulfil all our BBC Radiophonic Workshop dreams"
It all began a few years ago ...
He was in touch with ELKA Synthex creator, Mr Mario Maggi, and wondered how to make a convincing enough emulation, challenging Mr Maggi’s reluctant vision of the software and emulation world.
We soon decided to collaborate, Luigi beeing in charge of sound quality proofing and the relation ship with Mr Maggi.
Reproducing the hardsynced triangle waveform was the first tough challenge. It took me a lot of time to nail it in a proper way. The filter, based on the CEM 3320, capable of self-oscillation in its BP and HP modes, and the Bucked brigade based delay were just as difficult to model, each component bringing its share of interesting and motivating problems.
OF course the Syn'X had to be both the best possible Synthex emulation, and go far beyond a strict emulation. An extension of the process behind the split function of the original gave me the idea to make a multi-Layer two keyboards Synthesizer, perfectly suited for studio or stage, vintage and futuristic, legacy instruments and sound research : I could imagine the wonderGlide of the Synthex dispatched in 8 independant layers.
At the prealpha version stage, we began to work with Lotuzia to imagine, create, develop and implement the new features to bring one of the feet of the Synthex into the XXIth century, and to transform it into an incredibly powerfull sound machine. And we began to rework the UI to implement and integrate both centuries into a single easy to work with, relaxing and ergonomic GUI and UI. Again, this step was very long, but very rewarding and we eventually in the end came close to what the Syn'X is.
The real thing
Though at this stage the Synthex and Syn'X were looking like some close cousins, or brothers, there were still a few things missing to get close to the desirable twin status.
We needed a real Synthex, and I contacted Boris Djurdevic, a very kind ( And its far below what I would want to express for his dedicated work ) and VERY patient Croatian gentleman who made all the recording I needed to tweak and polish my algorythms. With this precise reference points, some good nights reading and rereading the schematics, some very cryptic modules like the special PWM mode and the Chorus became on par with the original machine.
The SYN'X was born.
What’s the best instruments without presets ? Thanks to Lotuzia, during all this time, a brilliant Sound Designer Team was working hard to create both vintage and futuristic instruments : When you’ll play the Syn'X, you’ll play instruments especially created for it by Paul Wiffen, Simon Ball (SoundsDivine), Peter Schelfhout, Kelvin Ford, Vivolator, Erik Jansson, Tzadi, Lotuzia (Le Lotus Bleu), Ingo Weidner, Cliff Douse .
The Chatillons Sessions
To each sport its Dream Team. Could you imagine the following :
Synth Legend Paul Wiffen, SoudDesigner Stéphane Bonvallet, Tzadi and Lotuzia together in the same room in Tzadi’s Studio, with a real and perfectly working Synthex AND the Syn'X, only separated by a PC Screen. And a Laser Harp as Midi Controler.
This is exactly what happened in Chatillon ( South of Paris )
For those who dont know Paul, here are only a few things he did regarding the Synthex : He made most of the original Synthex factory presets, he introduced the Synthex to Jean-Michel Jarre, then Stevie Wonder, then Keith Emmerson, and collaborated with Vangelis and Stevie Wonder on numerous recordings. THE MAN !
Stéphane Bonvallet ( Brilliant Sound Designer for Spectrasonics modules, amongst many other things ) was the owner of the Synthex, and was very kind to allow us to use it ; and additonally offered us some expert comments on the UI and GUI of the Syn'X.
A lot of instruments were created on the Syn'X during the Chatillon Sessions, some recreations from the Factory Presets, as well as some special instruments inspired by Paul’s Synthex creations, you can find in the numerous recordings made by a lot of musicians during the Synthex Golden Years.
During the creation of all these instruments we were constantly confronted to A/B comparisons in real time between the two entities.
Here are Paul’s Final words on the Syn'X :
"in my experience, there are two kinds of classic synth emulations.The first is where a huge ammount of time has been spent ensuring that the representation on screen is indistinguishable from the original hardware cosmetics. Inthe second the developer has concentrated far more on makingthe sound as close to the original as possible. I'm happy to report that the Xils-Lab SYN'X avoids the first pitfall and sits comfortably in the second category; Although it may take a few moments to locate the familiar parameters of the Synthex on the screen once you begin to manipulate them the sonic results are uncannily close to the original. On several occasions I found myself prefering the extra flexibility in the Syn'X especially when it came to sonic control via velocity and aftertouch, control wich were never available on the original machine. the additional polyphony and multiple layering of timbres are particulary welcomed"
I would like to express, together with Lotuzia, my extreme gratitude to Paul and Stéphane, who are much more than only very talented musicians and Sound Wizards : They also belong to our personal " most kind persons " brigade !
Juin 2011 -