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BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD

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2 June 2014

XILS4 Synth plug-in

We’re used to plug-in designers emulating legendary instruments of yore, dusting off synthesizers found in the deepest, darkest cupboards of old studios. French company XILS-lab has gone one better, modeling a synth that barely got off the drawing boards in the late ‘60’s. EMS (Electronic Music Studios), a British company founded in 1969 made history with its introduction of the VCS3, the first portable synthesizer commercially available. Not so well known, though, is the the 1969-vintage VCS4, which was EMS designer David Cockerell’s so-called ‘Live Performance Module’, comprising two VCS3s side by side, together with a five-octave keyboard, a mixer, and a signal-processing unit, all housed in a single wooden cabinet. Only one prototype was ever produced. Undeterred, this is the beastie XILS-lab has created as its latest virtual instrument and, of course, using the magic of algorithms significantly improved upon. The company is billing the XILS 4 as the “Ultimate Analog Matrix Modular Synthesizer”. Between the originally design and the extra tweaks by XILS-labs’ developers the XILS 4 is a complex and highly versatile instrument, with a strong dash of old school synth that many users will love – and it’ll scare the pants off others. We recommend checking out videos and demos at www.xils-lab.com to make up your own mind.

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