Novation XioSynth?

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Novation XioSynth?

Postby kylejun06 » Mon Nov 12, 2007 12:19 pm

So i've recently come upon this Novation XioSynth, and it looks pretty interesting. Any of you own one? And if you do, what do you think about it? It looks like a steal for 300, and it has a "bass station" template. Good? Bad? Tell me what you think.
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Postby Dano » Mon Nov 12, 2007 4:55 pm

Here's an edited/shortened version of my review of the Xiosynth:

The presets are great - Out of the 200 there are only 30-50 that I'd even consider overwriting - I really wish there were 400 memory locations as the A/K Stations have. I hate being forced to decide which factory presets to overwrite and I don't want the hassle of constantly reloading banks of patches. Designing the Xio with the extra 200 memory locations couldn't have broken the bank at Novation - This is one aspect where the A/K Stations are better.

I don't think there can be much argument against the fact that there are a lot of features in a very small footprint here. I would have liked a MIDI In port but that's not a deal-breaker.

The X/Y touch pad is a very nice extra that I use a lot and the X-Gator gives instant motion to sounds (If a classic synth from the 80's would have had the X-Gator feature it probably would have been an automatic ticket to classic/cult status today.)

The casing is plastic (and, frankly, not very sturdy feeling) and has a finish that looks metallic. If I were gigging with it then I would have definitely preferred metal but the plastic does keep the weight down and the thought of putting th Xio in a backpack for when I travel makes me like it even more. The key-action is better than that of most of my other synths but the lowest "C" key on mine has noticeably more resistance than the other keys and it doesn't always spring all the way back up. If I tap/hit the key 2 or 3 times with fairly hard when I first start a playing session then it solves that issue but then after it has sat idle for a while the problem returns. I'm sure it's just an issue with my Xio and, again, not a deal-breaker nor enough of an annoyance to bother sending it in for repair.

The Xio traces its lineage back to the A-station/K-Station and
I'm sure it's probably more similar to the KS4/KS5 (which I've never
used) but sound-wise, I think it sounds somewhat different than the
A-Station. E.g. When oscillators are detuned on the Xiosynth the
beating is more pronounced than on my A-Station. The Xiosynth seems to be able to get not only grittier but also smoother as well E.g. there's a pad called "The Mellow One" that is the basic 80's warm pad sound done very well. I tried and tried but could never quite get a similar pad to sound
just right on my A-Station. That might be partially due to my programming deficiencies but I can also tell there can be a soft/floaty/chorusy sound quality on the Xio that just doesn't seem to be there on the A-Station.

The presets include great sounds in all categories: Leads, basses, pads, and SFX. Thanks to some of the odd-ball LFO shapes and one-shot mode there are SFX that the Xiosynth can make that you'd normally think came from a synth with more of a modular architecture.

It seems reliable but I've only had it for a few weeks and it has led a nice safe life just sitting in my room - I don't gig and it has not been taken on the road. I'll give it the benefit of the doubt with a 9 because I've never had a bit of trouble with my A-Station in 5+ years of use.

Back in April of 2002 I got a pretty good deal on my A-Station for $515 new; now, 5 and a half years later, to get a new Xiosynth for $299 sure seems like progress to me. IMO, the Xiosynth is better than or equal to the A/K Stations in all respects except user patch memory. Some very nice strings can be made with the high-pass filter and the "filter shape" parameter is a good addition over previous Novation synths. (I have an A-Station, Nova, and the Xiosynth.)
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Postby quicksilverXP » Mon Nov 12, 2007 8:11 pm

It also has a decent Audio Interface with very little lag for being purely USB based. It's great for live use with a laptop because you don't have to bring your external Firewire or USB box anymore. Just use the audio interface.

I feel its the best deal between the Xiosynth, Micron, and MicroKorg... you can even find the 49 key version for 399 at most places (GC sells it for 449).
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Postby T7 » Wed Nov 14, 2007 1:37 am

No MIDI in. 'Nuff said.
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Postby SWAN » Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:06 pm

I had one-and to be honest with you-I feel the MicroKorg and Micron have better quality synth engines (I also had a Micron and MS2000). I did like quite a few of the presets-they were well programmed-but the SFX seemed to play a big role in bringing out the sounds-and the presets were smothered in them.
My experience was that it sounded thin and plasticy without the FX-and was difficult in a mix. It struck me as an example of how good programming can bring out the most of a synth. I found it difficult to program-its menus and modulation routings are confusing...
That said-if you are looking for something for Electro House-it would do a good job-as it sounds quite cold and digital-and has a bright edge which cuts like you need it to in Electro. It is also a bargain.
If you want something warm and analogue-go for the Micron. If you want Something Electro and bright-Xiosynth. If you want something in between-Microkorg. My money would be on the Microkorg.
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Postby Altitude » Wed Nov 14, 2007 6:32 pm

T7 wrote:No MIDI in. 'Nuff said.



it has 1 midi out and 1in/1out via USB

Not sure why having a midi in on a controller is important
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Postby T7 » Wed Nov 14, 2007 9:17 pm

Altitude wrote:
T7 wrote:No MIDI in. 'Nuff said.



it has 1 midi out and 1in/1out via USB

Not sure why having a midi in on a controller is important


It's a synth, not just a controller. Some folks like myself still use midi sequencers such as the MPC.
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Postby insky » Wed Nov 14, 2007 9:22 pm

Altitude wrote:
T7 wrote:No MIDI in. 'Nuff said.



it has 1 midi out and 1in/1out via USB

Not sure why having a midi in on a controller is important


I have the X Staion 25 and I like to use an external keyboard to play with both hands sometimes.
Stuff I own:
X Station
ESQ-1
JX-8P
Poly 800
MaxiKorg 800DV
Elka Rhapsody 610
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Postby Dane_Xoth » Thu Nov 22, 2007 12:58 pm

I went for the XStation, although the XIO synth sounds better by a few degrees

XIO patches load into the X ( i'm sure they sound 'not the same', but close at least)
XIO inputs can't route thru the F/X (boo!)
XIO has 1 XLR 1 1/4" jack...??? (X has Neutrik combo jacks...!!!)
MIDI in is needed for the other controllers i use (Launch Pad, OctaPad)

Bass station template (no deal) or Bass station soft synth (deal)?
Bend it to fit, Paint it to match.
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Postby Scandilux » Thu Nov 22, 2007 2:06 pm

Dane_Xoth wrote:I went for the XStation, although the XIO synth sounds better by a few degrees

XIO patches load into the X ( i'm sure they sound 'not the same', but close at least)
XIO inputs can't route thru the F/X (boo!)
XIO has 1 XLR 1 1/4" jack...??? (X has Neutrik combo jacks...!!!)
MIDI in is needed for the other controllers i use (Launch Pad, OctaPad)

Bass station template (no deal) or Bass station soft synth (deal)?


I agree totally.

No Midi is a bummer imho. I'm also looking for a Midi Controller and Synth in ONE and X-station is the best solution for me.

Microkorg can do the job maybe even better as Swan mentioned and that for a low $399

I have read alot about experiences and saw the diffrents between XIO and the X-station. If you don't mind the midi go for the Xio. There where you have a lot of features and tweaks on the X-Station, I'd be bored with the XIO in a hartbeat. That's my opinion.

@ Dano; have you also compared, maybe tried the X-Station for comparison?
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Postby Dano » Thu Nov 22, 2007 11:47 pm

Scandilux wrote:@ Dano; have you also compared, maybe tried the X-Station for comparison?


No - From what I can gather though people seem to generally have an overall more favorable opinion of the X-Station. I can see that the X-Station has a lot better control surface and have heard that it has even better key-action than the Xiosynth. Correct me if I'm wrong on this but I thought that the only difference in the synth engines was that the Xiosynth had the addition of the filter shape parameter and the X-gator feature (not really part of the synth engine depending on how you look at it though). I admit to being somewhat fixated on the filter shape parameter and not having it on the X-Station would bug me. :)
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