Future Retro XS

Future Retro XS Image

The Future Retro XS is a true analog synthesizer with a modern, aggressive sound. Its compact form can be configured as a desktop or rack-mount module - whichever the user wants. The XS is monophonic with semi-modular characteristics. It has 46 controls on its surface, 43 of which are knobs for full knob-tweaking bliss. It has pre-wired internal signal routings similar to traditional synthesizers. However, there are 7 inputs and 11 outputs that can be utilized to override the pre-wired signal routings and interface with other instruments - even process external audio - making the XS a true semi-modular instrument.

The XS has 2 voltage controlled oscillators that can be frequency modulated independently by internal and external signals for complex waveforms. A dedicated LFO can be used to modulate external or internal signals. The 2-pole multimode filter can be used as a lowpass, bandpass, highpass, or notch filter and is capable of self-oscillation. Velocity-sensitive ADSR envelopes can be used to alter filter and amp.

Both MIDI and CV/Gate can be used separately or together to control signals in a variety of configurations. It can also act as a CV/Gate to MIDI converter, including CV/Gate/Mod Wheel/Velocity signals for controlling other analog instruments.

The XS can be used to make a variety of analog synth sounds including basslines, leads, drones, percussion, and sound effects. Although the XS is monophonic, multiple units can be linked together for more flexible and polyphonic possibilities. And like any true analog synth, there is no on-board memory, no effects processors, and sequencing/arpeggiation features are handled via external controllers (such as Future Retro's Revolution).

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12 Visitor comments
September 24, 2010 @ 4:58 pm
"Also second filter modulation wouldn't hurt. Let's say you want to modulate filter frequency with LFO AND via EXT IN...no way - either LFO or EXT IN. Accent feature is killer! "

-you can, just patch from LFO out to Velocity in, then just turn up the velocity filter mod knob to add LFO mod to the filter, then set filter mod to external. boosh! i love this synth so much .
Pete James
June 6, 2010 @ 5:25 pm
I would say 4 stars is a little harsh! This synths sounds has really powerful oscillators that can sound beautiful and sweet or really overdriven and biting. The filter has a really gorgeous resonance and is just so smooth an analogue.

Very snappy envelopes, make it perfect for bass and percussive sounds such as kick drums and snares.

Then there's the extensive routing and expandability plus clever features like different envelopes for accented note and an analogue distortion as if being about to overdrive the oscillators and filter wasn't enough. It's also not massively common to find a sine wave which is great for thickening and sub bass!

The build quality is high, no mass produced and discreet components are used!
May 20, 2010 @ 4:10 am
Great sounding monosynth. I can't complain about it's sound, I really like it. Too bad it doesn't have Sine and Triangle options for OSC A. They're way more suitable for Ringmod and Xmod (FM) rather than Saw and Pulse. Also second filter modulation wouldn't hurt. Let's say you want to modulate filter frequency with LFO AND via EXT IN...no way - either LFO or EXT IN. Accent feature is killer!
April 22, 2010 @ 12:06 pm
Widest range of configurations and sounds in its price class, the patching points are a godsend, excellent and versatile filter, even if only two-pole, that can really take audio-rate modulation, and with an overdrive function that really does its job (dig those intermodulation harmonics).

But you should know before buying that the pots and pot markings are not very precise, that there's no sustain pedal option (that suggestion in the manual of changing the MIDI channel is a joke... what if I want to turn the modwheel when the pedal is down?), that the lfo has a very narrow range (guess that's the price of also having a sync option with MIDI clock), and that the hardsync "sticks" a little.

And what's this habit of marking a toggle switch with "sync", whatever it is it does?

Still, excellent, excellent VFM.
April 12, 2010 @ 10:59 am
im so happy with my XS. the sound is so thick and the modulation possibilities are fantastic.

i highly recommend the matching ORB sequencer as a controller as it really puts the icing on the cake of awesomeness. its possible to get a really fat 303 acid on steroids sound.

also gotta say that the customer service from Future Retro is better than any customer service i have ever experienced. responses are always quick and detailed.
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User Rating

Rated 3.35 (258 Votes)

  • Check Price
  • The link above will take you to an eBay search for this synth to see active listings. If you don't find it there, try looking in our forum marketplace or post a wanted classified.
  • Specifications
  • Polyphony - Monophonic
  • Oscillators - 2 VCOs
  • Waveforms - Sine, Triangle, Saw, Square/Pulse, Noise
  • LFO - Triangle, Saw, Square, Random
  • Filter - 12dB Lowpass, Bandpass, Highpass, Notch
  • Envelope - 2 VCAs
  • Effects - None
  • Vocoder - None
  • Arpeg/Seq - None
  • Keyboard - None
  • Memory - None
  • Control - MIDI In/Thru, CV/Gate
  • Date Produced - 2007-Present

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