Xils-Lab’s Oxium is a virtual analog synthesizer for Windows and Mac. The synthesizers of this French company each have a unique, musical sound that stands out from the many other VST plug-ins that are available on the market today. Oxium is no exception.
Oxium is the most user friendly synthesizer by Xils-Lab. This not only concerns the clarity of the interface, but also the software copy protection. Unlike Xils-Lab’s other synthesizers, Oxium is only protected by a serial number. So you don’t need to install a USB dongle.
You get the most from Oxium by turning the knobs yourself, but can also quickly enjoy the nice virtual analog sound by using one of the 250 presets. The presets are neatly organized in categories like Arpeggio, Brass, Lead, Pad, Strings, Synth and Init. The 10 Init presets work as a starting point for your own sounds and already sound very nice, especially if you add some effects like a reverb or delay. The Init presets can be seen as a tutorial to show the various possibilities of this synthesizer.
Besides the presets, Oxium offers many possibilities for sound designers. The plug-in is equipped with two cumulative oscillators (up to eight waveforms per patch), Pulse Width Modulation (PWM), three LFOs, three ADSR envelopes, the new Le Masque sequencer modulator, a self-resonant filter, an additional filter with either a formant filter, LP, BP and HP, portamento / glide, an arpeggiator, and unison.
The two filters can be connected in parallel and serial. The filters have a convenient mixer that lets you add precisely the two oscillators and a white noise. For example you can send both oscillators to the first (Analog) filter and send only oscillator 2 to the additional filter.
The modulation matrix can modulate up to six parameters. Besides the modulation matrix you can add tremolo, vibrato and autowah to the sound with LFOs. You can also assign parameters such as the filter frequency to the modulation wheel or aftertouch of your MIDI keyboard for extra expression while playing the synthesizer.
You can sculpt the sound further using the built-in effects, including chorus, delay, phaser and an equalizer for both filters.
The two oscillators include the traditional waveforms triangle, square, pulse and saw. The sine waveform is missing and you can not load your own samples. The included waveforms can be put on or off simultaneously. For example, you can opt for the combination saw and square for one oscillator. Both oscillators are equipped with pulse width modulation. The oscillators easily get a nice analog-like and dynamic tone by using the Drift button and the Pulse Width knob.
The three LFOs offer many opportunities to modulate various parameters via the six modulation locks for a more dynamic sound. In addition, Oxium has the Le Masque sequencer modulator, see also the grid on the right in the screenshot at the beginning of this review. This sequencer is borrowed from the Le Masque Delay plug-in by Xils-Lab. With Le Masque you can modulate different parameters flexibly in time, for example for one or two bars. This sequencer modulator can also be used as an (extra) arpeggiator, which you can program accurately. Unfortunately, the use of Le Masque is not very intuitive. You need to read the manual thoroughly to study all ins and outs. You can also use the presets to study the possibilities of Le Masque.
With Oxium Xils-Lab has made its most user friendly synthesizer. That does not mean that it is suitable for beginners, for these users it’s just too difficult to understand. It is certainly recommended to read the manual, if only for understanding the Le Masque sequencer. Certain parts are hidden behind a tab. For example, the advanced settings of the arpeggiator are found after clicking the Information tab. Fortunately, this is all described in the manual.
If you are looking for a convincing analog sound, then Oxium is definitely a good option. This VST plug-in can produce many different sounds, from deep bass, screaming leads to rich dynamic pads. Oxium can ask a lot from the CPU, especially as the polyphony increases.
A Xils-Lab synthesizer fits any synth arsenal. Oxium is Xils-Lab’s most user-friendly synthesizer. It also features the nice dynamic analog sound that is so characteristic for the products by this French software company.
- Convincing, dynamic analog sound;
- Le Masque sequencer modulator;
- Flexible filters.
- CPU usage can be high;
- Some settings are hard to find;
- Not always intuitive.
Windows and Mac