XLN Audio might have perfected software emulations of real drums in their Addictive Drums line, but now the company is moving into a new area – a new constellation, even – with the launch of a drum machine focused on sample playback and sequencing.
XO isn't just a simple sampler/sequencer, though – it's an entire drum-browsing workstation that analyses your sounds and displays them with colorful visuals. Browsing for kicks, snares, hats or anything else is done by navigating through a 2D constellation of dots, each representing one sound with its location and color.
Browsing XO's nebula of drum sounds is aided by filtering and searching through tags, to narrow down the results. You can browse for similar samples to what's currently selected, whether by individual kit pieces or entire kits, and you can also 'hot swap' sounds to audition different options in your beat while it's playing.
There's detailed sequencing on board, with XLN's take on accentuations and groove, and there are plenty of built-in effects to keep your creative juices flowing.
Another great touch is XO's export options, which let you export WAV or MIDI files of both the entire beat or individual instruments, dragging them straight into your DAW or file browser.
XO is available from the XLN Audio website for €180. It runs as a VST, AU or AAX plugin for PC and Mac.
As well as being an Editor At Large for Electronic Musician, James also dispenses software news and views as the co-host of Appetite For Production Podcast, and tweets on Twitter as rusty_jam. You can find his 'collected works' at his website, XoverFreq.