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XILS 3 VS DCAM Synth Squad: Discuss
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mattsearles
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30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
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XILS 3 VS DCAM Synth Squad: Discuss

It looks like I have a choice between buying the XILS3 of the DCAM synth squad, given holiday discounts... and I'm hoping for some help choosing..

My sound library consists of the following
  1. Komplete Ultimate
  2. Omnsiphere
  3. MOTU MX4 (I think that's what it's called)
  4. Ableton Suite stuff
  5. Reason
  6. Maschine
  7. BFD

I think that's most of it anyway?

What I'm wanting is more analog synth sounds.. particularly analog synth sounds that are not sample based. My issue is that when working in a 32-bit environment I can't use a large portion of this pallet, in 64-bit mode I can't use a large portion of my effects processors.. and I can't really afford to upgrade them all... so I'm looking for the ability to have more analog synth sounds inside of the 32-bit environment... (and I'm trying to learn Reaper as I hear it has a decent bridge, but there's a giant productivity hit from trying to learn a new DAW) [DP is my usual DAW]

My computer is a 2008 Mac Pro duel quad core Xeon's running at 2.8 GHz.. its holding up well.. but I am beginning to feel like I want more power.

I've done a good deal of research and here's kinda what I'm thinking / feeling.. you might have a different experience / and what have you?

XILS 3

I hear that the XILS 3 is quite well optimized.. so that it doesn't ask as much from the processors's as one might expect

I rather like the idea of having an emulation of an analog modular synth

Haven listened to a good deal of audio examples.. I've found myself falling in love with the sounds I'm hearing.

DCAM synth squad

Outside of the discount the synth squad seems to cost more
Synth Squad can ask a good deal of your computational resources
I do like the the sounds of Synth Squad
There's a lot I like about the UI of Synth Squad.. I like the visualization of stuff... and it seems like it has a wonderful workflow that really encourages tweaking
I hear good things about there manuals
You do get 3+1 Synths
I do like the string machine sounds from what I've heard (which is odd cause I wouldn't normally think I'd go for that as much)
It seems like there was a good deal of Hype around Synth Squad when it came out.. although I think I missed the memo on that one.

Other Stuff

I hear that the kids today are rather orientated towards "modern sounds," and for that DCAM is perhaps better.. but I don't know if I really care about modern sounds.. and or I already have a good deal of modern sounds... and so less modern sounds may be a little more appealing to me.

I suppose what I really want is a sonic adventure into analog synthesis

I'm wondering if the DCAM's hits to my processors might make me not able to use them as much..

At the moment I'm unable to try demo's on my main computer for technical reasons that would be a long story...

I guess I'm leaning towards the XILS 3 but am wondering what other people think... and I only have a few days to figure this out...
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30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
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The Softsynth that's totally knocked me out lately in an analog way is Tronto by Tronsonic
This might surprise you as it runs in Kontakt 5,it's on sale until Jan1st for about $17! & it oozes a tape analog vibe.
The developer is also adding a free non-tape Softsynth for Tronto users called VCO that will have phase correct files so you will be able to layer etc...
Tronto is really very cool and IMO a NoBrainer!
So that's 2 libraries for about $17!!
The developer also has another amazing Softsynth called DCO that's a bit more edgy but sounds great layered with Tronto.
Tronsonic also has Microtape libraries that are tasty little morsels that can be used in Kontakt.
But if you want a great analog sounding bargain and since you have K5 I'd grab Tronto before the New Year,it's simply amazing!!


http://www.tronsonic.com/

There's a nice YouTube demo for Tronto if you want to check it out.



I have Dcam Synth Squad it's OK,but Tronto is in another league.

Hollow Sun also have some great Softsynths that work in Kontakt and have a great analog vibe,I also think their sale is still going on.

p.s.
I'm using a Single 2.8 Quad '08 MacPro
Tronto has 3 levels of sound settings,I use the middle set and it's sounds great and doesn't bring my system down to its knees.
The highest setting called Perfect is a bit hungry for my Mac but it's still usable.

;-)
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30th December 2012
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That looks like some very cool stuff right there!

But I am trying to stere clear of sample based instruments.. just cause.. I swear, in 32-bit.. I run out of memory just on convolution reverb samples.. never mind instruments!

It is an intriguing idea though... and there is a a limed edition of the XILS that is going for $20 right now.. plus I'm currently trying out the Viking Rack Extension for Reason (a virtual analog that's on sale till the end of the year, that I think I like).. it has became a part of a major project and so to some degree I'm feeling as if I need to drop the money there but..

I suppose one of the things I'm curious about is.. well the kontakt synth has to be reliant on Kontakt's built in filters.. and not even the newly updated filters.. (as it's to be compatible with the older version to) I can't say I've used the filters in Kontakt all that much but I guess I just always carry the mind set that they might not be as good as the could be... sort like the feeling that the effects that come as a part of a virtual instrument wont be quite as nice as what I have in the rest of my plugin folder.

Although with XILS 3.. I have it in my head that it's effects are of a somewhat unique character.. and so are to be judged differently.

Well.. we all know how these ideas can effect our judgements of what we are hearing... So I guess I just wonder
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30th December 2012
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I use DP 8.01 64bit which is great,I use jBridge m for 32bit plugs and VI's
($13) it is a great solution for the 32bit stragglers and orphans.
I'm a bit surprised seeing someone leave DP for Reaper but either way you have a Mac that has the ability to run in the 64bit kernel,IMO you would benefit from 64bit.
I haven't heard XLS and I've never heard anything from Reason sound analog or DCAM Synth Squad sound approach an analog sound like Tronto from Tronsonic,either way good luck.
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30th December 2012
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reading your list i think you have more than enough softsynths....

but thats the wrong answer for the gearslutz forum...

synth squad is great and for 75€ a non brainer...

go get it...
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30th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by e-smile-z View Post
reading your list i think you have more than enough softsynths....

but thats the wrong answer for the gearslutz forum...

synth squad is great and for 75€ a non brainer...

go get it...
It's ok,it can be a CPU hog and it doesn't sound at all like an analog synth in anyway to me,which is what the OP is looking for.
#7
30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
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If analog synth sounds is what you seek you should really check out u-he's Diva. I have not heard anything that sounds like it.
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30th December 2012
Old 30th December 2012
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if you're looking for analog sounds give diva a demo Diva

it's more expensive, but it's four synths in one and the next level in software.
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30th December 2012
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Diva by all reports is an amazing Softsynth but the OP has concerns about how much processing his Mac can handle.
The only consistent negative I've heard repeatedly about Diva is it can bring most computers that aren't recent builds & the most powerful computers to their knees.
I haven't checked out Diva because from everything I've heard my modest '08 Quad can't handle this beautiful beast of a Softsynth.
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30th December 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kgdrum_nyc View Post
Diva by all reports is an amazing Softsynth but the OP has concerns about how much processing his Mac can handle.
The only consistent negative I've heard repeatedly about Diva is it can bring most computers that aren't recent builds & the most powerful computers to their knees.
I haven't checked out Diva because from everything I've heard my modest '08 Quad can't handle this beautiful beast of a Softsynth.
diva has four quality modes you can work in, plus a rendering mode. a lot of people will use a low quality mode for realtime and the best mode for render, which eases things a bit. you can also freeze - for me the high cpu is worth it.
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31st December 2012
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Thanks for the thoughts

For the moment Diva is out of what I can afford.

XLIS is from the developer of the PolyKB.. Its an emulation of the EMS VCS3.. apparently the first sorta portable synth.. famous for being used by Brian Eno and Floyd. It's older then the PolyKB so the modeling is apparently not quite as good... but I've heard many people talking about liking the PolyKB a good deal more then the DCAM stuff, on sonics anyway..

Here's the sound on sound review

The reviewer actually has experience with the real synth being emulated.. (which is quite rare).. the real thing was horribly unstable.. which is why people dropped them when the minimoog and arp 2600 came out.. but that erratic instability is also what was really cool about it.

Well the emulation doesn't capture the erratic unstable aspect of the synth.. but it seems to be quite good anyway... It's modular.. can be used as an effects processor.. has this kind of old synth-e quality that's like..

Anyway.. there's a $20 no brainer on an LE version of it.. which seems like quite an outstanding value.. so I sorta recommend you check it out..

I've been a lot more impressed by the samples I've heard of the XLIS 3 then DCAM.. and I kinda like that the XILS 3 is sorta different and not everybody knows about it.

So.. on the subject of feeling the need for soft synths...

I'm somewhat bored of the usual Native Instruments synths.. I've been a Komplete user since OSX 1... Omnisphere's awesome but a RAM hog.. all the Kontakt based stuff is good.. but I can only use so much of it in a 32 bit environment.

Reason's new rack extensions do have much better sonic options for analog sounds.. there's always been analog sound in Reason just that.. well at the very least, most of what is in there is rather old.

Now I know there's a bridge for Ableton on the PC side.. that lets you load 32 plugs in 64, but I don't know about there being anything on the Mac side.. so even with the revelation of there being a bridge I could use in DP.. some percentage of the time I'll probably need to go 32 bit.. just so I can have my full plug in folder.

I would say maybe 80% or more of my processor plugins aren't 64-bit. There's 64-bit upgrades out there for many of them.. but I did the math and the cost to bring everything to 64-bit was north of $1000...

So if you're thinking 32-bit.. For analog sounds.. my pallet is actually not all that big, but in 64-bit I think it's pretty good.

Diva looks nice.. but it's a little out of my price range in terms of what I can afford by midnight tonight.. and I don't have a good picture of what it's impact might be if I were to turn down the quality level.

Basically.. right now I'm working on projects where I'll put in 140 or so hours worth of work.. My last 2 project's in Reason had 60 instruments (sometimes an instrument in Reason is a number of virtual instruments).. and in DP I'm usually in the 30s...

At the moment each instance's will religiously have a Wave's stereo imager, RenEQ, one or another PSP EQ... and its possible that it'll have a Motu MW EQ... depending on what it is.. there maybe one or another compressor.. often some sorta warm it up type plug in..

My current default template in DP include 8 reverb aux's.. mostly altiverb.. but a little of IK's Hall, and Waves's Ren Reveb.. There's at least 4 delays... at the moment I'm using the waves H-Delay, 2 of PSP's delays, and a tape echo delay from Guitar Rig quite a lot..

I'm starting to play around with putting the NI SSL bus compressor on my master buss.. and some there vintage compressors on the drums and basses..

So what I'm trying to drive at in this limited picture is that there's a tun of crap going on in my projects..

Now DP has some management features where it renders stuff in the background and that can help... but the way I'm currently working.. freezing tracks doesn't really work for me... and any plug in that's processor hungry is going to mean there's going to have to be trade offs in other places.

I'm not against trade offs per say.. it's just that they are a factor to be thought about.

Oh I should have mentioned that the deal on the DCAM and the XILS 3.. they both have big deals going on where they're only $100, which is why I'm focused here. The XILS 3 is normally $200.

On the subject of Digital Performer

I was not very excited about DP8.. I kinda felt like.. "I really don't need more guitar stomp box emulations" --and I say that as a guitarist.. I thought there were what looked like some cool new processors in there.. but some of that I already get in other plugins.. And I kinda felt like if you can get Logic for $200.. and really I'd be upgrading to DP for the 64-bit stuff (which I felt they should have gotten around to doing something about eons ago)..

It's sorta like an upgrade that just wasn't compelling.. and I was sorta annoyed by anyone saying "well you can just use your 64-bit plugs, you don't need a bridge cause most of them are 64-bit now anyway," cause who want's to spend north of $1000 to basically get what they currently have.. just to make it run in 64-bit mode?

So I heard the Reaper bridge was supposed to be good.. and.. well it seemed like it might be worth giving it a shot.. so I've been evaluating... but the truth is I'd rather prefer to stick to DP.. just cause I know it fairly well.. and it's important to me to have some tool I'm working with where I have high productivity levels.. and know deeply..

(I spend huge amounts of time learning new stuff and struggling to create work that's on the same level as what I can sorta do in DP without breaking a sweet)

But I hadn't heard about the bridge for DP.. so maybe what I should really be doing is saving my money to upgrade DP?

Still, I had had my eye on the XLIS 3 since reading about it in that sound on sound review a few years back. I suppose the that there seems to be some consensus that the DCAM stuff doesn't sound as great as it could.. certainly not if you compare it to the better analog modeled soft synths of the moment.
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31st December 2012
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If you are using DP8 in 64bit ,many users are using jBridge m ($13)
It's a great bridge,giving you the ability to use 32bit VSTs in DP8 64.
My UAD,SoundToys,AAS,URS etc.... all work well & DP8 64 is great btw ;-)

Tronto from Tronsonic is killer & it's $17
If you have DP8 and jBridge you will have a very powerful system.
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31st December 2012
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XILS3 and don't look back. I prefer XILS3, PolyKB and Synthix to Diva actually (and own them all).
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1st January 2013
Old 1st January 2013
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That's great to hear about the bridge...

XILS 3 I think it's going to be... funny that in this thread there as only one XILS 3 user..
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6th July 2013
Old 6th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donato View Post
XILS3 and don't look back. I prefer XILS3, PolyKB and Synthix to Diva actually (and own them all).
Of the three, XILS3, PolyKB and Synthix, which would you recommend as the first to get?
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6th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph Egan View Post
Of the three, XILS3, PolyKB and Synthix, which would you recommend as the first to get?
I'm interested in which one would be recommend first as well.

Any feedback/recommendations on this ?

Thanks,
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7th July 2013
Old 7th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kgdrum_nyc View Post
It's ok,it can be a CPU hog and it doesn't sound at all like an analog synth in anyway to me,which is what the OP is looking for.
I agree - I'm actually pretty disappointed by the dcam synths. I love Geist, love the dynamics and other plugs - loooove etch but it too is super CPU intensive.

The 1000m by tronics is the best soft synth I've heard for quite some time. I have xils 3 and poly kb that I bought In one of those don't crack deals - they are both excellent and at the very top of the softies I think. Their string machine sounds phenomenal.

Thing about fxpansion is they don't seem to update their plugs enough. There are known problems with dcam - I have an i7 Nd if I use even 2. X over sampling it kills my CPU? Lets say I wouldn't buy it again.... If you want you can buy my copy... Pm me
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7th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kgdrum_nyc View Post
I haven't checked out Diva because from everything I've heard my modest '08 Quad can't handle this beautiful beast of a Softsynth.
It probably can. Diva not only has settings for quality but also for multithreading. Check it out.
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7th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joseph Egan View Post
Of the three, XILS3, PolyKB and Synthix, which would you recommend as the first to get?
I own XILS3 and PolyKB, I've demoed Synthix and I want to get it too.

Synthix is the easiest to use and sounds great.
PolyKB sounds great, but I suppose it's a little quirky in its layout and the level of control you have.
Xils3 is a cool modular synth. Obviously you can't keep adding more and more processing beyond what it has, but the patching lets you get very creative. it's very pretty easy to use and again, sounds great!.
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7th July 2013
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Interestingly, XILS 3 seems to get the most praise, and endorsements from artists on their website. Must be a reason for that.

Artists
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7th July 2013
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These products do not even cover the same territory, so I don't even see how they can be compared.

DCAM offers 4 specialized Synths one of which is Paraphonic.

XILS is based on a 1969 EMS VCS3.
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#22
7th July 2013
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Check out OP-X pro 2. IT sounds really good and seems to be on constant sale for less than 100€. They have a free version that you can try out.

The TAL synths are great and cheap as well. They have some really good free ones that you should check out.

And check out jbridge for the 32/64 bit thing.
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7th July 2013
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Quote:
Originally Posted by electro View Post
These products do not even cover the same territory, so I don't even see how they can be compared.

DCAM offers 4 specialized Synths one of which is Paraphonic.

XILS is based on a 1969 EMS VCS3.
I think the OP is asking sorta for us to chooser for them and seeing peoples opinions. I own both and unless its my computer as it can only handle 1x as NO oversampling on my i7 - set x 8 on render but it sounds so flat to me and I hate the interface - i think there are skins around so no fault on no-one there. So it could be that I'm not giving at 2x oversampling like on fxpansions suggestions, but the Xils lad, particularly xils 3 and polykb and the new one (i likes oxiam and synthax sound wise, didnt like the character but they sounded great) all sound like no ther softsynths have before. Theres something 3dish to all of them. Theyre beautiful the xils stuff so Id be certainly demo'ing, well both (if you have an Ilok).
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7th July 2013
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I think the OP made his decision about 6 months ago
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7th July 2013
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I have all the synths mentioned and I find them all great when using them in the right context. I find the XILS to be a very quirky sounding synth very much like the original EMS. It's fat and in your face just like an analogue synth should be.
The DCam synths are different, I find them to be not so up front and a little fuzzy.
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5th August 2013
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If Xils is anything like the BE version it's fiddly.
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