It is almost like the Drum Synth Devs of the world are doing this to annoy me! As soon as I finish my Drum Synth rundown they come out with another one. Sheesh!
So anyway – STIX came out a couple of days back from the comically prolific Twisted-Electrons. Stix – new digital drum synth, boasts two voices per drum, each with a sample wave or a custom drawn wave and noise source to which can be added Saturation (distortion – effectively an overdrive), a basic amp DAR envelope, pitch modulation (similar to iElectribe with the env/speed controls), and a filter panel with cut/res and env/speed controls. FX consist of ring mod and bit crush.
For those of you reading this far it should be now becoming obvious the kind of sound this app makes. Ignoring the wave/sample section for a second you can add a simple filter envelope (to make filter fade in/out and how fast and how much and with a resonance) and a pitch envelope (so the sound can go up/down, how fast and how long it takes before that happens (delay)). On top of this you have noise (to make noise), Saturation (to make your sound noisier), Bitcrush (to make your sound more noisy) and RingMod(which gives your noisy sound a more clangy/noisy nature). In short this is a bloody noisy machine.
Most of us were very impressed with SeekBeats, which came out a couple of weeks ago, and also boasts two synths per voice, and it is inevitable that comparisons will be made. While Stix has more wave/sample options, SeekBeats has far more sound shaping options in terms of envelopes, filtering, and of course the ability to change all/any of the parameters for every step using the ‘velocity’ bar. If you are not using the custom wave editor then Stix probably has more in common with Molten than SeekBeats, as you are editing options on one of 40 samples that ship with the product for each voice, if you are using the custom wave then the SeekBeats comparison is fairer.
Both Molten and SeekBeats seem to have a greater depth and clarity to their sound but I can’t put my finger on why, and in any event the comparison is not fair because this machine does have a sound and character all of it’s own, and that sound is dirty and noisy. You can probably get these noises from Molten, SeekBeats or iElectribe, but by that logic we would all own one synth and one decent drum app.
The interface however is not dirty or noisy. It is a familiar blend of Studio 1111 and SIDpad and it is clean, well laid out and easy to use.
I have had some teething troubles in that I have had some crashes which have required a restart of the app, not sure why but I suspect conflict with other things running as it only happens when switching between this and other drum synths.
Wishlist – I would like to see the ability to import users own samples into the sample bank and the ability to control volume/velocity/filter an a per-step basis for accents etc.