I have to admit that as a bass player I am intimidated by keyboards. I’m overwhelmed by all those menus and buttons. So it was with some trepidation that I decided to take a weekend to get to know the XioSynth 25. What I discovered was that you don’t have to have super keyboard chops to have a great musical experience with a synth!
Opening the box, I was impressed by the care the folks at Novation take when packing their products. The box could actually function as a temporary case in event that you received the XioSynth in advance of the case. The XioSynth comes with a DC power adapter (it can also run on USB and batteries), USB cable, Quick Start guide and software to get you started.
I sat down with the synth and my favorite headphones, and minutes later realized that an hour had passed. The XioSynth has 200 great presets, so anyone can sit down and immerse themselves in the creative process. The design of the controls makes tweaking sounds easy, I found the layout quite logical. Of particularly interest was the arpeggiator built into some of the presets – I experimented holding an interval with my right hand and playing bass lines under it to change the chord. One unique feature of the XioSynth is “XGATOR,” a gating processor that slices your sound with a really cool pulsing effect.
For recording artists, the XioSynth was also designed to function as a MIDI controller, and to that end Novation includes 16 control templates so you can spend more time controlling and less time programming control parameters. It also includes a 24-bit audio interface with a phantom-powered XLR input.
It’s a steal, when you consider that for an amazingly low price you’re getting a seriously cool synth that you can gig or record with, a MIDI controller for your DAW or soft synth, and an audio interface all in one package!