There's a lot more to StiX by Xils than simply homage, though: there's a thoroughly modern synthesis machine under the hood
New from French music software specialists XILS-Lab comes StiX by Xils, a virtual analogue drum machine plug-in for Mac and PC that pays homage to Italian company Sound Master's classic STIX PROGRAMMA ST-305 from 1981.
The original STIX was quite groundbreaking when it launched: it was one of the first drum machines to offer both user-programmability (as opposed to just replaying preset patterns) and one of the first to feature individual outputs for the different drum sounds. Unfortunately for Sound Master, though, rival machines from the likes of Roland (the TR-606 Drumatix) and Boss (the DR-55) would soon eclipse STIX on these fronts, and the machine was seemingly relegated to the dustbin of music tech history.
Until now, that is. Because XILS have taken the sounds of the PROGRAMMA ST-305 and recreated them in the form of StiX by Xils. The emulation's entirely sonic, it should be pointed out - the plug-in doesn't look like a STIX hardware drum machine. But it certainly sounds like one... or at least it does if you want it to, because with 60 drum kits, 700 pads, 2,000 presets and 10 built-in synths (each drawing on multiple sound engines), plus a full range of onboard FX and a built-in sequencer, the range of sounds you can create with this piece of software far, far outstrips anything you could have achieved with the original box. There's a whole stack of sounds from the aforesaid TR-606 for starters!
The plug-in is 32- and 64-bit compatible, can operate in AAX, AU, RTAS or VST format and is available now for just €125, rising to €179 from 30 April. It can be purchased on a USB stick, iLock dongle or as a download.