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Oxium Review (AU / VST)

By Sean W. On Aug 20, 2012 0
5 out of 5 Rating

Oxium is a full featured synth with a lot of control and a nice big sound.  It comes complete with analog modeled oscillators and filters, a normal collection of waveforms including sine and square, and a full 32 step Arpeggiator that can match any Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), midi keyboard or run freely with no syncing.  The instrument also features effects to liven up the sound.
The setup was easy as the program uses a simple serial number copy protection method.  After starting Oxium for the first time, I just needed to enter the serial number, a quick plug-in reboot and it was up an running.

Controls and Layout

The controls are separated into three sections.  The left section is where the oscillators and filters are located. The top right section is switchable from either modulation, a visual sequencer grid or the LFO information.  The bottom section can be a keyboard for auditioning sounds, song notes or the effects.  The value of the knobs are shown with the black/white meter that rotates around the knob, filling up from left to right or a pan from center.  Parameters can be changed with mouse and drag motions and fine tune adjustments can be made with using keyboard modifiers. The top of the screen is where the preset selection is made, where patches can be saved and where the plug-in specific options are found..  The presets are separated by type (bass, pad, lead, etc) and by instruments (name X, name y, etc).  There was not a loading time when switching patches nor is there any delay when using any of the features within Oxium. The program isn’t too CPU hungry.

Running on a 2.3 Intel model Mac Mini, I was able to run 7 or 8 instances without a single hiccup in power or major hit to the CPU.  The program comes in AU or VST format and neither of the two acted any different or took any more CPU power than the other version.

Sound Quality

The sound of Oxium is very good and is comparable to many hardware synthesizers on the market.  The instruments were very big sounding and really didn’t need enhancements to fit in a mix well.  The pads were warm and thick sounding as were the leads and basses.  The quality of the preset sounds are excellent and all of the can be made unique with the abundance of controls given to adjust the sounds.

The effects sound good and work well with the instruments.  They can be locked to the tempo of any DAW at the press of a button.  With the effects, there wasn’t a time where they made any of the sound unusable, even when the parameters are turned up to max.  The EQ is exceptionally powerful as playing with it can shape just about any sound in useful ways.  I was very impressed with the effect section and how it enhances all of sounds from Oxium.

Grid and Arpeggiator

The keyboard is used to audition the sound and is very helpful to have when testing the full featured Arpeggiator.  The Arp of Oxium comes with controls that allow quite a bit of variety to what is possible.  The range of the Arp pattern can changed by adding a higher or lower octave and it can be ran in mono or poly mode.   There is also a control for controlling the gate time  as well as the swing of the Arp pattern.  The Arpeggiator is fun to play with and is very easy to understand.

The grid gives a visual representation of a pattern that can easy be adjusted with just the mouse and the changes are heard instantly.  It adds an adjustable rhythm to the instrument that runs independent from the Arp and blending both creates some very unique textures.  Just pressing any of the switches gives a clear idea of what the Arp is doing and, all in all, it works well.
According to Xils Lab’s website, there may be a standalone version of this plugin in the future but, as of the time of this writing, it is only available in plugin format.  Oxium has two skins, orange and grey, and two knob styles, normal and radioactive.  Switching them is performed from the plug-in menu and just requires Oxium to be restarted to take effect.

Conclusion

Oxium is an around excellent synthesizer. Good effects, good controls, great results and a thick synth sound.  The setup is easy and presets are very good.  Creating your own sounds with the oscillators and LFOs works as expected when compared to most synths.  This instrument will make a good affordable addition to any production studio.

Here is a track created completely with Oxium except for the drums.