It’s a model of the PolyKobol synth from 1983, which no one knows about because the Yamaha DX7 came out at the same time
For the TLDR set, here’s a summary: XILS-lab’s PolyKB III (v. 3.6.3) is the latest version of their “analog” virtual instrument. It’s modeled on the original RSF PolyKobol synth, which featured waveform-morphing oscillators… but didn’t sell in 1983 because Yamaha came out with the DX7 at the same time.
What’s new is Apple Silicon Support and a new interface with a faster engine. You can read about the new features in the company’s release below.
But a digression: it’s interesting to hear about analog products swept away in Yamaha’s digital wake. They did the same thing in the ’90s with their Promix 01, a digital mixer that rained on Mackie’s analog mixer parade.
Mackie had brought the price of mixing boards down to the project studio level, at what seemed like a silly price at the time. The company was firing on all cylinders, fueled by innovative design and manufacturing, and also some extremely compelling print ads by Ron Koliha.
Mackie is going strong again today, but the Promix 01 (and subsequently the larger 02R) had full automation, built-in effects, motorized faders… ouch. And that’s how it was with digital technology – it unleashed products with far more features for less than analog ones.
But of course analog hardware is now enjoying much more than a moment.
And now for both of you who made it this far, here’s the second introduction of the company press release:
GRENOBLE, FRANCE: XILS-lab is proud to take PolyKB III to Version 3.6.3 status — lovingly lavishing the virtual instrument plug-in par excellence with a new hi-res UI (User Interface) and associated faster UI engine alongside full Apple Silicon compatibility and VST3 support, while ensuring that it remains one of the best-sounding virtual analogue synthesizers available, thousands of development man-hours after first being launched in its original PolyKB incarnation as the then-fledgling virtual instrument and effect plug-in-specialising software company’s second product release way back in May 2010 — as of March 14…
Like its predecessors, dating all the way back to a May 2010 release in its original (PolyKB) incarnation, the latest Version 3.6.3 of PolyKB III truly captures the sound and spirit of the rarified and revered RSF PolyKobol II analogue polysynth from France — one that surely should have made more of a musical mark in its own right with advanced analogue waveform-morphing oscillators well ahead of their time, yet sadly saw the demise of its innovative creators, completely out of touch with 1983’s untimely arrival of Yamaha’s digital dominance-triggering DX7 super- seller (shifting upwards of 200,000 units, compared to the miserly 40 units, each costing several times that of a DX7, managed by RSF before it ran into financial difficulties) — to include its most revolutionary feature: analogue waveform-morphing oscillators.
On the face of it, then, those analogue waveform-morphing oscillators — providing instant access to hundreds of different analogue- modelled free-running oscillator waveforms, which is far more than those provided by other virtual instrument plug-ins, including those that switch between oscillator sets — are available for all to see clearly now in Version 3.6.3 of PolyKB III, thanks to its new hi-res UI. Ultimately, they can be dynamically modulated by a number of sources.
When working with the latest Version 3.6.3 of PolyKB III, there are also two gorgeous, creamy-sounding multi-mode filters — VCF 1 and VCF 2 — to play with, each of which is self-resonating in all modes while also making use of XILS-lab’s proprietary 0df (Zero Delay Feedback) technology. There are also three analogue-modelled envelopes — ADSR1, ADSR2, and ADSR3 — with time multiplication and looping facilities, all working together with two LFOs (Low Frequency Oscillators) — LFO1 and LFO2 — to deliver a fat, warm, and instantly inspiring ‘analogue’ sound like no other.
Of course, even when first released to the musical masses in December 2016, PolyKB III would not be worthy of joining XILS-lab’s ever- expanding virtual instrument lineup if it did not include innovative and exclusive features — features like each voice having its own modulation engine or, indeed, using the polyphonic SEQUENCER as a giant 128-step, four-line/16-destination so-called ‘Step Sequencer Modulator’ making it fit for being propelled well and truly into the 21st Century! Creatively, this allows users to sculpt not only the most detailed trance- gate patterns, but also slides and incredible rhythmic patterns. Put it this way: with PolyKB III it is possible to modulate anything with anything!
And it is also possible to make each note sound different: the Voice XY module acts as a single-note quad XY modifier — with total control over the creation of subtle or wild variations for each note in a 2D window with four different parameters, while the Space XY module makes creating a 3D space a breeze — users can freely place each note in a three-dimensional space to build otherwise unachievable ‘stereoscapes’ with movement induced by inbuilt chaotic functions. It is fair to say that users have never had so much creative control over the stereo field! Furthermore, both modes can be combined with the True Unison engine, producing dazzlingly deep sounds that will musically take anyone’s breath away and immediately take pride of place in any mix.
Meanwhile, with its new hi-res UI and associated faster UI engine alongside full Apple Silicon compatibility and VST3 support vying for attention and distinguishing the latest Version 3.6.3 of PolyKB III from its acclaimed predecessors while it readily remains one of the best-sounding virtual analogue synthesizers available, XILS-lab CEO Xavier Oudin is justifiably proud of how far it has come and where it is going: “Since starting XILS-lab, the rarified and revered RSF PolyKobol II analogue polysynth from France has always held a special musical place in our hearts — the true destination of our ongoing journey to create one of the best-sounding virtual analogue synthesizers available today. Tweaking our algorithms for a better sound with less CPU load, we’ve never stopped working on PolyKB III, always adding new features.”
Price: €59.00 EU, to go up to €199.00 EUR on April 16