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31 August 2005

Stylus RMX review — Electronic Musician

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Electronic Musician reviews Stylus RMX 1.2.1, Spectrasonics’ “plug-in loop construction kit”. They like the way its quasi-improvisational capabilities allow a degree of spontaneity. “You can perform almost every edit and parameter change in real time and easily create animated, complex grooves within an ever-flowing context.”

“The Stylus RMX multipage interface is a model of efficient and intuitive design.” For example, “To simplify editing, an Easy button pares the Edit page down to four faders, two knobs, and two switches, with Level and Pan faders on the right and the Master Filter’s tone control and emphasis fader on the left.” An Easy button! This idea could revolutionise computing, let alone music composition.

They liked another unique feature of Stylus RMX too: “The plug-in’s centerpiece is Chaos Designer, which uses probability to affect loop variations. In nearly every instance, Chaos Designer produced surprising and useful results. Using it with Edit Groups, wherein you can select which loop regions should be altered and which remain unchanged, was particularly effective. … Full-bore Chaos applied to the Pattern parameter can turn simple grooves into busy Tower of Power-style syncopations.”

Stylus RMX comes with all the effects and filters you would expect. The sound quality seems to be decent: “Version 1.2 adds several new processors. The update supports presets, which can have single FX or FX racks, and a nice assortment of factory patches are supplied with the installer. Effects are high quality, with buttery-sounding filters and smooth reverb tails.”

The reviewer also describes some of the sound libraries in depth — the emphasis is on electronic loops and sounds, though sounds can be imported from Propellerhead ReCycle formats to Stylus RMX. Overall, they are impressed with this program: “Stylus RMX is a terrific multifaceted tool for sculpting unique grooves and brings a hefty quotient of fun and ease to the process. Chaos Designer in conjunction with the built-in effects, Edit Groups, and an uncomplicated MIDI control setup, bring extraordinary depths of animation and precision. The elegantly designed user interface greatly simplifies potentially complex tasks.”

The final rating is 4.5 out of 5. Praising its “Extremely intuitive user interface,” they say, “Without a doubt, Stylus users should move up to RMX for $99. I also enthusiastically suggest that anyone else interested in groove construction give Stylus RMX a long, serious look.”

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