Steinberg’s free X-Stream synth can “turn any samples into smooth evolving soundscapes and textures”

Free Spectral Synthesizer X-Stream Walkthrough - YouTube Free Spectral Synthesizer X-Stream Walkthrough - YouTube
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If you’re looking for a free way to turn a static sample into something special, Steinberg has a little something for you in the form of X-Stream, a free spectral synthesizer that we’re guessing may share some DNA with the company’s SpectraLayers audio editor.

Said to “turn any samples into smooth evolving soundscapes and textures,” this works by stretching, looping and otherwise manipulating your audio using its spectral algorithms and effects. In fact, although playback is monophonic, you can actually feed X-Stream complete tracks if you wish, then get busy twisting them out of shape.

What’s more, pitch-shifted copies of your sample can be stacked up to create chords that can be played from just one note. You can modulate two parameters simultaneously on two different axes with the X-LFO, and it promises to be easy to create custom envelope shapes.

“With X-Stream, you can unfold the full spectrum of possible sounds from your sample collection,” says Senior Marketing Manager Florian Haack. “Hit play and your sample transforms into something new and beautiful, with different tones, colours and textures. It also works perfectly as a drone machine for ambient music, making it a creative tool for imaginative composers and sound designers in all genres. And all of that comes for free.”  

Although there’s a heavy emphasis on what X-Stream can do to your own samples, it also comes with more than 100 presets to get you started. The instrument runs inside either Steinberg’s HALion 7.1 workstation or the free HALion Sonic 7.1, both of which have just been updated. HALion 7.1 is available at a 50% discount until the end of July.

Whichever route you choose to take, X-Stream runs on PC and Mac and can be downloaded from the Steinberg website.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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