Sonicware Intros Liven XFM, A $200 Multi-Timbral FM Groovebox

Sonicware has introduced the Liven XFM, a new multi-track FM synth & groovebox.

The Liven XFM is a battery-powered groovebox that offers 4 FM synth engines, a 4-track sequencer and effects.

It comes with over 300 presets, for leads, keyboards, strings, winds, basses, pads, chords, drums, and sound effects. And it offers 16 physical control knobs, parameter locking for each sequencer step, a looper, and SYNC IN/OUT and MIDI IN/OUT connectors to make synchronized performance with other equipment easy.

Features:

Controls:

  • 15 physical control knobs
  • Optional LATCH function prevents jumps in value when knob position and parameter values do not match.
  • LCD dot indicates when a parameter value matches the saved value, or when the value has been changed.
  • One physical encoder.

Audio output

  • Stereo line out (stereo 3.5mm mini jack)
  • Headphone out (stereo 3.5mm mini jack)
  • Compatible with Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator2 Series SYNC OUT
  • Speaker

Audio in

  • LINE IN (stereo 3.5mm mini-jack)
  • ‘Compatible with Teenage Engineering Pocket Operator 2 Series SYNC IN

Interfaces

  • MIDI IN connector (5-Pin DIN type)
  • MIDI OUT connector (5-Pin DIN type)
  • SYNC IN jack (monaural 3.5mm mini jack)
  • SYNC OUT jack (monaural 3.5mm mini jack)

Synth Engine

  • Four FM synth engines, X-LAB, XFORM, X-LFO, and LIBRARY
  • 6-note polyphonic
  • Voice mode
  • 6-note polyphonic mode
  • Mono mode
  • Legato mode with adjustable glide time
  • Arpeggiator modes (Up, Down, UpDown, DownUp, Up&Down, Down&Up, Up+1, Up+2, Down-1, Down-2, Random, Play Order)

Filter

  • Low Pass
  • High Pass
  • Band Pass
  • Each track has its own filter envelope.

Effects

  • Chorus
  • Flanger
  • Send Delay
  • Insert Delay
  • Bit Crusher
  • Reverb
  • Distortion
  • Low Pass
  • High Pass
  • Isolator

LFO

  • Each track has one LFO which can affect both pitch and filter cutoff.
  • Adjustable LFO Shapes.
  • Adjustable start time delay for each LFO.

Sound memory

  • 512 FM sound memory slots (16 x 32 banks)

Sequencer

  • 4 tracks
  • Up to 64 steps per pattern
  • 128 patterns
  • Step length can be set from 1/1 to 1/32
  • Enter longer notes (Tie)
  • Track level and pan can be set independently
  • FX send amount can be set independently for each track
  • Pattern BPM / Global BPM can be set
  • Step copy and paste function
  • Track copy and paste function
  • Transpose function
  • Real-time recording
  • Directly enter notes for each step when sequencer is on or off
  • Parameter lock function
  • Random playback function (Playback step size can be set)
  • Stutter function
  • Note Trigger probability can be set between 25% and 100%
  • Pattern chain function
  • Metronome and pre-count function
  • Swing function

MIDI

  • Notes, control changes, clock input/output
  • IMPORT/EXPORT of user data
  • Firmware update via Sysex

Pricing and Availability

The Sonicware LIVEN XFM is available now for pre-order for about $200.

26 thoughts on “Sonicware Intros Liven XFM, A $200 Multi-Timbral FM Groovebox

    1. That’s the big question for me — is it a nice workflow?

      Another point is that if this is any good then it’s going to be harder for Korg to release a module version of opsix for 3 times the price.

      1. Yeah it has a slightly weird workflow when you first start, mainly because of the non traditional Oscillator types and mods compared to traditional types but once you figure that out it is pretty easy

  1. $200 ?! Look out Elektron Cycles

    4-OP XFM engine (DX7?) with 15 knobs and 30 buttons, battery powered and a built in speaker! Parameter locking, 64 note patterns with chain etc.

    Not so sure about editing FM with a 2 line display…but if they have simplified it so you can only tweak stuff that sounds good it may work.

    Tempted to pre-order…

    1. Update- Ordered 😉 It was the very cool free little hard carry case on first 300 orders that did it, Shipping a reasonable $20 to to EU, Scheduled to ship May, so delayed gratification!

    2. if you have ever used a dx200 – that is FM editing with the same type of display – have one on my desk right in front of me….

  2. I believe in Dr. Yu Endo, the mastermind behind all of the Sonicware gear. There are limitations to both the ELZ-1 and the Liven 8bit Warps, but they are sensible and make the sound design process “easier.” Which is to say, both devices are highly musical — if you know what I mean — and I suspect that will be the case here.

      1. It’s different from the dx200 in a few ways, the 200 has 2 distinct parts a single poly synth and a drum instrument, this is multiple distinct mono or poly parts with distinct patching, the dx200 has a 4 patch morphing system and this has a patch morphing via oscillator patch, so this is kind of more like taking ideas from the dx200 and applying them to a model cycles, my dx200 tends to always be in my setup and this is more of an addition than a replacement

  3. These look cool. I don’t know if i’m sold though… The guy playing with it, and shooting magic fireballs in the video didn’t appear to be having any fun :/

    lol

  4. preordered! mostly curious to try it out and compare it to something like the Elektron Model Cycles. I know what to expect from elektron, so this looks like it could have a different flavour. always happy to support new/weird japanese instrument makers

  5. This is just a style preference perhaps, but I feel that an FM machine should be capable of so much more than what is heard in the demo. I need to heard another demo that pushes the envelope.

    1. Indeed. Another demo or even better, the manual. I’m curious to see how they implemented FM and what can be controlled. I’m looking for some kind of FM groovebox. The DX200 has become too expensive for what it is, and the Volca FM feels limited. I’m pretty comfortable with programming FM on DX synths, so the Digitone felt clunky, almost like I had to relearn FM. The style of this video definitely doesn’t appeal to me, but it might be a cool machine.

      1. “the Volca FM feels limited”

        Volca FM at least is 6-operator, DX7 compatible; my main complaint with the Volca FM is that it only has 3 voices.

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