XLN Audio XO

We love XLN Audio for their RC-20 coloration plugin, but the company really made a name for themselves with releasing one of the premier drum VSTs: Addictive Drums. XO is their latest product and is a completely different beast because it identifies and groups all your one-shot drum samples by similarity in a beautiful and zoomable interface. XLN Audio says it is “a revolutionary new way of exploring sounds and creating beats” and we concur!

After spending a few weeks with the program, it is now our all-in-one tool for picking drum samples, shaping their sound and putting together cohesive drum kits. Previously we used Atlas for some of these tasks and needed multiple other plugins to make a drum kit for you. The coming kits from us will heavily rely on XLN Audio XO for sure! So let’s take a look what you can do with it…

Find that sample.

XO collects all your one-shot drum samples and sorts them by similarity in the XO Space. Seamlessly sweep through your sounds, regardless of where they are stored. When you hear something you like, have a look around. You might find something even better close by.

Create the beat.

The built-in sequencer is playful and intuitive, but offers enough control to sculpt the perfect groove. There’s a bunch of beat templates included, as well patterns per sample you can mix and match. The “playground” is really that – a fun place to try things you probably wouldn’t do in your DAWs piano roll. We’ve had many happy accidents when quickly combining different sounds and randomize the patterns.

Tweak the sound.

Once the sounds are selected and the groove is established, you can even fine tune and colour your sounds with the built-in effects and modifiers. From basic mixing & panning to effect send loaded with different reverb and delays, you really have everything you need to make an industry level drum beat in this program alone.

All of these features you can get from stringing together a bunch of other plugins. XO really shines with how intuitive and clear the workflow is and there’s really not much more you can wish for when it comes to your drum programming game. In the end, when your beat is ready and you want to keep control over all elements in the DAW of your choice, you simply export the loop, the single shots (with the processing applied) as well as the Midi and you’re off to the races!


XLN Audio XO is now our secret weapon to conquer the madness of our drum kit folders. Level up your drum game and buy XLN Audio XO for $200 from here.

The plug-in runs on macOS and Windows Standalone, as VST, AU and AAX in 64 bit. Over 8000 preset patterns are included.

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