Xenos Is A FREE Dynamic Stochastic Synthesizer


Raphael Radna releases Xenos, a FREE synth plugin for macOS and Windows.

If you’re looking for something a little bit different, experimental, and even a little crazy, Xenos might be for you.

I should maybe tweak that last sentence, given the fact that, as noise makers, we’re all a little bit crazy by default.

Xenos takes a slightly different approach from most synths we feature by utilizing Dynamic Stochastic Synthesis (DSS). DSS is an algorithm created by the Greek-French composer Iannis Xenakis, who pioneered Musique Stochastique, merging music, technology, and mathematics.

The DSS algorithm is founded on the concept of probability distributions. This form of synthesis applies random variations to repeating wave cycles, driven by a series of random walks that control parameters like duration and amplitude.

Xenos has a very plain interface, which is good because it makes it easier to grasp the concept of DSS. Synths that are outside of the norm in any way often provide a great learning experience whether you use them regularly or not.

The interface has three sections: Pitch, Amplitude, and Global.

The Pitch and Amplitude sections contain their respective random walk controls, and the Global section includes controls for the Amp Envelope, Quantization, and Segments per wave cycle.

Raphael Radna put together a very helpful overview video that explains and demonstrates the function of various controls. For example, how the Pitch Width slider increases/decreases the pitch range of the voice. Or how the Amplitude Gain slider functions as a loudness control.

You can choose the type of stochastic distribution applied from the Distribution box. The various types are random number generators that produce different probabilities influencing the random walk differently. In turn, they significantly impact the wave produced and the sound you create.

If you listen to the musical works of Iannis Xenakis, much of it is fairly wild, in sections at least. Even pieces that sound slightly more traditional have an unsettling quality, and Xenos captures that untamed character.

Xenos isn’t a synth you hear and instantly know where you want to use it; it won’t slip straight into your Huey Lewis and the News cover band (well, probably not). But everything has its place, and it already has me wanting to learn more about Iannis Xenakis and DSS.

If Xenos doesn’t provide enough craziness for the day, check out Sick Beat Betty!

Xenos is available in AU and VST3 formats for macOS and Windows.

Download: Xenos


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About Author

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James is a musician and writer from Scotland. An avid synth fan, sound designer, and coffee drinker. Sometimes found wandering around Europe with an MPC in hand.


  1. Crazy stuff !
    The weird cornemuse sound is sick !
    Need to try this thing !
    Moreover, great article James, very well written ;)

  2. Ronan Fed has released Essence+ a Subtractive Polyphonic Synth. His site is down, but can be had from KVR or Plugins4free

  3. Yes, the big “I” often get interpreted like an L. So a name like that new age composer Yanni (Yiannis Chryssomallis)

  4. Echoing the above note that his name is Iannis, starting with an i. One of my favorite composers! Looking forward to checking this out; thanks for posting about it

  5. Now I know what an angry swarm of NES consoles sound like, heh.
    The OSC/pitch part would be interesting as an oscillator module inside Surge XT.

  6. Bass Lightyear


    Anybody figured out how to work around Apple’s f*ck1ng restrictions in Ventura? All I get when instantiating it is…

    “Xenos.component” can’t be opened because Apple cannot check it for malicious software.
    This software needs to be updated. Contact the developer for more information.

    • Done (and having fun !!!)

      In System Settings > Privacy & Security, allow“Xenos.component” to be executed.

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