Review: AIR Music Xpand!2 Workstation VST

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Hey what’s good fam!

Back with a review that I think a lot of people will enjoy, at least judging from the types of questions I get all the time.

Today I’m checking out Xpand!2 from AIR Music

Let’s dig in!

So what is Xpand!2? 

Xpand2_WebLargeTo keep it simple, it’s a workstation style vst that used to be exclusive to Pro Tools.

When I say workstation, I’m talking about something like a Roland Fantom, Yamaha Motif, or a Korg Kronos.

That means it has all types of sounds and covers many different genres.

Also, similar to these types of hardware workstations, the sounds in this one load instantly, no waiting for samples to load and such.

This is for those that want to be able to go through many instruments and sounds quickly without waiting for them to load…which can kill inspiration.

Quick Specs

So how does it sound?

Reel to Reel Tape RecorderHaving 2500+ presets doesn’t matter much if they aren’t useful right? Well these sounds are definitely useful.

As with any workstation, it covers all types of sounds and all types of genres, of course there’s going to be some duds, but overall the sound quality is there.

I really dig the pads, ambiences, and strings, as well as other things like the synth bass, some of the brass, fx, drums, regular bass, etc.

Basically, I found many sounds I can use, and with so many different presets plus the ability to layer, modulate, and add fx, you can really get some use out of this thing for the long term.

Overall the sounds are dope, and the load instantly, which is a nice one-two punch if you ask me.

So what’s the bottom line?

I get asked very often, what type of plugin is there to replace a hardware workstation, or what type of plugin has all types of sounds in one library.

I without a doubt suggest Xpand!2 to anyone that is in search of such a plugin. In the days of mega sampled pianos and dedicated harmonica libraries, it’s cool to be able to have workstation that’s easy to use, loads quick, and sounds great.

4andhalfsubsI give Xpand!2 a rating of 4.5 out of 5 subs, I love it. It has so many sounds that you’re sure to find many to spark inspiration or add to your existing work. Plus it doesn’t kill inspiration by forcing you to wait forever the sounds to load. 

The one thing I’d change about this plugin (and AIR plugins in general) is the browser menu. The text is really tiny, and with so many patches and categories it can be a little fiddly to work with.

Outside of that, maybe the ability to have insert fx per layer would be useful, but outside of that I honestly just really dig how straight forward and usable it is.

Not to mention affordable!

Go on over and check it out: http://www.airmusictech.com/product/xpand2

Leave a comment below and let me know what you think

Review: AIR Music Xpand!2 Workstation VST
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18 Comments

  1. StJoe, You’re the best!!!!
    It seems like every time I get something, hardware or software, you come out with a review of it.
    One of us must be psycho. My shrink seems to think it’s me. (but, what does she know)
    Thanx, my brother…

    Reply
  2. I have been trying to purchase it since last week but their website seems to be down for purchase. It keeps showing Error Number: SYS_000001. I have e-mailed them. Waiting for their feedback.

    Reply
  3. Sup man. I was wondering where I can get the desk that you use. Also, how is your flatscreen monitor connected to the desk b/c it looks like its clipped on or something.

    Reply
  4. Greetings SaintJoe…
    After reading and watching your review of the Air Music Technology Xpand!2, I decided that it was quite an interesting product to add to my home recording system. So, I go to PlugIn Boutique where it’s being offered for $1.00USD. How can anyone pass that deal up, so I download the Zip and try to install it (along with the Ilok activation) and you know, it doesn’t friggin’ work! Now, I’ve never had a problem with loop, samples, VST or other plug-ins or downloaded software because it’s pretty easy to do. But dang it, no matter what I tried: uninstall, re-install a few times it wouldn’t work. I am totally baffled and I can only be glad it wasn’t a $400 program! Anyway, you are the master of the digital music world so what exactly could I have missed in the set-up? My system has a ton of power and resources so that’s not the problem; my DAW is PreSonus Studio One 2 Pro. Their support hasn’t been getting back to me, and so I wonder if you could spare a few moments on the correct install and set-up of Xpand!2. Probably there are others out there who have encountered the issue. Keep your site going. You provide an amazing library of information for all. Hope to have a definitive solution.

    Reply
      • Hey SaintJoe,
        Well, when I mean it doesn’t work I mean that folders are put into my DAW browser, but that’s all they are…empty folders! I’ve downloaded numerous vsts, plug-ins, software, etc and never had this problem. I set-everything up as I normally have done in the past, but I get no pre-sets or sounds in any type of files or library. I did write to Air Music Technology, but they really haven’t been very “transparent” with any advice. I even gave a shout to Plug-In Boutique to see what they’ll say.
        So, you have downloaded it and obviously all the correct steps were taken. I am at a total funk with this. It should be simple. Maybe the download from Air Music Technology is “better”?
        Thanks, SJ for your quick reply. When do you get a chance to squeeze everything in??? Your days must be 48-hours long!

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        • Hmmm, you shouldn’t be adding anything to your browser that I know of, you should just install the plugin to the same folder as the rest of your plugins and rescan that folder in your daw, it should show up in your daw after that.

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          • Yup. What I mean “browser” that’s what PreSonus calls the windows where all the instruments, vst, plug-ins, effects, sounds, files are kept. And I have put the plug-in into the correct folder but it’s giving me zilch for content. Refreshed, re-installed…the whole nine yards, same as all the other stuff I have there. I guess that Xpand!2 was not meant to be an addition to my DAW. I’ll give it one more shot and maybe it will decide to join it’s plug-in “friends”.
            Thanks, SaintJoe. You are the go-to guy for all reviews and information and everyone that has logged on to your site are better for your efforts.

            Reply
              • Yo SaintJoe…
                After numerous tries, downloading, installing, re-installing and all that I finally got Xpand!2 running on my DAW. I wrote back to Air Music Technology and expressed my opinion that their products should have extremely exact and “dumbed-down” instructions on how to install and run the software, vsts or plug-ins. I used to write SOPs and you really have to not only include all the correct sequence of steps, but make sure that even the smallest thing (like even “double-click” or “Enter” is noted. Anyway, that’s what I told them.
                Now…you are 100000000% right, it will be a welcome addition to any DAW. The sounds are great, easily and quickly loaded, and with the right additional effects, it can take a simple melody and really super-size the music. It was your review (one of many) that turned me on to Xpand!2 and as always you nailed it…”nuttin’ but net” as they say. Good call on that plug-in.
                Thanks…
                Peter

                Reply
  5. Can you use the xpand2 from pro-tools 10, or do you have to have this new bat plugin? I missed the dollar deadline and don’t want to pay for a plugin I already own in one DAW is why I ask.

    Reply

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