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Why did you sell your Kyma?
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Software  
Author Why did you sell your Kyma?
kesserich
Can any former Kyma users discuss why they choose to sell their rigs? I ask because I remember a time in the 90's when a bunch of IDM artists bought kymas (uwe schmidt, autechre, aphex twin, Datach’i ) but these days it seems like most of them either sold it or just put it in the closet.

I think a recall an interview with autechre at some point where they were like 'Yeah, kyma is pretty cool but we only have 1 so we mostly just stick to our nord modulars'

Based on the examples I have heard, Kyma still seems well beyond VST/reaktor/msp/eurorack for DSP sourcery, so what's the catch?
Roland Kuit
I was searching and found this thread:
https://www.muffwiggler.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=5983&highlight=
bphenix
There is no 'catch' per se.

In the early days general purpose computers didn't have the horsepower to do as much as they do today. So dedicated DSP definitely attractive, see Nord Modular (which isn't sold or supported anymore), Kyma, and vast numbers of outboard gear.

There are more Kyma rigs out there than ever and I am pretty certain the new hardware outsold the old rigs. However, their market has always been wider and more diverse so I wouldn't take a few higher profile examples as much of an indication of anything. Ae, in particular, has tended to from gear to gear.

Nowadays, there are more options and it really comes down to your personal workflow and preferences. I own and use Reaktor and Max and still don't like working in them. Even with all the improvements they have made the past decade plus. I know others who just didn't sync with design chooses SSC made with Kyma so it wasn't the right tool and workflow for them.

The biggest thing people may not like is that it is a dedicated DSP hardware so you can't just take your laptop and go. Routing audio around is easy (at least for my setup) but you can't just plop it in as plugin.

Kyma also requires more of a learning / focus investment compared using plugins or Reaktor (which 99% people stick to the prebuilt blocks or user library). In general, it is not quite as out of the box instant sounds as most things out there. If someone's process is to write quickly (which is perfectly valid) I think kyma may not the best choice.

Some of the "magic" is that many kyma users work to really understand the system and the underlying concepts they are working. Some of it is the support and community. Roland Kuit is a perfect example of all of those. The software and algorithms are all top notch but those are only a piece of the equation. And while I have loved working in Kyma for the past 20 years and expect do so for another 20 years, what matters is finding what best inspires you and unlocks your ideas.
j_dowe
semi-related to the topic... I'm looking for insight on the used Kyma market.

are there any particular spots that are best to find used Kymas?

what are typical used prices (e.g. 70% of retail)?
bphenix
I don’t see them go up very often. Here, ebay, Reverb.

I’d pass on the older Capybara systems and get a paca or pacarana.

I think they go for about 80-85%.
kesserich
bphenix wrote:
There is no 'catch' per se.

In the early days general purpose computers didn't have the horsepower to do as much as they do today. So dedicated DSP definitely attractive, see Nord Modular (which isn't sold or supported anymore), Kyma, and vast numbers of outboard gear.

The biggest thing people may not like is that it is a dedicated DSP hardware so you can't just take your laptop and go. Routing audio around is easy (at least for my setup) but you can't just plop it in as plugin.


Thanks for your response. This really seems to sum it up. Design decision were made 20+ years ago that made sense at the time but are arguably an inconvenience by modern standards. At this point, I guess at this point, it just comes down to are these nuisances worth it to you in exchange for a higher level of DSP fuckery than you will be able to coax out of any other platform.
ersatzplanet
I had a medium 320 system back in the day, and traded mine for a Nord Modular and a Nord Modular G2. For me is was the compile times that bugged me. I had the FireWire version and it was not slow, but it was slightly annoying in the workflow. The nords were basically instant, you added modules to the patch and they just worked immediately. I know the power of the KYMA was much more than the Nords, but at the time, I was more musically inclined verses sound designer focused and the Nords were much better and faster at that. MUCH more of a performance machine too.
kesserich
ersatzplanet wrote:
I had a medium 320 system back in the day, and traded mine for a Nord Modular and a Nord Modular G2. For me is was the compile times that bugged me.


Oh, interesting. Can anyone comment on the compile for medium sized patch with the pacarana system?
ersatzplanet
kesserich wrote:
ersatzplanet wrote:
I had a medium 320 system back in the day, and traded mine for a Nord Modular and a Nord Modular G2. For me is was the compile times that bugged me.


Oh, interesting. Can anyone comment on the compile for medium sized patch with the pacarana system?


The times were only seconds with the 320, I would imaging it is faster with the latest units, it was just slightly annoying. It only happened when adding modules or re-patching them and not while tweaking settings of course. I still don't know why on the Nords it is basically non-existent, there is more power in the KYMA system, they should at least be as fast as the Nord. You can copy/paste a dozen modules into a Nord patch and it will run the moment you do it. Even though the "modules" in the KYMA are more powerful, so is the processor too.
kesserich
Can anyone comment on kyma's sampler capabilities? Obviously, i'm not talking about sample libraries of acoustic instruments. More like the ability to load a sound file, play it back at different pitches, time stretch, scrubbing, looping, granulization etc. Kinda like what you would expect from an er-301.
gosh
It will handle all of those elements with significant ease and aplomb.

I'm a year into Kyma and love it. It's truly inspirarational and sounds incredible. I do have moments where the GUI and no hardware requirements of Max make me question the validity of Kyma in 2019. But then I sit down with it. It's so easy to modify and patch and explore sound. Far easier than Max in my opinion but with the ability to go so deep.

Once you get your head around Capytalk a bit the world is your oyster...and that's before you even get started with Smalltalk!
j_dowe
gosh wrote:
It will handle all of those elements with significant ease and aplomb.

I'm a year into Kyma and love it. It's truly inspirarational and sounds incredible. I do have moments where the GUI and no hardware requirements of Max make me question the validity of Kyma in 2019. But then I sit down with it. It's so easy to modify and patch and explore sound. Far easier than Max in my opinion but with the ability to go so deep.

Once you get your head around Capytalk a bit the world is your oyster...and that's before you even get started with Smalltalk!


It does make you wonder if there will ever be a day when Kyma could be hardware free? How much CPU power does their hardware actually have? Has it even been upgraded in recent years? I honestly don't know... are all Pacaranas regardless of year essentially the same?

I know it might mess with their business model, but there's other high-end software that costs thousands. I'd love it if I could get the software for a little less and use a high-end computer.
bphenix
j_dowe wrote:


It does make you wonder if there will ever be a day when Kyma could be hardware free? How much CPU power does their hardware actually have? Has it even been upgraded in recent years? I honestly don't know... are all Pacaranas regardless of year essentially the same?

I know it might mess with their business model, but there's other high-end software that costs thousands. I'd love it if I could get the software for a little less and use a high-end computer.


People have asked that question for 20 years smile

Dedicated DSP still has a lot of advantages over general purpose intel chips. I also like knowing that my complex patches will run regardless of the load on the computer.

Dennis wrote a blog post in 2011 that touches on several of the topics in this thread but also the hardware aspect of:
http://www.delora.com/hdocs/?page_id=501&title=is-kyma-relevant
kesserich
Can i ask what the modulation story is like for kyma? I assume that basically every parameter can be modulated via midi?

Can it handle any kind of audio rate modulation like CV? I will often fire CV into Max and use it to control patches(converting or sampling the CV if necessary).
gosh
Yes, basically every parameter can be modulated via midi. Or osc. Or Capytalk, other controllers (e.g. wacom tablet, continuum). Or all at once using formulas etc.

All important parameters (oscillators, envelopes etc.) run at sample rate so audio rate/cv modulation works. Standard Capytalk runs at 1khz but can be upsampled using Capytalk to sound prototype where needed.
rowsbywoof
bphenix wrote:
j_dowe wrote:


It does make you wonder if there will ever be a day when Kyma could be hardware free? How much CPU power does their hardware actually have? Has it even been upgraded in recent years? I honestly don't know... are all Pacaranas regardless of year essentially the same?

I know it might mess with their business model, but there's other high-end software that costs thousands. I'd love it if I could get the software for a little less and use a high-end computer.


People have asked that question for 20 years smile

Dedicated DSP still has a lot of advantages over general purpose intel chips. I also like knowing that my complex patches will run regardless of the load on the computer.

Dennis wrote a blog post in 2011 that touches on several of the topics in this thread but also the hardware aspect of:
http://www.delora.com/hdocs/?page_id=501&title=is-kyma-relevant


Oddly enough, reading that article really put me off the Kyma system more than anything else. I've been fascinated with getting a Paca for several years, but I think I realize the investment in money and time will not pay off in any meaningful results for me, at least no more so than throwing myself into Max or Reaktor. I do like the idea of a portable, always know it's going to do what you want even in the future, software system, but eh. With the rate things are going, I suffer from option-paralysis more than being rewarded with limitless power. I think I've finally realized Kyma isn't for me.
bphenix
rowsbywoof wrote:


Oddly enough, reading that article really put me off the Kyma system more than anything else. I've been fascinated with getting a Paca for several years, but I think I realize the investment in money and time will not pay off in any meaningful results for me, at least no more so than throwing myself into Max or Reaktor. I do like the idea of a portable, always know it's going to do what you want even in the future, software system, but eh. With the rate things are going, I suffer from option-paralysis more than being rewarded with limitless power. I think I've finally realized Kyma isn't for me.


That is perfectly ok. I'd hate for someone to buy it if it wasn't for them. As much as I love Kyma, it isn't for everyone. I loath working in Reaktor, but thousands of others love it. Horses for courses and all that.
gosh
I'm generally happy to show my Kyma system to anyone interested. I'm in Reading, UK. I appreciate deciding on it can be difficult with them being pretty rare!
Definitely not for everyone.
kesserich
Stupid question but i can't find anything on the website...is there a list somewhere of the DSP 'primitives' that kyma offers?
gosh
I don't believe there is. The Capybara was Motorola based but I don't believe info is posted about the Pacarana.
bphenix
kesserich wrote:
Stupid question but i can't find anything on the website...is there a list somewhere of the DSP 'primitives' that kyma offers?


Do you mean hundreds of 'sounds' / prototypes, from basic math to filters, oscillators, FFT processors, and capytalk syntax with all that that entails?

There used to be a prototype PDF but it is very out of date and it is now part of the app itself so I haven't seen a current one. Capytalk used to be loosely documented years ago to having a great reference library in app as well.
gosh
Ah. That seems a much more sensible answer. I misunderstood the question.
These are out of date but may give a test. http://pedrotrotz.com/kyma-mindmaps/

There are hundreds of DSP prototypes however covering pretty much everything you can think of in synthesis/sound. You can write your own if your clever enough or encapsulate things together to make new prototypes for easier reuse.

NeverEngineLabs make some nice extra prototypes you can buy too.
kesserich
gosh wrote:
Ah. That seems a much more sensible answer. I misunderstood the question.
These are out of date but may give a test. http://pedrotrotz.com/kyma-mindmaps/

There are hundreds of DSP prototypes however covering pretty much everything you can think of in synthesis/sound. You can write your own if your clever enough or encapsulate things together to make new prototypes for easier reuse.

NeverEngineLabs make some nice extra prototypes you can buy too.


Gotcha, that's insane. That pretty much eclipses of all of the synthesis methods i have ever heard of.


How do people handle synchronization? Just regular old MIDI clock?
gosh
You can sync via midi clock though surprisingly this is actually the least simple thing to do in Kyma. It's not like you just turn on midi clock and everything syncs but it can be done. I use an analogue clock in which gives me far tighter sync than midi (kyma calculates at sample rate so has no problem tracking this).
At first the lack of easy sync wound me up...it was like Kyma making it deliberately hard. But then I realised it forces you to jist think about time a little differently. Sure, you can make it sync when you want but you can also treat time as some thing to be played with!
kesserich
gosh wrote:
You can sync via midi clock though surprisingly this is actually the least simple thing to do in Kyma. It's not like you just turn on midi clock and everything syncs but it can be done. I use an analogue clock in which gives me far tighter sync than midi (kyma calculates at sample rate so has no problem tracking this).
At first the lack of easy sync wound me up...it was like Kyma making it deliberately hard. But then I realised it forces you to jist think about time a little differently. Sure, you can make it sync when you want but you can also treat time as some thing to be played with!


Oh, that's very interesting. This is the kind of design decision that skews a tool away from composers and more towards sound designers. Just creating that friction is bound to alienate some.

Ok, so you are firing clock trigs into kyma and use that to drive any tempo sync stuff? Just like eurorack. May I ask 1)how this works with kyma's timeline? 2)can you play any fun games with the clock within kyma ie. clock dividers/multis etc.
bphenix
It depends on your workflow.

The timeline can be tied to midi clock easily.

Standalone sounds can, but the work is greater. It is also less needed because standalone sounds act more like instruments so feeding in midi or other triggers makes more contextual sense.

It is easy enough to a master sync to tempo and then divide those in various ratios.

You can also do sync to external triggers like a pulse clock in many different ways and processs those triggers to create whatever rhythms you’d like.
Misk
Kyma really pushed me to think differently about well.. everything i thought I knew about sound design and composition. Theres a point in Kyma where (i found) your workflow begins to have a certain "fluidity" to it.

I got my Paca back in 2017, before I got into eurorack. I feel like Kyma is the closest software analog (pardon the pun) to a hardware modular workflow. In kyma, everything is ultimately numbers, just like in a modular, everything is voltage. once you start thinking that way, you realize you can do weird creative stuff just like you'd experiment in a modular environment. throw a low pass filter on a midi CC stream— add a control in the VCS to adjust the resonance of that filter until it's self-oscillating and see what happens. It's likely to be shit, but you can go there, or anywhere else if you want.

also it's the only environment (euro samplers don't come close) where manipulating pre-recorded audio/samples have a tactile elasticity to them that feels organic—like you're just throwing down a fresh lump of clay on a potters wheel and getting your hands dirty. I love that about Kyma!
gosh
^ what he said...
hippasus
Does anybody knows if there is a plan for hardware update with the kyma. It has been 10 years now from the last. I feel it may be prudent to hold any investment when the life cycle is getting so long.
gosh
I suspect one is soon but who knows. I've asked directly but (perhaps understandably) received silence on this. They do have upgrade routes if you buy new from them but not for people like me who bought second hand.
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