Anyone else use Kyma?

I’ve had my Paca for more than a week now, and luckily i’ve had the time to really delve into it. It’s amazing, life-changing, and I’ve seen the face of god. I’ve had started to feel confident with some more basic capytalk, as well as designing some (arguably amazing) drum synths. yeah it can make amazing sonic textures and the morphing sounds practically organic, but aside from those tricks, it really does sound like hardware to me—and even subtractive synths sound freaking awesome!

Anyone else use Kyma currently, or have much experience with it? I’m running Kyma Connect, with my 128 and markeats sequencer at the moment :slight_smile:

would love to have a Kyma thread here if anyone wants to discuss patches or tips! after the holiday i think i’m gonna look around for any info on curtis filters.


…and i just saw this!

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I’m not using it. . .but goshalmighty am I curious about it. Would you mind sharing some of your creations?

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There are a few folks here on lines with Kyma systems (such as myself).

I’m willing to admit I haven’t invested as much time in it as I should. Recently I’ve started to experiment with incorporating it into a eurorack system via expert sleepers modules…

I’d welcome the opportunity to share patches, ideas, and tricks.

…oh and the combination of Kyma + Continuum is quite nice (I have an older 1/2 size w/o sound engine that I use with Kyma)

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I’d be happy to upload some recordings, but most of the stuff would be based on ‘preset’ effects and stuff, just because i haven’t really made anything noteworthy yet. I got excited by all the morphing capabilities, but when it came down to designing sounds (patches are called Sounds in kyma) I decided to start with simple subtractive stuff, to give myself the chance to really understand what’s going on!

yeah that continuum is definitely impressive, though I’m wondering if you could get close enough with a roli seaboard? I’m on the fence about MPE though. Even though it’s based on midi protocol, it’s still different enough that it has to catch on. Seems like MPE is currently more of a competitor to midi and osc — so i’m not really on the hype train for it just yet!

anyone know if the filters in kyma are “zero delay”? Or is everything in kyma zero delay, besides delay? It’s such a paradigm shift from traditional digital audio. I find that I’m really trained by other software synths/effects and their limitations. I’m not used to the simplicity and power that comes from sample-accurate dsp. I’ve always assumed things like processing samples in a vector, are just the way things are. lol do I even have to worry about unnecessary things like zero delay filters in kyma?

things are way easier when you don’t have to worry about sample vectors i guess, but i’m still getting used to it, and making things overly complicated in the interim!

I believe many of the Sounds (in the Kyma sense) including filters have some processing delay, as to how many samples in each case I can’t say and I’ve never found the need to figure it out. You’d probably have to email SSC directly to find out.

In the preferences you may have noticed the setting that allows you to control the maximum inout-to-output delay. My understanding is that if one creates a Sound which cannot be computed within that window an out of realtime error will occur when the sound is compiled. Sounds that can’t be computed in realtime may be workable by increasing the max processing delay or lowering sample rate. There are also multiple ways of achieving things and each may have different amounts of computational load. If you find yourself in that territory the SSC forums are probably your best bet for help.

While Kyma does offer one the ability to wire things together with a surprising amount of freedom the discreet nature of DSP does make itself known at times. For example doing feedback processing is possible but it isn’t as simple as connecting an output back to an input, one places a “MemoryWriter” to capture the signal to feedback then one of the several other Prototypes capable of reading from that buffer (there are several examples in the standard library if memory serves).


I haven’t had the opportunity to try a ROLI seaboard yet but @jasonw22 has. I’ve spent a substantial amount of time with the Continuum and Madrona Soundplane and both are very impressive but particularly so when used in conjunction with a sound source that can take advantage of the continuous pressure output (something I believe the ROLI seaboard may not support as well; not sure about the Linnstrument).

The Continuum has had its own multi-channel MIDI encoding for many years. My understanding is that MPE is heavily inspired by it (if not a direct derivative). The value I see in MPE is establishing a common encoding which controllers can use to talk to sounds sources and get predictable results. I’ve long loved the open ended nature of OSC but have equally been frustrated by the tendency for OSC devices to expose their own parameter space and leave it up to some intermediary to map from one set of messages to another (via Max or OSCulator or …)

Kyma (independent of the Continuum) had to solve these sorts of controller to sound parameter mapping problems early on and the “Global Map” stuff is worth a look. Basically it is one file full of Capytalk expressions which map all the various inputs (MIDI, OSC, Wacom Pen, Continuum, MPE, etc) into the common set of “hot values” (like !Pitch) used to control Sounds. It works quite well in practice and it makes is easy to define additional hot values and relate them to controllers you have.

All MPE instruments do great with channel pressure. The Roli Seaboard (from personal experience) and the Linnstrument (by all accounts) are just as capable as other MPE instruments in this regard. My personal issues with the Roli Seaboard Grand had to do with reliability (I had to send it back to London twice for stuck note problems that were apparently having to do with the hardware). The Rise is manufactured in a more automated way and therefore may not suffer from such reliability issues.

MPE is definitely a descendant of both the Haken Continuum and Roland’s guitar MIDI implementations. The idea of using multiple channels for polyphonic pitch bends and multi-dimensional expression in general was an idea that was considered (and occasionally used) from the earliest days of MIDI by Dave Smith and his collaborators.
I wouldn’t think of MPE as competing with MIDI. It is an extension to MIDI (and not so much in new types of messages, as it is about a more standard way of using existing MIDI messages for MPE types of expression).

The beauty of MPE is that it makes it relatively simple for any sound source to support an expressive instrument. It removes the requirement for the Kymas and Hakens of the world to go to great lengths to come up with appropriate mapping for each sound.

I used kyma for a bit and found it to be cumbersome and clunky. The ancient UI and the ludicrously expensive dongle / external processor made me ultimately pass on it.

kyma and capytalk are starting to actually come together for me! I thought i’d post up a few recordings of some early attempts at basic subtractive synth patches. Both from the same “Sound” in kyma, oscillators, filter, waveshaper, and delay. pretty basic stuff, and it took me hours to figure some of this shit out initially, but then when i put this together from scratch tonight it was maybe an hour, then i just hit record in ableton.


Did you upload any of your sound discoveries to the Kyma community library, by any chance? I’m digging into mine lately and would love to see what you ended up with.

Hi Kyma user here…

Roland Kuit Uploads regularly his research using Kyma.

We also have a Kyma support group/ patching circle, called Kyma Kata. If you want to join we meet online on a Tuesday 20:00 GMT. Also there is a Slack channel associated with it and there are some conferences coming up in the UK and Busan, South Korea. All the info is on the included link.

I love the liiines forum it seems to parallel for me the Kyma community that I meet at the conference intelligent, diverse and interesting.


hey! I’ve incorporated a lot of kyma processing into my work, but after the initial “need” to use kyma only for the tools that set it apart from other environments, I’ve come to terms with the UX enough that I feel comfortable just doing “normal” stuff in it.

There’s this point where you start to just give in and think like Carla, and it all makes sense. I’ve found that my eurorack experiences over the last two years have been the perfect compliment to a deeper understanding of Kyma—and vice versa. I’d go so far as to say it’s the only visual dsp programming environment that I’ve felt i can intuitively just patch stuff together in a way similar to a modular and be pleasantly surprised.

I mean, yeah if I want to create hyperreal granular clouds I’d rather do it in kyma, where it’s almost effortless to create aggregate resynth patches that split sound apart into >256 individual grains. I’ve not uploaded anything to soundcloud that’s Kyma-specific as of late, and typically I’m using it in the context of sound design for work—so that doesn’t go up on my soundcloud. I’ve attended one kyma kata, and it was pretty badass—we essentially created a “basic” wavetable-based sequencer (very much similar to rossum’s control forge) in a few short hours.

I really would love to get to more katas—they’re very illuminating and useful!

in the meantime, i’ve been so caught up in the modular realm that I’ve just now updated Kyma and am trying to figure out what a damn Kyma Notebook is! assuming it’s some sort of place for capy/smalltalk snippets or text in general or something? browsing the totality that is Kyma’s documentation is a fragmented, but often entertaining, adventure—and i’ve not found any info in the latest kyma patch notes.


Anyone guess what symbolic sounds are teasing here?


Interesting that the page name is “which is best”, and usually is the page that helps you choose and buy the right product. The Order page also redirects here. Looks like they’re up to something or else they unknowingly broke their own site.

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Well, they have to do something, the DSP family they built their business (Freescale/NXP 56k) on will not see any new updates. They can get the existing ones for a long time and keep making Pacas, but there’s no easy path forward for them.

At some point I’d like one of these to play with…

A product to be named PACAMARA?

OMFG!! I’m down for the preorder and I don’t know what it is but I do know that I want it! Whatever it is I hope it can join a Paca+Pacarana cluster

Not a Kyma user, but wanted to mention Carla Scaletti’s writing is really worth checking out. The rare computer music environment creator who is a solid and engaging humanist writer grounded in history, imo.

There’s an interview with her in “Pink Noises” (a book worth checking out in its own right), and an essay on ‘kronos’ and ‘kairos’ which I love but can’t quite track down at the moment.



I’ve been using Kyma for well over a decade and find it quick and easy to use, although it takes a while to get used to because of its unique ways. It has a much shallower learning curve than Max. I some times open it without a plan, something I’d never do in Max.

When I bought it I felt that it sounded very good and I still do but other software has caught up now I think. It’s definitely possible to conjure something useful and nice sounding in a hurry and I suspect that this is a reason it’s popular with sound designers for film and the such, where quick deadlines are usual.

I must say that I like the parameter fields where you can input anything from a simple constant to a mini program scripted in Capytalk. It’s a nice way to create algorithmic movement to patches for any parameter that accepts live control data. For example. Or a step sequencer, or, or… There are so many possibilities.

I have run into few bugs on my journey too. It feels like a stable and mature (very mature) program. Support has always been prompt and friendly too.

On the more negative side I feel that as a user you are forced into a specific way of working - more than is the case with other open environments I have used. It’s also quirky and suffers from an archaic interface which can be downright infuriating at times. It’s also cumbersome to start up and has loud fans, as you would expect from a computer.

It’ll be interesting to see what they come up with next. I’ll certainly not preorder anything and it will be harder to convince me to hop onboard with anything new they come out with but lets see.