Remagen, Germany — Having turned heads and opened ears with its innovative flagship, Quantum, a high-class hybrid synthesizer showcased to critical acclaim at the 2018 NAMM Show in Anaheim, California this year, synthesizer developer Waldorf Music announces a full production launch and general availability of Kyra — the world’s first fully FPGA (Field-Programmable Gate Array) powered synthesizer featuring 128 voices (regardless of settings and effects), each with 10 oscillators per voice, and 8-part multitimbrality (with each part having its own dedicated nine-module effects unit) — at the 2019 NAMM Show, January 24-27, in Anaheim, California.
As an extremely powerful VA (virtual analog) synthesizer like nothing else out there — thanks to leveraging the latest FPGA technology to significantly outperform legacy DSP (digital signal processing) powered competition, Kyra’s crowning glory comes courtesy of its state-of-the-art audio quality: 32x oversampled hardware with dual wavetables providing over 4,000 waveshapes.
With 10 oscillators, which can be doubled to 20 by using two voices, each offering a wide range of features—true stereo operation, hard sync, FM (frequency modulation), and ring modulation—Kyra starts shaping up as a serious sonic force. Adding to that, Kyra’s resonant filters are accurate oversampled emulations of classic analog ladder filters with 2- and 4-pole configurations (offering -12dB/oct and -24dB/oct of magnitude decrease, respectively). Two linked or independent filters can be used in Dual Voice mode, making for even more creative options. Then there are three envelope generators, three stereo LFOs (low-frequency oscillators) with 64 shapes and MIDI clock sync, an arpeggiator, full keyboard microtuning, and true polyphonic portamento, as well as a comprehensive 18-channel modulation matrix.
Kyra comes highly specified for effects, each of its eight parts featuring a three-band EQ with sweepable mid, dual tube limiters, formant filter, distortion, six-stage phaser, stereo digital delay, comb/flanger/chorus/doubler unit, and a programmable reverb. All effects units on all parts can be used simultaneously and run at Kyra’s native 96kHz sample rate.
For connectivity, Kyra delivers four assignable, balanced 32-bit/96kHz stereo outputs, a headphone output, low-latency DIN MIDI, a fully class-compliant USB2 implementation for MIDI, and a stereo 24-bit/96kHz audio stream for each of its eight parts. Production-wise, there is also a USB (Universal Serial Bus) audio return feature, so Kyra can render final DAW audio under ASIO. An ASIO driver is provided for Windows users while Mac support is out of the box.
Kyra was birthed out of the Valkyrie synthesizer that transfixed Waldorf Music CEO Joachim Flor at Musikmesse 2018 in Frankfurt. “It was more of a coincidence to have discovered Valkyrie during a tour of this year’s Frankfurt Music Fair, but I was immediately aware of the fact that this was probably one of the most exciting synthesizers of recent years. I got into conversation with its independent UK developer, Manuel Caballero, and I’m now looking forward to working with this talented, innovative individual, who is also a great guy! Under the direction of Waldorf Music, Valkyrie flies forth into a joint production project called Kyra, which will be shown and delivered at NAMM in 2019.”
The feeling was mutual for Manuel Caballero: “After nearly four years in the making, I went to Musikmesse with the intention of finding an established partner for Valkyrie. There's little doubt that Valkyrie's reveal at Musikmesse caused quite a stir in the synthesizer world and I had set the bar high for potential partners to bring the instrument to market. As a result of this, I'm pleased to announce a partnership with Waldorf Music. Few companies can match their track record of innovation and delivery spanning several decades. Working with Joachim Flor and his technical and design team to achieve this is an exciting and efficient partnership as we work together to launch the instrument at NAMM in 2019. Waldorf's proven heritage in product design, manufacturing, and distribution leaves me to do what I do best, which is applying the most advanced technologies to the art of music, and I look forward to a continued deep working relationship with the Waldorf team.”
Kyra is initially scheduled for full production launch at The 2019 NAMM Show, January 24-27, in Anaheim, California, competitively priced at €1,899.00 EUR as a desktop/rackmount model (with a keyboard version to follow later in 2019).
About Waldorf Music
The well-known Waldorf name has been synonymous with high-quality synthesizers for almost 30 years; indeed, its innovative position in the electronic musical instruments marketplace dates back to 1989 with the release of the wavetable synthesis-based Microwave. This extraordinary reincarnation of the legendary PPG Wave series — arguably amongst the most coveted high-end synthesizers of the early Eighties — was instrumental in bringing the dominance of Japanese and American synthesizers to an end. Waldorf continued this unique technology tradition with successive synthesizer releases ranging from the mighty Wave — perhaps the most impressive, expressive, and user-friendly sound synthesis tool ever built — to raising the bar for VA synthesizers with the introduction of the popular Q series from 1999 onwards.
The new millennium saw the trailblazing company making a timely move into the brave new world of music software with the release of its first VST Instrument, PPG Wave 2.V, a tradition it continues to this day with more recent software releases including its Nave advanced wavetable synthesizer. Subsequent successes in the high-quality hardware arena include the Blofeld synthesizer — forging sound and design into an unbeatable price/performance ratio in both desktop and keyboard versions — and Zarenbourg, a contemporary electric piano par excellence, as well as the cost-conscious Rocket (synthesizer), 2-Pole (analog filter), and Streichfett (string synthesizer) desktop modules.
Meanwhile, Waldorf broadened its appeal further still by introducing Nave to transform any iPad into an advanced wavetable synthesizer. 2018 (and beyond) sees a slew of new high-quality synthesizers set to take the Waldorf name to the hands-on musical masses, whether working with its recently-released Quantum high-class hybrid synthesizer flagship or other hardware (including a welcomed move into the popular Eurorack modular synth system format) or software (including iOS).