symbolic sound corporation — makers of kyma



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Recent 2000-2001 1987-1999

Kyma.5 Review

Electronic Musician magazine May 2001

When you have a product that EM editors already billed as “the most powerful sound-design workstation on the planet,” what do you do for an encore? Symbolic Sound, maker of the Kyma System, faced that challenge. With the recent release of Kyma 5.11, Symbolic Sound found a way to make the system more powerful, easier to use, and less expensive.

Sound by Design

Electronic Musician magazine March 2001 -- Nick Peck

Symbolic Sound's Kyma System is one of the most powerful sound-design workstations around. It's especially easy to load a 'default' source sound into the system and try dozens of different manipulations.

London Dream Studio

Studio Sound magazine February 2001

Start reading this issue from the last page, working forward. Lloyd Billing, managing director of The Tape Gallery, has a guest editorial on how he would "equip a dream multi-channel post production room". Along with his recommendations for digital console, monitors, microphones, and chocolates for the clients is a device he calls "the dream machine". For those who seriously want to play around with sound, Kyma does the lot. In fact, it's the only DSP engine that gives you really unheard sounds... It really is a dream tool and the only creative get-to-bits tool available in one box.

The article begins with a little background on Billing's impressive rise from tape-runner to tea-boy to the owner and managing director of a high-end 6 room post production facility in the heart of London's Soho district. For more on Lloyd's latest venture, check out

Metropolis Science Fiction Toolkits

Post magazine February 2001

Futurity uses Symbolic Sound Corporation's Kyma sound design workstation, a visual sound design language with the associated Capybara multi-DSP hardware accelerator. [Joseph] Lawrence says that the Kyma system 'can create just about any algorithm you can imagine.'

2001 Editors' Choice Awards

Electronic Musician magazine January 2001

We've watched Symbolic Sound's Kyma system develop into an incredibly powerful sound-design workstation over the years, but version 5.0 really puts it over the top. There are so many new and enhanced features that we have to wonder whether there's anything this system can't do! … No matter how you cut it, Kyma is still the most powerful sound-design workstation on the planet!

Recording and Post––Sound Bites

Pro Sound News Europe magazine December, 2000

Thierry De Vries used Kyma tools and processing for sound design for a Belgian short film, EX.1870-4, directed by Christophe Van Rompaey. The characters didn't communicate traditionally; dialogue happened at an "intra-brain" level. Voice clicks were morphed in Kyma with dolphin sounds to generate the brain-dialog sounds in this film. The flesh-like elevator floor pass-bys were treated with Kyma-doppler effects.

Review: Kyma 5.0

ATPM September 2000

ATPM Rating = EXCELLENT by David Ozab

Kyma 5.0 is an exceptional piece of software… With each version, the people at Symbolic Sound have made the impressive power of the Capybara easier to use. Kyma 5.0 is not an incremental improvement in this area… it is a genuine breakthrough… Kudos to Symbolic Sound. You have truly outdone yourselves.

Software Vocoders

Keyboard Magazine August 2000 by Mark Vail

Symbolic Sound's Kyma is an integrated software and hardware DSP system built around a Mac or PC for sound design and performance. Synthesis and processing systems are assembled onscreen. Vocoding is but one of many processes available. While a basic Kyma system (including a Capybara•320 with four DSPs, 96 MB of RAM, four digital and analog 24-bit 100kHz audio I/Os, and the choice of PCI or PCMCIA interface to the host Mac or PC) can do a 75-band vocoder in real time, a fully loaded system can do 675 bands. Vocoder types range from narrow-bandwidth tunable vocoders for creating ambient backgrounds to highly intelligible for generating speech effects.

The Electronic Century Part IV: The Seeds of the Future

Electronic Musician Magazine May 2000 Feature Article by Joel Chadabe

Among the pioneers in DSP systems for composers is Carla Scaletti. In 1986, she began creating a software synthesis system that she called Kyma (Greek for "wave"). By the following year she had extended Kyma to include the Platypus, a hardware audio accelerator built by Kurt Hebel and Lippold Haken that sat alongside a Macintosh, received instructions, and generated sound. Scaletti's 1987 composition "sunSurgeAutomata" demonstrates the sound-processing and algorithmic abilities of the Platypus. By 1990, Scaletti and Hebel had upgraded the hardware to a system called the Capybara. In 1991, they formed Symbolic Sound Corporation and shipped the first complete Kyma system, available initially for the Mac and shortly thereafter for the PC. With its evolving hardware and continual upgrades, Kyma remains one of the most powerful sound-design systems available today.

Squashing, Stretching and Bending in Deep Space

Post Magazine's Sound Library Directory May 2000

A new collection from Futurity focuses lovingly on the sci-fi genre. "Metropolis Science Fiction Toolkit"––99 sounds from deep space and beyond––is a good case in point. It sounds like a cross between "Forbidden Planet" and "Alien5." Futurity partner Joe Lawrence has a knack for imagining what passing space ships and the ambience of the dreadful caverns of heavy metal should sound like, and he and partner Jim Verderame serve it up on this new disk meant for the feature films and games markets. Lawrence's favorite box for generating these unearthly sounds is the Capybara•320, along with Kyma software, both from Symbolic Sound.

Spezialeffekte – "Wir sehen nur, was wir hören."

Der Spiegel May 1, 2000. --Manfred Dworschak

This article describes the success that Francois Blaignan and Pete Johnston have had in using Kyma to do audio morphing in film and advertising.

New Gear@NAMM 2000

Pro Sound News Europe magazine April, 2000

Integration with Sentech Motor Mix, which features motorized faders, drew a few gawkers to the tiny outpost behind a big pillar where Kyma (reviewed July '98) was being shown. Also new in Kyma 5.0: a high-level user interface that includes a library of useful factory settings, a timeline for performance automation, and lots of new effects and synthesis algorithms.

Playing to the Gallery: London Post Facility uses Symbolic Sound System to Produce Unusual and Sought-after Effects

Pro Sound News Europe magazine January, 2000

UK: The Tape Gallery, one of London's leading audio post-production facilities, is pushing the boundaries of radio advertising thanks to unusual sound design techniques. Audio morphing––in which one sound evolves into another, rather than simply cross-fading––has been used with success on campaigns for both London Transport and Walker's crisps. "So far we've only used it on radio," says Pete Johnston, technical manager of the Tape Gallery, "but we're desperately waiting to do our first project with a visual morph as well."

In one of the recent LT radio spots to feature the technique, a female conductor's cry of "hold tight please!" is drawn out at its end, and morphs smoothly into a dramatic synth chord. In another ad, a woman's voice mutates swiftly into a cat's cry. the effects are quite dramatic, and not at all like crossfades. In part because the sound is so startling, it is used only sparingly. "It's not an everyday tool," says Johnston, "and it's the more adventurous agencies that tend to like it."