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Recent 2000-2001 1987-1999

Kyma International Sound Symposium (KISS2011) in Porto

Explorando o espaço do som December 2011 A nine-page cover story reporting on the concerts and presentations of KISS2011 in Porto, Portugal, including an extensive interview with Symbolic Sound co-founders, Kurt Hebel and Carla Scaletti

Symbolic Sound: サウンド・デザインのためのスーパーコンピューター:Kymaシステムが久しぶりのアップグレード!!!

Rock oN Company January 19, 2009 Report on the Pacarana seen in use by Edmund Eagan at Winter NAMM 2009 in the Haken Audio booth.

Sounding out Ben Burtt

INSIDE FILM September 9, 2008 Video plus Transcript: Zona Marie Tan talks with Ben Burtt about the sound design for Disney Pixar's Wall-e. When asked about the equipment he uses, Ben responds that he often uses musicians' tools in the service of sound design and that he likes to perform his sounds to picture:

...the principle synthesizer I use is called the Kyma, and it’s a very rigorous musicians' program but I found ways of using it to specifically do WALL-E and EVE’S voices...

Turning Guitar Heroes Into Composers

The New York Times July 10, 2008

This article on alternative music controllers, published in the online version of the New York Times, includes videos of Edmund Eagan and Carla Scaletti using the Continuum fingerboard to control Kyma.

Make your own kind of music with Kyma X

Make your own kind of music with Kyma X April 2007

Eric Caoili's article begins, "We're not going to pretend to understand the complexities of Kyma X's 'sound design environment,' but seeing the application demonstrated with the Nintendo Wii remote was enough to convince us that great things are afoot..."

The Holy Grail: Review of Kyma X

Future Music Magazine June 2004

For an in-depth Kyma review by composer/sound designer/author Scot Solida, check out pages 54-59 of Future Music magazine (the June edition). The verdict? This hardware-meets-software audio construction kit is, quite simply, the Holy Grail of sound design. Comprehensive and balanced, the review makes it clear that Kyma is not for everyone, but instead is intended for those intrepid few that feel that innate urge to get inside of sound itself. Speaking of his own experience, he writes: I find that Kyma has infiltrated my daily thought processes in an almost disturbing fashion. It's even become a bit of a pastime to dream up new processes and bizarre ideas with which to challenge the system. And to my continued astonishment, Kyma always seems to meet those challenges, no matter how outlandish.

Under (and over) the waves

Editors Guild Magazine May/June 2004

There seems to be a watery theme to the May/June issue of Sound Editors Guild Magazine which features a photo of MPSE Best Sound Editing award-winner Hamilton Sterling (Master and Commander) on page 30 and, starting on page 27, an in-depth interview with Finding Nemo sound designer Gary Rydstrom.

...Kyma allowed me to modulate and morph my own voice into other sounds,” Rydstrom explains More...

Sonic surgeon

Electronic Musician Magazine May 2004

Producer/composer/performer and "Sonic Surgeon" BT is interviewed by Mike Levine in the May 2004 issue of Electronic Musician, discussing the "almost surgical precision" of the cutting and time-correction work Transeau performed on the Emotional Technology album. The subject of Kyma also comes up in the interview:  "My main sound-design box is Kyma, the Capybara system ...Every instrument you build in Kyma is unique unto itself...It's the wormhole. It's the sort of door you open, and on the other side are infinite possibilities in sound."

Tale of Genji

Pro Audio Asia May 2004

Yasuski's Tale of Genji is featured in a story by Tim Goodyer in the May issue of Pro Audio Asia magazine. Tale of Genji is a work for solo dancer and solo musician, a multimedia performance employing Japanese traditional dance, electric guitar, kora, and Yasuski's audioHologram—a Kyma-controlled five-channel surround panning and processing system where the speakers literally surround both the audience and the performers. Yasuski took the musician's role accompanied by dancer Yuhoh, (pronounced 'UFO', a name she adopted after seeing a UFO near her house) supported by a troupe of traditional Jiutama dancers.  The Tale of Genji is based on the ancient Japanese tale Genji Monogatari—a novel written in the 11th Century by Murasaki Shikibu of the Heian royal court.

Master and Commander

Pro Sound News Europe April 2004

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World captured the award for Best Sound at the 2004 British Academy of Film and Television's Awards, held February 15th In London. Hamilton Sterling, one of two sound effects editors working on the production, used Symbolic Sound's Kyma to create the sound of wind blowing through the rigging of the HMS Surprise.

Subliminal Nemo

Audio Media November 2003

Academy-award-winning sound designer Gary Rydstrom describes how he used Kyma at Skywalker Sound to create underwater growls and subliminal messages in the Disney/Pixar film Finding Nemo: We could put real sounds, like a creek gurgling or ocean water, on one input, and on another I'd use a microphone and my voice. Then I could manipulate the sound of the water with my voice. I used it on the scary movements for the sharks, and just for fun, I would say the word 'Nemo' several times so there'd be this subliminal kind of 'Neeeeemmooo'.

The Life of Brian AKA BT

Sonic State November 2003

This interview finds Brian Transeau answering questions on Emotional Technology, Kyma, and his dog.

More on BT's Emotional Technology

Remix Magazine August 2003

Animals: It is just a very universal and really powerful lyric...And there’s a beat that ended up staying for the verses that I did in [Koblo] Stella9000. It’s the company that makes Vibra 9000. It’s these really creepy Autechre-y–sounding beats. And then I time-corrected them and put them in Kyma and did this weird spectral blurring treatment to them. They’re one of my favorite sound-designing things on the album. The beats on "Animals" during the verses are really cool.

Language Inventors on the Future of Music Software

Computer Music Journal Vol. 26, No. 4, Winter 2002

Read what the inventors of Kyma, SuperCollider, Max, cmusic, and Csound had to say in answer to the following questions:

In a special issue, Carla Scaletti answers the questions in the context of Kyma, Miller Puckette and David Zicarelli talk about MAX, James McCartney discusses SuperCollider, Max Mathews talks about Music N, and Barry Vercoe writes about Csound. All of the authors speculate on what the future holds. The issue also includes a panel discussion transcribed from the Dartmouth Symposium on the Future of Computer Music Software organized by Eric Lyon.

Remixing Hotshots

MIX magazine October 2002 -- Eric Hawkins

Mind-blowing breaks and twisted vocal breakdowns are BT's specialties; he depends on Symbolic Sound's Kyma sound-design software, various grain-synthesis programs and a unique editing style that he has developed called “stutter editing.” BT says that the break in his original composition “The Hip Hop Phenomenon” is “an example of stutter editing. Everyone has been trying to copy this technique, but it's really hard to explain unless I actually show it to you in person. On just a two-bar break, I've spent as many as 40 hours working on it.

“I use Kyma a lot,” BT continues. “It's such a powerful tool for sound design. It has these new grain-synthesis algorithms that are amazing. With normal grain synthesis, it's like you have a sound drawn on a piece of paper that you can cut up into a thousand pieces and scatter them around the room, and then make them re-congeal at will. The new Kyma algorithms allow you to take 10,000 different phasers and apply one to every single piece. Or, you could shift the formants of every single piece in different directions. It sounds like the sound is shredding apart; I've never heard anything like it before.” BT's grain-synthesis vocal effects can be heard in his production of N'Sync's “Pop” and his song “Dreaming.”

Attack of the Clones

MacAddict magazine August 2002

Matthew Wood, supervising sound editor on Attack of the Clones (, is featured in the In a QuickTime video interview included on the magazine CD, he describes how he got into using Macs and how computer games led him to a life of sound design. (Check out the equipment list for a mention of your favorite blue-eyed rodent!)

How to Build a Personal Studio on Any Budget

Electronic Musician magazine July 2002

Sound-design workstation. Having the right tool for the job means having lots of tools. But one component I'm buying is so versatile that it saves me from purchasing dozens of different programs. That's the Kyma System from Symbolic Sound, and no high-end desktop studio should be without it. Kyma combines a box full of Motorola digital signal processors that can be reconfigured to serve nearly any audio purpose imaginable. Do you need an FM synth, a granulating sample player, or an audio-to-MIDI converter? It's in there. Do you want to pull out every odd partial in a vocal sample and morph it with the even partials of a violin? No problem - that's a preset, in fact.

Episode II: Attack of the Clones

MIX magazine June 2002

From an interview with Ben Burtt:

Much of what I made was complicated composites on the Symbolic Sound Kyma and on the Sample Cell keyboard--techno-based rather than the old tabletop of sound effects devices.

BT reveals all in EQ

EQ magazine May 2002

Musician/engineer/producer/programmer/remixer/guitarist/vocalist Brian Transeau smiles enigmatically from the cover above a headline promising that he will "reveal all of his secrets" within. Interviewer Mr. Bonzai quizzes BT on Kyma, real-time spectral morphing, phase vocoding, granular synthesis:

What is the latest gadgetry that you are using to stay ahead of the copycats?

Kyma is so great because the timbral possibilities are absolutely unlimited. Only limited by your imagination and the ability to code. One of the most exciting things I've worked with...

And this little grey box with eight faders?

That's a control surface for Kyma. (ed., a CM Labs MotorMix) Those controllers are all assignable to anything in Kyma. With real-time spectral morphing, you can put the morph value on one of the faders and do it in real time.

How would you define 'real-time spectral morphing'?

That's something I did on 'Pop' in Kyma. I do spectral analysis of sound in Kyma and it analyzes the sound and it breaks it down into components--the fundamentals, the harmonics, all the spectral information of any sound. Then it allows you to manipulate all the spectral information of any sound. Real-time spectral morphing -- you take two sounds, put them through spectral analysis, and then once the computer --once Kyma -- knows how to build that sound using sine waves -- it's called resynthesis -- you can morph from one pattern of sine waves to another pattern of sine waves. Real-time spectral morphing is a process of shifting from one sound to another. It's the same as morphing in film, the same concept.

Elektronisches Sounddesign

Studio Post Pro April 2002

Check out this German pro-audio magazine for a detailed and informative overview of Kyma as used in film and advertising post production (starting on page 40). Mathis Nitschke (who used Kyma to create the licker voice for Resident Evil) includes an extensive discussion of features and algorithms in Kyma plus interviews with Michael Kranz (tonemeister for the Bavarian Sound studios), Nigel Holland (supervising sound editor for Resident Evil), Pete Johnston (technical manager of The Tape Gallery in London), François Blaignan (sound designer whose long list of credits includes Star Trek and Virtuosity), and Carla Scaletti (of Symbolic Sound) talking about blue LEDs.

Get the Led Out

Global Bass Online March 2002

Andy Long asks John Paul Jones about the triple-neck mandolin he used on his solo album The Thunderthief:

Andy Manson built that. It's all tuned in fifths, like a real mandolin. So the smallest neck is an ordinary mandolin: The middle neck is the same tuning, an octave lower, but the courses are in octaves rather than in unisons. Then there's a bass mandolin, which is an octave lower than that.

I use that through the Kyma system so that particular track is just one take. Kyma is my computer can basically program it to do whatever you want. For that one it's programmed to do loops and it's bringing in a loop at the end of each chorus by means of a footpedal.

JPJ on stage

Bass Player magazine March 2002

Page 14 includes a mention of Kyma and a photo of John Paul Jones' Capybara-320 on stage for one of shows during his tour with King Crimson tour.

BT: The Year's Hottest Electronica Artist, Producer, Film Composer

Keyboard magazine November 2001

In this cover story the interviewer reveals how BT composes and produces his music for such films as The Fast and the Furious, Driven, Go, and most recently Ben Stiller's Zoolander. BT has also produced tracks for 'N Sync and Britney Spears, and has remixed artists such as Madonna, Seal, and Tori Amos. He mentions Kyma several times, including in a sidebar, where he is quoted as saying ...Kyma's my secret, don't print that. [Laughs.]