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Integrating Kyma into a Music/Sound Design Studio

What hardware and software do you use with Kyma? How have you set up your studio (audio, MIDI, OSC routing schemes)? Any tips on software configuration?

Kyma with Logic & The AU IO Plug

I use my Pacarana using the wonderful Pacaconnect software to handle the midi over OSC/Ethernet. This saves so much hassle. I have two solutions for the audio side of things for you.

One is obviously to use either a record input monitored audio track or Aux Input channel to constantly monitor your Kyma Output, however, there may be occasions when you would like to place your Kyma process at a specific point in the plug chain. I would route the whole track though new outputs to process.

Choose your insert slot of choice, select the Utility > I/O Plug. Next, Configure your Input and output connections (I use SPDIF for this purpose, but generally monitor the Analogue on the desk.) All you do now, is press the ping button. This does a round trip ping and calculates the delay and compensates automatically. I have found this to work really well. -- CharlieNorton - 16 Dec 2010

Kyma with Logic

A Primer

Logic Pro and Kyma X together is the quintessential sound design platform. Besides simply having Logic send notes, it can sequence and control Kyma hot parameters, change sound presets or receive MIDI from Kyma envelopes. You can also use it as external effect, or use the Capybara as an admirable track summing mixer. You can either tie your Audio and MIDI interfaces to your Capybara or use the AVC core audio driver.

Let's say you're just getting started and had the following equipment in your studio:

Since your Keystation is also a USB MIDI interface, cable its MIDI out to your Capy's MIDI in. Connect the Capy's XLR analog outputs 1 & 2, (not the AES/EBU digitals!) to the Mobile Pre's TRS line inputs. The Mobile Pre's outputs should be going to your loudspeakers.

In Logic, be sure the Mobile Pre is selected in the Core Audio Driver selection. Now open an environment window, create a new empty layer and rename it Kyma. In this layer, create a new Multi Instrument and rename that to Capybara. Just enable channel 1 on the multi for now. In the parameter pane, select Port and change it to your Keystation MIDI output. Make sure the Icon box is checked. Close the environment window.


In the Arrange window, create a new "Instrument" track. In the channel strips I/O slot, select Stereo-> Logic-> Exernal Instrument. The plug-in window will open, select MIDI Destination-> Capybara-> 1, it'll say (grand piano) but you can fix that later. In the Input field, select the audio ports on your Mobile Pre that come from your Capy, That's probably 1&2. Close the Plug-in window.


In Kyma, browse for a sound that is keyboard controlled, (kbd) in the file description. Load it up. Back in Logic, select your instrument track. When you play your keyboard you should see meter deflection on your channelstrip and hear something too! On the channelstrips Insert slots you can now use Logic or AU plug-ins to effect the sound from Kyma.

So here's the flow:

Save this Logic song using Save as Template and name it "Kyma as Instrument" or something.

Now you can sequence Kyma sounds in Logic just as you would any of the internal virtual instruments.

Taking this a step further, Logic has excellent facilities for automating MIDI messages that can control your Kyma sounds. While it's true that you can do this with a Kyma timeline, it's much more convenient and organized if you're sequencing notes already in Logic and you don't have to sync Kyma's timeline to Logic.

In Kyma's sound editor, any parameter that can be expressed as a hot value, eg !FrqJitter, !Gain, !KeyPitch, etc, can be assigned a control in the VCS editor. There you can assign MIDI continuous controllers to those parameters. Back in Logic, just draw those cc's in as automation in the Matrix or Hypereditor or Hyperdraw, in your sequence. To control Kyma parameters using Logic continuous controllers, create a region on your MIDI track, that's already pointed to your Capy multi-instrument, either with the pencil tool or by recording notes. Double-click the region and the Matrix editor will open, (top left of screenshot). In the editors View menu, select Hyperdraw-> Other, which will open a handy selector for which cc # you want to view here along with your notes. Grab the pencil tool and have at it.

Alternatively, in the Arrange window select your region and from the window menu choose Hyperedit. From the editors Hyper menu you can create new event definitions for all the cc's you need and view them all at once, naming them for their parameter too, (bottom of screenshot).

So, Matrix for notes and one controller at a time, or Hyperedit to view multiple controllers at once. Whatever suits you.


One thing though, if you want to do high speed or high resolution automation of parameters, you should do it in a Kyma timeline. MIDI doesn't cut it for the really super detailed stuff. But for anything short of that, this is really convenient particularly if the sound you're working on is for music.

There's step one. Good luck!

-- RandallThomas - 15 Aug 2007

PS, Hit the Kyma Tweaky site and read up on the beta AVC driver and firmware set for the Flame firewire interface. This will help out if you have I/O limitations and offer you more flexibility. But don't try it until you're at least comfortable with the above setup.

Also a big help, you can find the really cool Kyma keyboard command section here: http://www.symbolicsound.com/cgi-bin/bin/view/Learn/KeyboardCommands

P.P.S. Personally, I prefer PCI or PCIe based RME audio interfaces. Rock stable for years here. Don't go firewire unless you get a firewire card for the extra bus. The Capybara can have up to 8 channels of AES/EBU I/O so you may want a unit that can handle that and feed monitors in addition. 8 channel ADAT ports, rather than multiple AES ports, are much more common on audio interfaces but I use an Alesis AI4 which does a stellar job converting both ways, but that's only needed if you want to keep things all digital.

-- RandallThomas - 15 Aug 2007

Kyma with Ableton Live

Ok, so the quick recipe for Ableton Live and Kyma synced via MTC is this. Neither Ableton nor Kyma can be MTC master. So choices are...


  1. Use a hardware midi interface like MOTU Timepiece, Micro Express etc that can generate MTC. This requires probably a midi cable to your midi in on pacarana's or capy's audio interface. You could also use PacaMidi? to help route there.
(Contact Douglas at Delora Software)

  1. Use software. I used Backline by AudioFile? engineering. It is cheap and very simple but it works and has other nice tools in it. Also has a trial.
This is the option I used.

Open Backline and open tool "Midi Time Code" Set location to 0:00:00:00 this is just where it will start counting. I used 30fps frame rate

For outputs we need to send MTC to BOTH Live and Kyma.

For Live I just route to any IAC port on the Mac (Create one in AudioMidi? prefs if needed).

For Kyma the easiest for me was to choose the "paca(rana)" virtual midi port that both Delorasoft's vM2 or PacaMidi? provide (However this does not work until a 1.1 fix is provided). Contact Delorasoft for the fixed version if you want to try. I have it and it works great. The other option is to use Osculator which does work as well with MTC. I'm not providing steps for that but basically, send the MTC output to Osculator's midi port and forward it to Kyma via OSC.

In Live, go to midi prefs and set the input IAC port you are sending MTC to to "sync", then expand the arrow next to the input port. Switch to Midi Time Code and set an offset or something like 4 secs 0:00:04:00. We will use same offset in Kyma. Set frame rate to 30fps, leave latency at 0ms.

Go into Kyma, in Timeline, where it says "Bars Beats" up top, switch to "Time Code" "30fps". Click and hold the "30fps" dropdown and at the bottom it says, "Set time code offset", choose this and set to 0:00:04:00. So basically it will take 4 secs before Kyma will start after starting the clock, same with Live.

In the left column in Timeline, where is says "Free Running", change to "Time code: MIDI or SMPTE", this actually is what makes Kyma sync to MTC. The other options were just for the grid display. You can switch them back to "Bars / Beats' if you wish.

Drag a sound into Kyma. One cool one is "AutoBreakz" from the wiki. You need to make sure timeline and Ableton are set to same BPM. MTC does not dictate BPM.

Expand the sound out say 300 bars.

Kyma needs to be playing to accept MTC. So I usually hit "Control-Space" to accomplish this.

In Live, you need to click the "EXT" box at the far upper left of main window to left of BPM.

At this point, both Live and Kyma are slaved to backlines clock.

Start Backline's clock and you are synced.

For AutoBreakz?, try routing audio from Live to Kyma and process it with the replaceable input. Now you can mangle drum loops and other stuff in sync.

I love this on pads actually, very cool glitchy.

Just found out that Numerology can be an MTC master clock. Now that is going to be really sweet for my uses since I can sync Numerology, Live and Kyma easily. Numerology sends to 2 MTC destinations.

-- ChrisLloyd - 25 March 2010

Kyma with Novation ReMote? 25 SL MKII

The ReMote? SL has 2 sets of MIDI ports. Port 1 is the hardware based SL MKII Port(1 and 2); the other port is Automap MIDI. This port is actually the MIDI Mapping for communicating MIDI between ReMote? SL and applications like ProTools? or KymaConnect?. So, if I need both MIDI Notes and MIDI CCs from the ReMote? SL, both Automap MIDI and SL MKII Port(#1) must be selected. And then, all the MIDI CCs will be transferred via the Automap MIDI port. And all the MIDI notes, Pitch Bend and Channel Pressure will be transferred in the SL MKII Port(#1).  

Kyma with zzz

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