Madrona Labs Debuts Kaivo, Physical Modeling Synthesizer

Kaivo_Madrona_LabsMadrona Labs has released Kaivo, a semi-modular software synthesizer that combines two ways of making sound: granular synthesis and physical modeling.

Developer Randy Jones says:

“Today we release Kaivo, our new software synthesizer. ‘Kaivo’ is Finnish for ‘well,’ as in, a deep well of sounds, and I’ve been working on deepening that well over the last month or so. Kaivo’s models include metal, nylon and gut strings, different sizes of chimes and springs (yes, springs), wooden instrument bodies, membranes and metal plates.

Kaivo_2Kaivo brings ‘some of the latest academic research in physical modeling to a patchable package for the first time.’ Mathematically speaking, its finite difference time domain (FDTD) models let the player affect the internal vibrations inside the instrument at any point. This allows for a fine degree of realistic detail, like the bridge rattles on a “gut string” model, for example. Developers say Kaivo is also designed to apply this subtlety to more abstract creations.

Every time a model is triggered, it makes a slightly different sound due to the initial conditions when the sound starts. This subtle variety can quickly give a very lifelike quality to sounds that would be tedious to recreate with sampling. Kaivo has eight different types of tuned resonators, including strings, chimes and springs, each with its own complex response to sound. As for instrument bodies, there are four, including two wooden body models, a metal plate, and a frame drum—all true 2D models.

Here’s a preview of Kaivo in action:

Pricing and Availability.

Kaivo is available now for Mac and Windows from Madrona Labs and retails for $129. More information is available at the Madrona Labs website.


10 thoughts on “Madrona Labs Debuts Kaivo, Physical Modeling Synthesizer

  1. I’ve been using Logic’s Sculpture for several years and liking it. Physical modeling generally walks a line between acoustic behavior and synth sounds. Anything emulative still has that certain bit of chaos to it. It’ll do many great things you can’t get any other way, but be warned: its the opposite of a ROMpler. It won’t be nearly as useful until you wrap your head around the new triad of material, model and how you excite it. If you apply it well, it’ll make your piece stand out like hell. It occupies a space much like additive does and is therefore groovy. $129 is a rational price for it, too. Just make sure you want to take some time with it. Its not an instant gratification item, but I’ve enjoyed learning its odd strengths.

  2. If this is half the synth Aalto is I am in.
    Very familiar interface – so thanks on that front and I use Sculpture, Tassman and Chromaphone an awful lot so the more physical modelling in the sound design arsenal the merrier as far as I am concerned.
    Not flush enough with funds for this yet but will buy it as a soon as I can.

    1. I tried the demo last night and it is very impressive. Feels like it can do some “clean” style pm sounds as well as some really out there textures and noises. Looking forward to using it more.

  3. Physical modeling yields such interesting and beautiful sounds. More like I’ve made a recording of an actual an actual performance (not samples) of instrument I found in the Musical Instrument Museum. I think it is the future of synthesis– as it can go to many new places untouched by subtractive synthesis and FM. Especially because there is “natural” variability in the model.

  4. Hmm. I checked the Soundcloud demos and stuff. I won’t have time to demo this myself until the weekend, but all the demos I’ve heard were of the “bleep & bloop” variety. Very abstract & very experimental. I’ve got that covered soundly with NI Reaktor. Are there any links to Kaivo doing something different? I’m definitely interested, but I haven’t heard anything I can’t already do in Reaktor.

    1. clearly you did not listen to the soundcloud sample posted on this very page. not “bleep & bloop” at all and quite a bit different from what you could get out of reaktor. are you sure you didn’t listen to aalto demos?

      1. No, I hadn’t listened to that demo before I posted. While the banjo is nice, Reaktor Prism could get there pretty quick, no? Don’t get me wrong, Kaivo looks amazing, and I’m not putting it down at all, I’m just looking for something unique that I don’t already have covered.

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