Waldorf Music today announced the Kyra – a powerful new synth design that they describe as “the world’s first fully FPGA (Field-Programmable Gate Array) powered synthesizer”.
So what’s an FPGA and why should you care?
An FPGA is a type of powerful integrated circuit that’s designed to be ‘field-programmable’, so manufacturers can buy generic FPGA’s and then load a hardware description that turns the chip into a custom integrated circuit.
This has two key benefits:
- FPGA’s are cheap and capable, so designers can create extremely powerful synths much more cost-effectively; and
- FPGA’s can be updated – giving manufacturers the possibility of updating synth hardware designs after they’re manufactured.
What’s this mean for synthesists?
FPGA designs promise to make it possible to create powerful synth hardware much more cost-effectively.
The Waldorf Kyra will offer:
- 128 voice polyphony (regardless of settings and effects), each with 10 oscillators per voice;
- eight-part multitimbrality (with each part having its own dedicated nine-module effects unit).
- state-of-the-art audio quality: think 32x oversampled hardware with dual wavetables providing over 4,000 waveshapes;
- true stereo operation, hard sync, FM (Frequency Modulation), and ring modulation;
- oversampled emulations of classic analogue ladder filters, with 2- and 4-pole configurations;
- two filters can be used in Dual Voice mode, making for even more creative options;
- three envelope generators;
- three stereo LFOs (Low Frequency Oscillators) with 64 shapes and MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) clock sync;
- an arpeggiator;
- full keyboard microtuning;
- true polyphonic portamento; and
- a comprehensive 18-channel modulation matrix.
- each of its eight parts featuring a three-band EQ with sweepable mid
- dual tube limiters
- formant filter
- six-stage phaser
- stereo digital delay
- comb/flanger/chorus/doubler unit
- programmable reverb
- All effects units on all parts can be used simultaneously and run at Kyra’s native 96kHz sample rate.
- four assignable, balanced 32-bit/96kHz stereo outputs
- a headphone output
- low-latency DIN MIDI
- fully class-compliant USB2 implementation for MIDI
- stereo 24-bit/96kHz audio stream for each of its eight parts.
- USB (Universal Serial Bus) audio return feature, so Kyra can render final DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) audio under ASIO (Audio Stream Input/Output)
Exodus Digital Valkyrie Now The Waldorf Kyra
The Waldorf Kyra is the new name for the independently designed Exodus Digital Valkyrie, which was introduced at Musikmesse 2018.
Waldorf Music CEO Joachim Flor saw the Valkyrie at Musikmesse, thought it was “one of the most exciting synthesizers of recent years’, and decided to help bring the synth to a broader audience.
“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.”
Fortunately for Manuel Caballero, the feeling was clearly mutual — Musikmesse mission accomplished. “
After nearly four years in the making, I went to Musikmesse with the intention of finding an established partner for Valkyrie,” he reveals. “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,” says Caballero. ”
“Working with Joachim Flor and his technical and design team to achieve this is an exciting and efficient partnership,” says Caballero. “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.”
Here’s a look at Valkyrie prototype from Sonic State at Musikmesse:
Pricing and Availability
Waldorf plans to launch Kyra at the 2019 NAMM Show, January 24-27, in Anaheim, California, priced at €1,899.00 EUR as a desktop/rackmount model. A keyboard version is also planned.